Ancient Greece Timeline > Classical Age > AeschylusDates: 525/4 - 456/55 B.C.
Birthplace: Eleusis near Athens
Place of death: Gela, Sicily
Aeschylus was the first of the three great ancient Greek writers of tragedy. Born at Eleusis, he lived from about 525-456 B.C., during which time the Greeks suffered invasion by the Persians in the Persian Wars. Aeschylus fought at the major Persian War Battle of Marathon.
The Fame of Aeschylus:
Exceptional Honor Paid:
As an Actor:
Surviving Tragedies by Aeschylus:
Greek Theater Study Guide:
Importance of Aeschylus for Greek Tragedy:
Aeschlyus first won the prize for drama in 484, the year Euripides was born.
Before Aeschylus, there was only one actor in tragedy, and he was limited to conversing with the chorus. Aeschylus is credited with having added a second actor. Now two actors could converse or have dialogue with the chorus, or change their masks to become entirely different characters. The increase in cast size permitted substantial plot variation. According to Aristotle's Poetics, Aeschylus "reduced the chorus' role and made the plot the leading actor."
"Thus it was Aeschylus who first raised the number of the actors from one to two. He also curtailed the chorus and gave the dialogue the leading part. Three actors and scene-painting Sophocles introduced."