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Sophocles (in Greek Σοφοκλῆς, Sophoklés, classical Greek pronunciation: [sopʰoklɛːs]; Colonist, 496 a. C. – Athens, 406 a. C.) was a Greek tragic poet. Author of works such as Antigone and Oedipus Rex, is placed, along with Aeschylus and Euripides, among the most prominent figures of the Greek tragedy. Of all his literary production only seven complete tragedies are preserved that are of capital importance for the genre.

Sophocles’s Biography

Statue of Sophocles, copy of an original of the 4th century a. & Nbsp; C., Vatican Museums.

The main sources from which his biographical data come are the Life of Sophocles written by an anonymous in the first century, as well as scattered fragments that can be found in the works of Plutarch, Athenaeus, Aristotle and other authors. La Suda also dedicated a short article to him. Other writers of antiquity, among which we can highlight Duris de Samos, also wrote about him, but his works have not been preserved.

Sophocles was born in Colonus, a village near the city of Athens, within a family of wealthy position, in 497 or 496 a. C., according to data from the Chronicle of Paros, or 495 a . C., according to the anonymous author of the Life of Sophocles. He was son of Sófilo, a manufacturer of arms. One of his teachers was Lampro, who instructed him in dance and taught him to play the lyre. When he was 16 years old, he was in charge of the choir that celebrated the victory of the battle of Salamina, in the year 480 a. & Nbsp; C., Where Aeschylus also participated as a combatant and the same year that Euripides was born.

Physical beauty was attributed to her but her voice was weak. He liked gymnastic exercises, music and dance. Sometime later than the year 460 a. & Nbsp; C. He married Nicóstrata, with whom he had a son, Iofonte, who also dedicated himself to the tragedy. At fifty, she fell in love with a prostitute, Teóride de Sición. With her he had Ariston, who in turn was the father of Sophocles the Younger, for whom Sophocles had great esteem and who also became a writer of tragedies. La Suda mentions the names of three other children of Sophocles of whom there is no more data.

He actively participated in the political life of Athens. In 443 or 442 a. & Nbsp; C. it was the heletómano, position that carried out the person dedicated to administer the treasure of the League of Delos. Thanks, in part, to the success of his work Antigone, represented in 442, he was elected strategist, a position he held for the first time during the War of Samos under the authority of Pericles, but the fleet he led was defeated by Meliso. It is possible that he was also a strategist in the conflict against the inhabitants of Anea in the year 428 a. & Nbsp; C. and in 423/422 a. C., in the time of Nicias. In 413-411 a. & Nbsp; C. It belonged to the Council of the Ten Probes, formed in Athens after the failure of the Expedition to Sicily. According to the anonymous biographer of his life, he was not especially distinguished for his gifts as a politician but he loved his city and rejected invitations from important authorities of other cities in order not to leave Athens. An anecdotal account told that, having disappeared a golden crown from the Acropolis, Heracles appeared to Sophocles and indicated where he was. After the jewel was recovered, Sophocles used the reward he received in building a shrine dedicated to Heracles denouncer.

According to the Suda, he was the author of 123 tragedies, but the anonymous author of the Life of Sophocles says that Aristophanes of Byzantium knew 130 works attributed to Sophocles but considered 17 of them as apocryphal. He participated for the first time in the Great Dionysias of 468 a. & Nbsp; C., Where he defeated Aeschylus. In total, he competed in 30 contests of the Dionisias parties: he won in 18 of them. He also won 6 times in the Leneas.

He was also a theoretician: He wrote a treatise On the choir, which has been lost, he is credited with increasing the number of actors from two to three, increased the number of choirs from twelve to fifteen, introduced the set and founded the called Tíaso de las Muses, where the muses were worshiped and art was talked about.

He was a friend of Heródoto, to whom he composed an ode of which only a brief fragment remains. He even reflected in his tragedies some passages of the work of the historian. Another of his friends was Ion de Chios. In a fragment that is preserved by this author, an anecdote of Sophocles is recounted in which his wit stands out.

He also held religious functions: he was a priest of a local divinity of health called Halon and in the year 420 a. C. participated in the act in which the Athenians adopted the cult of Asclepius.

In his old age he was attributed a certain stinginess in monetary matters and was even taken to the court of justice by his son Iofonte, who claimed to be declared unreasonable and therefore unable to manage his estate, but was acquitted when recited part of his drama Oedipus in Colonist.

It is said that after the death of Euripides, which occurred a few months before his own, he presented his choir in mourning and without a crown, in homage to him. He died in the year 406 or 405 a. & Nbsp; C.

Shortly after his death, Frínico, in his work Las musas, praised him:

Μάκαρ Σοφοκλέης, ὃς πολὺν χρόνον βιούς
ἀπέθανεν, εὐδαίμων ἀνὴρ καὶ δεξίος;
πολλὰς ποιήσας καὶ καλὰς τραγῳδίας ·
καλῶς δ ‘ἐτελεύτησ’ οὐδὲν ὑπομείνας κακόν.

Blessed Sophocles, who after a long life
He died as a happy and witty man.
He made many beautiful tragedies.
It had a pleasant end without pain.

After his death, he was revered as if he were a hero, with the name Dexio. In the Vatican Museums there is a copy of a statue that represents it that had been made in the 4th century a. & Nbsp; C.

More Facts about Sophocles

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