Farming and Agriculture in Ancient Greece
This information is from and has been abridged and reformatted slightly. All credit for the content belongs to the developers of that site.

The importance of agriculture in ancient Greece is often overlooked. Besides influencing religion and daily life, it had lasting effects on history after it. 


Due to Greece's mountainous terrain, the city-states were relatively isolated from one another and thus it was difficult for them to facilitate trade. As a result, self-sufficiency in agriculture was needed to produce food for the people. Cities such as Athens relied on rural people to provide food for them. However, only about 20 to 30 percent of the land was suitable for farming (Martin, 2.3II). Additionally, farming was also crapshoot of sorts since the amount of precipitation in the country varied so much.

Meat was a luxury in ancient Greece, usually consumed only during feasts. As a result, much of the diet was made up of vegetables and grains, which were grown in abundance outside the cities. Some of the most important of these included celery, radishes, olives, and beans, as well as different types of fruit. Barley was another important crop. The types of crops raised by farmers were heavily dependent upon the kind of topographic region in which they lived. For example, the most commonly-grown crop was olives, because they could thrive in the poor and rocky soil found all over the country. Hilly regions would grow grapes since grapevines grow on hillsides. In areas where soil was fertile, corn was grown. Common livestock that were raised included pigs, sheep, and goats.

Attic black figure vase depicting
olive harvesting. Courtesy of the
British Museum, London.
Grain crops. From

Farming and Religion

Farming and agriculture in ancient Greece played a very large role in religion as well. The Greeks believed that the success of their harvest depended upon how pleased the gods were with the people, and as a result they held many agricultural festivals in order to win the gods' favor for a productive harvest. Here I will list some important agricultural festivals that were celebrated in ancient Greece.