The Ancients

Sophocles' Lost Plays: Solving the Puzzle

Listen on

Episode notes

The Big Three. In antiquity it could mean a whole host of different things, the triumvirate of Caesar, Pompey and Crassus for instance. But for many, ‘The Big Three’ means the three great tragedians of Ancient Greece we know so well today: Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides. Today’s podcast is all about Sophocles, the creator of famous plays such as Oedipus Rex, Ajax and Antigone. Seven of his plays survive in full, but believe it or not this is but a morsel of the many works that Sophocles created. Fragments of more than 100 other plays written by Sophocles have been uncovered. Though only snippets survive, and in various forms, they have provided valuable insights into Sophocles’ career and how he wrote much more than just tragedy. Even more extraordinary, to this day new fragments continue to be studied. They continue to reveal more about Sophocles and his works, slowly adding more pieces to the puzzle that is this famous dramatist - and ancient Greek drama as a whole. Sophocles may have been living over 2,500 years ago, but his story is far from over. I was delighted to be joined by Dr Lyndsay Coo, a leading expert on Sophocles and his lost plays, to talk through the life and legacy of this famous dramatist. We first talk about Sophocles and his seven surviving plays, before going on to the many, many fragments that survive and their significance. This was an enthralling and eye-opening chat. Enjoy.  

See for privacy and opt-out information.