Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Hellenism: Archaeologist Links Ancient Palace, Ajax

This article is brought to you by Qui Gon Jesse, who shares my love of history...

Among the ruins of a 3,200-year-old palace near Athens, researchers are piecing together the story of legendary Greek warrior-king Ajax, hero of the Trojan War.

Archaeologist Yiannis Lolos found remains of the palace while hiking on the island of Salamis in 1999, and has led excavations there for the past six years.

Now, he's confident he's found the site where Ajax ruled, which has also provided evidence to support a theory that residents of the Mycenean island kingdom fled to Cyprus after the king's death.

"This was Ajax' capital."

Telamonian Ajax, King of Salamis, is one of my favorite literary characters, and one of the great tragic figures of all time. He is best known as one of the central figures in Homer's Iliad, but he is also the title character of a play by Sophocles, and frequently written of in classical poetry, such as Ovid's Metamorphoses.

His story is as important today as it was when it was written. The most powerful of warriors are most often brought down by madness, and by their own hands. As Mark Twain commented, "History doesn't repeat itself, but it does rhyme."
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