) was one of the ordinary services (ἐγκύκλιοι λειτουργίαι
) at Athens, and
consisted in providing a properly-trained chorus for one of the
festivals. It was a very heavy burden, involving great trouble and
expense; but during the flourishing period of Greek freedom this was
counterbalanced by the emulation which subsisted among the different
choregi and the honour it brought them from their fellow-citizens.
Originally, there was a choregus elected by each tribe (Introd. to Dem.
p. 510, line 8). The choregi
used to be appointed eleven months before the festival. The ἐπιμεληταὶ
of each tribe looked out for the
fitting persons to fulfil the duty of choregi, and probably proposed
them (προὐβάλλοντο οἱ χορηγοί,
519.13; cf. Arg, p. 510). Usually the most
well-to-do were appointed choregi in turn, but sometimes public-spirited
individuals voluntarily undertook the duty even when not in their turn:
e. g. Demosthenes (l.c.
). On the choregi being
proposed, the archon used to allot them (χορὸν
) to as many as he thought deserving from among
the poets who applied to him for a chorus (χορὸν
). Then there was a drawing of lots among the
choregi (Antiph. de
§ 11) as to who should get first choice of
The duty of the
(who was sometimes the
poet, and then he had a ὑποδιδάσκαλος
see Photius, s. v.) was with the help of musicians--generally
flute-players, sometimes harpists--to teach (διδάσκειν, συγκροτεῖν
) the choristers the words, songs,
and dances. In an emergency we find a single individual taking the place
e. g. Telephanes (Dem. Mid.
520.17). The relative importance of the functions of the διδάσκαλος
and the αὐλητὴς
in course of time came to be reversed, the
musical element becoming more and more important. The lot now decided
who should have the first choice of flute-players (Dem.
519.13), and the flute-player came to be mentioned
in the διδασκαλίαι
The next duty of the choregus was to collect the chorus. The members of
the chorus had to be citizens. At the Lenaea metics were allowed to act
as choristers and even as choregi (Schol. on Aristoph. Pl. 953
). But at all other festivals only citizens
could serve under penalty of 1000 drachmae for each foreign chorister
(Plut. Phoc. 30
). The collecting
) of the chorus was
effected by means of officers of the tribe called χορολέκται.
This was hard in the case of boys, as
parents did not like to let their children incur the moral risks of the
theatre; and that these were not insignificant is evident from the law
of Solon forbidding any one younger than forty years to form a chorus of
boys (Aeschin. Tim.
33.12). Fines and confiscations of
goods, accordingly, had often to be employed (Antiphon, de
§ 11). Meanwhile the choregus had to provide a
place for training the chorus (διδασκαλεῖον,
Poll. 4.106), which was often in his own house
(Antiphon, l, c.
), but in some demes we find
public buildings for the purpose (cf. Hesych. Μελιτέων ολ̓̂κος
In the flourishing times of Athens the greatest emulation existed among
the rival choregi: some spent their whole patrimony in the service (Dem.
534.61). And indeed no wonder: for it must have
been a proud moment when the choregus, leading his own chorus (cf. Ath. 633a
) and in splendid array, was crowned
victor before his assembled fellow-countrymen (Dem. Mid.
532.55). The prize was a bronze tripod, which became the property of the
tribe (Dem. Mid.
516.5). Accordingly, owing to the [p. 1.418]
emulation, the very strictest observance of
the laws relating to the festivals was required. Among these laws there
was one that, if a stranger was brought in as a chorister, a rival
choregus might take him by the hand and lead him out (Andoc. in
§ 20; cf. Dem. Mid.
but not interrupt him while performing. In the heat of competition, too,
there were frequent violations of law, and special enactments for the
laying of plaints with regard to misdeeds at the festivals (Dem.
517.8; 562.147). The crime of assault of a
choregus during the festival appears to have been ὕβρις,
though Demosthenes all through his speech
against Midias tries to make out that, inasmuch as the festival was a
religious ceremony, the offence he as choregus had sustained should be
(Arg. p. 510; cf. 532.55).
No one was liable for the choregia nor for any of the regular services
unless he had a property of at least three talents (Isaeus, de
§ 80; Dem. Aphob.
1.833.64): for the expenses that fell upon the choregus were great. The
state certainly defrayed part of them (Introd. to Mid.
510), and the lessee of the theatre who received the entrance money must
have supplied a considerable sum towards the outlay (Boeckh,
1.540, ed. 1886). But still much remained for
the choregus; principally the expenses which attached to the chorus
directly. For he had not merely to train the chorus or have it trained,
but he had also to feed (Introd. to Mid.
) them during the time of training, and
right good cheer used to be provided (Plut. de glor.
100.6). At Corcyra we find the
members given an equivalent in money, σιτηρέσια
1845, line 23). The choregi used at times to give
drugs to the choristers to improve their voice; and this proved fatal in
one case (see the whole speech of Antiphon, de
They had to provide the dresses (Aristot.
4.2, 20; Ath. 103f
were often most expensive--e. g. Demosthenes once (Mid.
520.16) had golden crowns for his chorus and a gold-embroidered robe for
himself--and also at times the accessories of the play; e. g. in Aristoph. Peace 1023
, the animal for
sacrifice. Besides, too, they appear to have had to pay the choristers
1.13). An additional chorus (παραχορήγημα
) had sometimes to be provided. Each
choregus provided the chorus for a whole tetralogy; but whether the
actual choristers were the same in all four plays is uncertain (see
p. 333). The
choregus had not to pay the actors (Boeckh, op.
p. 542). Interesting statistics as to the expenses of the
different kinds of choruses are to be found in Lysias, Ἀπολογία δωροδοκίας,
§ 2 fol.--a
passage which should be read with the sober criticism of Boeckh, pp.
542-5. The speaker spent on a tragic chorus 30 minae; on a chorus of men
at the Thargelia, 2000 drachmas; on a Pyrrhic chorus of Ephebi at the
Panathenaea, 800 drachmas; on a chorus of men at the Dionysia and on the
dedication of the tripod, 5000 drachmas; on a cyclic chorus at the
lesser Panathenaea, 300 drachmas; on a chorus of boys, 15 minae; on a
comic chorus with dedication of the dress, 16 minae; on a chorus of
youthful pyrrhicists, 7 minae. Thus we see that a comic chorus cost much
less than a tragic one, just as an ordinary chorus of men cost less than
a chorus of flute-players (Dem. Mid.
dedication of the tripod, too, seems to have considerably increased the
expenditure, as may be seen by comparing 30 minae (= 3000 drachmas) with
5000. The reason was that the prize tripod (τρίπους χορηγικός
) was generally dedicated to Dionysus,
either on the top of a pillar (see Baumeister,
fig. 422) or on the top of a
round, open, temple-like structure. A fine example of such a structure
is the celebrated Monument of Lysicrates and the Thrasyllus monument.
From the inscriptions engraved on the architraves of these temples the
didascaliae were mainly compiled (Wordsworth, Athens and
p. 153). A whole street lined with such shrines to hold
dedicated tripods, and hence called Τρίποδες,
was on the east side of the Acropolis (Paus. 1.20
was a fashionable promenade in the time of Demetrius of Phalerum (Ath. 542
). For a full account of the Street of
Tripods, see Baumeister, Denkm.
s. v. ; Athen. pp. 188-9.
The expense, accordingly, of the choregia was great. So when the state
became poor, single private individuals became unable to bear the
burden, and the decline of public spirit so noticeable in the
Demosthenic age showed them unwilling. Thus the
of Aristophanes and the
of Cratinus had no choral odes, nor parabases,
but this latter for another reason. (see Platonius in the Tauchnitz
Aristophanes, vol. i. pp. 7, 8); and neither has the Plutus.
The first step to remedy this state of things was
: i. e. two tribes or
two individuals uniting to supply a chorus. This took place first in the
archonship of Callias, 406 B.C. (Schol. on Ar. Ran.
The first documentary evidence of the joint choregia that we have is the
inscription found on the Temple of the Winds at Athens (Köhler
2.23). See also Antiphon,
§ 11. Later in the time of
Demetrius of Phalerum (316-307 B.C.) the state undertook the choregia,
appointed each year an ἀγωνοθέτης
produce all the choruses for the different festivals, and bore all the
The inscriptions on the monuments varied. In the fifth cent. B.C. the
name of the tribe comes first, that of the choregus second, and of the
trainer third: e.g. C. I. G.
212, Οἰνηὶς ἐνίκα παίδων
), Εὐρυμένης Μελετῶνος
ἐχορήγει, Νικόστρατος ἐδίδασκε
(cf. Plut. Arist. 100.1.2
). In the fourth
cent. the choregus or choregi come first, the tribe is frequently
omitted, and the flute-player occasionally mentioned and before the
trainer (see Köhler, l.c.
). Of the
choregia of the state we have the following:--C. I. G.
225, ὁ δή̀μος ἐχορήγει, Πυθάρατος
(271 B.C.) Ἀγωνοθέτης
Θρασυκλῆς Θρασύλλου Δεκελεεύς, Ἱπποθωντὶς παίδων ἐνίκα
Πέων Πηβαῖος ηὔλει Πρόνομος Θηβαῖος ἐδίδασκεν.
Note the non-Athenian trainers. For other important inscriptions of the
choregia, see Köhler in Mittheilungen
des arch. Instit. in
The choregia was not confined to Athens; it is found at Siphnos (Isocrat.
17), Ceos (C. I
G. 2363), Aegina (Hdt. 5.83
77), Thebes (Plut. Arist.
). At Lasos in Caria (Lebas, Inscr.
iii. [p. 1.419]
252-299) a voluntary choregus sometimes
undertook the whole expense; but more usually each citizen paid a
subscription of 200 drachmas and each metic 100 towards the expenses of
the festival. This does not seem to have been formally a tax, but a
subscription fixed by custom and enforced by public opinion.
For the choregia
generally, see Boeckh,
1.539-548, ed. Fränkel; Krebs in
s.v.; Bernard Arnold in
among the Romans (Plaut.
1.3, 79; Trin.
4.2, 16) was a lender of costumes and properties (cf. Festus, p. 52,
Prol. 61); and to him the aediles used to give a
contract for supplying the necessary accessories for a play. In Plaut.
4.1, the choragus delivers a sort of parabasis.
Under the Empire the Procurator
appointed probably by Domitian,
was a regular imperial minister, with a great many subordinates, and had
charge of the whole supply of decoration, machinery, and costume
necessary for the performance of the various shows as well in the
amphitheatre as in the theatre. A subdivision of this office was the
which had special reference
to the “get up” of the actors. Under Gordian we find the
name had vanished. Apuleius (Apol.
1.13) had spoken of
but the functionary called
now took the place of the proc. summi choragii.
In the fourth century, at
Rome the praef.
in the East the praef.
and in Africa the proconsul
looked after the games. In the fifth century, at
Rome, Milan, and Carthage, we find this done by tribuni
On the whole point see
especially Hirschfeld, Verwaltungsge-schichte,