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Ajax 2

Ajax 2 dragging Cassandra from the sanctuary of Athena. RII.1-0981: Aias und Kassandra, Vasenbild (Ann. d. Inst. 1877 tav. d'agg. N). Roscher, 1884.

"And the Locrians had as leader the swift son of Oileus, Ajax the lesser, in no wise as great as Telamonian Ajax, but far less. Small of stature was he, with corselet of linen, but with the spear he far excelled the whole host of Hellenes and Achaeans." (Hom.Il.2.527).

"Ajax, you master of railing, witless in counsel, in all things else you fall behind the other Argives, for your mind is stubborn." (Idomeneus 1 to Ajax 2. Hom.Il.23.483).

This Ajax (Ajax 2), the son of Oileus 1, is usually called "the Locrian" or "the little" to distinguish him from Telamonian Ajax 1, who is called "great" for being the best warrior among the Achaeans—second only to Achilles—and also for his stature. Ajax 2's father, King Oileus 1 of Locris, traveling with the ARGONAUTS (Hyg.Fab.14), was wounded by one of the Stymphalian Birds (Arg.2.1037). Like the other Ajax, Ajax 2 had a half-brother, Medon 1, whom Aeneas killed at Troy (Hom.Il.15.332). During the Trojan War, the two Ajax often fought in a team, and are therefore known as "the AIANTES". Ajax 2 was of smaller complexion than Ajax 1, but excelled with the spear (Hom.Il.2.527), and was in running second only to Achilles (Hom.Il.23.790).

Ajax 2 was one of the SUITORS OF HELEN (Apd.3.10.8; Hyg.Fa.81), which means he was bound by The Oath of Tyndareus—the defence pact that forced the whole of Hellas to go to war. So when the alliance against Troy was formed after the abduction of Helen, Ajax 2 became leader of the Locrians, contributing with 20 (Hyg.Fab.97), or perhaps 40 ships to the Achaean fleet (see ACHAEAN LEADERS, to compare with other contributions). Later, he is found among those who hid inside the WOODEN HORSE (QS.12.314ff.; Pau.3.19.12).

Ajax 2 was a brave man, but shortly after the war he was destroyed by the gods on account of his outrageous behavior during the sack of Troy.

Fighting at Troy

The AIANTES were the first that Poseidon (borrowing the form of Calchas) summoned to defend the ships:

"Ye Aiantes twain, ye two shall save the host of the Achaeans, if ye are mindful of your might, and think not of chill rout." (Hom.Il.13.46).

… and in the fierce fight they stood side by side (Hom.Il.13.708). When they prevailed it could be seen that

"… most men did Ajax slay, the swift son of Oileus; for there was none other like him to pursue with speed of foot amid the rout of men." (Hom.Il.14.520).

According to Hyginus (Fabulae 114), Ajax 2 killed fourteen Trojan warriors during the Trojan War. Here are some of them:

Amphimedon 3 (QS.13.211).
Cleobulus (Hom.Il.16.330.)
Derinoe, one of the AMAZONS who came with Penthesilia to the Trojan War (QS.1.42, 1.258).
Gavius (Hyg.Fab.113).
Satnius, son of Enops 1, the man who tended his herds by the banks of Satnioeis (Hom.Il.14.444). Satnioeis or Saphnioeis is a river in the Troad (Hom.Il.6.34, 21.87).

But Scylaceus he only wounded and failed to kill. This Trojan warrior thus survived the war and later came to Lycia. There he was questioned by the women about their sons and husbands, and their fate in the war. But when he told them that they all were dead, the women stoned him to death (QS.10.147).

Ajax 2 took also part in the defence of the corpse of Patroclus 1, and of Achilles' armour.

3505: Poseidon destroying Ajax 2. Drawing by Bonaventura Genelli, 1798-1868.

His iniquity and death

Ajax 2 was a brave man, but during the sack of Troy, cowardice came upon him and he raped the seeress and princess Cassandra. While trying to drag her away from a sanctuary, he teared down the image of Athena (Proclus, Chrestomathia, ii).

Because of this outrage, the Achaean kings assembled. Odysseus then advised to stone Ajax 2 to death for his crime, but no punishment was decided. Yet, during the Returns of the ACHAEAN LEADERS, the gods sent storms and contrary winds on the ground that the Achaeans had despoiled the shrines, and Ajax 2 had dragged Cassandra from the sanctuary of Athena.

In one of these storms, Athena threw a thunderbolt against Ajax 2's ship. When it went to pieces, he made his way safe to a rock, declaring that he was saved in spite of the intention of Athena. But then Poseidon smote the rock with his trident, splitting it, and Ajax 2 fell into the sea and perished. His body, being washed up, was buried by Thetis in Myconos (the small island to the east of Delos).

If Leonymus is to be believed, the soul of Ajax 2 is in the White Isle (at the mouths of the Ister = Danube). For the death of Ajax 2, see also Hom.Od.4.499ff., Apd.Ep.6.6, Hyg.Fab.116, QS.14.530ff., etc. For the White Isle, see also Isles of the Blest.






Oileus 1 & Rhene 1
Oileus 1 & Eriopis 1

Oileus 1 was son of Hodoedocus and Agrianome.
Rhene 1 was the concubine of Oileus 1. Oileus 1 had by her a bastard son Medon 1, who replaced Philoctetes as chief against Troy, and was commander of the Phthians. Medon 1 was killed by Aeneas during the Trojan War.


Ajax 2 raped Cassandra.

Genealogical Charts

Names in this chart: Agrianome, Ajax 2, Cassandra, Hodoedocus, Medon 1, Oileus 1, Perseon, Priam 1, Rhene 1.

Related sections



Apd.3.10.8; Apd.Ep.3.11, 5.22, 6.6; Hom.Il.13.695ff.; Hyg.Fab.97, 116; Pau.1.15.2, 3.19.12, 10.26.2; QS.12.314ff., 13.422, 14.532ff.; SI.1; Try.165, 647.

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