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The Death of Ajax Telamonides

After the death of Achilles, his golden armor, forged by god Hephaestus, remained. Thetis commanded to give them to the one who was most distinguished, protecting the body of Achilles.

Ajax and Odysseus argue for Achilles' weapon
Ajax and Odysseus are arguing over Achilles' weapon, Agamemnon is standing between them,
the warriors are holding Ajax and Odysseus by the hands.
(Drawing on a vase.)

Therefore, either Ajax should have received them, or Odysseus. It was between them that the dispute over the armor broke out. But how was this dispute resolved? Both heroes were worthy of a reward. Finally, it was decided that the captured Trojans should be the judges in this dispute. And here Athena-Pallas helped her pet Odysseus. It was used to replace Agamemnon and Menelaus the lot of Ajax, and even incorrectly counted the votes of the Trojans, and received the armor of Odysseus. Mighty Ajax was saddened. He went to his tent, planning to take revenge on his sons Atreus and Odyssey.

At night, when the whole camp of the Greeks was immersed in a deep sleep, he came out of his tent with a sword in his hands, intending to kill Agamemnon and Menelaus. But the goddess Pallas Athena struck Ajax with madness. The goddess had been angry with him for a long time because he rejected, hoping for his strength, the help of the gods. Mad Ajax rushed at a herd of bulls, began to kill them in the dark, thinking that he was killing the Greeks. He drove the remaining bulls to his tent, imagining that he was chasing prisoners. Ajax tortured the bulls terribly in his tent. He rejoiced in their torment and death. After all, for him, in his madness, they were not bulls, but the sons of Atreus, At last Ajax's mind gradually began to clear up. Great was his horror when he saw that his entire tent was filled with slaughtered animals. Horrified, Ajax asks to explain to him what happened. When they told him everything, an unspeakable grief seized the heart of the great hero. He decided by his death to atone for the shame that had befallen him. Entrusting his son Eurysacus to protect his brother Teucer and the warriors who came with him from Salamis, he retired to the seashore, taking with him a sword that he had once received as a gift from Hector, saying that he is going to pray to the gods to have mercy on him, he wants to dedicate his sword to Hades and the goddess of night Nyukte.

In the camp of the Greeks, word spread about what Ajax had done. They found bulls and sheep killed by him and the corpses of shepherds. Odysseus found out from the bloody footprints that Ajax had done all this. Agamemnon and Menelaus were terribly angry and decided to take revenge on Ajax.

Meanwhile, a messenger came from Teucer. He informed Ajax's friends that they should protect the great hero, since he was in danger of death, but that death threatened him only on that day, when the day passed safely, then nothing would threaten Ajax. Soon Teucer himself arrived in the camp. When he learned that his brother had gone to the seashore, he ran to look for him. He was afraid that an accident had happened to Ajax. And indeed, he did not find his brother already alive. On the seashore, Teucer found only the corpse of Ajax: he threw himself on his sword. Thus perished the most powerful hero of the Greeks after Achilles.

Menelaus and Agamemnon did not want to allow Teucer to bury his brother's corpse. There could have been open hostility between Teucer and the sons of Atreus, an internecine battle would have begun in the camp of the Greeks if Odysseus had not intervened in the matter. He persuaded Agamemnon to allow Teucer to bury the great Ajax, who had rendered so many great services to the Greeks. A new burial mound was erected next to the mound of Achilles: under this mound rested the ashes of the mighty son of Telamon, Ajax.