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The following is a list of ancient Greek tragic poets. The list is far from exhaustive. Very few of the names of Hellenestic dramatists, for example, have been preserved. This outline should nevertheless provide some sense of the sheer volume of writers and plays which graced the shelves of the ancient libraries, and also give an idea of the types of mythical subjects covered by these works. In total only a meager 33 plays now survive intact. Considering that some of the more prolific tragic poets produced more than 100 plays apiece, the number is extremely low.

The most important of the tragedians, according to the ancient critics, were:--
A. Thespis, the father of tragedy;
B. The five great poets of the Athenian canon--1. Aeschylus, 2. Sophocles, 3. Euripides, 4. Ion of Chios, and 5. Archaeus of Eretria;
C. The seven great poets of the Alexandrian canon--1. Lycophron, 2. Homerus of Byzantium, 3. Philiscus, 4. Alexander Aetolus, and 5. Sosiphanes, with the remaining variously named.

The following biographies are abridged versions of entries in the C19th Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology. The lists of known plays, however, were independently compiled.


PAGE 1 - C6th and 5th B.C.

C6th B.C. Athens

1. Thespis of Attica
2. Choerilus of Athens
3. Phrynichus of Athens
4. Pratinas of Phlius

C5th B.C. Athens

Five of the Canon:
1. Aeschylus
2. Euripides
3. Sophocles
4. Ion of Chios
5. Achaeus of Eretria

6. Acestor Sacas
7. Agathon of Athens
8. Aristarchus of Tegea
9. Aristias of Phlius
10. Astydamas the Elder
11. Carcinus the Elder
12. Critias of Athens
13. Euphorion of Athens
14. Euripides the Younger
15. Hieronymus of Athens
16. Iophon of Athens
17. Melanthius
18. Meletus of Athens
19. Morsimus of Athens
20. Morychus
21. Neophron of Sicyon
22. Nicomachus of Phrygia
23. Nothippus
24. Philocles the Elder
25. Pythangelus
26. Sthenelus
27. Theognis of Athens
28. Timesitheus
29. Timotheus of Miletus
30. Xenocles the Elder

PAGE 2 - C4th and 3rd B.C.

C4th B.C. Athens

1. Alcimenes of Megara
2. Aphareus of Athens
3. Astydamas the Younger
4. Carcinus the Younger
5. Chaeremon
6. Cleophon of Athens
7. Diogenes Oenomaus
8. Moschion
9. Patrocles of Thurii
10. Philocles the Younger
11. Polyidus
12. Python of Catana
13. Sophocles the Younger
14. Theodectes of Phasalis
15. Timocles of Athens

C4th B.C. Syracuse

1. Achaeus of Syracuse
2. Antiphron of Syracuse
3. Dionysius I of Syracause

C3rd B.C.

Seven of Pleiad Canon:
1. Aeantiades
2. Alexander of Aetolia
3. Dionysiades of Tarsus
4. Euphronius
5. Homerus of Byzantium
6. Lycophron of Chalcis
7. Philiscus of Corcyra
8. Sosiphanes of Syracuse
9. Sositheus of Alexandria

10. Apollodorus of Tarsus
11. Callimachus
12. Timon Apolloniates

Of Uncertain Date ?

1. Callistratus
2. Cleaenetus
3. Dicaeogenes
4. Euaretus
5. Gnesippus
6. Polyphrasmon
7. Spintharus

THESPIS OF ATTICA c. 550 - 500 B.C.

Performances : Athens
# Total Tragedies : ?
# Extant Tragedies : 0

The celebrated father of Greek tragedy, has no personal history disconnected from the history of his art.

  1. Contest of Pelias and Phorbas
  2. Hiereis (Priests)
  3. Hitheoi (Demi-gods)
  4. Pentheus


Performances : Athens
# Total Tragedies : 150 (estimate)
# Extant Tragedies : 0

Choerilus of Athens, a tragic poet, contemporary with Thespis, Phrynichus, Pratinas, Aeschylus, and even with Sophocles. His first appearance as a competitor for the tragic prize was in B.C. 523, in the reign of Hipparchus, when Athens was becoming the centre of Greek poetry by the residence there of Simonides, Anacreon, Lasus, and others. This was twelve, years after the first appearance of Thespis in the tragic contests; and it is therefore not improbable that Choerilus had Thespis for an antagonist. It was also twelve years before the first victory of Phrynichus. (B.C. 511.) After another twelve years, Choerilus came into competition with Aeschylus, when the latter first exhibited (B.C. 499); and, since we know that Aeschylus did not carry off a prize till sixteen years afterwards, the prize of this contest must have been given either to Choerilus or to Pratinas. Choerilus was still held in high estimation in the year 483 B.C. after he had exhibited tragedies for forty years. ( In the statement in the anonymous life of Sophocles, that Sophocles contended with Choerilus, there is very probably some mistake, but there is no impossibility; for when Sophocles gained his first victory (B.C. 468), Choerilus would be just 80, if we take 25 as the usual age at which a tragic poet first exhibited.
Of the character of Choerilus we know little more than that, during a long life, he retained a good degree of popular favour. The number of his tragedies was 150, of his victories 13 being exactly the number of victories assigned to Aeschylus. The great number of his dramas not only establishes the length of his career, but a much more important point, namely, that the exhibition of tetralogies commenced early in the time of Choerilus ; for new tragedies were exhibited at Athens only twice a year, and at this early period we never hear of tragedies being written but not exhibited, but rather the other way. In fact, it is the general opinion, that Choerilus was the first who composed written tragedies, and that even of his plays the greater number were not written.

  1. Alope


Performances : Athens
# Total Tragedies : ?
# Extant Tragedies : 0

The son of Polyphradmon (or, according to others, of Minyras), an Athenian, was one of the poets to whom the invention of tragedy is ascribed: he is said to have been the disciple of Thespis. He is also spoken of as before Aeschylus. He is mentioned by the chronographers as flourishing at Ol. 74, B.C. 483. He gained his first tragic victory in Ol. 67, B.C. 511, twenty-four years after Thespis (B.C. 535), twelve years after Choerilus (B.C. 523), and twelve years before Aeschylus (B.C. 499) ; and his last in Ol. 76, B.C. 476, on which occasion Themistocles was his choragus and recorded the event by an inscription. Phrynichus must, therefore, have flourished at least 35 years. He probably went, like other poets of the age, to the court of Hiero, and there died ; for the statement of the anonymous writer on Comedy, in his account of Phrynichus, the comic poet, that Phrynichus, the son of Phradmon, died in Sicily, evidently refers properly to the tragic poet, on account of his father's name.

  1. Aigyptioi (Egyptians)
  2. Aktaion (Actaeon)
  3. Alkestis (Alcestis)
  4. Antaios (Antaeus) or Libyes (Libyans)
  5. Danaides (Daughters of Danaus)
  6. Syntokoi or Dikaioi or Persai (Persians)
  7. Phoinissai (Phoenissae, Phoenician Women) (476 B.C.)
  8. Pleuroniai (Women of Pleuron)
  9. Sack of Miletus (493 B.C.)
  10. Tantalos (Tantalos)
  11. Troilos (Troïlus)


Performances : Athens
# Total Tragedies : 50 (estimate)
# Extant Tragedies : 0

One of the early tragic poets who flourished at Athens at the beginning of the fifth century, B.C., and whose combined efforts brought the art to its perfection, was a native of Phlius, and was therefore by birth a Dorian. His father's name was Pyrrhonides or Encomius. It is not stated at what time he went to Athens, but we find him exhibiting there, in competition with Choerilus and Aeschylus, about Ol. 70, B.C. 500-499. Of the two poets with whom he then contended. Choerilus had already been twenty years before the public, and Aeschylus now appeared, for the first time, at the age of twenty-five ; Pratinas, who was younger than the former, but older than the latter, was probably in his full vigour at this very period. The step in the progress of the art, which was ascribed to Pratinas, is very distinctly stated by the ancient writers ; it was the separation of the satyric from the tragic drama. Pratinas is distinguished, as might be expected, by the large proportion of his satyric dramas ; having composed, according to Suidas, fifty plays, of which thirty-two were satyric. He gained but one prize.

  1. Dymainai or Karytides (Caryatids)
  2. Palastai Satyroi (Palastae)
  3. Perseus
  4. Tantalos (Tantalus)

AESCHYLUS 525 - 456 B.C.

Performances : Athens
# Total Tragedies : 76 (estimate)
# Extant Tragedies : 7 (one doubtful)

  1. Agamemnon (458 B.C.)
  2. Aigyptioi (Egyptians) (463 B.C.)
  3. Aitnaioi (Women of Mt Etna)
  4. Amymone, satyr play (463 B.C.)
  5. Argeioi (Argives)
  6. Argo
  7. Atalanta
  8. Athamas
  9. Bakchai (Bacchae)
  10. Bassarai (Bassarids)
  11. Choephoroi (Libation Bearers) (458 B.C.)
  12. Danaides (463 B.C.)
  13. Diktyoulkoi, satyr play
  14. Edonoi (Edonians)
  15. Eleusinioi (Eleusinians)
  16. Epigonoi (Epigoni)
  17. Eumenides (458 B.C.)
  18. Glaukos Pontios (Glaucus Pontius)
  19. Glaukos Potnieus (Glaucus Potneus) (472 B.C.)
  20. Hektoros Lytra (Bath of Hector) or Phryges (Phrygians)
  21. Heliades (Daughters of Helius)
  22. Hepta epi Thebas (Seven Against Thebes (467 B.C.)
  23. Herakleidai (Heracleidae, Children of Heracles)
  24. Hiereiai (Priestesses)
  25. Hiketides (Suppliants) (c. 463 B.C.)
  26. Hypsipyle
  27. Iphigeneia
  28. Ixion
  29. Kabeiroi (Cabiri)
  30. Kallisto (Callisto)
  31. Kares (Carians) or Europe (Europa)
  32. Kerykes (Ceryces, Heralds)
  33. Kerkyon (Cercyon)
  34. Kirke (Circe), satyr play
  35. Kressai (Cretan Women)
  36. Laios (Laius) (467 B.C.)
  37. Lemnoi (Lemnians)
  38. Leon
  39. Lykourgeia (Lycurgia)
  40. Lykourgos (Lycurgus)
  41. Memnon
  42. Myrmidones (Myrmidons)
  43. Mysoi (Mysians)
  44. Neaniskoi (Youths)
  45. Nemea
  46. Nereides
  47. Niobe
  48. Nothoi (Bastards)
  49. Oidipous (467 B.C.)
  50. Oplon Krisis (Judgment of the Arms)
  51. Oreithyia (Orithyia)
  52. Ostologoi (Collecting Bones)
  53. Palamedes
  54. Pentheus
  55. Perraibides (Paerrhaebides)
  56. Persai (Persians) (472 B.C.)
  57. Penelope
  58. Philoctetes (Philoctetes)
  59. Phineus (472 B.C.)
  60. Phorkydes (Phorcides)
  61. Prometheus Desmotes (Prometheus Bound)
  62. Prometheus Lyomenos (Prometheus Unbound)
  63. Prometheus Pyrkaios, satyr play (472 B.C.)
  64. Prometheus Pyrphoros (Prometheus Fire-Bringer)
  65. Propompoi
  66. Proteus, satyr play (458 B.C.)
  67. Psychagogoi
  68. Psychostasia
  69. Salaminiai (Women of Salamis)
  70. Semele or Hydrophoroi (Water Bearers)
  71. Sisyphos Drapetes
  72. Sisyphos Petrokylistes
  73. Sphinx, satyr play (467 B.C.)
  74. Telephos
  75. Theoroi (Ambassadors) or Isthmiastai
  76. Threissai (Thracians Women
  77. Toxotides
  78. Trophoi
  79. Xantriai

EURIPIDES 480 - 406 B.C.

Performances : Athens
# Total Tragedies : 92 (estimate)
# Extant Tragedies : 19 (one doubtful)

  1. Aigeus (Aegeus)
  2. Aiolos (Aeolus)
  3. Alexandros (Alexander) (415 B.C.)
  4. Alkestis (Alcestis) (438 B.C.)
  5. Alkmaion en Psophis (Alcmaeon at Psophis)
  6. Alkmaion en Korinthos (Alcmaeon at Corinth)
  7. Alkmene (Alcmena)
  8. Alope
  9. Andromache (c. 425 B.C.)
  10. Andromeda (c. 412 B.C.)
  11. Antigone
  12. Antiope (c. 410 B.C.)
  13. Archelaus (c. 410 B.C.)
  14. Auge
  15. Autolykos (Autolycus)
  16. Bakchai (Bacchae) (405 B.C.)
  17. Bellerophontes (Bellerophon) (c. 430 B.C.)
  18. Bousiris (Busiris)
  19. Chrysippos (Chrysippus)
  20. Danaë
  21. Diktys (Dictys) (431 B.C.)
  22. Elektra (Electra) (c. 420 B.C.)
  23. Epeios (Epeus)
  24. Erechtheus (422 B.C.)
  25. Eurystheus
  26. Hekabe (Hecuba) (c. 424 B.C.)
  27. Helene (Helen) (412 B.C.)
  28. Herakles Mainomenos (Madness of Heracles) (c. 416 B.C.)
  29. Herakleidai (Heracleidae, Children of Heracles) (c. 430 B.C.)
  30. Hiketides (Supplices, Suppliants) (c. 423 B.C.)
  31. Hippolytos Stephanephoros (Hippolytus) (428 B.C.)
  32. Hippolytos Kalyptolemos (Hippolytus Veiled)
  33. Hypsipyle (c. 410 B.C.)
  34. Ino
  35. Ion (c. 414 B.C.)
  36. Iphigeneia en Aulidi (Iphigenia at Aulis) (405 B.C.)
  37. Iphigeneia en Taurois (Iphigenia at Tauris) (c. 414 B.C.)
  38. Ixion
  39. Kresphontes (Cresphontes) (c. 425 B.C.)
  40. Kressai (Cretan Women)
  41. Kretes (The Cretans) (c. 435 B.C.)
  42. Kyklops (Cyclops)
  43. Likymnios (Licymnius)
  44. Medeia (Medea) (431 B.C.)
  45. Melanippe Sophe (Wise Melanippe) (c. 420 B.C.)
  46. Melanippe Desmotes (Captive Melanippe) (412 B.C.)
  47. Meleagros (Meleager)
  48. Oidipous (Oedipus) (c. 410 B.C.)
  49. Oineus (Oeneus)
  50. Oinomaos (Oenomaus)
  51. Orestes (408 B.C.)
  52. Palamedes (415 B.C.)
  53. Peleus
  54. Peliades (Daughters of Peleus) (455 B.C.)
  55. Phaethon (c. 420 B.C.)
  56. Phoinissai (Phoenissae, Phoenician Women) (c. 410 B.C.)
  57. Philoktetes (Philoctetes) (431 B.C.)
  58. Phoinix (Phoenix)
  59. Phrixos (Phrixos)
  60. Pleisthenes (Plisthenes)
  61. Polyidos (Polyidus)
  62. Protesilaos (Protesilaus)
  63. Rhesos (Rhesus)
  64. Sisyphos (Sisyphos), satyr play (415 B.C.)
  65. Skiron (Sciron)
  66. Skyrioi (Scyrians)
  67. Stheneboia (Stheneboea)
  68. Syleus
  69. Telephos (Telephus) (438 B.C.)
  70. Temenidai (Temenidae)
  71. Temenos (Temenus)
  72. Theristai (Theristae, Harvesters), satyr play
  73. Theseus
  74. Thyestes
  75. Troiades (Trojan Women) (415 B.C.)

SOPHOCLES 495 - 406 B.C.

Performances : Athens
# Total Tragedies : 123 (estimate)
# Extant Tragedies : 8 (one incomplete)

  1. Achaiôn Syllogos (Gathering of the Achaeans)
  2. Achileos Erastai
  3. Aias (Ajax)
  4. Aias Lokros (Locrian Ajax)
  5. Aichmalotides (Captives)
  6. Aigeus (Aegeus)
  7. Aigisthos (Aegisthus)
  8. Aithiopes (Ethiopians)
  9. Akrisios (Acrisius)
  10. Aleadai (Sons of Aleus)
  11. Aletes
  12. Alexandros (Alexander)
  13. Alkmeon (Alcmeon)
  14. Amykos (Amycus), satyr play
  15. Amphiareos (Amphiaraus)
  16. Amphitryon
  17. Andromeda
  18. Antenoridai (Sons of Antenor)
  19. Antigone
  20. Athamas A
  21. Athamas B
  22. Atreus or Mykenaiai (Mycenaean Women)
  23. Chryses
  24. Daidalos (Daedalus)
  25. Danae
  26. Dionysiskos (Little Dionysus), satyr play
  27. Dolopes
  28. Elektra (Electra)
  29. Epigonoi (Epigoni, Progeny)
  30. Epi Tainaroi or Epitainarioi (Heracles at Taenarum), satyr play
  31. Erigone
  32. Eris
  33. Eriphyle
  34. Eumelos (Eumelus)
  35. Euryalos (Euryalus)
  36. Eurypylos (Eurypylus)
  37. Eurysakes (Eurysaces)
  38. Helenes Apaitesis
  39. Helenes Arpage
  40. Helenes Gamos (Marriage of Helen)
  41. Herakleiskos (Little Heracles), satyr play
  42. Herakles
  43. Hermione
  44. Hipponous
  45. Hybris
  46. Ichneutai (Tracking Satyrs), satyr play
  47. Inachos (Inachus)
  48. Iobates
  49. Ion
  50. Iphigeneia
  51. Iphikles (Iphicles)
  52. Ixion
  53. Kamikoi (Men of Camicus)
  54. Kedalion (Cedalion), satyr play
  55. Kerberos (Cerberus)
  56. Klytaimnestra (Clytemnestra)
  57. Kolchides (Colchian Women)
  58. Kophoi
  59. Kreousa (Creusa)
  60. Krisis (Judgment)
  61. Lakainai (Laconian Women)
  62. Laokoon (Laocoon)
  63. Larisaioi (The Larisians)
  64. Lemniai (Women of Lemnos)
  65. Laocoon
  66. Meleagros (Meleager)
  67. Minos
  68. Momos (Momus)
  69. Mousai (Muses)
  70. Mysoi (The Mysians)
  71. Nauplios Katapleion (Arrival of Nauplius)
  72. Nauplios Pyrkaios (Fires of Nauplius)
  73. Nausikaa (Nausicaa) or Plyntriai
  74. Niobe
  75. Niptra
  76. Odysseus Akanthoplêx (Odysseus Stung by a Fish Bone)
  77. Odysseus Mainomenos (Odysseus Madden)
  78. Oidipous Tyrannos (Oedipus Rex, Oedipus the King)
  79. Oidipous en Kolonos (Oedipus at Colonus) (401 B.C.)
  80. Oikles (Oecles)
  81. Oinomaos (Oenomaus)
  82. Pandora or Sphyrokopoi, satyr play
  83. Peleus
  84. Phaiakes (Phaeacians)
  85. Phaidra (Phaedra)
  86. Philoktetes (Philoctetes) (409 B.C.)
  87. Philoktetes o en Troiai
  88. Phineus A
  89. Phineus B
  90. Phoinix (Phoenix)
  91. Phrixos (Phrixus)
  92. Phryges (Phrygians)
  93. Phthiotides
  94. Poimenes (Shepherds)
  95. Polyidus or Manteis (Prophets)
  96. Polyxene (Polyxena)
  97. Priamos (Priam)
  98. Prokris (Procris)
  99. Rizotomoi (Sorcerers)
  100. Salmoneus
  101. Sinon
  102. Sisyphos (Sisyphus)
  103. Skyrioi (Scyrians)
  104. Skythai (Scythians)
  105. Syndeipnoi (Banqueters, Diners)
  106. Tantalos (Tantalus)
  107. Telephos (Telephus), satyr play
  108. Tereus
  109. Teukros (Teucer)
  110. Thamyras
  111. Theseus
  112. Thyestes
  113. Trachiniai (Trachiniae, Trachinian Women)
  114. Triptolemos (Triptolemus) (c. 468 B.C.)
  115. Troilos (Troïlus)
  116. Tympanistai (Tambourine Players)
  117. Tyndareus
  118. Tyro Anagnorizomene (Tyro Rediscovered)
  119. Tyro Keiromene (Tyro Shorn)


Performances : Athens
# Total Tragedies : 40 or 50 (estimate)
# Extant Tragedies : 0

Of Chios, was one of the five Athenian tragic poets of the canon, and also a composer of other kinds of poetry ; and, moreover, a prose writer, both of history and philosophy. He is mentioned by Strabo among the celebrated men of Chios. He was the son of Orthomenes, and was surnamed the son of Xuthus : the latter was probably a nickname given him by the comic poets, in allusion to Xuthus, the father of the mythical Ion. When very young he went to Athens, where he enjoyed the society of Cimon. Ion was familiarly acquainted with Aeschylus, if we may believe an anecdote related by Plutarch, but he did not come forward as a tragedian till after that poet's death. We also learn from Ion himself that he met Sophocles at Chios, when the latter was commander of the expedition against Samos, B.C. 440. His first tragedy was brought out in the 82d Olympiad (B.C. 452) ; he is mentioned as third in competition with Euripides and lophon, in Ol. 87, 4 (B.C. 429-428); and he died before B.C. 421, as appears from the Peace of Aristophanes, which was brought out in that year. Only one victory of Ion's is mentioned, on which occasion, it is said, having gained the dithyrambic and tragic prizes at the same time, he presented every Athenian with a pitcher of Chian wine. Hence it would seem that he was a man of considerable wealth.
The number of his tragedies is variously stated at 12, 30, and 40. We have the titles and a few fragments of 11, namely, Agamemnon, Alkmene, Argeioi, Mega Drama, Phrousoi, Phoinix e Kaineus, Phoinix deuteros, Teukros, Omphale, Eurytidae, and Laertes, of which the Omphale was a satyric drama. Commentaries were written upon him by Arcesilaus, Batton of Sinope, Didymus, Epigenes, and even by Aristarchus.

  1. Agamemnon
  2. Alkmene (Alcmena)
  3. Argeioi (Argives)
  4. Eurytidai (Sons of Eurytus)
  5. Laertes
  6. Omphale, satyr play
  7. Phoinix A (Phoenix) or Kaineus (Caeneus) or Oineus (Oeneus)
  8. Phoinix B (Phoenix)
  9. Phrouroi (Sentinels)
  10. Teukros (Teucer)

ACHAEUS OF ERETRIA 484 - c. 405 B.C.

Performances : Athens
# Total Tragedies : 24, 30 or 44 (estimate)
# Extant Tragedies : 0

Of Eretria in Euboea, a tragic poet, was born B.C. 484, the year in which Aeschylus gained his first victory, and four years before the birth of Euripides. In B.C. 477, he contended with Sophocles and Euripides, and though he subsequently brought out many dramas, according to some as many as thirty or forty, he nevertheless only gained the prize once. The fragments of Achaeus contain much strange mythology, and his expressions were often forced and obscure. Still in the satyrical drama he must have possessed considerable merit, for in this department some ancient critics thought him inferior only to Aeschylus. The titles of seven of his satyrical dramas and of ten of his tragedies are still known.

  1. Adrastos (Adrastus)
  2. Azanes
  3. Athla or Athloi
  4. Aithon (Aethon)
  5. Alkmeon (Alcmeon)
  6. Alphesiboia (Alphesiboea)
  7. Eumenides
  8. Hephaistos (Hephaestus)
  9. Iris
  10. Kyknos (Cycnus)
  11. Linos (Linus)
  12. Moirai (Fates)
  13. Momos (Momus)
  14. Oidipous (Oedipus)
  15. Omphale
  16. Peirithoos (Pirithous)
  17. Philoktetes (Philoctetes)
  18. Theseus


Performances : Athens
# Total Tragedies : ?
# Extant Tragedies : 0

Surnamed Sacas, on account of his foreign origin, was a tragic poet at Athens, and a contemporary of Aristophanes. He seems to have been either of Thracian or Mysian origin.


Performances : Athens
# Total Tragedies : ?
# Extant Tragedies : 0

An Athenian tragic poet, was born about B.C. 447, and sprung from a rich and respectable family. He was consequently contemporary with Socrates and Alcibiades and the other distinguished characters of their age, with many of whom he was on terms of intimate acquaintance. Amongst these was his friend Euripides. He was remarkable for the handsomeness of his person and his various accomplishments. He gained his first victory at the Lenaean festival in B.C. 416, when he was a little above thirty years of age. When Agathon was about forty years of age (B.C. 407), he visited the court of Archelaus, the king of Macedonia, where his old friend Euripides was also a guest at the same time. He is generally supposed to have died about B.C. 400, at the age of forty-seven. The poetic merits of Agathon were considerable, but his compositions were more remarkable for elegance and flowery ornaments than force, vigour, or sublimity. In some respects, Agathon was instrumental in causing the decline of tragedy at Athens. He was the first tragic poet, according to Aristotle, who commenced the practice of inserting choruses between the acts, the subject-matter of which was unconnected with the story of the drama, and which were therefore called embolima, or intercalary, as being merely lyrical or musical interludes. The same critic also blames him for selecting too extensive subjects for his tragedies. Agathon also wrote pieces, the story and characters of which were the creations of pure fiction. One of these was called the Flower ; its subject-matter was neither mythical nor historical. The titles of four only of his tragedies are known with certainty: they are, the Thyestes, the Telephus, the Aerope, and the Alcmaeon. A fifth, which is ascribed to him, is of doubtful authority.

  1. Anthos or Antheus (The Flower)
  2. Mysoi (Mysians)
  3. Telephos (Telephus)
  4. Thyestes


Performances : Athens
# Total Tragedies : 70 (estimate)
# Extant Tragedies : 0

Of Tegea, a tragic poet at Athens, was contemporary with Euripides, and flourished about 454 B.C. He lived to the age of a hundred. Out of seventy tragedies which he exhibited, only two obtained the prize. Nothing remains of his works; except a few lines and the titles of three of his plays namely, the Asklepios, which he is said to havt written and named after the god in gratitude for his recovery from illness, the Achilleus which Ennius translated into Latin, and the Tantalos.

  1. Achilleus (Achilles)
  2. Asklepios (Asclepius)
  3. Tantalos (Tantalus)


Performances : Athens
# Total Tragedies : ?
# Extant Tragedies : 0

A dramatic poet, the son of Pratinas, whose tomb Pausanias saw at Phlius, and whose Satyric dramas, with those of his father, were surpassed only by those of Aeschylus. Aristias is mentioned in the life of Sophocles as one of the poets with whom the latter contended. Besides two dramas, which were undoubtedly Satyric, viz. the Keres and Cyclops, Aristias wrote three others, viz. Antaeus, Orpheus, and Atalante, which may have been tragedies.

  1. Antaios (Antaeus)
  2. Atalante (Atalanta)
  3. Keres, satyr play
  4. Kyklops (Cyclops), satyr play
  5. Orpheus
  6. Perseus
  7. Tantalos


Performances : Athens
# Total Tragedies : 240 (estimate)
# Extant Tragedies : 0

A tragic poet, the son of Morsimus and a sister of the poet Aeschylus, was the pupil of Isocrates, and according to Suidas wrote 240 tragedies and gained the prize fifteen times. His first tragedy was brought upon the stage in 0l. 95. 2.


Performances : Athens
# Total Tragedies : ?
# Extant Tragedies : 0

Suidas mentions three distinct poets of this name. The first he calls a native of Agrigentum in Sicily ; the second an Athenian, and son of Theodectes or Xenocles; and the third simply an Attic poet. The first of these poets is not mentioned any where else, and his existence is more than doubtful. We have to distinguish between two tragic poets of this name, both of whom were natives of Athens. The first, or elder one, who was a very skilful scenic dancer, is occasionally alluded to by Aristophanes ; but his dramas, of which no fragments have come down to us, seem to have perished at an early time.
Carcinus the elder, who was about contemporary with Aeschylus, had three sons, according to Aristophanes and some of the grammarians, or four, according to Pherecrates and others of the grammarians. There is also a great diversity as to the names of the sons of Carcinus. Besides the names of Xenocles and Xenotimus, on which all the scholiasts are agreed, they mention Xenarchus, Xenocleitus, Diotimus, which is perhaps a mere variation of Xenotimus, and Datis, which is not a Greek name at all, but appears to be a nickname applied to Xenocles, on account of certain faults in his language. Of these sons of Carcinus two (or three) were engaged as choreutae in acting their father's dramas, in which great prominence was given to the orchestic element ; and their dancing is ridiculed by Aristophanes, and Pherecrates. Xenocles alone was a tragic poet.


Performances : Athens
# Total Tragedies : ?
# Extant Tragedies : 0

Son of Callaeschrus. He was one of the pupils of Socrates, by whose instructions he profited but little in a moral point of view, and, together with Alcibiades, gave a colour by his life to the charge against the philosopher of corrupting the youth.. Xenophon says, that he sought the company of Socrates, not from any desire of real improvement, but because he wished, for political purposes, to gain skill in confounding an adversary. We learn, however, from the same authority, that he lived a temperate life as long as his connexion with his great master lasted. He was one of the 30 tyrants established in B.C. 404, was conspicuous above all his colleagues for rapacity and cruelty, sparing not even Socrates himself, and took the lead in the prosecution of Theramenes when he set himself against the continuance of the reign of terror. He was slain at the battle of Munychia in the same year, fighting against Thrasybulus and the exiles. Cicero tells us, that some speeches of Critias were still extant in his time ; some fragments of his elegies are still extant, and he is supposed by some to have been the author of the Peirithous and the Sisyphus (a satyric drama), which are commonly reckoned among the lost plays of Euripides; a tragedy named Atalanta is likewise ascribed to him.

  1. Atalanta
  2. Peirithous (Pirithous)
  3. Rhadamanthys
  4. Sisyphos (Sisyphus)
  5. Tennes


Performances : Athens
# Total Tragedies : ?
# Extant Tragedies : 0

The son of Aeschylus, and himself a tragic poet.


Performances : Athens
# Total Tragedies : ?
# Extant Tragedies : 0

The youngest of the three sons of the elder Euripides, according to Suidas. After the death of his father he brought out three of his plays at the great Dionysia, viz. the Alcmaeon (no longer extant), the Iphigeneia at Aulis, and the Bacchae. Suidas mentions also a nephew of the great poet, of the same name, to whom he ascribes the authorship of three plays, Medea, Orestes, and Polyxena and who, he tells us, gained a prize with one of his uncle's tragedies after the death of the latter. It is probable that the son and. the nephew have been confounded.

  1. Medeia (Medea)
  2. Orestes
  3. Polyxene (Polyxena)


Performances : Athens
# Total Tragedies : ?
# Extant Tragedies : 0

Son of Xenophanes, a tragic and dithyrambic poet, who is attacked by Aristophanes


Performances : Athens
# Total Tragedies : 50 (estimate)
# Extant Tragedies : 0

The legitimate son of Sophocles, by Nicostrate, was a distinguished tragic poet. He brought out tragedies during the life of his father ; and, according to a scholiast, gained a brilliant victory. He is said to have contended with his father ; and it is recorded that he gained the second place in a contest with Euripides and Ion, in B.C. 428. He was still flourishing in B.C. 405, the year in which Aristophanes brought out the Frogs. The comic poet speaks of him as the only good tragedian left, but expresses a doubt whether he will sustain his reputation without the help of his father (who had lately died); thus insinuating either that Sophocles had assisted lophon in the composition of his plays, or that lophon was bringing out his father's posthumous tragedies as his own. The number of lophon's tragedies was 50, of which the following are mentioned by Suidas: Achilleus, Telephos, Aktaion, Iliou persis, Dexamenos, Bakchai, Pentheus : the last two titles evidently belong to one play. To these should perhaps be added a satyric drama entitled Aulodoi. Of all his dramas, only a very few lines are preserved.

  1. Achilleus (Achilles)
  2. Aktaion (Actaeon)
  3. Auloidoi, satyr play
  4. Bakchai (Bacchantes)
  5. Dexamenos
  6. Iliupersis
  7. Pentheus
  8. Telephos (Telephus)


Performances : Athens
# Total Tragedies : ?
# Extant Tragedies : 0

An Athenian tragic poet, who seems to have been of some distinction in his day, but of whom little is now known beyond the attacks made on him by the comic poets. Eupolis, Aristophanes, Pherecrates, Leucon, and Plato, satirized him unmercifully ; and it is remarkable that he was attacked in all the three comedies which gained the first three places in the dramatic contest of B.C. 419. He is again attacked by Aristophanes in the Ornithes, B.C. 414. In addition to these indications of his date, we are informed of a remark made by him upon the tragedies of Diogenes Oenomaus, who flourished about B.C. 400. There is a story of his living at the court of Alexander of Pherae, who began to reign B.C. 369. He was celebrated for his wit, of which several specimens are preserved. Aristophanes has preserved the title and two lines, somewhat parodied, of one of his dramas, the Medea. Athenaeus informs us that Melanthius also wrote elegies.

  1. Medeia (Medea)


Performances : Athens
# Total Tragedies : ?
# Extant Tragedies : 0

An obscure tragic poet, but notorious as one of the accusers of Socrates, was an Athenian, of the Pitthean demus. At the time of the accusation of Socrates, he is spoken of by Platoas young and obscure. With respect to his tragedies, we are informed by the scholiast on Plato, on the authority of Aristotle, that Meletus brought out his Oidipodeia in the same year in which Aristophanes brought out his Pelargoi, but we know nothing of the date of that play. His Scolia are referred to in the Frogs, B.C. 405 ; and in the Gerytades, which was probably acted a few years after the Frogs. The character of Meletus, as drawn by Plato and Aristophanes and their scholiasts, is that of a bad, frigid, and licentious poet, and a worthless and profligate man, - vain, silly, effeminate, and grossly sensual.

  1. Oidipodeia


Performances : Athens
# Total Tragedies : ?
# Extant Tragedies : 0

A tragic poet, the son of the elder Philocles, and father of the elder Astydamas. He is attacked and ridiculed more than once by Aristophanes, who classes with villains of the deepest dye in Hades any one who ever copied out a speech of Morsimus. Besides his profession as a poet, he seems to have practised as a physician and oculist. Frigidity seems to have been the predominant characteristic of his poetry.


Performances : Athens
# Total Tragedies : 11 (estimate)
# Extant Tragedies : 0

A tragic poet, a contemporary of Aristophanes, rioted especially for his gluttony and effeminacy.


Performances : Athens
# Total Tragedies : 120 (estimate)
# Extant Tragedies : 0

Of Sicyon, a tragic writer of doubtful age. In the Scholia to the Medeia of Euripides, we have two fragments of a play written by him on the same subject, one of four lines at v. 668, and another of five lines at v. 1354. Besides these we have fifteen lines quoted by Stobaeus, from the same tragedy. The account given of him by Suidas is manifestly inconsistent. Suidas states that he wrote 120 tragedies, that the Medeia of Euripides was sometimes attributed to him, and that he was the first to introduce on the stage the Paidagogos, and the examination of slaves by torture. In one particular - that the Medeia of Euripides was sometimes attributed to him - Suidas is confirmed by Diogenes Laertius. But Suidas goes on to say that he was involved in the fate of Callisthenes, and put to death by Alexander the Great. If the latter account be true, the former cannot but be an error, as Euripides lived long before the days of Alexander the Great, and, in the very play of the Medeia, among others, had introduced the Paidagogos. Besides, Nearchus, a tragedian, is mentioned by Suidas (as the unfortunate friend of Callisthenes who suffered with him. From this reasoning it seems certain that Suidas confounded the two, and that Clinton is right in placing Neophron, as he does, before the age of Euripides. This is further strengthened by an acute remark of Elmsley that men do not quote small plagiarists of great writers, but delight to trace wherever great writers have borrowed their materials. As far as we can judge from the fragments already mentioned, Euripides may have borrowed his plot and characters from Neophron, but certainly not his style.

  1. Medeia (Medea)


Performances : Athens
# Total Tragedies : 11 (estimate)
# Extant Tragedies : 0

A tragic poet of Alexandria in the Troad, according to Suidas. He was a contemporary of Euripides and Theognis, B.C. 425, with whom he competed, and successfully, contrary to universal expectation. We may infer from the language of Suidas that the play which gained the prize was on the subject of Oedipus. He wrote, according to Suidas, eleven tragedies. But his list evidently contains two comedies. As corrected by Meineke, it contains the following subjects: - Alexander, Eriphyle, Geryones, Aletides, Neoptolemus, Mysi, Oedipus, Ilii Excidium sive Polyxena, Tyndareus, Alcmaeon, and Teucer, the last three constituting a trilogy. He was of no great reputation, as the language of Suidas implies. Only four words remain that can be traced to him.

  1. Aletides
  2. Alexandros (Alexander)
  3. Alkmaion (Alcmaeon)
  4. Eriphyle
  5. Geryones
  6. Mysoi (Mysians)
  7. Neoptolemos
  8. Oidopous (Oedipus)
  9. Polyxena
  10. Teukros (Teucer)
  11. Tyndareus


Performances : Athens
# Total Tragedies : ?
# Extant Tragedies : 0

A tragic poet, with whom we are only acquainted through a fragment of the Moirae of the comic poet Hermippus, who describes Nothippus as an enormous eater.


Performances : Athens
# Total Tragedies : 100 (estimate)
# Extant Tragedies : 0

An Athenian tragic poet, the sister's son of Aeschylus; his father's name was Philopeithes. Suidas states that Philocles was contemporary with Euripides, and that he composed 100 tragedies, among which were the following : - Erigone, Nauplios, Oidipous, Oineus, Priamos, Penelope, Philoktetes. Besides these, we learn from the Didascaliae of Aristotle that he wrote a tetralogy on the fates of Procne and Philomela, under the title of Pandionis, one play of which was called Tereus e epops, Tereus, or the Hoopoe, and furnished Aristophanes with a subject of ridicule in the Birds. On one occasion he actually gained a victory over Sophocles, an honour to which, as Aristeides indignantly remarks, Aeschylus himself never attained. The circumstance is the more remarkable, as the drama of Sophocles to which that of Philocles was preferred, was the Oedipus Tyrannus which we are accustomed to regard as the greatest work of Greek dramatic art.
The date of Philocles may be determined by his victory over Sophocles, which took place in B.C. 429, when he must have been at the least 40 years old, for his son Morsimus is mentioned as a poet only five years later. We possess no remains of his poetry except a single line, which seems to come from a satyric drama.

  1. Erigone
  2. Nauplios (Nauplius)
  3. Oidipous (Oedipus)
  4. Oineus (Oeneus)
  5. Pandion
  6. Penelope
  7. Philoktetes (Philoctetes)
  8. Priamos (Priam)
  9. Teleus


Performances : Athens
# Total Tragedies : ?
# Extant Tragedies : 0

An Athenian tragic poet at the close of the fifth century B.C., who is only known by one passage in Aristophanes, which is, however, quite enough to show the sort of estimation in which he was held. Aristophanes places him at the very foot of the anti-climax of tragedians who were still living, and the question of Hercules, whether he is likely to supply the void left by the death of Euripides, does not even obtain an answer, except by a jest of Xanthias.


Performances : Athens
# Total Tragedies : ?
# Extant Tragedies : 0

A tragic poet, contemporary with Aristophanes, who attacked him in the Gerytades and the Wasps. The scholiast here speaks of him as a tragic actor, which is evidently a mistake, for Harpocration expressly tells us that he was mentioned in the Didascaliae as a tragic poet, and there are several references to him as such. He is mentioned by Aristotle with Cleophon, as an example of those poets whose words are well chosen, but whose diction is not at all elevated. The comic poet Plato also, in his Lacones, attacked him for plagiarism. There are no fragments of Sthenelus, except a single verse quoted by Athenaeus, which, being an tiexameter, can hardly belong to a tragedy. Perhaps Sthenelus composed elegies. How long he lived is not known : from his not being mentioned in the Frogs, Kayser supposes that he had died before the exhibition of that play in B.C. 406.


Performances : Athens
# Total Tragedies : ?
# Extant Tragedies : 0

A tragic poet, contemporary with Aristophanes, who mentions him only in three passages, but they are rich ones. It would seem from a passage of Suidas that, on one occasion, Theognis gained the third prize, in competition with Euripides and Nicomachus. It is stated by the scholiast on Aristophanes, by Harpocration, and by Suidas, on the authority of Xenophon, in the 2d Book of the Hellenics, that Theognis was one of the Thirty Tyrants. According to these statements Theognis began to exhibit tragedies before the date of the Acharnians, B.C. 425, and continued his poetical career down to the date of the Thesmophoriazusae, B.C. 411, and was still conspicuous in public life in B.C. 404.


Performances : ?
# Total Tragedies : ?
# Extant Tragedies : 0

A tragic poet, mentioned only by Suidas who gives us the following titles of his plays: - Danaides, Hektoros Lytra, Herakles, Ixion, Kapaneus, Memnon, Mnesteres, Zenos gonai, Helenes apaitesis, Orestes kai Pylades, Kastor kai Polydeukes. In the last title but one, the kai, which is not in the text of Suidas, should evidently be inserted, for, it cannot be supposed that Orestes and Pylades were two distinct plays, any more than Kastor and Polydeukes. Meineke proposes to unite also two of the other titles, so as to make Helenes mnesteres a single play, but Welcker judiciously observes that the mnesteres may refer to the suitors of Penelope quite as probably as to those of Helen, and that, in either case, the title is quite sufficient as it stands, without robbing another play in order to improve it. Welcker has also remarked, and probably with as much truth as ingenuity, that some of the above titles seem to be those of satyric dramas ; for the Zenos gonai cannot possibly be a tragedy, and Herakles, standing alone, without any epithet, indicates a satyric drama rather than a tragedy. The same scholar shows that there is reason to think that the Danaides was not founded on the corresponding play of Aeschylus, but contained a different version of the story, which had already been adopted by Archilochus, and according to which Lynceus avenged his brethren by slaying Danaus and his daughters.

  1. Danaides (Daughters of Danaus)
  2. Hektoros Lytra (Bath of Hector)
  3. Helenes apaitesis (Demanding Back Helen)
  4. Herakles (Heracles)
  5. Ixion
  6. Kapaneus (Capaneus)
  7. Kastor kai Polydeukes (Castor and Polydeuces)
  8. Memnon
  9. Mnesteres (Suitors)
  10. Orestes kai Pylades
  11. Zenos gonai (Daughters of Zeus)

TIMOTHEUS OF MILETUS c. 446 - c. 357 B.C.

Performances : Athens
# Total Tragedies : ?
# Extant Tragedies : 0

The celebrated musician and poet of the later Athenian dithyramb, was a native of Miletus, and the son of Thersander. The date of Timotheus is marked by the ancients with tolerable precision. According to the Parian marble, he died in B.C. 357, in the ninetieth year of his age, which would place his birth in B.C. 446 ; but Suidas says that he lived ninety-seven years. The period at which he flourished is described by Suidas as about the times of Euripides, and of Philip of Macedon ; and he is placed by Diodorus with Philoxenus, Telestes, and Polyeidus, at 0l. 95, B.C. 398. Respecting the details of his life we have very little information. He is said to have spent some time at the Macedonian court ; and reference will presently be made to a visit which he paid to Sparta, He appears to have formed his musical style chiefly on that of Phrynis, who was also a native of Miletus, and over whom he on one occasion gained a victory. He was at first unfortunate in his professional efforts. Even the Athenians, fond as they were of novelty, and accustomed as they were to the modern style of music introduced by Melanippides, Phrynis, and the rest, were offended at the still bolder innovations of Timotheus, and hissed off his performance. On this occasion it is said that Euripides encouraged Timotheus by the prediction that he would soon have the theatres at his feet. This prediction appears to have been accomplished in the vast popularity which Timotheus afterwards enjoyed. Plutarch records his exultation at his victory over Phrynis. Timotheus died in Macedonia, according to Stephanus of Byzantium.

  1. Persai (Persians)


Performances : Athens
# Total Tragedies : ?
# Extant Tragedies : 0

There were two Athenian tragic poets of this name, of the family of Carcinus ; the one the son of the elder Carcinus, and the father of the younger Carcinus ; the other the son of the younger Carcinus, and therefore the grandson of the elder Xenocles. Thus it appears that this family maintained some celebrity on the tragic stage of Athens during four generations, which is as long as the artistic duration of the family of Aeschylus. Carcinus the elder, who was about contemporary with Aeschylus, had three sons. Xenocles alone was a tragic poet. We have sufficient materials for the date of Xenocles ; for it appears that he had met with a signal defeat in a dramatic contest, shortly before the exhibition of the Clouds (B.C. 423 or 422), and the mention of him in the Frogs shows that he was still alive in B.C. 405. In Ol. 91, B.C. 415, he obtained a victory over Euripides. On this occasion each poet exhibited a tetralogy ; that of Xenocles consisting of the tragedies Oedipus, Lycaon, Bacchae, and the satyric drama Athamas ; that of Euripides, of the tragedies Alexander, Palamedes, Troades, and the satyric drama Sisyphus. There are grounds for believing that the poetry of Xenocles was very indifferent; that it resembled, in fact, the worser parts of Euripides. No fragments of the plays of Xenocles have come down to us, except the parody of a few words of the Licymnius.

  1. Athamas, satyr play (415 B.C.)
  2. Bakchai (Bacchantes) (415 B.C.)
  3. Likymnios (Licymnius)
  4. Lykaon (Lycaon) (415 B.C.)
  5. Oidipous (Oedipus) (415 B.C.)