2. The son of Ariston and grandson of the elder Sophocles, was also an Athenian tragic poet.
The love of his grandfather towards him has been already mentioned; and it cannot be doubted that one chief way in which Sophocles displayed his affection was by endeavouring to train up his grandson as the inheritor of his own skill in the art of tragedy. We have no definite statement of his age, but he was probably under twenty at the time of his grandfather's death, as he did not begin to exhibit his own dramas till about ten years after that time, namely in B. C. 396. (Diod 14.53, where Σοφοκλῆς ὁ Σοφοκλέους
must either be corrected by adding υἱωνὸς
, or must be understood to mean the grandson,
and not the son
He had previously, in B. C. 401, brought out the Oedipus at Colonus (Argum. ad Oed. Col.),
and we may safely assume that this was not the only one of his grandfather's dramas which he exhibited.
There is much difficulty as to the proper reading of the numbers of plays and victories ascribed to him.
According to the different readings, he exhibited 40 or 11 dramas, and gained 12, 11, or 7 prizes. (Suid. s.v. Diod. l.c. ;
comp. Clinton, F. H.
vol. ii. p. xxxv. e.) All that we know of his tragedies is contained in a passage of Clemens Alexandrinus (Protrept. 30,
p. 26, Potter), who refers to statements made in three of them respecting the mere humanity of the Dioscuri.
It is, however, a very probable conjecture that, since Aristophanes of Byzantium pronounced 27 of the plays which were extant in his time under the name of the great Sophocles to be spurious, some of these may have been the productions of his grandson. Suidas also ascribes elegies to the younger Sophocles. (Welcker, die Griech. Trag.
p. 979 ; Kayser, Hist. Crit. Trag. Graec.
pp. 79-81 ; Wagner, Poet. Trag. Graec. Frag.
in Didot's Bibliotheca,