Ajax

Bronze shield band relief, 6th century BC, and sketch. Berlin Archeological Institute B1636Drawing. Florence Museo Archeologico 4209 FR pl. 1-2Ajax (1) Greek hero in the Trojan War, famous for his strength and courage. He was son of Telamon of Salamis, and for this near-Athenian association he became the eponymous hero of one of the classical Athenian tribes. At Troy he fought many prominent Trojans, including Hektor. In art he is shown playing dice with Achilles, both fully armed for the battle from which they are distracted. He rescues Achilles' body from the battlefield and hopes to be awarded his divine armour. He is thwarted in this by Odysseus: the dispute and voting of the Greeks is shown in art. In despair he commits suicide by falling on his sword, and in later art is shown contemplating the deed, with drawn sword.

Ajax (2) 'Lesser Ajax', a Greek hero in the Trojan War, from Locris. During the Sack of Troy he rapes the prophetess and daughter of King Priam, Kassandra, tearing her from the sanctuary of Athena's statue. A generally unpleasant character, said to have been drowned by Poseidon for blasphemy.

Above left: Bronze shield band relief, 6th century BC, and sketch. Berlin Archeological Institute B1636 © Archeological Institute, Berlin

Above right: Drawing. Florence Museo Archeologico 4209 FR pl. 1-2 © Florence Museo Archeologico