Coryphaeus  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Coryphaeus, or Koryphaios (Greek κορυφαῖος koryphaîos, from κορυφή koryphḗ́, the top of the head), and often corypheus in English. In Attic drama, the coryphaeus was the leader of the chorus. Hence the term (sometimes in an Anglicized form "coryphe") is used for the chief or leader of any company or movement. The coryphaeus spoke for all the rest, whenever the chorus took part in the action, in quality of a person of the drama, during the course of the acts.

The term has passed into a general name for the chief or principal of any company, corporation, sect, opinion, etc. Thus, Eustathius of Antioch is called the coryphaeus of the First Council of Nicaea; and Cicero calls Zeno the coryphaeus of the Stoics.

The Apostle Peter is often entitled Coryphaeus in Christian iconography.

In 1856 in the University of Oxford there was founded the office of Coryphaeus or Praecentor, whose duty it was to lead the musical performances directed by the Choragus. The office ceased to exist in 1899.

Joseph Stalin was also specifically referred to as Coryphaeus during the time of the Personality Cult in the USSR.




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Coryphaeus" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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