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Classics Teaching Resources

The Writers


Aeschylus Aeschylus lived from about 520 to 456 BC. He wrote the earliest plays that we have. He added a second actor; before that there was only one actor and the Chorus.

Of the 90 plays that he wrote, we have only 7, including three plays (a trilogy) telling a single story, rather like a mini-series on television.

The first of this trilogy is Agamemnon, telling about the murder of King Agamemnon, the second tells how his son Orestes killed Agamemnon's murderers, and the third is about the nasty goddesses called Furies who chased Orestes until the gods put everything right.


Sophocles Sophocles wrote more than 120 plays. He lived until he was over 90, and died in 406 BC, just after Euripides. We have 7 of his tragedies, and part of a satyr play.

Two of his most famous plays are Antigone and Oedipus the King.

Sophocles introduced a third actor into his plays, and invented scene painting.


Euripides" Euripides was born about 480 BC and died in 407 BC

He wrote about 90 plays, mostly tragedies. We still have 17 of these tragedies and one satyr play.

He wrote about some women in Greek myths, like Electra and Medea. He made men and women from the myths seem quite ordinary and not at all grand. He showed Electra, who was a princess, dressed in rags and living in a hut.

Aristophanes Aristophanes Aristophanes wrote comedies. He was born about 448 BC and died in 380 BC. Eleven of his 40 comedies still exist, including Lysistrata .

In his comedies he makes fun of important people in Athens, and attacks the war that Athens was fighting against Sparta for more than 20 years off and on.

In some plays Aristophanes dresses his Chorus as animals (frogs, wasps, birds) or even clouds.

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