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Sophocles

496–406 BC
Civilization: Greek — Athens
   Field of Renown:  literature — Playwright
Era:  Golden Age

Sophocles
SOPHOCLES
Sophocles was the most prolific of the three famous tragedians, with over 120 plays written over a period of nearly sixty years. Although many of the ancients considered him the greatest of the Athenian Tragedians, only seven of his plays are still extant.

  • 445 BC     Ajax
  • 442 BC     Antigone
  • 427 BC     Oedipus Rex
  • 413 BC     The Trachiniae
  • 410 BC     Electra
  • 410 BC     Philoctetes
  • 407 BC     Oedipus at Colonus

It is thought that Sophocles was well known during his life, and had a fairly active role in public life. His family were arms merchants of some type, and it is said that Sophocles traveled as an ambassador on several occasions in addition to being elected a military commander in 440 B.C., at which time he served with Pericles in the Samian War. He is thought to have been an acquaintance of Herodotus. His lifespan ranged throughout the whole period of the classical age of Greece, from shortly before the Persian war, to the end of the Peloponnesian War. Some of the story links included on this page refer to simplified renditions of a few of his plays, rather than to stories about his own life.


Key events during the life of Sophocles:


Year
Event
480 BC
Led chorus of boys at the Athenian victory celebration of the battle of Salamis.
468 BC
Entered first play in the Dionysia.
440 BC
Elected military commander of Athens. Served with Pericles in Samian War.
410 BC
Submitted last final play to the Dionysia.
406 BC
Died.

Book Links
Stories from the Greek Tragedians  by  Alfred J. Church

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Other Resources


Story Links
Book Links
The Frogs  in  Stories from the Greek Comedians  by  Alfred J. Church
In the Theatre at Athens  in  Pictures from Greek Life and Story  by  Alfred J. Church
Great Men of Athens  in  The Story of Greece  by  Mary Macgregor
Age of Pericles  in  The Story of the Greek People  by  Eva March Tappan

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Image Links


Sophocles: From the marble statue in the Lateran Gallery.
 in Pictures from Greek Life and Story

Sophocles
 in The Story of the Greeks

Sophocles and Aristides
 in The Story of the Greeks

Sophocles (In the Lataran Museum at Rome)
 in The Story of the Greek People

Theatre of Dionysus, Restored.
 in Old World Hero Stories


Contemporary
Short Biography
Pericles Athenian statesman during Golden Age of Athens. Made Athens cultural center of Greece.
Aeschylus First of the three great Greek Tragedians. Wrote plays including the tragedies of Oedipus and Antigone.
Euripides Third of the great Greek Tragedians. Wrote Alcestis, Medea, Orestes, Electra and many others.
Herodotus Wrote Histories of the Persian War and empires of the east.