Sophocles: Archetypal Master of Greek Tragedy

July 18, 2020 - General

Sophocles was a playwright who lived in Greece during the 5th century BC. He is one of the three Greek writers of tragedy (the other two being Aeschylus and Euripides) whose works have survived till this day. According to the Suda, a 10th century Byzantine encyclopaedia and dictionary of the ancient Mediterranean world, Sophocles wrote a total of 123 plays. Sophocles was an extremely popular playwright during his day, with twenty of his works winning first place in the dramatic competition of his city, Athens. Of Sophocles’ 123 plays, only seven are known to have survived intact: Ajax, Antigone, Women of Trachis, Oedipus Rex, Electra, Philoctetes, and Oedipus at Colonus.

Piecing Together the Life and Times of Sophocles

Like many other ancient Greek names, the name “Sophocles” has a meaning of its own. This name is a combination of two Greek words, sophos and kleos, which mean “wise” and “glory” respectively. In other words, the name of this ancient Greek playwright may be translated as “famous for wisdom.” Considering that Sophocles is one of the most influential writers of ancient Greece, and one of the world’s greatest playwrights, this name is quite appropriate.

Source: origins

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