Coming from not an aristocratic, but still a wealthy family, Sophocles had the opportunity to study all of the arts, starting with his early years. So, by the time he was sixteen, he was already known by the community for his knowledge and talents. Due to this, he was chosen to lead a choir of boys at a celebration of the victory of Salamis. He completed his studies twelve years later, when he was ready to show his fresh dramatic vision. So, during the City Dionysia, a festival held every year at the Theatre of Dionysus, dedicated to new plays, he acquired his first success.
Although it was his first competition, Sophocles took first prize, after defeating no other than Aeschylus himself, the indisputable master of Athenian drama. The historical chronicles explain that this unexpected victory came under unusual circumstances. At the time, the remains of the hero Theseus were being removed by Cimon, the Athenian statesman, from the isle of Scyros to Athens. The custom was that of choosing judges by lot, instead Cimon was asked to decide upon the winner of the competition. The successful production probably included Triptolemus.
And this was just to be the beginning, as Sophocles would go on winning eighteen first prizes. He wrote more than 120 plays.