Choragic Monument of Thrasyllos

37°58′16″N 23°43′39″E / 37.97111°N 23.72750°E / 37.97111; 23.72750

The choragic monument of Thrasyllos is a memorial building erected in 320–319 BCE, on the artificial scarp of the south face of the Acropolis of Athens, to commemorate the choregos of Thrasyllos.[1] It is built in the form of a small temple and fills the opening of a large, natural cave. It was modified in 271/70 by Thrasykles the son of Thrasyllos, agonothetes in the Great Dionysia Games. Pausanias refers to the monument indirectly[2] providing us with the information that in the cave there existed a representation of Apollo and Artemis slaughtering the children of Niobe.

Reconstruction of the choragic monument of Thrasyllos as it might have appeared in the time of Thrasykles.

Echoing the west part of the south wing of the Propylaea the facade of the monument is formed by two monumental doorways with antae and a central pillar, door frames, architrave with continuous guttae, frieze and cornice. The frieze was decorated with ten olive wreaths, five on each side of a central wreath while the cornice supported bases for the choragic tripods. It was built in a variety of marbles from local quarries. On the epistyle there was the inscription:[3] Thrasyllos, son of Thrasyllos of Dekeleia, set this up, being choregos and winning in the men's chorus for the tribe of Hippothontis. Euios of Chalkis played the flute. Neaichmos was archon. Karidamos son of Sotios directed. Two subsequent inscriptions[4] were added in the years 270/1 BCE, one reads: The demos was choregos, Pytharatos was archon. Thrasykles, son of Thrasyllos of Dekeleia, was agonothete. Hippothontis won the boys’ chorus. Theon the Theban played the flute. Pronomos the Theban directed.[5] The structure would have been surmounted with three bronze tripods; prizes in the choregia. Stuart and Revett record[6] a statue of Dionysios in place of the original tripods, this was likely a later addition at the time of the repair of the Theatre of Dionysus by Phaidros in the fourth century CE.[7]

Sometime in the Christian period a church was installed in the cave dedicated to Panaghia Spiliotissa. Lord Elgin removed the Hellenistic statue of Dionysos[8] in 1802 as a part of the Elgin Marbles thus the sculpture was spared when the monument was destroyed by an Ottoman bombardment during the siege of Athens in 1827. Although the monument was scheduled to be restored in the nineteenth century by the Athens Archaeological Society some of the marble was recarved and reused on the Byzantine church of Soteira Lykodimou. Recent restoration work began in 2002 and draws largely on the measured drawing by Stuart and Revett undertaken in the eighteenth century.[9] It was through the work of Stuart and Revett and J. D. Le Roy's Ruines des plus beaux monuments de la Grece (1758) that the Thrasyllos monument would influence later architecture. Both Karl Friedrich Schinkel and Alexander Thomson adopted the post-and-lintel, trabeated construction of the monument in their work.[10]


  1. ^ Travlos, p.562
  2. ^ Pausanias I.21.3
  3. ^ IG II2 3056
  4. ^ IG II2 3083 A and B
  5. ^ Here the people of Athens were credited as producers of choregia and Thrasykles only as an official likely due to the sumptuary law of Demetrios. See Camp, 2001, pp.162-3.
  6. ^ Stuart, Revett, Antiquities of Athens,1787, Vol. 2 Chap. IV
  7. ^ Travlos, p.562
  8. ^ British Museum, Seated Dionysos, from the Choregic monument of Thrasyllos, Athens c.270 BC., BM 432
  9. ^ "Ministry of Culture and Sports | Choregic Monument of Thrasyllos".
  10. ^ G. Stamp and S. McKinstry, 'Greek Thomson', Edinburgh University Press, 1994, p.192.


  • Wilson, Peter (2000). Athenian Institution of Khoregia. Cambridge.
  • Travlos, John (1971). Pictorial Dictionary of Ancient Athens.
  • Welter, G. (1938). "Das Choregischen Denkmal das Thrasyllos". Archäologischer Anzeiger. 47: 33–6.
  • Townsend, R.F. (1985). "A Newly Discovered Capital from the Thrasyllos Monument". American Journal of Archaeology. 89 (4): 676–680. doi:10.2307/504209. JSTOR 504209. S2CID 191389802.
  • J. M.Camp, The Archaeology of Athens, Yale University Press, 2001.