Ajax (Ancient Greek: Αἴας Aias) was a Greek mythological hero, son of Oileus, the king of Locris. He was called the "lesser" or "Locrian" Ajax, to distinguish him from Ajax the Great, son of Telamon. He was the leader of the Locrian contingent during the Trojan War. He is a significant figure in Homer's Iliad and is also mentioned in the Odyssey, in Virgil's Aeneid and in Euripides' The Trojan Women. In Etruscan legend, he was known as Aivas Vilates.
Ajax's mother's name was Eriopis. According to Strabo, he was born in Naryx in Locris, where Ovid calls him Narycius Heroes. According to the Iliad, he led his Locrians in forty ships against Troy. He is described as one of the great heroes among the Greeks. In battle, he wore a linen cuirass (λινοθώραξ), was brave and intrepid, especially skilled in throwing the spear and, next to Achilles, the swiftest of all the Greeks.
In the funeral games at the pyre of Patroclus, he contended with Odysseus and Antilochus for the prize in the footrace; but Athena, who was hostile towards him and favored Odysseus, made him stumble and fall, so that he won only the second prize. On his return from Troy, his vessel was wrecked on the Whirling Rocks (Γυραὶ πέτραι), but he escaped upon a rock through the assistance of Poseidon. He would have been saved in spite of Athena, but he said that he would escape the dangers of the sea in defiance of the immortals. In punishment for this presumption, Poseidon split the rock with his trident and Ajax was swallowed up by the sea.
In later traditions, this Ajax is called a son of Oileus and the nymph Rhene and is also mentioned among the suitors of Helen. After the taking of Troy, it is said he rushed into the temple of Athena, where Cassandra had taken refuge, and was embracing the statue of the goddess in supplication. Ajax violently dragged her away to the other captives. According to some writers, he even raped Cassandra inside the temple. Odysseus, at least, accused him of this crime and Ajax was to be stoned to death, but saved himself by establishing his innocence with an oath. The whole charge was sometimes said to have been an invention of Agamemnon, who wanted to have Cassandra for himself....LESS