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The author of a slate of tragedies in the festival of Dionysus also served as director, producer, musical composer, choreographer, and sometimes even one of the actors. Only men of some wealth could afford the prodigious amounts of time such work demanded because the prizes in the tragedy competition were probably modest. As citizens, playwrights also fulfilled the normal military and political obligations of an Athenian man. The best known Athenian tragedians—Aeschylus1 (525-456 B.C.), Sophocles2 (c. 496-406 B.C.), and Euripides 3 (c. 485-406 B.C.)—all either served in the army, held public office at some point in their careers, or they did both. Aeschylus fought at Marathon and Salamis; the epitaph on his tombstone, which says nothing of his great success as a playwright, reveals how highly he valued his contribution to his city-state as a citizen-soldier: “Under this stone lies Aeschylus the Athenian, son of Euphorion ... the grove at Marathon and the Persians who landed there were witnesses to his courage.”4

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