The theorodokoi (Greek: θεωροδόκοι, θεαροδόκοι) in ancient Greece were sacred envoy-receivers whose duty was to host and assist the theoroi (θεωροί, "viewers") before the Panhellenic games and festivals.[1][2][3]

A theorodokos was sometimes appointed by the community in which he lived but sometimes by the community that sent out the theoroi.[1] To have a favorable report from the theoroi visiting the host city for a festival or games, the city-state assigned an affluent person to be a theorodokos.[4] This was because in most cases the theorodokos was to bear the cost of hosting the theoroi, and to have adequate accommodations for the theoroi, the theorodokoi needed sufficient personal wealth. To have the desired favorable report from a theoros, the theoros was offered gifts, food, and even money to cover the cost of their travel to the hosting city-state.[4]



  1. ^ a b Hansen & Nielsen 2004, "Theorodokoi as Evidence for Polis Identity", pp. 103–107.
  2. ^ Miller 2004, p. 115: "These were the theorodokoi, or envoy-receivers, whose job was to facilitate the task of the heralds when they arrived in their cities. The theorodokoi served as the local representatives of the games, and they demonstrate that a highly organized support system for the games existed throughout the Greek world. Attested at Nemea and Delphi, theorodokoi surely must have been involved in the Olympic and Isthmian Games as well."
  3. ^ Perlman 2000, p. 14ff.
  4. ^ a b Dillon 1997, p. 12: "A city about to celebrate a festival would send out ambassadors to various Greek cities inviting them to attend that festival and to accept the terms of a truce covering the festival. These ambassadors were often termed theoroi, the same term as the one used for those ambassadors sent as the official delegation to a festival. Both types of theoroi would be received by theorodokoi: there were theorodokoi who received theoroi announcing a festival and other theorodokoi who received theoroi representing their states at the actual celebrations. The theoroi bringing word of a festival would not have to find their own accommodation upon arriving at a city or town, but rather would be provided with lodging and hospitality by a theorodokos."


  • Dillon, Matthew (1997). Pilgrims and Pilgrimage in Ancient Greece. London and New York: Routledge. ISBN 0-415-12775-0.
  • Hansen, Mogens Herman; Nielsen, Thomas Heine (2004). An Inventory of Archaic and Classical Poleis. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0198140991.
  • Miller, Stephen G. (2004). Ancient Greek Athletics. New Haven and London: Yale University. ISBN 0300100833.
  • Perlman, Paula Jean (2000). City and Sanctuary in Ancient Greece: The Theorodokia in the Peloponnese. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht. ISBN 3525252188.

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