Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Sophocles, the Greek tragic poet, was born in the deme Colonus of Athens about 495 B.C. Very little is known of his life. Tradition affirms that he led the chorus of boys who chanted in celebration of the victory of Salamis (480), and allusions in Aristophanes prove that he died not long before 405. He discharged his ordinary civic duties, appears to have served with Pericles as a general in the Samian War, was of a genial temper, and somewhat susceptible to the tender passion, and is rumoured to have become miserly in his later years. The well-known story of his reciting a passage of the OEdipus Coloneus to prove his capacity in extreme old age for managing his property rests on slender evidence. It is said that he produced his first tragedy in 468, wresting the prize from AEschylus, and he was twenty times successful, producing more than a hundred pieces, only seven of which are extant., viz. OEdipus Tyrannus, OEdipus Coloneus, Antigone, Electra, Ajax, Philoctetes, and Trachiniae. He shows a distinct advance over AEschylus in dramatic construction, in simplicity of language, and in mastery of metre, but lacks the tragic intensity and lyrical power of the older poet. His patriotism, though noble, is less strenuous. On the other hand, he never sinks into the sickly and monotonous sweetness of Euripides. Consumate art marks every line of his works, and in this respect he still remains without a rival.