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Ajax Oileus — from Logres.


Voord 99

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Reading the Roman de Troie (in translation) at the moment, in part because I’m thinking of working up the material for an alternative Pendragon campaign.  And happened across the detail that for Benoît, Ajax Oileus (he treats Telamon and Oileus as surnames of the two Ajaxes) is from “Logres.”

Now it didn’t take much digging to figure out what happened here.  Benoît is adapting Dares Phrygius, who has Ajax son of Oileus as being, unsurprisingly, from Locris.   Benoît, who presumably had no idea where “Locris” was, has mistranslated that as a placename with which he is familiar.  Nor is it certain that he means “our” Logres, although it is possible — for Benoît, the Greeks rule all of Europe, and his geography is hazy and fantastic.  (If I do run a campaign, there will be no map!)

At any rate, it’s a bit of lore that can be thrown into a Pendragon campaign, to have this admittedly second-rank Trojan War figure form part of the British past.   This Ajax Oileus is nicer than his Greek-mythology predecessor, incidentally: he protects Andromacha (=Andromache) and Cassandra from sexual assault during the sack of Troy.  Still punished by the gods for physically dragging Cassandra out of Minerva’s temple, though, which seems unfair given that all he’s doing is implementing a decision that the Greeks collectively make.  Gods will be gods, even in the Middle Ages, I suppose.

One could, for instance, have Pendragon PKs have to find the place where “the castle once stood that was held by the lord who dragged the maiden from the temple and died for it.”  It turns out that one of their own manors is where Ajax’s castle was, earning the lucky PK a little extra Glory for their lands having a link to the Trojan War.  One could also do something with the fact that, thematically, for Benoît the Trojan War is largely about Trojans and Greeks hating each other.  Even in death, Ajax Oileus may not have been able to give this hatred up, and of course Britons are descended from Trojans…

Edited by Voord 99
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