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χορηγός); in Latin, Chorāgus. The person who supplied a properly trained chorus.

1. Greek

The maintenance of a choregia (χορηγία) 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 φυλῆς) 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, κωμῳδοῖς) 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.

2. Roman

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 Plautus (Curc. 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 ratio ornamentorum, which had special reference to the “make-up” of the actors. Under Gordian we find the name had vanished. Apuleius ( Apol. i. 13) had spoken of the choragium thymelicum; but the functionary called logista thymelae now took the place of the procurator summi choragii. In the fourth century, at Rome the praefectus urbi, in the East the praefectus praetorio, 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.

hide References (2 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (2):
    • Plautus, Trinummus, 4.2
    • Apuleius, Apologia, 13
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