The Greek People's Physical Characteristics

The human features of Greeks depicted in Classical art do not necessarily reflect Greek features.

The Greek people's physical characteristics derive from genetics, as well as diet and geography. For instance, Greeks typically have olive-colored skin which is a result of heritage, Mediterranean climate and a diet rich in olive oil, fish and other sources of skin-rejuvenating omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. The physical characteristics of the Greeks distinguish them from other European peoples.

1 Nose and Mouth

In Classical art, Greeks have noses that form a straight line from base to tip, rather than rounding or curving over the bridge. This smooth, straight nose was considered the perfect nose, as depicted in Michelangelo's David. In fact, Greeks often have a bump on the bridge of the nose, which is sometimes referred to as a "nasal hump." Greek noses vary in size, but are for the most part medium to large. Greeks generally have large mouths, but the shape of the mouth and thickness of the lips varies.

2 Eyes

Greeks are known for having very large eyes and thick eyelashes. In Greeks, eye color is normally dark or medium brown. Approximately 25 percent of Greeks have blue, gray or green eyes, although these colors are normally mixed with brown in the iris pattern. Coal black eyes are rare in Greeks, despite their dark complexions.

3 Hair

Greek hair is most often black or very dark brown. Sometimes, blond or red tints or strands will appear, but a full head of blond or red hair is very unusual in a person with full Greek heritage. However, it is not that uncommon for Greek babies to have blond hair, which darkens as the hair grows in thicker. The texture of Greek hair varies from fine to course hair. Greek hair normally has a lot of volume and some wave or curls. Oil in the hair is common.

4 Skin

Greek skin is normally olive colored or light brown. Some Greeks have fairer complexions with pink or peachy tones, but this is not as common as olive skin tones. Greek skin is normally very smooth and radiant, giving the face a healthy glow. According to dermatologist and skin expert Macrene Alexiades, “Greek women are blessed with Mediterranean skin, which is light in color but has enough melanin to shield and absorb harmful UV rays.” It is unusual for Greeks, even the fairer-complexioned, to sun burn as easily as Europeans of Anglo ancestry.

Audrey Farley began writing professionally in 2007. She has been featured in various issues of "The Mountain Echo" and "The Messenger." Farley has a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Richmond and a Master of Arts in English literature from Virginia Commonwealth University. She teaches English composition at a community college.