Life and Works of Sophocles

Essay by CmoxeyCollege, UndergraduateB+, November 2007

download word file, 6 pages 3.0

Downloaded 18 times

Sophocles (495-405 B.C.) was one the great playwrights of Greek Drama as well as a name associated with Athens at the height of its glory. Sophocles plays are symbols of Athenian greatness.

Sources for the earlier life of Sophocles are hard to find to come by and sometimes unreliable. There is a surviving biography on Sophocles, but it is a mixture more of the inferences of his poetry than of genuine information on Sophocles himself. Even his date of birth had been disputed about, going from the years of 496 B.C. to 494 B.C., but most people have agreed on 495 B.C. His birthplace, what most has agreed on, was a place called Colonus, just outside of Athens. It is known that his family was certainly wealthy, and he was said to have studied music with the famous teacher, Lamprus. In fact it has been said that Sophocles life was infused with more religion, cult, politics, poetry, and Athenian democracy than any other dramatic poet.

Sophocles became very involved in Athens politics in his adult life. In 443/4 B.C. he held the office of hellanotamias, which translates to treasurer of Greeks. He was also of the ten leading men who managed the coffers of the Delian League. During the Samian War (441-439 B.C.) he was the strategos, or general, together with Pericles. Sophocles occupied the same office in 428, during the so-called Archidamian War. In 413 Sophocles was chosen to serve on a board of ten probouloi, or commissioners charged with supervising the legislative agenda of the council boule. Sophocles also held a religious office; he was a priest of the hero Halon. After his death he was honored as a hero with the title of Dexion.

All while achieving his political honors Sophocles was always working on his poetry...