Tumblr is a lovely medium, especially for asking questions to keeper of blogs. Sometimes, those questions are very specific, and sometimes, not so much. Yesterday, for example, I got a question that read:

"Could u pls make a post about Euripides, Aeschylus, and Sophocles???"

To which the answer is 'sure! But I'm not sure if it's going to include what you want it to include'. Let's start with introductions. Euripides, Aeschylus, and Sophokles were all playwrights of ancient Hellas, and their plays are pretty much the only ones that have survived--well, some of them.

Euripides (Εὐριπίδης) was alive from about 480 to 406 BC, and in his lifetime, he wrote about 95 plays, 18 of which have survived completely and many more as fragments. His most known works are Alcestis, Medea and The Bacchus. His plays included strong women and wise slaves--something considered very modern, and very unconventional at the time. Euripides is undoubtedly the Hellenic tragedian who has had the biggest influence on European tragedy, and even in his day, how writing became a cornerstone of literary education, along with the greats like Hómēros. Euripides is known for his representation of traditional, mythical heroes as ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances--which is a story told many times over in modern day writing.

Aeschylus (Aiskhulos, Αἰσχύλος) was the first of the three Hellenic tragedians whose plays can still be read or performed. He was alive from around 525/524 BC to 456/455 BC, and according to Aristotle, he expanded the number of characters in plays to allow for conflict amongst them, whereas previously characters had interacted only with the chorus. Aeschylus' most famous works are undoubtedly the Seven against Thebes, the Supplicants and the Orestia.

Sophoklēs (Σοφοκλῆς) was a tragedian who wrote 123 plays during his life (497/6 BC – winter 406/5 BC). Only seven have survived in entity, but they include classics such as Antigone, Oedipus the King and Electra. He developed theatre by adding a third actor, reducing the importance of the chorus, and introducing scenography. Sophocles also abolished the traditional trilogic form of tragedies and made each play complete in itself – this added dramatic value to the plays.

For almost fifty years,  Sophoklēs was the most awarded and recognized playwright in the dramatic competitions of the city-state of Athens that took place during the religious festivals of the Lenaia and the Dionysia. He competed in around thirty competitions, won perhaps twenty-four, and was never judged lower than second place. Aeschylus won fourteen competitions, and was sometimes defeated by Sophoklēs, while Euripides won only four competitions.

There you have it, a very basic introduction on the three great playwrights of ancient Hellas.