“Choregia” (Sponsorship) & its relation to Ancient Greek Theater

The ancient Greek society and especially the Athenian one were highly developed and inherited us with some liturgies still practiced to this very day and proved to be beneficial for modern societies also.

The most important of them is choregia = sponsorship (chorus + ago) which means I lead, I try to make the chorus happen; chorus was the main section of the Ancient Greek Theater. Choregia contributed to the successful taking place of the dramas and theatrical performances.

Prosperous and wealthy citizens were asked or volunteered to undertake the expenses for a theater chorus. The choregos (sponsor) was responsible for assembling the members of a chorus, train them, pay them wages,  cover the expenses of their costumes, masks, and see that the preparing and training for a successful performance was good.

There was a competition among the sponsors for the first place. The one who received the first prize, the winner, could set up a choregic Monument to immortalize his name.

Sponsor monuments were usually tripods, placed on some elaborate base eg a column with a nice capital or a nice edifice or temple looking base.

In Athens today the visitor can see some nice  sponsor monuments such as the Lysicrates monument (4th century BC), Two columns (4th century BC) against the Southern wall of the Acropolis underneath the Parthenon, or the Thrasyllos choregic monument in from of a natural cave of the rock above the cavea of Dionysus Theater.

If you visit the Acropolis with the Athens Walking Tours you will have the opportunity to see a couple of sponsor monuments and hear about them from your knowledgeable guide!

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