Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Choragic Monuments

On a recent visit to the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney, a piece of a jig-saw puzzle fell into place for me. We had previously seen the Replica of the Choragic Monument of Lysicrates in the Gardens and were keen to research its origins.

This Sydney Monument was commissioned by Sir James Martin, Premier of New South Wales and was erected in the grounds of his residence at Macleay Street, Potts Point in 1870. When this site was acquired by the Commonwealth Government , the monument was moved to the Botanic Gardens at the request of the Minister for Education, The Hon Clive R Evatt, K.C. MLA. The re-commemoration ceremony for the monument on its present site was performed by The Hon W.J. McKell, MLA, Premier and Treasurer on 16 November 1943.

The original Choragic Monument of Lysicrates near the Acropolis of Athens was erected by Lysicrates , a wealthy patron of musical performances in the Theatre of Dionysus to commemorate the award of first prize in 335/334 BC to one of the performances he had sponsored.

With a revival of this style of Greek Architecture in the 18th and 19 th centuries, the Lysicrates monument became the inspiration for similar monuments around the world.

On a visit to Edinburgh (often referred to as the "Athens of the North") last year, we came upon two Choragic monuments on Caton Hill, viz the Robert Burns Monument (photo at left below) and the Dugald Stewart Monument to the Scottish philosopher (photo at right below). Actually we climbed Caton Hill on a beautiful Edinburgh evening at sunset to visit and photograph these this monuments.

Herein lies the genesis of our own Sydney monument. And now with most recent visit to the Gardens, the story has come full circle.

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