Sophocles (c. 497/6 BC – winter 406/5 BC) is one of three ancient Greek tragedians whose plays have survived. His first plays were written later than those of Aeschylus, and earlier than those of Euripides.
According to the Suda, a 10th century encyclopedia, Sophocles wrote 123 plays during the course of his life, but only seven have survived in a complete form: Ajax, Antigone, Trachinian Women, Oedipus the King, Electra, Philoctetes and Oedipus at Colonus.
For almost 50 years, Sophocles was the most-fêted playwright in the dramatic competitions of the city-state of Athens that took place during the religious festivals of the Lenaea and the Dionysia. He competed in around 30 competitions, won perhaps 24, and was never judged lower than second place. Aeschylus won 14 competitions, and was sometimes defeated by Sophocles, while Euripides won only 4 competitions. Sophocles has a crater on the surface of Mercury named after him.