Small Talk For That Social Outing You Have This Weekend
The great Greek playwrights: Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides.
Aeschylus: older; fought in the battle against the Persians at the Battle of Salamis.
Sophocles: was an older teenage on the day of the battle; he took part in the victory parade.
Euripides: born on the very day the Battle of Salamis took place.
Aeschylus: a prolific writer; wrote 70 - 90 plays; only 7 have survived; his Oresteia is the only complete Greek tragic trilogy extant today.
Sophocles: his work is considered the pinnacle of Greek tragedy. He wrote around 123 plays for the Athenian theater but only seven have survived intact.
Euripides: eighty titles are known but it is thought he wrote 92 plays; only 19 of his tragedies are extant today.
The question I have always had: what happened to all those plays that were lost. Part of the answer comes from David Abulafia's The Great Sea, c. 2011, page 160:
The Ptolemies were determined to lay their hands on the best possible texts fo the great authors for their famous Library at Alexandria. They hoodwinked the Athenians into sending their master copies of the plays of Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides for copying, and then retained them, even thought that meant sacrificing an enormous deposit in silver.And, of course, as everyone knows, the great fire of the library destroyed all its works.