This book is the first major study of the means by which the classical Athenians organised and funded their many festival choruses. It explores the mechanics of the institution by which a minority of rich citizens were required to arrange and pay for a festival chorus, including choruses for tragic and comic drama, and situates this duty within the range of occasions for elite leadership in Athens' elaborate festival calendar. Peter Wilson goes on to show the importance of the khoregia to our understanding of the workings of Athenian democracy itself, and to demonstrate the degree to which the institution was itself a highly performative occasion, an opportunity for elite display in the democratic environment. The post-classical history of the khoregia and its appearance in a wide range of other Greek communities are also examined.
• The only account of a major classical institution and will become the standard point of reference • Comprehensive treatment both useful for specialists and accessible to non-specialists • Truly interdisciplinary, with a solid base in text and archaeology and history
Introduction; Part I. The Institution: 1. Private wealth for public performance; 2. Organisation and operation; Part II. The Khoregia in Action: Social Performance and Symbolic Practice: 3. Aristocratic style; 4. Khoregia and democracy; 5. Monumentalising victory; Part III. Beyond Classical Athens: 6. Challenge, change, diffusion.
''This is the first major modern account of the Athenian khoregia … The author has reflected deeply on his subject and has given us a stimulating book.' Journal of Hellenic Studies