Born: c. 525 B.C.
Died: c. 456 B.C.
Birthplace: Eleusis, Attica (now Greece)
Best known as: "The father of Greek tragedy"
Although little is known for certain about his life, ancient Athenian Aeschylus has come down to us through history as one of the greatest early dramatists and "the father of Greek tragedy." He wrote between 50 and 90 plays, but only six still exist: The Persians, Seven Against Thebes, The Suppliants and Oresteia, a trilogy consisting of Agamemnon, Choephoroi and The Eumenides. A seventh, Prometheus Unbound has been traditionally included in his canon, but in recent years scholars have leaned toward attributing it to another tragedian. Aeschylus fought in the war against the Persians at Marathon (490 B.C.) and Salamis (480 B.C.) before he was a prize-winning dramatist in Athens. He is considered the first Greek dramatist to use more than one actor, de-emphasize the chorus and use elaborate props and costumes for dramatic effect. Despite his success as a playwright, in his later years he fell out of favor with Athenians and died in exile in Sicily. After his death his artistic advancements and Athenian pride were rediscovered, and he became almost as celebrated as Homer.
Extra credit: Aeschylus is pronounced ES kih lus... Tradition has it that Aeschylus was killed when an eagle dropped a tortoise on him, mistaking his bald head for a rock.
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