Liturgy (ancient Greece)

Form of state-established philanthropy in ancient Greece / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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The liturgy (Greek: λειτουργία or λῃτουργία, leitourgia, from λαός / Laos, "the people" and the root ἔργο / ergon, "work" [1]) was in ancient Greece a public service established by the city-state whereby its richest members (whether citizens or resident aliens), more or less voluntarily, financed the State with their personal wealth.[2] It took its legitimacy from the idea that "personal wealth is possessed only through delegation from the city".[3] The liturgical system dates back to the early days of Athenian democracy, and included the constitutional duty of trierarchy, which gradually fell into disuse by the end of the 4th century BC,[4] eclipsed by the development of euergetism in the Hellenistic period. However, a similar system was in force during the Roman empire.

Honorific decree of the deme of Aixone, commemorating the choregoi Auteas and Philoxenides 312/313 BC. Epigraphical Museum of Athens.

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