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Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V06, Page 261 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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CHOERILUS. (1) An Athenian tragic poet, who exhibited plays as early as 524 B.C. He was said to have competed with Aeschylus, Pratinas and even Sophocles. According to F. G. Welcker, however, the rival of Sophocles was a son of Choerilus, who bore the same name. Suidas states that Choerilus wrote 150 tragedies and gained the prize 13 times. His works are all lost; only Pausanias (i. 14) mentions a play by him entitled Alope (a mythological personage who was the subject of dramas by Euripides and Carcinus). His reputation as a writer of satyric dramas is attested in the well-known line ivtKa yip jaocaeus iv %oiplaos is Zarvpots. The Choerilean metre, mentioned by the Latin grammarians, is probably so called because the above line is the oldest extant specimen. Choerilus was also said to have introduced consider-able improvements in theatrical masks and costumes. See A. Nauck, Tragicorum Graecorum Fragmenta (1889) ; F. G. Welcker, Die griechischen Tragodien, pp. 18, 892. (2) An epic poet of Samos, who flourished at the end of the 5th century B.C. After the fall of Athens he settled at the court of Archelaus, king of Macedonia, where he was the associate of Agathon, Melanippides, and Plato the comic poet. The only work that can with certainty be attributed to him is the llepvnis or Hepatica, a history of the struggle of the Greeks against Persia, the central point of which was the battle of Salamis. His importance consists in his having taken for his theme national and con-temporary events in place of the deeds of old-time heroes. For this new departure he apologizes in the introductory verses (preserved in the scholiast on Aristotle, Rhetoric, iii. 14), where he says that, the subjects of epic poetry being all exhausted, it was necessary to strike out a new path. The story of his intimacy with Herodotus is probably due to the fact that he imitated him and had recourse to his history for the incidents of his poem. (vicars) of the clergy, is a comparatively late development. The distinction between " choir services " (Mattins, Vespers, Compline, &c.)—consisting of prayers, lections, the singing of the psalms, &c.—and the service of the altar was sharply drawn in the middle ages, as in the modern Roman Church. " Choir vestments " (surplice, &c.) are those worn by the clergy at the former, as distinguished from those used at the Miss (see VESTMENTS). In England at the Reformation the choir services (Mattins, Evensong) replaced the Mass as the principal popular services, and, in general, only the choir vestments were retained in use. In the English cathedrals the members of the choir often retain privileges reminiscent of an earlier definite ecclesiastical status. At Wells, for instance, the vicars-choral form a corporation practically independent of the dean and chapter; they have their own lodgings inside the cathedral precincts (Vicars' Close) and they can only be dismissed by a vote of their own body. • (W. A. P.) In an architectural sense a " choir " is strictly that part of a church which is fitted up for the choir services, and is thus limited to the space between the choir screen and the presbytery. Some confusion has arisen owing to the term being employed by medieval writers co express the entire space enclosed for the performance of the principal services of the church, and therefore to include not only the choir proper, but the presbytery. In the case of a cruciform church the choir is sometimes situated under the central tower, or in the nave, and this is the case in Westminster Abbey, where it occupies four bays to the west of the transept. The choir is usually raised one step above the nave, and its sides are fitted up with seats or stalls, of which in large buildings there are usually two or three rows rising one behind the other. In Romanesque churches there are eastern and western choirs, and in former times the term was given to chantries and subsidiary chapels, which were also called chancels. In the early Christian church the ambones where the gospels and epistles were read were placed one on either side of the choir and formed part of its enclosure, and this is the case in S. CIemente, S. Lorenzo and S. Maria in Cosmedin in Rome. In England the choir seems almost universally to have assembled at the eastern part of the church to recite the breviary services, whereas on the continent it was moved from one place to another according to convenience. In Spanish churches it occupies the nave of the church, and in the church of the Escorial in Spain was at the west end above the entrance vestibule. (R. P. S.)
End of Article: CHOERILUS

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