Lysicrates monument

Location: Plaka   

The Monument of Lysicrates in Athens, Greece: In the neighborhood of Plaka, few steps from the Acropolis Museum, there is the Choragic Monument of Lysicrates. This monument was erected by the choregos Lysicrates to commemorate the award of the first prize in 335/334 BC to one of the performances that he had sponsored.

The word choregos actually means sponsor in Greek. Choregoi were a very important and honorary title for the ancient Athenians. They actually sponsored the expenses and preparations of dramatic and musical performances during the festivals of Athens. When costs were not covered by the state, choregoi were appointed to pay the costs of costumes, masks, rehearsal costs, scene painting, sound effects and generally all the costs associated to a performance.

Choregoi were wealthy Athenians and it was considered an honor to take up this duty. In fact, the prizes for drama at the festival competitions of Athens were awarded jointly to the playwright and the choregos. To celebrate their victory, choregoi used to build monuments along the path leading to the Ancient Theatre of Dionysus, located at the foot of the Acropolis, where drama festivals would take place.

This is the reason that the Monument of Lysicrates was built. This monument is of circular statue, raised on a high squared podium. This is the first ancient monument of Corinthian order on the exterior. Originally it was crowded with a floral support for the bronze tripod where the prize of Lysicrates was put. Now it is surrounded by a lovely garden in the centre of a small square.

Some versions of this choragic monuments include the Dugald Stewart Monument on Calton Hill above Edinburgh UK and another structure in the Botanic Gardens of Sydney Australia.

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