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AIAS
Form: Lat. Aiax.
Son of Telamon of Salamis, and half-brother of Teucer: called the Great Aias, because he stood head and shoulders higher than the other Greek heroes. He brings twelve ships to Troy, where he proves himself second only to Achilles in strength and bravery; and while that hero holds aloof from the fight, he is the mainstay of the Achaeans, especially when the Trojans have taken their camp by storm and are pushing the battle to their ships. In the struggle over the corpse of Patroclus, he and his namesake the son of Oileus cover Menelaus and Meriones while they carry off their fallen comrade. When Thetis offered the arms and armour of Achilles as a prize for the worthiest, they were adjudged, not to Aias, but to his only competitor Odysseus. Trojan captives bore witness that the cunning of Odysseus had done them more harm than the valour of Achilles. Aias thereupon, according to the post-Homeric legend, killed himself in anger, a feeling he still cherished against Odysseus even in the lower world. The later legend relates that he was driven mad by the slight, mistook the flocks in the camp for his adversaries, and slaughtered them, and on coming to his senses again, felt so mortified that he fell on his sword, the gift of Hector after the duel between them. Out of his blood sprang the purple lily, on whose petals could be traced the first letters of his name, Ai, Ai. His monument stood on the Rhoetean promontory, where he had encamped before Troy, and upon which the waves washed the coveted arms of Achilles after the shipwreck of Odysseus. As the national hero of Salamis, he had a temple and statue there, and a yearly festival, the Aianteia; and he was worshipped at Athens, where the tribe Aiantis was named after him. He too was supposed to linger with Achilles in the island of Leuce. By Tecmessa, daughter of the Phrygian king Teuthras, whom he had captured in one of the raids from before Troy, he had a son Eurysaces, who is said to have removed from Salamis to Attica with his son or brother Phihaeus, and founded flourishing families, which produced many famous men, for instance Miltiades, Cimon, Alcibiades, and the historian Thucydides.
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