To be able to be a part of the upperclass in the city of Athens you had to be a citizen,and you couldn't have a job. A person who was a member of the upperclass you had to be free from economic jobs like trading. Members of the upper class had slaves to do their tasks for them. Slaves would do jobs like caring for the property and fortune. When the slaves were attending his tasks, he could find time for government, war, literature, and philosophy. Jobs like trading. Members of the upper class had slaves to do their tasks for them. Slaves would do jobs like caring for the property and fortune. When the slaves were attending his tasks, he could find time for government, war, literature, and philosophy. The Athens thought there had to be a leisure class, or there would be no standard for good style, no encouragement for the arts, no civilization. Aristocrats from Athens thought that any man who hurried is not quite civilized. This superior class wasn't very large when it came to numbers. They had about 300 families. Ancient units of money during this period of time were called talents. In order to be considered rich, a land owner needed about 20 talents.
There was a large number of non-citizens in the middle class in Athens. The free men in Athens (non-slaves) of foreign birth, though ineligible for citizenship, had spent their life in Athens. Most of them were professional men: Merchants, contractors, manufactors, managers, tradesman, craftsmen and artists. In the course of their wandering they have discovered in Athens the economic liberty and chance which out-weighed the downside of not being able to vote. The men were willing to give up their right to vote because they weren't able to make as good a living in other cities close to Athens.
The ceramic industry was controlled entirely by the middle class. The people who weren't citizens were not allowed to own their own land, or marry into a family of a citizen. making such a law allowed the citizens to purchase land at a less expensive price, because outside competition for land was gone. This working class made sure the navy fleet was maintained, the empire was supported through large taxes, and the commercial supremacy of Athens was preserved. The upper class wanted to show the rest of the wold that they were great and used all the classes below them (middle class, lower class etc) to do all the work. Men who had between one talent and 20 minae, that is the third of a talent, were liable to serve as a hoplites(foot soldiers) and the richest 1000 of these 9000 rode horses during battle.
Most of the middle class was made up of freed men. At one time of their lives they would have been slaves. Usually the people of the lower class were not citizens of the Athens so they could never be higher than the middle class. There are a couple ways that a slave could have gained freedom. They could be freed by having their ransom payed off by a friend, relative, or any other person close to them. Slaves can buy their own freedom if they choose, once they get enough money which is tough because slaves don't get paid for the duties they do for their master. He or She has to work at a second job. If a slave goes to fight in a war theres a chance that the slave will be released from his services. The two most common ways to acquire freedom for a slave is for the master to die or if the master sees that the job he bought the slave is complete. If a slave was bought to tutor a child and the child graduates the slave will be set free. The greeks thought that not all men were created equally. There was no greater disgrace to an Athenian then to be stripped of his or her citizenship. Some greek families have lived there for generations, but they were not considered citizens though. The middle and Lower classes had many more people then the Upper class by an outstanding number, but in the 600's BC only Upper class citizens who owned land were able to vote. All the decisions were made by that few even though the rules they made that they called laws applied to all. To some this looked like an evil system, this oligarchy- which was the rule of the few Upper class citizens that owned land was an improvement over the old style of leadership, which had only one person making the big decisions for them. By 400 B.C, all the men in the three upper classes could vote.
Slaves from the Athens were prisoners of wars, victims of slave raids, infants saved from exposure or sometimes criminals. Most slaves were not Greek, they were from a different country or place in the world. To buy a slave it would cost anywhere from 50 to 100 dollars. Most poor people even had one or two slaves, while a rich person could have up to fifty. The Athenian government hired a big number of slaves to be clerks, policemen, minor officials or attendants. Women who were slaves usually worked in the homes cooking and cleaning. When slaves would misbehave they would be whipped. When a slave was hit by someone in a higher class they could not defend themselves as it was a sign of disrespect. If a slave were to go to court to testify something, they could only legally testify under torture to be sure they were not lying. A citizen can not go as far as killing his slave. Most citizens were kind to their slaves but others were poorly treated. At the time, slavery was legal but some did not agree with it. A philosopher one noted, "God has sent all men into the world free & nature has made no man a slave, but slavery goes on."
n.p. http://atschool.eduweb.co.uk/sirrobhitch.suffak. Portland State University. Revised version:1997. Web. April 5/2013