Ajax (1. The Greater; 2. The Lesser)
1. Ajax, the Greater
Also known as Telamonian Ajax and Greater Ajax.
In Greek mythology, the son of Telamon, king of Salamis. After Achilles, he was the mightiest of the Greek heroes in the Trojan War. He was a man of giant stature, daring but slow-witted.
As most of the great Greek warriors, he also received his arms and fighting skills training by Chiron, the centaur. He fought Hector in single combat, and even though he wounded the Trojan prince with his spear, he failed to kill him. The contest was declared a draw.
Ajax was known for his great might and bravery. When Achilles' best friend Patroclus is killed, it is Ajax, with the help of Menelaus, that prevents Hector from throwing his body to the dogs, bringing it back safely to the Greek encampment. Later, when Achilles is killed, him and Odysseus (Ulysses) are the ones who rescue his corpse from the Trojans.
In the Odyssey, when the armor of Achilles is awarded to Odysseus, as the champion, Ajax goes mad and kills himself. Later Odysseus encountered him in the underworld and tried to placate his anger, but the ghost, still nursing his resentment, stalked away in speechless rage.
2. Ajax, the Lesser.
In Greek mythology, the son of Oileus, king of Locris, and a man of small stature.
Ajax the Lesser was a brave warrior and the leader of the Locrian contingent during the Trojan War, but he was also a brutal and blasphemous man who at the sack of Troy desecrated the sacred Palladium. As consequence of this act, and of the rape of Priam's daughter Cassandra, a prophetess, he was finally drowned by Poseidon after being shipwrecked.
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Sources: (1) Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase & Fable, Harper Collins Publishers; (2) Evans, Bergen, Dictionary of Mythology, Dell Publishing; (3) Hamilton, Edith, Mythology: Timeless Tales of Gods and Heroes, Warner Books.
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