“Ajax and Cassandra”
Solomon Joseph Solomon
Roman relief sculpture
End of the Trojan War
Johann Heinrich Wilhelm Tischbein
“Aias und Kassandra”
Rape of Cassandra, Red figure pottery, C, 370-360 BCE
Cassandra, in Greek mythology, the daughter of Priam, the last king of Troy, and his wife Hecuba. In Homer’s Iliad, she is the most beautiful of Priam’s daughters but not a prophetess.
According to Aeschylus’s tragedy Agamemnon, Cassandra was loved by the god Apollo, who promised her the power of prophecy if she would comply with his desires. Cassandra accepted the proposal, received the gift, and then refused the god her favours. Apollo revenged himself by ordaining that her prophecies should never be believed. She accurately predicted such events as the fall of Troy and the death of Agamemnon, but her warnings went unheeded.
During the sack of Troy, Ajax the Lesser dragged Cassandra from the altar of Athena and raped her. For this impiety, Athena sent a storm that sank most of the Greek fleet as it returned home.
In the distribution of the spoils after the capture of Troy, Cassandra fell to Agamemnon and was later murdered with him. She was worshipped, as Alexandra, with Agamemnon. *
Abduction of Cassandra Fresco at House of Menander in Pompeii, Italy.