Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Ajax, the name of two Homeric warriors, between whom there appears to have been no kinship. 1. The "Great" Ajax was the son of Telamon and King of Salamis. There was in the Iliad nothing to connect him with Attica until Solon inserted a spurious line (ii. 557), after which he was adopted as an Athenian hero and a theme for dramatists. Renowned in Homeric times for physical might, sturdy courage, and manly beauty, he is deficient, perhaps, in the finest and noblest qualities of the hero. His defeat by Ulysses in the competition for the arms of Achilles led him to quarrel with that king and with Athena. The goddess afflicted him with madness, which resulted in his slaying himself, as related by Sophocles in his tragedy. 2. The "Lesser" Ajax, son of Oileus, King of Locri, is extolled by Homer for his swiftness of foot and his courage, but he was haughty and insubordinate. According to the Epic legend, he lost a race with Ulysses (II. xxiii. 754 - 784), incurred also the enmity of Athena and was wrecked on his homeward voyage (Od. iv. 499) Other stories relate that the goddess was offended by his assault on Cassandra, and that he put out to sea in a small craft and was drowned.