Homer, The Iliades (10th-8th c. BCE), trans. George Chapman (1598), second ed. (London: Nathaniell Butter, 1611):
Great Aiax Telamon for strength, past all the Peeres of warre,
While vext Achilles was away: but he surpast him farre. (2)
The third man, aged Priam markt, was Aiax Telamon:
Of whom he askt, What Lord is that so large of limme and bone,
So raisd in height, that to his breast, I see there reacheth none?
To him the Goddesse of her sexe, the large veild Hellen said;
That Lord is Aiax Telamon, a Bulwarke in their aide. (3)
Aiax came neare; and like a towre, his shield his bosome bard;
The right side brasse, and seuen Oxe hides, within it quilted hard:
Old Tychius the best currier, that did in Hyla dwell,
Did frame it for exceeding proofe, and wrought it wondrous well. (7)
Great Hector then began:
Aiax, since Ioue to thy big forme, made thee so strong a man,
And gaue thee skill to vse thy strength; so much, that for thy speare,
Thou art most excellent of Greece, now let vs fight forbeare:
Hereafter we shall warre againe, till Ioue our Herald be,
And grace with conquest, which he will; heauen yeelds to night, and we.
Go thou and comfort all thy Fleet; all friends and men of thine,
As I in Troy my fauourers; who in the Fane diuine
Haue offerd Orisons for me; and come, let vs impart
Some ensignes of our strife, to shew, each others suppled hart;
That men of Troy and Greece may say, Thus their high quarrell ends:
Those that encountring, were such foes, are now (being separate) friends.
He gaue a sword, whose handle was, with siluer studs through driuen,
Scabard and all, with hangers rich: By Telamon was giuen
A faire well glossed purple waste. (7)
Braue Aiax (that for forme, and fact, past all that did maintaine
The Grecian fame, next Thetis sonne;) now flew before the first:
And as a sort of dogs, and youths, are by a Bore disperst
About a mountaine: so fled these, from mightie Aiax, all
That stood in conflict for the Corse. (17)
Pelides then set forth
Prise for a wrastling; to the best, a triuet, that was worth
Twelue oxen, great, and fit for fire; the conquer'd was t'obtaine
A woman excellent in workes; her beautie, and her gaine,
Prisde at foure oxen. Vp he stood, and thus proclaim'd: Arise
You wrastlers, that will proue for these. Out stept the ample sise
Of mightie Aiax, huge in strength; to him, Laertes sonne,
That craftie one, as huge in sleight. (23)
Homer, Odysses (10th-8th c. BCE), trans. George Chapman (London: Richard Field for Nathaniell Butter, 1615):
Aiax, that of all
The hoast of Greece, had person capitall,
And acts as eminent; excepting his,
Whose armes those were; in whom was nought amisse.
I tride the great Soule with soft words, and said:
Aiax! great sonne of Telamon; arraid
In all our glories! what? not dead resigne
Thy wrath for those curst Armes?...
All this, no word drew from him; but lesse neare
The sterne Soule kept. (11.541-67)
Pindar, Nemean Odes (early 5th c. BCE), trans. C. A. Wheelwright (London: A. J. Valpy, Henry Colburn, and Richard Bentley, 1830):
Brave Ajax, mad with anger's smart,
When of the arms by them bereaved,
Ne'er with smooth sword had pierced his heart.
Him, rivalling Achilles' might,
Chief of the Grecian host, in fight,
For bright-hair'd Menelaus' bride,
Propitious-breathing zephyrs bore
To Ilus' walls on Phrygia's shore,
In ships that swiftly plough'd the tide.
Gulf'd by the same infernal wave,
The bright and lowly seek the grave. (7.46-56)
Pierced by the sword, through these undone,
Died Telamon's heroic son.
Unskill'd in speech, though brave in soul,
Oblivion's waves his deeds control;
While varied falsehood in the fray
The mighty guerdon bears away.
For by the fraudulent decree,
When sought the Greeks Ulysses' love,
Reft of the golden panoply,
With fate in vain brave Ajax strove. (8.43-52)
Pindar, Isthmian Odes (early 5th c. BCE), trans. C. A. Wheelwright (London: A. J. Valpy, Henry Colburn, and Richard Bentley, 1830):
Ye know that Ajax' deadly might
By his own sword at dead of night
Cut off untimely, reprehension bore
To Hellas' sons, who sought the Trojan shore.
But Homer's songs with honor grace
Him among men of warlike race;
Those strains divine his valor raise,
Heralds of after ages' praise. (4.57-67)
Nor can a city e'er be found
So rude and barbarous of tongue
Where Peleus' glory is not sung,
Whom in bless'd filial ties th' immortals bound;
Where Telamonian Ajax' name
And his great sire excites no fame.
Whom led, in brazen armor dight,
With his Tirynthians to the fight,
Of Troy the bold and prompt ally,
(That heroes' scourge, whose valiant host
Laomedon by treachery lost,)
In ships Alcmena's progeny.
With him the citadel o'erthrew,
And the vast Coan nations slew,
And him who fed his fleecy train
Like some huge mount on Phlegra's plain,
Alcyoneusónor spared the foe
The string of his deep-twanging bow,
But when the social board was spread,
AEacides to join their fleet he led. (6.39-58)
Plato, Republic (ca. 375 BCE), trans. Harry Spens (Glasgow: R. and A. Foulis, 1763):
This spectacle, he said, was worthy to behold, in what manner the several souls made choice of their life; for it was both pitiful and ridiculous and wonderful to behold, as each for the most part chose according to the habit of their former life….He saw also one soul, while making its choice, choosing the life of a lion; and it was the soul of Telamonian Ajax, unwilling to become a man, because it recollected the judgment given with reference to the armour….In like manner the souls of wild beasts went into men, and men again into beasts. The unjust changing into wild beasts, and the just into tame. (620a-d)
Sophocles, Ajax (late 440s BCE), anonymous trans. (London: Bernard Lintott, 1714):
Ulyss. What could incite him to a Rage like this?
Min. He burns with Wrath for the disputed Arms,
Ulyss. Why does he vent his Spleen on harmless Flocks?
Min. He thinks, he bathes his Hands in Gracian Blood. (1.1.48-51)
[Min.] I drove him to the Fields, where waking Swains
Their lowing Herds, and bleating Charges kept;
Insatiate he mow'd down his horned Foes. (1.1.64-66)
[Tech.] At length his wand'ring Reason is return'd,
And with it Melancholy, Grief, and Pain. (2.1.73-74)
Ajax. The murthering Sword stands firm, the glitt'ring Point
With best Advantage aim'd against my Heart,
The Gift of Hector, whom my Soul abhor'd,
The most offensive to my Eyes of Men.
The hostile Ground supports the hostile Sword,
New pointed on the Iron-edging Stone.
I've fixt thee well, and soon thy friendly Aid,
Shall free this wretched Man from Pain, and end
His Cares in Death. (4.1.1-9)
Pausanias, Description of Greece (2nd c.), trans. J. G. Frazer (London: Macmillan and Co., 1898):
As to the size of Ajax, a man of Mysia said that the sea had washed against the side of the grave that faces the beach, and had made the entrance to the tomb not difficult; and he told me I might judge of the size of the corpse from this: the knee bones or knee pans (as doctors call them) were about the size of a quoit used by a boy who practises the pentathlum. (1.35.3)
Apollodorus, Epitome, in The Library (2nd c.), trans. J. G. Frazer (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1921):
Hector having challenged the bravest to single combat, many came forward, but the lot fell on Ajax, and he did doughty deeds; but night coming on, the heralds parted them. (4.2)
The Greeks sent Ulysses, Phoenix, and Ajax as ambassadors to Achilles, begging him to fight for them, and promising Briseis and other gifts. (4.3)
Hector made a breach in the wall and entered and, Ajax having retreated, he set fire to the ships. (4.5)
And a fierce fight taking place for the corpse [of Patroclus], Ajax with difficulty, by performing feats of valor, rescued the body....Having buried Patroclus, he [Achilles] celebrated games in his honor, at which Diomedes was victorious in the chariot race, Epeus in boxing, and Ajax and Ulysses in wrestling. (4.7)
A fight taking place for the corpse [of Achilles], Ajax killed Glaucus, and gave the arms to be conveyed to the ships, but the body he carried, in a shower of darts, through the midst of the enemy, while Ulysses fought his assailants. (5.4)
His [Achilles'] arms were offered as a prize to the bravest, and Ajax and Ulysses came forward as competitors. The judges were the Trojans or, according to some, the allies, and Ulysses was preferred. Disordered by chagrin, Ajax planned a nocturnal attack on the army. And Athena drove him mad, and turned him, sword in hand, among the cattle, and in his frenzy he slaughtered the cattle with the herdsmen, taking them for the Achaeans. But afterwards he came to his senses and slew also himself.115 And Agamemnon forbade his body to be burnt; and he alone of all who fell at Ilium is buried, in a coffin.116 His grave is at Rhoeteum. (5.6-7)