Sophocles (1), Athenian tragic playwright
Sophocles (1), Athenian tragic playwright
- P. J. Finglass
Sophocles was one of the three great masters of the genre of Greek tragedy. His life spanned the 5th century bce, and saw him compose approximately 123 dramas, while simultaneously occupying a series of important offices within the democratic state of ancient Athens. His plays demonstrate a mastery of dramatic technique, as well as of the resources of Greek poetic language; driven by a restless searching for innovation, they confront viewers with profound questions about a man’s, or woman’s, position within their city, and the often turbulent nature of their relationship with the gods. The fascination that his dramas exerted on succeeding generations has ensured their survival down to our own day, where their ongoing cultural influence can be documented around the world.
- Greek Literature
Updated in this version
Article rewritten to reflect current scholarship.
Life and Career
Sophocles’ life (497/6–405 bce) spanned almost the whole of that century of Athens’s history that later generations would call classical; the enduring reputation of his dramas (see Reception below) played no small part in winning it that designation. In a career that began perhaps as early as the 470s and lasted until his death, he wrote approximately 123 plays, of which seven survive in full; we also possess fragments, sometimes quite substantial ones, of dozens more. First productions of only three plays can be precisely dated (Triptolemus, 468, a play now lost; Philoctetes, 409; Oedipus at Colonus = Oedipus Coloneus, 401); stylistic features suggest that Trachiniae, Ajax, and Antigone are relatively early, Electra relatively late, and Oedipus the King (= Oedipus Tyrannus, Oedipus Rex) somewhere in the middle. Most of his dramas are tragedies (see tragedy, Greek), devoted to the presentation of events from myth (see mythology, Greek) usually involving the depiction of human suffering of various kinds; the remainder were satyr plays, in which the seriousness of mythological events was leavened by the presence of a chorus of satyrs, part-human, part-animal hybrids given over to passions lower than those typically portrayed on the tragic stage. Along with Aeschylus and Euripides, Sophocles was considered a master of the tragic genre from his lifetime down to our own day. As a writer of satyr plays, by contrast, he was not especially highly regarded in antiquity, though the modern discovery of half of one of his plays in that genre has allowed appreciation of his talents there too. He was victorious at the Dionysia at least eighteen times, each time with a tetralogy of three tragedies and one satyr play, and was never placed last: a uniquely successful record for this period. He also produced plays at other festivals in Attica, such as the Lenaea and Rural Dionysia. Claims that he made formal changes to tragedy, such as increasing the number of the chorus from twelve to fifteen (test. 1.4) and of the actors from two to three (testt. 95–98), should be treated with caution.1 His originality lay rather in his artistic renewal of a genre whose greatness as a literary medium had already been established by his predecessor Aeschylus.
Not just a playwright, Sophocles was deeply engaged in the affairs of the Athenian democracy, and served in multiple offices: Hellênotamias in 443/2, one of ten magistrates who administered the finances of the Athenian empire (test. 18); stratêgos (general, again one of ten) in 441/0, seeing active service during the revolt of Samos from the Athenian empire, and perhaps again in 423/2 (testt. 19–26); proboulos in 413, one of ten men selected from those aged fifty and above to guide the state at a time of crisis (test. 27); priest of a hero called Halon, who was connected with Asclepius (test. 1.11), in whose honour Sophocles wrote a paean still sung centuries later (fr. 737(b) PMG). The offices of general and perhaps Hellênotamias were elected, implying popular regard. These continual requests for Sophocles to take on important positions imply an enduring reputation for competent administration, as well as a willingness to shoulder the burdens of communal leadership whenever his city called. This patriotic devotion is mirrored by his refusal (contrary to his fellow-playwrights Aeschylus and Euripides) to produce dramas outside Athens (test. 1.10). But while Sophocles’ life may have been focused on Athens, the plays that he wrote for performance there would in time captivate audiences far beyond that city.
The little that remains of Sophocles’ dramas reveals a master of the playwright’s art, for whom the highly conventional nature of Greek tragedy served not as an inhibition to creativity but as a spur. His Niobe depicts Artemis shooting from on high (and urged on by her brother Apollo) at the protagonist’s innocent, terrified, young daughters, as they hide backstage, almost but not quite violating the convention that fatal blows never take place in front of the audience. His Electra contains a messenger speech whose vivid account of a chariot race is, uniquely (so far as our evidence holds), devoted to the presentation of a lie; so too the lament that the title character delivers over the urn supposedly containing the ashes of her brother is marvellously misplaced, given that the brother is the very person who handed her the vessel and is now standing in plain sight before her. His Ajax, like Niobe, comes dangerously close to depicting a death blow; yet the protagonist’s suicide a mere three-fifths of the way through the drama does not prevent him from dominating the action even in death, with his body present on stage until the very end.
Similar mastery can be observed in Sophocles’ handling of mythology, another key aspect of tragedy that placed formal limits on what the genre could depict and yet which Sophocles continually moulded for his own poetic purposes. Philoctetes is set on a Lemnos which, contrary to mythological tradition and indeed then-current reality, was deserted, allowing the playwright to explore the impact on the protagonist’s character of ten years of resentful solitude. In Oedipus the King, unlike in Aeschylus’ Oedipus trilogy, Oedipus’ father Laius violates no divine command in having a son; in the older tragedian Oedipus’ suffering found an explanation in his father’s offence, whereas Sophocles renders the events of the play more shocking precisely through the absence of such ethical justification. Even in the satyr play Ichneutae (The Searchers), the alteration of a single, apparently minor, mythological detail—making the baby Hermes first steal Apollo’s cattle, then invent the lyre, rather than (as in the Homeric Hymn to Hermes) the reverse—has its impact, with the use of a cow’s hide to fashion the instrument accentuating (in the satyrs’ eyes) the wrongness of the theft. Such creativity was particularly important for Sophocles given his status as the great tragedian of the second generation; with treatments of these myths by Aeschylus, as well as in archaic epic and lyric, already in circulation, only an innovative approach would have sustained audience interest in his mythical dramas.
Like other tragedies of the period, Sophocles’ plays combine speech (usually in iambic trimeters) with song (in a wide variety of lyric metres). Song is most associated with the chorus, but this is far from a rule: so Philoctetes has only one formal choral ode, instead integrating song into the drama in other ways, such as through lyric dialogues between the chorus, Neoptolemus, and Philoctetes. Actors’ songs often highlight moments of particular emotion: Ajax’s recognition of his disgrace, Oedipus’ realization of the awful truth, Heracles’ tortured screams of agony, Philoctetes’ apparently final renunciation of the world, Electra’s overpowering joy at her brother’s return. But Sophocles’ handling of the plain iambic trimeter is endlessly subtle too, with slight changes in pausing creating sometimes shockingly powerful effects. This mirrors his treatment of the Greek language, where subtly multivalent semantics are often the rule. Epic phrases are repeated and adapted, always with new meaning; register is finely poised and infinitely adaptable, covering not just the high style but also the unexpectedly conversational and comic; and no other author could stir such overwhelming emotion in an audience through the unusual placing of a particle.
The plays are both arresting dramas and profound meditations on the human condition. A recurring theme is the often troubled relationship between individual and community: Antigone rejects the law promulgated by Creon to bury her brother, in defence (so she says) of the gods’ law; Oedipus is expelled from his community only to establish himself, for all time, in another, lending it power even after his death; Ajax’s belief in his own excellence leads him to try to murder the entire army whose second-best warrior he once was; Procne in Tereus leaves her community (to her distress) to live with her husband, the king of a different land, who rapes and mutilates her own sister while she is undertaking the very same journey; Philoctetes is deeply affected by his exclusion from two communities, the Greek army and his home city back in Greece; Electra’s vengeance against her father’s killers frees the city, not just her family, from an usurper; Eurypylus dies fighting bravely for a community, Troy, that is not his own, sent there by his own mother not for his glory or the good of Troy, but because of a bribe from Priam, the city’s ruler. The performance of such plays in Athens, a city-state whose unique democratic constitution put individuals in an unparalleled relationship with their community, made the presentation of such conflicts especially piquant.
The gap between man and god, too, is continually impressed on the audience, though without any validation of the divine order or any sense that it is ethically superior to the human sphere: the killings of Niobe’s children by Artemis and Apollo, or Apollo’s hounding of Oedipus, or the delight taken by Athena in the fall of Ajax, or the gods’ failure to protect Antigone for championing their law, hardly suggest a set of wise and beneficent divine overlords, even if audiences are left to draw their own conclusions rather than (as might happen in Euripides) being offered explicit condemnation. Perhaps because his gods fail to present a moral order that is worth preserving, the endings of Sophocles’ plays are strikingly aporetic: Oedipus the King sees Oedipus denied any grand exit from Thebes, and compelled to await another oracular response from the deity who has destroyed him; Electra ends with Aegisthus about to be slain by Orestes, but without a sense that this will put everything right within the house; in Trachiniae Heracles’ son Hyllus explicitly condemns the gods for their treatment of mortals, but any future apotheosis for Heracles remains unclear and uncertain; the apparent happy ending of Philoctetes sees the deified Heracles laying injunctions on Neoptolemus that, according to mythological tradition, he would ignore, with disastrous personal consequences; the metamorphoses and deus ex machina speech at the end of Tereus seem a wholly inadequate response to the intense suffering experienced by Procne and Philomela at the Thracian king’s hands; Antigone ends Oedipus at Colonus by saying she will return to Thebes to stop the conflict between her brothers, a doomed mission that highlights the future suffering of Oedipus’ family, despite the kindness that the gods show him at the end of his life. Whereas earlier tragedy seems to have favoured connected trilogies, which offered a detailed presentation and evaluation of the consequences of actions taken by successive generations, Sophocles preferred individual plays whose apparent incompleteness was not a fault but a feature, where the spectators’ knowledge could be as curtailed as that (often tragically) of the characters themselves. Such deliberate inconclusivity clearly found favour with contemporary audiences, while also speaking to us today in a startlingly modern fashion. Indeed, as dramatic works that stimulate in their audiences both deep emotion and profound thought, Sophocles’ plays have yet to meet a superior in any generation.
We are in a position to read some of Sophocles’ works today thanks only to the continuing interest in and enjoyment of his works by succeeding generations through two-and-a-half millennia. At some points, however, the thread of transmission came dangerously close to snapping. His plays were reperformed during his lifetime and (crucially) after his death, when he was already considered a canonical writer. Particular plays are associated with prominent actors such as Theodorus (Antigone; test. 44), Timotheus of Zacynthus (Ajax; test. 48), and Polus of Aegina (Electra; test. 46), indicating that certain plays were already mainstays of the repertoire. Actors’ interference in the text to adapt them to contemporary tastes led to Lycurgus’ decree that actors had to use an official state copy of his dramas, an indication that Sophocles’ high position within the Athenian polity was maintained even after his death. Oedipus the King is prominent in Aristotle’s Poetics, which highlights the excellence of its recognition scene; Sophocles seems to have been the philosopher’s favourite tragedian. 4th-century south Italian and Sicilian vase paintings depicting specific Sophoclean scenes indicate that his plays were appreciated in that important part of the Greek world from not long after the playwright’s death, if not before. Sophocles’ works were edited at the Library of Alexandria, probably in the late third or early 2nd century; an epigram by Dioscorides (1) (A.P. 7.37) roughly contemporary with that edition highlights Antigone and Electra as the best of his works—plays which, like those associated with the actors just mentioned, ended up among the seven that survived complete. The process whereby certain plays enjoyed particular success, particular fame, and thus a greater chance of survival, was already underway.
Latin writers such as Accius, Cicero, and Virgil all engage with Sophocles’ dramas, which seem to have fascinated a series of Roman rulers too: Sulla cited Sophocles’ Oedipus in declaring himself to be the ‘child of Fortune’ (Plut. De fort. Rom. 318cd), extracts from a Latin translation of Electra by Atilius were performed at Julius Caesar’s funeral (Suet. Iul. 1.84.2), and for Marcus Aurelius, Oedipus’ address to Mount Cithaeron stood for the genre of tragedy as a whole (Med. 11.6.1–2). Sophocles’ works commanded a wider reading public too, as is demonstrated by fragments of ancient books containing his plays, written on papyrus, preserved in the sands of Egypt, and published from the late 19th century onwards. Papyri containing the lost plays are attested down to the 3rd century ce, though the seven plays that survive today increasingly predominate over time; from the 4th century ce onwards, all papyri come from the seven.
The earliest mediaeval manuscript, Laurentianus 32.9, from the mid-tenth century ce, is our first complete source for the seven surviving plays. Most mediaeval manuscripts contain at most three dramas, Ajax, Electra, and Oedipus the King, which seem to have been mainstays of the Byzantine school curriculum. During this period, a change in Byzantine educational practice could have brought the transmission of Sophocles to an untimely end. The bringing of Sophoclean manuscripts to Italy in the early 1400s, their subsequent publication in printed editions later that century, and the translation of those editions into Latin and then vernacular languages, all ensured a far wider audience for Sophocles’ works. The evaluation of the relationship between those manuscripts, the discovery of ancient papyri, and improved appreciation of Sophocles’ language, have all permitted the publication of better editions down the centuries, though room for progress remains. Recent decades have seen particular engagement with Antigone (a play whose special cultural impact owes much to its analysis by Hegel), whose portrayal of an apparently powerless woman standing up to a tyrannical man has captured the imaginations of audiences across the world, in both reperformances and creative reworkings of the original. Modern papyrus discoveries have enjoyed a reception of their own, as in Tony Harrison’s The Trackers (1988) or Ahmed Etman’s The Goats of Albahnasa (2000), both inspired by the Ichneutae papyrus, a document that preserves fully half of one of Sophocles’ satyr plays.
Extensive further bibliography can be found in the following articles in Oxford Bibliographies Online: ‘Sophocles’ (Ruth Scodel, 2009), ‘Sophocles’ Ajax’, ‘Sophocles’ Electra’, ‘Sophocles’ Oedipus the King’, ‘Sophocles’ Antigone’, ‘Sophocles’ Trachiniae’, ‘Sophocles’ Philoctetes’, ‘Sophocles’ Oedipus at Colonus’, and ‘Sophocles’ fragments’ (P. J. Finglass, 2017–2018).
- Connolly, Andrew. “Was Sophocles Heroised as Dexion?” Journal of Hellenic Studies 118 (1998): 1–21.
- Jameson, Michael H. “Sophocles and the Four Hundred.” Historia 20 (1971): 541–568.
- Pelling, Christopher. “Sophocles’ Learning Curve.” In Hesperos. Studies in Ancient Greek Poetry Presented to M. L. West on His Seventieth Birthday. Edited by P. J. Finglass, C Collard, and N. J. Richardson, 204–227. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007.
- Dawe, R. D. Sophoclis tragoediae (1975–1979, 1984–19852, 19963), with Studies on the Text of Sophocles, 3 vols. Leiden: Brill, 1973–1978. [often adventurous]
- Lloyd-Jones, H., and N. G. Wilson, eds. Sophoclis fabulae. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1990 (corrected reprint, 1992), with Sophoclea. Studies on the Text of Sophocles. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1990 and Sophocles. Second Thoughts. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1997. [sometimes adventurous]
- Page, D. L., ed. Poetae Melici Graeci. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1962. [fr. 737(b) PMG is a paean by Sophocles]
- Radt, Stefan. Tragicorum Graecorum Fragmenta, Vol. 4. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1977 (reprinted with corrections and addenda, 1999). [monumental]
- New fragments not in Radt, Tragicorum Graecorum Fragmenta: P.Oxy. 4807 (Epigoni), 5292 (Tereus); on the latter see Finglass, P. J. ‘A New Fragment of Sophocles’ Tereus’, Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik 200 (2016): 61–85.
- Campbell, Lewis. Sophocles. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1871–1881. [a good check on Jebb]
- Jebb, R. C. Sophocles: The Plays and Fragments. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1883–1896 (reprint, 2004). [the most valuable commentary on all seven complete plays, though despite the title they do not include the fragments; with facing translation]
- Kamerbeek, J. C. The Plays of Sophocles. Leiden: Brill, 1959–1984. [rarely of value; no accompanying text]
- Pearson, A. C. The Fragments of Sophocles, 3 vols. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1917. [useful despite not containing more recently discovered fragments; with facing translation]
- Bastianini, Guido, and Angelo Casanova, eds. I papiri di Eschilo e di Sofocle. Atti del convegno internazionale di studi, Firenze, 14–15 giugno 2012. Florence: Firenze University Press, 2013.
- Carden, Richard. The Papyrus Fragments of Sophocles. Berlin and New York: De Gruyter, 1974.
- Grene, David, and Richmond Lattimore. Sophocles, 2 vols. Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press (revised M. Griffith and G. W. Most, 2013). [using the third, completely revised edition is essential]
- Lloyd-Jones, Hugh. Sophocles. Loeb Classical Library, 3 vols. Cambridge, MA and London: Harvard University Press, 1997–2003. [corrected reprint: the original, published 1994–1996, misses lines out.]
- Raeburn, David. Sophocles: Electra and Other Plays. London: Penguin, 2008.
- Taplin, Oliver. Sophocles: Oedipus the King and Other Tragedies. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016.
- Taplin, Oliver. Sophocles: Antigone and Other Tragedies. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2020.
- Ellendt, Friedrich. Lexicon Sophocleum2. Berlin: Borntraeger, 1872 (rev. Hermann Genthe). [more than just a word list; worth consulting over precise definitions and usages]
- Moorhouse, A. C. The Syntax of Sophocles. Leiden: Brill, 1982.
- Blundell, Mary W. Helping Friends and Harming Enemies: A Study in Sophocles and Greek Ethics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989.
- Budelmann, Felix. The Language of Sophocles. Communality, Communication and Involvement. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000.
- Burton, R. W. B. The Chorus in Sophocles’ Tragedies. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1980.
- Buxton, R. G. A. Sophocles. Greece and Rome New Surveys in the Classics. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 19841, 19952.
- Finglass, P. J. Sophocles. Greece and Rome New Surveys in the Classics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2019.
- Fraenkel, Eduard. Due seminari romani di Eduard Fraenkel. Rome: Edizioni di storia e letteratura, 1977.
- Gardiner, Cynthia P. The Sophoclean Chorus. A Study of Character and Function. Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 1987.
- Garvie, A. F. The Plays of Sophocles. London: Bloomsbury, 20051, 20162.
- Goldhill, Simon. Sophocles and the Language of Tragedy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012.
- Goldhill, Simon, and Edith Hall, eds. Sophocles and the Greek Tragic Tradition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009.
- Griffin, Jasper, ed. Sophocles Revisited: Essays Presented to Sir Hugh Lloyd-Jones. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999.
- Jong, I. J. F. de, A. and Rijksbaron, eds. Sophocles and the Greek Language: Aspects of Diction, Syntax and Pragmatics. Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2006.
- Jouanna, Jacques. Sophocle. Paris: Fayard, 2007 (translated as Sophocles: A Study of His Theater in Its Political and Social Context. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2018).
- Knox, Bernard M. W. The Heroic Temper. Studies in Sophoclean Tragedy. Berkeley, Los Angeles, London: University of California Press, 1964.
- Lauriola, Rosanna, and Kyriakos N. Demetriou, eds. Brill’s Companion to the Reception of Sophocles. Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2017.
- Long, A. A. Language and Thought in Sophocles: A Study of Abstract Nouns and Poetic Technique. London: Athlone, 1968.
- Markantonatos, Andreas, ed. Brill’s Companion to Sophocles. Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2012.
- Mee, Erin B., and Helene P. Foley, eds. Antigone on the Contemporary World Stage. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011.
- Morwood, James. The Tragedies of Sophocles. Exeter: Bristol Phoenix Press, 2008.
- Ormand, Kirk. Exchange and the Maiden: Marriage in Sophoclean Tragedy. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1999.
- Ormand, Kirk, ed. A Companion to Sophocles. Malden, MA: Wiley, 2012.
- Reinhardt, Karl. Sophokles. Frankfurt am Main: Klostermann, 19331, 19432, 19473 (English translation London: Blackwell, 1979).
- Rodighiero, Andrea. Generi lirico-corali nella produzione drammatica di Sofocle. Tübingen: Narr, 2012.
- Romilly, Jacqueline de, ed. Sophocle. Vandoeuvres and Geneva: Fondation Hardt, 1983.
- Segal, Charles. Tragedy and Civilization: An Interpretation of Sophocles. Cambridge, MA and London: Harvard University Press, 1981.
- Segal, Charles. Sophocles’ Tragic World: Divinity, Nature, Society. Cambridge, MA and London: Harvard University Press, 1995.
- Sommerstein, Alan H., ed. Shards from Kolonos: Studies in Sophoclean Fragments. Bari: Levante, 2003.
- Steiner, George. Antigones: The Antigone Myth in Western Literature, Art and Thought. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1984.
- Wilamowitz-Moellendorff, Tycho von. Die dramatische Technik des Sophokles. Berlin: Weidmann, 1917.
- Winnington-Ingram, R. P. Sophocles: An Interpretation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1980.
- Wright, Matthew. The Lost Plays of Greek Tragedy. Volume 2: Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides. London: Bloomsbury, 2019.
Life and Career
Critical Editions (without Translation/Commentary)
Commentaries on Individual Plays
Cambridge Classical Texts and Commentaries
Ajax: Finglass, P. J. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011. [with translation in the commentary]
Electra: Finglass, P. J. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007.
Oedipus the King: Finglass, P. J. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2018. [with translation in the commentary]
Cambridge Greek and Latin Classics
Antigone: Griffiths, Mark. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999.
Electra: Kells, J. H. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1973.
Oedipus the King: Dawe, R. D. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 19821, 20062.
Philoctetes: Webster, T. B. L. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1970; Schein, S. L. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013.
Trachiniae: Easterling, P. E. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1982.
Aris and Phillips (with Facing Translations)
Ajax: Garvie, A. F. Oxford: Aris and Phillips, 1998.
Antigone: Brown, Andrew. Warminster: Aris and Phillips, 1987.
Electra: March Jenny. Oxford: Aris and Phillips, 2001.
The Epigoni, Oenomaus, Palamedes, The Arrival of Nauplius, Nauplius and the Beacon, The Shepherds, Triptolemus: Sommerstein, A. H., and T. Talboy. Selected Fragmentary Plays. Volume II. Oxford: Aris and Phillips, 2012.
Hermione, Polyxene, The Diners, Tereus, Troilus, Phaedra: Sommerstein, A. H., D. Fitzpatrick, and T. Talboy. Selected Fragmentary Plays. Volume I, Oxford: Aris and Phillips, 2006.
Ichneutae and other satyr plays: O’Sullivan, P., and C. Collard. Euripides: Cyclops and Major Fragments of Greek Satyric Drama. Oxford: Aris and Phillips, 2013.
Oedipus the King: March, Jenny. Oxford: Aris and Phillips, 2020.
Philoctetes: Ussher, R. G. Warminster: Aris and Phillips, 1990.
Griechische Dramen (De Gruyter) (with facing German Translations)
Electra: Schmitz, Thomas A. Berlin and Boston: De Gruyter, 2016.
Oedipus the King: Manuwald, Bernd. Berlin and Boston: De Gruyter, 2012.
Philoctetes: Manuwald, Bernd. Berlin and Boston: De Gruyter, 2018.
Sofocle: tragedie e frammenti (Mondadori) (with facing Italian Translations)
Electra: Dunn, Francis, Lana Lomiento, and Bruno Gentili. N.p.: Mondadori, 2019.
Oedipus at Colonus: Avezzù, Guido, Giulio Guidorizzi, and Giovanni Cerri. N.p.: Mondadori, 2008.
Philoctetes: Avezzù, Guido, Piero Pucci, and Giovanni Cerri. N.p.: Mondadori, 2003.
Commentaries not in any series
Ajax: Stanford, W. B. London: Macmillan, 1963.
Polyidus: Carrara, Laura. Rome: Edizioni di storia e letteratura, 2014. [with facing Italian translation]
Tereus: Milo, Daniela. Naples: D’Auria, 2008.
Trachiniae: Davies, Malcolm. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1991.
Duckworth Companions to Greek and Roman Tragedy (not commentaries, but each devoted to a particular play)
Ajax: Hesk, Jon. London: Duckworth, 2003.
Antigone: Cairns, Douglas. London: Bloomsbury, 2016.
Electra: Lloyd, Michael. London: Duckworth, 2005.
Oedipus at Colonus: Kelly, Adrian. London: Duckworth, 2009.
Philoctetes: Roisman, Hanna M. London: Duckworth, 2005.
Trachiniae: Levett, Brad. London: Duckworth, 2004.
Ancient Commentators (Scholia)
Ajax: Christodoulou, G. A. Athens, 1977.
Antigone: Xenis, Georgios A. Berlin and Boston: De Gruyter, 2021.
Complete: Papageorgius, Petrus N. Leipzig: Teubner, 1888.
Electra: Xenis, Georgios A. Berlin and Boston: De Gruyter, 2010.
Oedipus at Colonus: Xenis, Georgios A. Berlin and Boston: De Gruyter, 2018.
Oedipus the King: Longo, Oddone. Padua: Antenore, 1971. [mediaeval/Byzantine scholia only]
Philoctetes: Janz, Timothy J. Diss. Oxford, 2005.
Trachiniae: Xenis, Georgios A. Berlin and Boston: De Gruyter, 2010.
Lexicon and Syntax
Criticism, Interpretation, Reception
1. ‘Test.’ refers to testimonia collected in Stefan L. Radt, Tragicorum Graecorum Fragmenta, Vol. 4 (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1977, reprinted with corrections and addenda 1999).