(born c. 496, Colonus, near Athensdied 406 BC, Athens) Greek playwright. With Aeschylus and Euripides, he was one of the three great tragic playwrights of Classical Athens. A distinguished public figure in Athens, he served successively in important posts as a treasurer, commander, and adviser. He competed in dramatic festivals, where he defeated Aeschylus to win his first victory in 468 BC. He went on to achieve unparalleled success, writing 123 dramas for dramatic competitions and achieving more than 20 victories. Only seven tragedies survive in their entirety: Antigone, Ajax, Electra, The Trachinian Women, Philoctetes, Oedipus at Colonus, and Oedipus the King, his best-known work. He increased the size of the chorus and was the first to introduce a third actor onstage. For their supple language, vivid characterization, and formal perfection, his works are regarded as the epitome of Greek drama.