Ancient Greece People

Aeschylus


Bust of Aeschylus from the Capitoline Museums, Rome
Bust of Aeschylus from the Capitoline Museums, Rome

Aeschylus was born in the city of Eleusis, near Athens, in 525 BC and died in 456 BC. He was a Greek dramatist, the earliest of the city's great tragic poets. As the predecessor of Sophocles and Euripides, he is the founder of Greek tragedy.

He fought successfully against the Persians at Marathon in 490 BC, at Salamis in 480 BC, and possibly at Plataea in the following year. He made at least two trips, perhaps three, to Sicily, where on his final visit he died at Gela. A monument was later erected there in his memory.

It was a major step for drama when Aeschylus introduced the second actor. He also attempted to involve the chorus directly in the action of the play. Aeschylus is said to have written about 90 plays. His tragedies, first performed about 500 BC, were presented as trilogies, or groups of three, usually bound together by a common theme, and each trilogy was followed by a satyr drama (low comedy involving a mythological hero, with a chorus of satyrs). The titles of 79 of his plays are known, but only 7 have survived.

 

Copyright © 2003-2012 University Press Inc. All Rights Reserved