Sophocles’ Ajax The Locrian (S.1)

During the sack of Troy
as Ajax violated Cassandra in the temple of Athena
he pulls down the image of the goddess

Ajax takes refuge
at the altar of the very goddess he had offended
escaping immediate danger

Odysseus demands the Greeks stone Ajax
for the offense
but the Greeks spare Ajax

As they sail home
Poseidon at the request of Athena
raises a tremendous storm

Poseidon allows Ajax to make his way to a rock
and spares him in spite of Athena
But Ajax boasts that he escaped in spite of the gods

Poseidon splits the rock with his trident
drowning Ajax

The Fragment…

ATHENA:
Who was he who performed these actions against the gods?
Has Salmoneus,
who made himself a voice by means of hides, risen from the caverns of the underworld
to challenge Zeus?
What sort of man can I guess
was author of these deeds,
the man who in his insolence
wrenched headlong from its base my image,
and dragged the prophetic maiden from the altar in defiance of the gods?

***

The Libyan jerkin of the dappled servant beast,
the skin worn by the leopard …

***

The golden eye of Justice sees,
and requites the unjust man.

***

A man is nothing but breath and shadow.

***

Kings are wise
because of the company of wise men.

Thomas de Leu, Locrian Ajax

Thomas de Leu, Locrian Ajax

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