Who Were Ancient Greek Playwrights?

While there were many playwrights in Ancient Greece, there are only four for whom complete plays have survived intact. Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides were tragedians, and Aristophanes was a comedian.

Classical Greek tragedy was performed as a series of dramatic monologues, dialogues and chorus pieces. Much of the text, particularly the chorus pieces, was sung to the accompaniment of an aulos, an ancient Greek wind instrument. All of the actors were men, and they all performed masked. During the fifth century B.C., tragedians in ancient Athens competed in yearly festivals in honor of the god Dionysus. More than a thousand tragedies were performed during this time, but only 32 plays are extant. Of these plays, only one complete trilogy, the "Oresteia" of Aeschylus, still survives.