BiographyColonus, Ancient Greece
Versatile Greek poet and tragic dramatist. He was the son of Sophilus, a wealthy arms manufacturer. Sophocles studied tragedy under Aeschylus, whom he subsequently defeated in the dramatic festival of 468 BC, thus gaining his first victory at these competitions. He became a general under Nicias and after the failure of the Athenian expedition to Syracuse (413) was appointed one of the special commissioners to deal with the emergency. He was a priest of Amynos, a god of healing, and offered his own house as a place of worship for the healing deity Asclepius until his temple was ready. Read more... founded a literary and musical society. His descendants were also tragedians - his son Iophon and grandson Sophocles the younger. Unlike his rival Euripides, he had very early acquired a favorable public. About 130 plays were attributed to him, (7 of which were subsequently reckoned spurious). In the dramatic competitions he probably won 24 victories--that is to say, 24 of his tetralogies (each comprising 3 tragedies and a satyr play) were successful. Seven of his tragedies have survived viz. Ajax, Antigone, Oedipus Rex, Electra, the Trachinian Women, Philoctetes and Oedipus at Colonus (his last play performed in 401 after his death). Sophocles died just before the catastrophic end of the Peloponnesian War.