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POLYTROPOS AJAX International conference (Trinity College Dublin)

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POLYTROPOS AJAX. Roots, Evolution and Reception of a Multifaceted Hero (Trinity College Dublin - Irish Research Council)

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This conference aims at enhancing our understanding of the many metamorphoses Telamonian Ajax has undergone in the course of his mythical, literary, and cultural 'history'.

The coexistence of polyvalent traits is a typical feature of great heroic figures: extraordinary deeds inevitably go hand in hand with a nature that is able both to rise to an idealised model and to lead to a dangerous overreaching of human limits. Like Achilles, a great but also terrible hero, and like Ulysses, with his astounding and yet fearsome ingenuity, Ajax too reveals the ambiguity inherent in extra-ordinariness, from his incredible powers of endurance to his violent fury. This versatile nature must have affected constructions and perceptions of Ajax’s character in Greece, at Rome, and beyond. Like Odysseus or Achilles, Ajax proves indeed capable of weaving a web of different, even opposing significances, thus providing an adaptable mythical archetype to mirror and express ever-changing paradigms. It is not hard to see, however, how broader studies on Ajax’s versatility and his reception have long been lacking, at least in comparison to those devoted to his two mythic rivals.

Responding to the recently increasing interest in the figure of Telamonian Ajax, this conference aims at providing new insights into the versatility of this hero – indeed no less 'polytropos' than Odysseus – from his ancient life to his multifaceted afterlife in Western culture.


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Organiser Silvia Speriani - Classics Department, Trinity College Dublin

Organiser of POLYTROPOS AJAX International conference (Trinity College Dublin)

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