Most Popular Professions in Ancient Greece

Most Popular Professions in Ancient GreeceThe inscriptions on the exhibits Epigraphical Museum in Athens, Greece, reveal which professions were the most popular among the ancient Greeks.

Painter, mason (architect or carpenter), shipwright, guitar player, fisherman, washer woman, potter, are some of the occupations identified in the inscriptions housed in the Epigraphical Museum and the Acropolis Museum.

Particularly interesting are the votive offerings of laborers and craftsmen of the last quarter of the 6th century BC and the early 5th century BC, who sought the assistance and protection of the gods, especially of Athena Ergane, patroness of workers. These offerings were also a kind of advertisement of their work. Most offerings came from potters and sculptors such as Hegias of Athens who was the teacher of Pheidias who designed the colossal statue of the goddess Athena on the Athenian Acropolis. Hegias was mainly known from the literary tradition and the inscriptions exhibited in the Epigraphical Museum.

Other offerings refer to the work of sculptors that excelled in antiquity, such as Aristion from Paros, Onatas from Aegina and Archermos from Chios. Many of them were extremely famous and highly paid, but unfortunately most of their work was lost, except from a few sculptures that were linked to their bases. That is why the identification of their names was so important.

It appears that the profession of the physician was also popular. Inscriptions dating from the 5th to the 3rd century BC as well as tombstones of the Hellenistic and Roman period cite the names of physicians and thank them for their services to the community.

Tombstones dating to the early christian centuries provide information on other popular professions of that period such as architect, barber, builder, shoemaker and reader.