Born about 480 B.C., somewhere in the vicinity of Athens, Euripides, the son of Mnesarchides, was destined from the beginning to be a misunderstood poet. He presented his first set of tragedies at the Great Dionysia in 455 B.C., but did not win his first victory until 441. In fact, he won only five awards--and the fifth of these was not awarded until after his death. This lack of recognition might seem a bit odd when one considers that Euripides wrote about 92 plays and was compared, even during his lifetime, to the likes of Aeschylus and Sophocles. But Euripides was ignored by the judges of the Greek festival because he did not cater to the the fancies of the Athenian crowd. He did not approve of their superstitions and refused to condone their moral hypocrisy. He was a pacifist, a free thinker, and a humanitarian in an age when such qualities were increasingly overshadowed by intolerance and violence. Perhaps that is why he chose to live much of his life alone with his books in a cave on the island of Salamis.