He was born in 546 BC. He died around 460 BC (about 86 years old)
He wrote tragedies and started writing plays when he was 22 years old. He lived in Athens for most of his life.
Choerilus was said to have competed with Aeschylus, Pratinas and even Sophocles. According to Friedrich Gottlieb Welcker, however, the rival of Sophocles was a son of Choerilus, who bore the same name. The Suidas states that Choerilus wrote 150 tragedies and gained the prize thirteen times. His works are all lost; only Pausanias mentions a play by him entitled Alope (a mythological personage who was the subject of dramas by Euripides and Carcinus). His reputation as a writer of satyric dramas is attested in the well-known line:
The Choerilean metre, mentioned by the Latin grammarians, is probably so called because the above line is the oldest extant specimen. Choerilus was also said to have introduced considerable improvements in theatrical masks and costumes.
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Choerilus". Encyclopædia Britannica. 6 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 260. In this article, he is the first poet of this name discussed. This article cites:
- A. Nauck (1889). Tragicorum Graecorum Fragmenta.
- F. G. Welcker. Die griechischen Tragödien. pp. 18,892.