How Was Racism Expressed in Ancient Greece?

Updated: January 23, 2023
One way racism was expressed in ancient Greece was through the idea of natural slavery, which held that some people were born to be slaves and were innately inferior to those born to be free. Another way racism was expressed was through the belief that Greeks were the superior people and that all other peoples were barbarians.
Detailed answer:

Racism was expressed in ancient Greece, but it was not recorded in any of the literature or art.

The Greeks were divided into two classes: free men and slaves. Slaves were considered property. In the ancient Greek world, slavery was an integral part of daily life for most people. Slaves were used for labor on farms or businesses, as well as in households. Their owners controlled almost every aspect of their lives.

In fact, it’s because of this that racism was so prominent in ancient Greece. There were many slaves who did not speak Greek and had no way to communicate with others in the region. This led to segregation between slaves and free citizens — even within families. The Greeks believed that if one member of a family married outside of the group, then it would destroy the purity of their bloodline and cause them all to die out quickly.

In ancient Greece, there were two types of slaves: domestic and industrial. Domestic slaves were house servants who lived with the family they served; industrial slaves worked in mines or on farms doing labor intensive jobs.

Slaves could be bought and sold just like any other piece of property, including land and livestock. A slave’s life was not much better than that of an animal — they could be beaten with impunity if their master felt like it, or even killed for disobedience or insubordination.

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