The Choragic Monument of Lysicrates - History and Facts | History Hit

The Choragic Monument of Lysicrates

Attica, Attica, Greece

Lysicrates' monument to commemorate first prize in a dramatic performance that he had sponsored around 335 BCE.

Peta Stamper

31 May 2021

About The Choragic Monument of Lysicrates

The Choragic Monument of Lysicrates in Athens, Greece, was the first ancient monument built in the Corinthian order. Lysicrates was the name of the man who paid for the monument to commemorate a chorus that he sponsored who won first place in a competition.

Decorated with the adventure of Dionysos with the pirates, whom he turned into dolphins, the Choragic Monument of Lysicrates is located on the ancient Street of the Tripods near the Acropolis, so named for the tripod prizes awarded to choric victories.

The Choragic Monument of Lysicrates history

Lysicrates was a choregos of Ancient Athens, a position reflecting his wealth and position of public duty. As a patron of the Theatre of Dionysus and someone who donated his money to the State to fund the City Dionysia in 335 and 334 BC, the monument was erected in his honour.

The Choragic Monument of Lysicrates was also the first example of the Corinthian style of architecture used by the Greeks and Romans, afterwards reproduced within many classical and neo-classical buildings. The monument was inscribed with the name of the sponsor, Lysicrates, as well as the winners of the festival competitions.

In 1669 the monument and surrounding area were incorporated into a French Capuchin monastery. The monastery bought the monument and renamed it the ‘Lantern of Demosthenes’ – an ancient Greek orator. Unfortunately, during the Greek War of Independence against the Ottomans, the monastery burned down and the monument was left to face the weather.

In the late 1870s that architects supervised a restoration of the pillar.

The Choragic Monument of Lysicrates today

Today, the Choragic Monument of Lysicrates stands in a small garden along the Tripoden Street which once led to the Theatre of Dionysus and was lined with choragic monuments.

The surrounding seating is the perfect shaded spot to pause and admire the monument whilst touring the larger sites, and provides an added layer to the history of the great theatre down on the Acropolis hill.

However, you do not have to go to Athens to see the Choragic Monument of Lysicrates: there are many structures mimicking the Corinthian designed monument across the world, including the Burns’ Monument on Calton Hill in Edinburgh, and a replica in the Royal Botanic Gardens in Sydney.

Getting to The Choragic Monument of Lysicrates

Located just off Sellei street in central Athens, the closest metro stop is Acropoli on line M2, only 4 minutes away. Otherwise, buses 040, 230 and A2 as well as trolleybuses 1, 5 and 15 all stop along the 91 main road nearby.

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