Ayax the great Picture

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Ajax (mythology)

In Homer's Iliad he is described as of great stature, colossal frame and strongest of all the Achaeans. Known as the "bulwark of the Achaeans", he was trained by the centaur Chiron (who had trained Ajax' father Telamon and Achilles' father Peleus and would later die of an accidental wound inflicted by Heracles, whom he was at the time training), at the same time as Achilles. He was described as vicious, fearless, strong and powerful but also with a very high level of combat intelligence. Ajax commands his army wielding a huge shield made of seven cow-hides with a layer of bronze. Most notably, Ajax is not wounded in any of the battles described in the Iliad, and he is the only principal character on either side who does not receive substantial assistance from any of the gods who take part in the battles, although, in book 13, Poseidon strikes Ajax with his staff, renewing his strength.

In Sophocles' play Ajax, a famous retelling of Ajax's demise takes place—after the armor is awarded to Odysseus the hero Ajax is so insulted, that he wants to kill the sons of Atreus (Agamemnon and Menelaus). But Athena intervenes and clouds his mind and vision. He goes to a flock of sheep and slaughters them, imagining they are the Achaean leaders, including Odysseus and Agamemnon. When he comes to his senses, covered in blood, and realizes that what he has done has diminished his honor, and he decides that he prefers to kill himself rather than live in shame. He does so with the same sword Hector gave him when they exchanged presents.[6] From his blood sprang a red flower, as at the death of Hyacinthus, which bore on its leaves the initial letters of his name Ai, also expressive of lament


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