Fight with the River God in Iliad

fight with sea god

The river god is known as Xanthus by gods and Scamander by men. That means the first name indicates the river god and the second one refers to the river itself. After the death of Patroclus Achilles becomes insanely furious. Achilles kills nearly 20 men out of wrath and anger and by this he turns the Xanthus river into a bloody and dead body river. The affliction of Patroclus’s death has made Achilles lose his control and Achilles over reaches himself. He attempts to punish all the Trojans and he plans to deny them burial rights. So the river god Xanthus tries to bury Achilles in the mud, denies him glory and hits Achilles with his huge waves. Homer, so animatedly personifies the river that it seems like a battle between two human beings. However, Achilles begs to Zeus to help him and to save his life because he is unable to swim there. Then Poseidon and Athena reassures him that the gods will definitely take care of him. Then Hera and Hephaestus come down to the earth and they attack the river with fire. After seeing his own water boiling, the river god Xanthus stops fighting. If we analyze this incident more profoundly, we can find that Achilles was fighting irrationally without using his senses and only acting in response to his anger and wrath without the guidance of Athena. Athena is a goddess of wisdom, rationality and acts as a mentor for Achilles. As Achilles fights without Athena’s guidelines , he, even after being the greatest hero of that time, fails to escape from the wild grasp of the river. Another noteworthy point is that- the river god is the only god who confronts and remonstrates against Achilles. However, the fight with the river god is a significant event in Iliad.

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