Technitai [synoditai] (Gk.: ‘artists’, ‘craftsmen’; Lat. artifices)
- Thomas J. Mathiesen
[synoditai] (Gk.: ‘artists’, ‘craftsmen’; Lat. artifices)
Professional artists incorporated in guilds (synodoi, later koina), beginning at Athens in the 3rd century bce. They included actors, members of the choruses, solo singers, instrumentalists, dancers, chorēgoi and others concerned with the production and performance of tragedy, comedy, epic and other musical genres at the great public festivals. The term technitai (pl. of technitēs) was used in antiquity as an abbreviation of hoi peri ton Dionuson technitai (literally ‘the artists around Dionysus’; Lat. Dionysiaci artifices: ‘Dionysiac artists’); these technitai were religious associations led by a priest of Dionysus elected every year by the Assembly (Athenaeus, v, 197c–198c). The various guilds sometimes honoured the Muses and the Pythian Apollo, as well as Dionysus. The technitai supplanted the older tradition of the citizen-musician, and their members enjoyed substantial privileges such as exemption from taxation and military duty and unusual freedom to travel. With the expansion of musical activity in the Hellenistic period, their importance increased, and they must have played an important part in the spread of Greek music throughout the Hellenistic world (...