task of providing, equipping, and training a chorus was one of the “liturgies” or public duties laid by the Athenian state upon her richer citizens. It lay in the archon’s discretion to “grant a chorus” to a poet.
The stage consisted originally of a circular dancing-floor (orchestra) with an altar in the middle. Here the fifteen members of the chorus marched in, headed by a single flute-player, chanting in unison. As soon as they had arrived in position they formed line three deep, the coryphæus in the middle of the front row, with the leader of each semichorus on his right and left. While they sang they performed simple rhythmic movements of a solemn character. At first the individual actors simply stepped out from the ranks to deliver their lines, but in later times (when precisely, is a matter of burning controversy) they appeared behind the orchestra on a raised stage. The performance was, of course, always given