November 27, 2021
Aeschylus (Greek: isσχύλος, Latin: Aischylos; Eleussis, 525 BC - Gela, Sicily, 456 BC) is a Greek tragedy poet, the “father of tragedy”.
We have little information about his life path, which is also important for his oeuvre. His father, Euphorion, was a landowner, and Aeschylus presumably sustained himself from the income of the lands he inherited after him. He probably received very thorough and good training: later research in the works of Aeschylus showed knowledge of the historical and geographical work of Hecataus, Acusilus, and Pherekydes Athenausus. He was also familiar with his early Greek literature: he also knew the poetry of Homer, Hesiod, Archhiloch, Alcaios, Anacreon, and Solon. According to tradition, his tragedies were called "the crumbs left over from the great feasts of Homer." Some data known from antiquity suggest that Aeschylus was the initiator of the Eleusinian mystery religion, but in his works the influence of the Orphic doctrines is more recognizable.
He was fifteen years old when Kleistenes came to power at the end of the democratic transformation of Athens. The events filled him with great enthusiasm, as evidenced by the tone of his allegories written at the time. Unfortunately, we know nothing but small fragments of his youthful elegy, although these elegy were very popular even in the late imperial era.
Presumably he was already involved in tragedy writing in the years before the Battle of Marathon, but in the light of contradictory contemporary data, we certainly cannot know this. What is certain is that he took part in the battle of Marathon, during which his brother named Künégeiros fell on the battlefield. I. e. In 489 he took part in the elegy poetry competition announced in honor of those who fell in the Marathon, but did not triumph, presumably remaining below Simonides. Perhaps as a result of this defeat, he turned to the dramatic genre.
The tragedy at this time served only as a religious illustration of the Feast of Dionysus, in which human suffering was portrayed by the singing of the arm and a man. The name of Aeschylus is associated with the portrayal of a second person in drama, as a result of which the former one-man singing and pantomime dance was replaced by dramatic dialogue as the main element of the tragedy. In this genre, Aeschylus achieved breakthrough success: i. e. In 484 he named four of his - now unknown - pieces and won his first victory at Dionysia. He has won only thirteen stage competitions in his life.
With the Greco-Persian wars going on in the background, the era of prolific creative work entered the life of Aeschylus. Although, he himself fought in the i. e. In the Battle of Salamis in 480, from the following period of his life, only his appearances in the tragedy competitions are known.
I. e. In 473, Hieron I, a tyrannian of Syracuse who had received the poet's reputation, invited Aeschylus to Sicily. She greeted the newly founded city of Aitné with her drama Aitnaiai (‘Women of Aitná’). Later, i. e. Between 471 and 469 he again visited Sicily to be present at the teaching and presentation of the drama he had written Persia.
I. e. He returned to Sicily for the third time in 457, where he died at the age of sixty-nine. According to contemporary legend, an eagle, believing the poet’s tar skull as a rock, dropped a turtle on its head (other sources said the vulture looked at the bald head of an abandoned egg).
His tombstone, in which he remembers not his theatrical successes but merely his military achievements, was written by Aeschylus himself:
Αἰσχύλον Εὐφορίωνος Ἀθηναῖον τόδε κεύθει
μνῆμα καταφθίμενον πυροφόροιο Γέλας ·
ἀλκὴν δ ’εὐδόκιμ