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Form: i.e. "service performed for the public".
A term applied at Athens to either an ordinary or extraordinary service, which the State imposed on its wealthier citizens in accordance with a regular rotation. The ordinary services, which citizens whose property amounted to more than three talents [£600] were required to perform, are: (1) the Choregia, the most expensive service of this kind, involving the equipment of a chorus (q.v.) for its musical competitions at public festivals, which were accompanied by theatrical and musical performances. (2) The Gymnasiarchia, which imposed the obligation of training in the Gymnasia the Competitors for the gymnastic contests, supplying them with proper diet while they were in training, and providing at the games themselves for the requisite arrangement and decoration of the scene of the contest. The most expensive type of this form of service was the lampadarchia, the equipment of the torch race (q.v.), which in one instance [recorded in Lysias Or. 21 § 3] cost twelve minae [£40]. (3) The Architheoria, or superintendence of the sacred embassies (theoriae) sent to the four great national festivals, or to Delos and other holy places. In this case the State contributed part of the expense. There were other leitourgiai confined to the separate tribes and domes, such as the entertainment of members of the clan on festal occasions. The most expensive of all was the extraordinary leitourgia called the trierarchia, which was necessary only [or rather mainly] in times of war. This involved the equipment of a ship of war, and was required of the wealthiest citizens only. Before the Persian Wars the equipment of the forty-eight to fifty ships of the Athenian navy of that time devolved on the naucrariae (q.v.). When the number of the fleet was increased, the necessary number of trierarchs was nominated in each year by the strategi. The State provided the vessel, i.e. the hull and mast; and every trierarch had to fit out this vessel with the necessary equipment, to keep it in readiness for the year, and to man it with a complete crew of oarsmen and others. The State supplied pay and provision for the crew, though the sum paid did not always suffice for the purpose; it afterwards supplied the furniture of the vessel also. To lighten the expense, which amounted to between forty minoe and a talent (£133-£200), it became allowable, about 411 B.C., for two persons to share it. Afterwards, in 358, twenty symmoriae (q.v.) were instituted, i.e. companies consisting of sixty citizens each, with a committee of the 300 wealthiest citizens at their head; the 300 distributed the expense over the individual symmoriae in such sort that the cost of a single trireme was shared by a greater or less number of citizens. Lastly, about B.C. 340, the incidence of the burden was regulated by a law introduced by Demosthenes, whereby all citizens, with the exception of the poorer classes, bore the expense in proportion to their property. Thus property [or rather, taxable capital] amounting to ten talents imposed the obligation of equipping one vessel, twenty talents two vessels, and so on. Those who had less than ten talents were to club together and to make up that amount among them. The time of service lasted, as has been already stated, for one year. On its expiration, the trierarch, who had looked after the vessel, was responsible to the Logistae (q.v.) for the condition of the vessel, and had to hand in his account of the expenditure of the sums paid by the State. Another board, the epimeletai of the neoria (the inspectors of the dockyards), superintended the regular fulfilment of the duties of the trierarchs, and were armed for this purpose with compulsory powers. No one was compelled to undertake more than one leitourgia at the game time, or two in two immediately successive years. The only persons exempt from the trierarchy were the archons, unmarried "heiresses," and orphans up to the end of the first year after they had come of age. The obligation to see that the leitourgia was discharged in each particular case fell on the tribe concerned. If any one considered that he had been unfairly chosen for this duty, and a wealthier person passed over, he could resort to the form of challenge to exchange properties known as the antidosis (q.v.)). [Cp. Introduction to Demosthenes, Adv. Leptinem, ed. Sandys, pp. ii-xviii.]

Pictures and Media
GANYMEDE AND THE EAGLE.. (Rome, Vatican Museum.)
Type: Standard
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