How Ancient Greek Hygiene Was Similar To And Different From Today

Although some movies and media depict ancient people as unclean, that’s not entirely accurate. The ancients had hygiene practices, especially one of the most advanced civilizations, the Greeks. Despite not having showers, the Greeks learned how to stay clean with that they had.

Ancient Greeks had hair dye, perfume, and flushing latrines. However, their ingredients, recipes, and habits were different from today. See how different (and similar) ancient Greek hygiene habits were when compared to what we’re used to today.

The Greeks Built Baths

An ancient Greek bathtub is excavated at the Palace of Nestor in Pylos.
DeAgostini/Getty Images
DeAgostini/Getty Images

Baths changed and evolved throughout ancient Greece. The ancient Greeks understand that bathing improves health. However, their early baths consisted of quick dips into ice-cold water. Later, the people of Laconica (near Sparta) invented the hot-air bath.

Hot-air baths–also called Laconica baths–were warmed with hot coals or rocks. Although the Greeks hardly differentiated between hot and cold baths, steam rooms later became a luxury. Over time, the Greeks built large, public bathhouses throughout the region.