Collier's New Encyclopedia (1921)/Aeschylus

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1653501Collier's New Encyclopedia — Aeschylus

ÆSCHYLUS (es′kil-us), the father of the Athenian drama. He was in the sea fight at Salamis, and received a wound in the battle of Marathon. His most solid fame, however, rests on his power as a tragic poet. Of 90 plays produced by him, 40 were rewarded with the public prize, but only seven have come down to us, though the titles of 72 others are known to us. The seven tragedies still extant are: "The Suppliants"; "The Persians"; "The Seven against Thebes"; "Prometheus Bound"; and a trilogy, "Oresteia" ("Agamemnon"; "Choëphori"; "Eumenides"). He was the first to introduce two actors on the stage, and to clothe them with dresses suitable to their character. He likewise removed murder from the sight of the audience. He decorated the theater with the best paintings of his time, and the ancient, like the modern stage, exhibited temples, sepulchres, armies, fleets, flying cars, and apparitions. He mounted the actors on stilts, and gave them masks to augment the natural sounds of their voices. He was born in Eleusis about 525 b. c. and died in Sicily about 455 b. c. His imagination was strong, but wild, vast in its conception, but greatly dealing in improbabilities. The obscurity of his style is admitted.