Thus did he speak, and Lykaon's heart sank within him. He loosed his hold of the spear, and held out both hands before him; but Achilles drew his keen blade, and struck him by the collar-bone on his neck; he plunged his two-edged sword into him to the very hilt, whereon he lay at full length on the ground, with the dark blood welling from him till the earth was soaked. Then Achilles caught him by the foot and flung him into the river to go down stream, vaunting over him the while, and saying, "Lie there among the fishes, who will lick the blood from your wound and gloat over it; your mother shall not lay you on any bier to mourn you, but the eddies of Skamandros shall bear you into the broad bosom of the sea. There shall the fishes feed on the fat of Lykaon as they dart under the dark ripple of the waters - so perish all of you till we reach the citadel of strong Ilion
- you in flight, and I following after to destroy you. The river with its broad silver stream shall serve you in no stead, for all the bulls you offered him and all the horses that you flung living into his waters. None the less miserably shall you perish till there is not a man of you but has paid in full for the death of Patroklos and the havoc you wrought among the Achaeans whom you have slain while I held aloof from battle."
So spoke Achilles, but the river grew more and more angry, and pondered within himself how he should keep Achilles out of the struggle [ponos] and save the Trojans from disaster. Meanwhile the son of Peleus, spear in hand, sprang upon Asteropaios son of Pelegon to kill him. He was son to the broad river Axios
and Periboia eldest daughter of Akessamenos; for the river had lain with her. Asteropaios stood up out of the water to face him with a spear in either hand, and Xanthos
filled him with courage, being angry for the death of the youths whom Achilles was slaying ruthlessly within his waters. When they were close up with one another Achilles was first to speak. "Who and whence are you," said he, "who dare to face me? Woe to the parents whose son stands up against me." And the son of Pelegon answered, "Great son of Peleus, why should you ask my lineage. I am from the fertile land of far Paeonia, leader of the Paeonians, and it is now eleven days that I am at Ilion
. I am of the blood of the river Axios
- of Axios
that is the fairest of all rivers that run. He begot the famed warrior Pelegon, whose son men call me. Let us now fight, Achilles."
Thus did he defy him, and Achilles raised his spear of Pelian ash. Asteropaios failed with both his spears, for he could use both hands alike; with the one spear he struck Achilles' shield, but did not pierce it, for the layer of gold, gift of the god, stayed the point; with the other spear he grazed the elbow of Achilles! right arm drawing dark blood, but the spear itself went by him and fixed itself in the ground, foiled of its bloody banquet. Then Achilles, fain to kill him, hurled his spear at Asteropaios, but failed to hit him and struck the steep bank of the river, driving the spear half its length into the earth. The son of Peleus then drew his sword and sprang furiously upon him. Asteropaios vainly tried to draw Achilles' spear out of the bank by main force; thrice did he tug at it, trying with all his might to draw it out, and thrice he had to leave off trying; the fourth time he tried to bend and break it, but ere he could do so Achilles smote him with his sword and killed him. He struck him in the belly near the navel,
so that all his bowels came gushing out on to the ground, and the darkness of death came over him as he lay gasping. Then Achilles set his foot on his chest and spoiled him of his armor, vaunting over him and saying, "Lie there - begotten of a river though you be, it is hard for you to strive with the offspring of Kronos' son. You declare yourself sprung from the blood of a broad river, but I am of the seed of mighty Zeus. My father is Peleus, son of Aiakos ruler over the many Myrmidons, and Aiakos was the son of Zeus. Therefore as Zeus is mightier than any river that flows into the sea, so are his children stronger than those of any river whatsoever. Moreover you have a great river hard by if he can be of any use to you, but there is no fighting against Zeus the son of Kronos, with whom not even King Akheloos can compare, nor the mighty stream of deep-flowing Okeanos, from whom all rivers and seas with all springs and deep wells proceed; even Okeanos fears the lightnings of great Zeus, and his thunder that comes crashing out of heaven."
With this he drew his bronze spear out of the bank, and now that he had killed Asteropaios, he let him lie where he was on the sand, with the dark water flowing over him and the eels and fishes busy nibbling and gnawing the fat that was about his kidneys. Then he went in chase of the Paeonians, who were fleeing along the bank of the river in panic when they saw their leader slain by the hands of the son of Peleus. Therein he slew Thersilokhos, Mydon, Astypylos, Mnesos, Thrasios, Oeneus, and Ophelestes, and he would have slain yet others, had not the river in anger taken human form, and spoken to him from out the deep waters saying, "Achilles, if you excel all in strength, so do you also in wickedness, for the gods are ever with you to protect you: if, then, the son of Kronos has granted it to you to destroy all the Trojans, at any rate drive them out of my stream, and do your grim work on land. My fair waters are now filled with corpses, nor can I find any channel by which I may pour myself into the sea for I am choked with dead, and yet you go on mercilessly slaying. I am in despair, therefore, O leader of your host, trouble me no further."
Achilles answered, "So be it, Skamandros, Zeus-descended; but I will never cease dealing out death among the Trojans, till I have pent them up in their city, and made trial of Hektor face to face, that I may learn whether he is to vanquish me, or I him."
As he spoke he set upon the Trojans with a fury like that of a daimôn. But the river said to Apollo, "Surely, son of Zeus, lord of the silver bow, you are not obeying the commands of Zeus who charged you straitly that you should stand by the Trojans and defend them, till twilight fades, and darkness is over an the earth."
Meanwhile Achilles sprang from the bank into mid-stream, whereon the river raised a high wave and attacked him. He swelled his stream into a torrent, and swept away the many dead whom Achilles had slain and left within his waters. These he cast out on to the land, bellowing like a bull the while, but the living he saved alive, hiding them in his mighty eddies. The great and terrible wave gathered about Achilles, falling upon him and beating on his shield, so that he could not keep his feet; he caught hold of a great elm
-tree, but it came up by the roots, and tore away the bank, damming the stream with its thick branches and bridging it all across; whereby Achilles struggled out of the stream, and fled full speed over the plain, for he was afraid.