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Greek hero of the Trojan War. In the IliadHomer described him as of great stature and second only to Achilles in strength and bravery. He fought Hector in single combat and rescued the body of Achilles from the hands of the Trojans. When Achilles's armour was awarded to Odysseus, he was so enraged that he went mad. According to several Greek and Roman poets, Ajax slaughtered a flock of sheep he mistook for his enemies, then returned to his senses and killed himself out of shame.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on Ajax, visit Britannica.com.