Ajax The Lesser - Death

Death

Whether true or not, Athena still had cause to be indignant, as Ajax had dragged a supplicant from her temple. According to the Bibliotheca, no one had realised that Ajax had raped Cassandra until Calchas, the Greek seer, warned the Greeks that Athena was furious at the treatment of her priestess and she would destroy the Greek ships if they didn't kill him immediately. Despite this, Ajax managed to hide in the altar of an unnamed deity where the Greeks, fearing divine retribution should they kill him and destroy the altar, allowed him to live. When the Greeks left without killing Ajax, despite their sacrifices Athena became so angry that she persuaded Zeus to send a storm that sank many of their ships. When Ajax finally left Troy, Athena hit his ship with a thunderbolt, but Ajax still survived, managing to cling onto a rock. He boasted that even the gods could not kill him and Poseidon, upon hearing this, split the rock with his trident, causing Ajax to eventually drown. Thetis buried him when the corpse washed up on Myconos. Other versions depict a different death for Ajax, showing him dying when on his voyage home. In these versions, when Ajax came to the Capharean Rocks on the coast of Euboea, his ship was wrecked in a fierce storm, he himself was lifted up in a whirlwind and impaled with a flash of rapid fire from Athena in his chest, and his body thrust upon sharp rocks, which afterwards were called the rocks of Ajax.

After his death his spirit dwelt in the island of Leuce. The Opuntian Locrians worshiped Ajax as their national hero, and so great was their faith in him that when they drew up their army in battle, they always left one place open for him, believing that, although invisible to them, he was fighting for and among them. The story of Ajax was frequently made use of by ancient poets and artists, and the hero who appears on some Locrian coins with the helmet, shield, and sword is probably this Ajax.

Other accounts of his death are offered by Philostratus and the scholiast on Lycophron.

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