Sophocles was an ancient Greek writer. He is one among three tragedians from his era whose plays have survived. Sophocles was the most decorated and celebrated playwright for almost five decades, during which he won 24 out of 30 dramatic competitions, which took place in the city-state of Athens during the religious festivals of the Dionysia and the Lenaea.
One of the three ancient Greek tragedians, together with Sophocles and Aeschylus, Euripides wrote around 92 plays, out of which 18 or 19 have survived intact. He is known for theatrical innovations that influenced modern drama as well. This particularly includes his representation of mythical heroes as common people in exceptional circumstances. His notable works include Hippolytus, Alcestis and Medea.
There is not a single child in the world who has not heard of Aesop’s Fables, but the legendary Greek fabulist Aesop, known for using animal characters to impart moral lessons, is believed to have never existed, by some historians. Aesop was perhaps a name concocted to unite references for age-old fables.
Nikos Kazantzakis was a Greek writer whose works earned him nine nominations for the prestigious Nobel Prize in Literature. Regarded as a giant of modern Greek literature, Kazantzakis achieved international fame when his works, such as The Life And Times Of Alexis Zorba and The Last Temptation of Christ, were adapted into feature films.
Hesiod was an ancient Greek poet who was credited by ancient authors with establishing Greek religious customs. Modern scholars often cite his work as an important source for early economic thought, Greek mythology, archaic Greek astronomy, farming techniques, and ancient time-keeping.
Empedocles of Acragas was the man behind the proposition that there are four elements, or roots, that make up all structures of the world: air, water, earth, and fire. He also introduced the concepts of Love and Strife. His work has been summarized in the poems Purifications and On Nature.
Widely regarded as one of the most distinguished Greek poets of the 20th century, Constantine Peter Cavafy became known for his own individual style. During his lifetime, he preferred to share his work through local newspapers and magazines only. His first book was published two years after his death. He also worked as a journalist and a civil servant.
Greek poet Thespis is not just believed to be the first actor of Greek drama but also the inventor of tragedy. He is also said to have introduced dialogues into choral tragedies and was the first to stage a Greek tragedy at the City Dionysia.
Turkish poet and author Nâzım Hikmet was chiefly known as a Romantic Communist. After being jailed in Turkey for his political activities, he spent the rest of his life in the Soviet Union and eastern Europe. He redefined Turkish literature with his free verse and poems such as Şeyh Bedreddin destanı.
Archaic Greek poet Archilochus is remembered for his elegiac and lyric poetry. Fragments of his poetry that are still available offer significant descriptions of the solar eclipse of 648 BCE, the events leading to the Trojan war, and Lydian king Gyges’s riches. Some even compare him to Homer and Hesiod.
Known for his lyric poems, Simonides of Ceos is also known as the Greek Voltaire. Often compared to legends such as Pindar, Simonides served in the court of Peisistratids and was also later patronized by Scopas and other significant figures. His poetry often described battles, such as the Persian Wars.
Best known for his idylls such as Thyrsis and Thalysia, Greek poet Theocritus hailed from Sicily. Remembered as the pioneer of pastoral poetry, he described realistic rural ways of life and inspired later pastoral poems and elegies by legends such as John Milton, P. B. Shelley, and Matthew Arnold.
George Seferis was a Greek diplomat and poet. A Nobel laureate, Seferis is widely regarded as one of the most prominent Greek poets of the 20th century. A well-known and respected diplomat, George Seferis served as the Ambassador to the UK from 1957 to 1962.
Critias was an ancient Athenian author and political figure. He is best remembered as one of the leading members of the infamous pro-Spartan oligarchy, The Thirty Tyrants. As an author, Critias is remembered for his prose works, elegies, and tragedies.
Born in Lyon, Frenchwoman Maximiani Julia Portas later changed her name to Savitri Devi and adopted Nazism. The ardent cat lover earned a PhD in philosophy and later acquired Greek nationality and served as an Axis spy. She claimed Adolf Hitler was an avatar of the Hindu god Vishnu.
Alcaeus, also known as Alcaeus of Mytilene, was an important lyric poet from the island of Lesbos in Greece. Alcaeus is remembered for his invention of the Alcaic stanza, a lyrical meter. Alcaeus was named among nine lyric poets included in the canonical list by the scholars of Hellenistic Alexandria. Alcaeus' work has influenced the works of poets like Horace.
Odysseas Elytis was a Greek poet, translator, and essayist. He is widely regarded as one of the most popular and important exponents of romantic modernism of his generation. He is also one of the most celebrated poets of the latter half of the 20th century. Odysseas Elytis was honored with the prestigious Nobel Prize in Literature in 1979.
Often considered a mythical figure, Arion was a Greek poet and musician from Lesbos, and is considered to be the inventor of the dithyrambic form of poetry. Mythical versions state he was the son of Cyclon, or of Poseidon, and was saved from drowning by dolphins who were mesmerized by his music.
One of the world’s most prominent computer science theorists, Christos Papadimitriou is also a professor at Columbia University. Best known for his research on computational complexity, he has also contributed to areas such as the theory of evolution, game theory, robotics, and economics. He has taught at Harvard, Stanford, and MIT, too.
Aratus was a Greek didactic poet whose major works have not survived, although some remain like his impressive hexameter poem Phenomena. Aratus, who described constellations and celestial phenomena in his work, was hugely popular in the Roman and Greek world. His works attracted younger writers, who in turn produced a large number of translations and commentaries based on Aratus' work.
Rigas Feraios was a Greek writer, revolutionary, and political thinker. A front runner of the Greek War of Independence, Feraios is revered as one of the most important national heroes in Greece. Rigas Feraios is also credited with kindling the Greeks' love of freedom.
Tyrtaeus was a Greek elegiac poet best remembered for his works written during a time of crises in the city of Sparta: a civic unrest—which he later mentioned in his poem Eunomia—and the Second Messenian War, which saw him play a crucial role in successfully egging on Spartans to fight for their city until their death.
Greek orator and philosopher Dio Chrysostom is best remembered for his political discourses. Exiled from Bithynia and Italy for political differences, he lived the life of a vagrant for 14 years, and got back to be a philosopher after emperor Domitian’s murder. His works contain orations for Trajan and essays on slavery.
Apollodorus of Athens was a Greek scholar from the 2nd century B.C. Best remembered for his chronicle of Greek history, titled Chronika, he also penned a 24-volume prose work known as On the Gods, which was later lost. He also wrote volumes on mythology, philology, and geography.
Corinna was a Greek lyric poet whose work has led scholars like Herbert Weir Smyth to praise her by calling her the second-most popular ancient Greek woman poet in history after Sappho. Corinna seems to have enjoyed a lot of attention and popularity among the people of ancient Tanagra and ancient Rome. Corinna's poetry has also fascinated feminist literary historians.
Theognis of Megara was a Greek lyric poet best remembered for his gnomic poetry featuring practical advice about life and ethical maxims. He was the first known Greek poet to worry about the eventual fate and existence of his own work. Theognis of Megara's work has attracted and influenced several modern-day scientists and scholars like Charles Darwin and Friedrich Nietzsche.
Greco-Roman writer, playwright and epic poet of the Old Latin Livius Andronicus is considered as the father of Roman drama as also of Latin literature. The tragedies and comedies he wrote for the stage are regarded as the first dramatic works written in the Latin language. One of his notable works includes the Latin translation of Homer’s Greek epic-poem Odyssey.
Nonnus, also known as Nonnus of Panopolis, was a Greek epic poet considered the most important of them all from the Imperial Roman era. Nonnus is credited with composing the epic poem Dionysiaca, which is one of the longest surviving works from Greco-Roman antiquity. His works seems to have greatly influenced the poets of Late Antiquity like Musaeus and Colluthus.
Bacchylides was a Greek lyric poet whose elegant and polished lyrics led scholars of future generations to characterize them as superficial charm. Bacchylides is widely regarded as one of the last major poets to represent the more ancient tradition of lyric poetry.
Erinna was an ancient Greek poet who is most recognised for her poem The Distaff, a 300-line hexameter poem of lament for her childhood friend Baucis. Other than this, Erinna is also known for three epigrams which are preserved in the Greek Anthology. She is believed to have lived in the fourth century BC, most likely, on the Greek Island of Telos.