Ajax the Lesser, in Greek mythology, chieftain from Locris in central Greece, who fought in the Trojan War. After the fall of Troy, he violated the temple of Athena by dragging the prophet Cassandra from the altar of the goddess. Athena appealed to the sea god Poseidon to avenge the sacrilege. When the Greeks sailed for home, Poseidon sent a great tempest. Ajax was shipwrecked, but managed to swim to shore. Clinging to a jagged rock, he boasted that he was a man whom the sea could not drown. Angered by his words, Poseidon split the rock with his trident, and Ajax was swept away by the waves.