); in Latin, Chorāgus.
The person who supplied a properly trained chorus.
The maintenance of a choregia
) was one of the regularly recurring state burdens (ἐγκύκλιοι λειτουργίαι
) at Athens. Originally the chorus consisted of all the
inhabitants in the State. With the improvement of the arts of music and dancing, the
distinction of spectators and performers arose; it became more a matter of art to sing and
dance in the chorus; paid performers were employed; and at last the duties of this branch of
worship devolved upon one person, selected by the State to be their representative, who
defrayed all the expenses which were incurred on the different occasions. This person was the
choregus. It was the duty of the managers of a tribe (ἐπιμεληταὶ
) to which a choregia
had come round, to provide a
person to perform the duties of it; and the person appointed by them had to meet the expenses
of the chorus in all plays, tragic or comic (τραγῳδοῖς,
) and satirical; and of the lyric choruses of men and boys, the pyrrhichistae
, cyclian dancers, and flute-players (χορηγεῖν ἀνδράσι
, or ἀνδρικοῖς χοροῖς, παιδικοῖς
χοροῖς, πυρριχισταῖς, κυκλίῳ χορῷ αὐληταῖς ἀνδράσιν
), etc. He had first
to collect his chorus, and then to procure a teacher (χοροδιδάσκαλος
), whom he paid for instructing the choreutae.
The choregi drew lots for the first choice of teachers; for as their credit
depended upon the success of their chorus in the dramatic or lyric contests, it was of great
importance to them whose assistance they secured. When the chorus was composed of boys, the choregus was occasionally allowed to press children for it, in case their
parents were refractory. The chorus were generally maintained, during the period of their
instruction, at the expense of the choregus, and he had also to provide
Choragic Monument of Lysicrates.
such meat and drink as would contribute to strengthen the voice of the singers. The
expenses of the different choruses are given by Lysias as follows: Chorus of men, 20 minae;
with the tripod, 50 minae; pyrrhic chorus, 8 minae; pyrrhic chorus of boys, 7 minae; tragic
chorus, 30 minae; comic, 16 minae; cyclian chorus, 300 minae. According to Demosthenes, the
chorus of flute-players cost a great deal more than the tragic chorus. The choregus who
exhibited the best musical or theatrical entertainment received as a prize a tripod, which he
had the expense of consecrating, and sometimes he had also to build the monument on which it
was placed. There was a whole street at Athens formed by the line of these tripodtemples, and
called “The Street of the Tripods.” A well-preserved specimen is the
Choragic Monument of one Lysicrates, shown in the illustration. The laws of Solon prescribed
forty as the proper age for the choregus, but this law was not long in force. See Chorus
The choragus among the Romans (Plaut.
Trin. iv. 2.16
) was a lender of costumes and properties, and to him
the aediles used to give a contract for supplying the necessary accessories for a play. In
iv. 1), the choragus delivers a sort of parabasis. Under the
Empire the procurator summi choragii
, 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
“make-up” of the actors. Under Gordian we find the name had vanished.
Apol. i. 13
) had spoken of the choragium
but the functionary called logista thymelae
the place of the procurator summi choragii.
In the fourth century, at
Rome the praefectus urbi
, in the East the praefectus
, and in Africa the proconsul
looked after the games.
In the fifth century, at Rome, Milan, and Carthage, we find this done by tribuni voluptatum.