Aeschylus - Sophocles

SOPHOCLES

Aeschylus

Aeschylus is the first of the three classical dramatists of 5th-century. Aeschylus was born in 525 BC, in the village of Eleusis, near Athens. He comes from a wealthy and noble family. Aeschylus was witness to some important historical events - the exile of Hippias, a dictator, in 510 BC and in 508 BC, the establishment of democracy in Athens, under Cleisthenes. 

The young writer participated in the Persian Wars as a soldier. He fought at Marathon in 490 BCE, one of the most important moments in Athenian history. His brother died in this battle. At Marathon, the Athenians defeated the Persians and halted a Persian invasion.

Aeschylus participated in many drama contests and was a winner in most of the cases. He took his first prize at the City Dionysia, in 484 BC. The historical chronicles give no information about the name of the winning drama. In 472 BC he wins another prize with the trilogy - The Persians. Aeschylus left Athens in 471 BC, and he went to Syracuse, at the court of the tyrant Hieron. He returned to Athens, in 468 BC for another festival. He had a big surprise when a twenty-eight year old named Sophocles, won the first prize, instead of him. 

Aeschylus was prosecuted for revealing the mysteries of Eleusis in one of his works, but he was eventually proven innocent. Aeschylus died in Sicily, in 456 BC.

Aeschylus wrote almost ninety plays, but only seven of them have survived: Agamemnon, The Libation Bearers, and The Eumenides (The trilogy - The Oresteia ), The Persians, Seven Against Thebes, The Supplicants, and Prometheus Bound.