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Agamemnon watches as Achilles gives Nestor, as prize of wisdom, the two-handled urn during the funeral games in honour of Patroclus 1. 4509: Joseph Désiré Court 1796-1865: Achille donnant à Nestor le Prix de la Sagesse. Musée des beaux arts, Rouen.

"Who cares to praise his enemy ?" (Nestor. Ovid, Metamorphoses 12.548).

"I seek no other vengeance than to ignore Heracles' mighty deeds" (Nestor. Ovid, Metamorphoses 12.575).

"A lie will Nestor not utter, for he is wise indeed." (Athena. Homer, Odyssey 3.20).

Achilles: The prize I am giving you has no relation to the sports.
Nestor: Now, I must leave this sort of thing to younger men and take the painful lessons of
Old Age to heart." (Homer, Odyssey 23.615ff.).

Nestor, whose father and brothers were killed by Heracles 1, was brought up among the Gerenians and later became the Leader of the Pylians against Troy.

Gerenian Nestor

When Heracles 1 ravaged the Peloponnesus, destroying the kingdoms of Elis, Lacedaemon, and Pylos in Messenia, Nestor was a boy or a very young man. It is said that when Heracles 1 occupied Pylos, he killed Nestor's father Neleus and all of Nestor's brothers. Nestor survived this massacre because at the time he was being brought up in Gerenia, another city in Messenia, or because he took refuge there escaping the war. During the battle for Pylos, Heracles 1 wounded Hades, who was siding with the Pylians, for only in Pylos the lord of the Underworld was worshipped.

Kingdom entrusted to Nestor ?

However, when the HERACLIDES attacked the Peloponnesian kingdoms after the Trojan War, they campaigned in the usual manner, that is both with weapons and arguments, and so they claimed that Heracles 1, after occupying Pylos, had entrusted the kingdom to Nestor, and that now they had come to claim what was theirs. And in a similar way they had argued in Elis; for Phyleus 1, the son of King Augeas, was also said to have been bestowed the kingdom by Heracles 1, who also made Tyndareus king of Sparta.

War between Pylos and Elis

But Nestor says that the war between Pylos and Elis took place after the invasion of Heracles 1, and that Neleus was still alive when this war, in which Nestor became a renowned warrior, took place. The Eleans, as it seems, took advantage of the previous war between Pylos and Heracles 1, a war in which the best Pylian warriors had perished, in order to oppress the city, taking their cattle and their horses. So when the Pylians reacted accordingly, Elis sent an army against them, and in it were fighting the MOLIONIDES, twins who had two bodies joined to one another. When the army camped, Athena came from Olympus and instructed the Pylians to array themselves for battle. Though Neleus hid the horses because he feared for his son, whom he deemed unexperienced in war, he could not prevent Nestor from going into battle.

Killed by Nestor

In this war, according to Nestor himself, he killed the Elean Itymoneus 1, son of Hypeirochus 1, with a spear. He also killed Mulius 1, who was the son-in-law of King Augeas, for he had married the king's daughter Agamede. Nestor says he could not kill the MOLIONIDES because Poseidon shrouded them in a thick mist.

War with Arcadia

On another occasion, the Pylians waged war against the Arcadians, and the champion of these was Ereuthalion 1, the squire of King Lycurgus 2, son of Aleus, son of Aphidas 1, son of Arcas 1, son of Zeus and Callisto, the daughter of impious Lycaon 2. Ereuthalion 1 bore the armour of King Areithous 1, a man surnamed Maceman because he never fought with a bow or a spear but used to break the enemy ranks with an iron mace. King Lycurgus 2 killed Areithous 1, meeting him in a narrow way where his mace was useless. And that is how King Lycurgus 2 came over the precious armour which Ares had given Areithous 1, wearing it from then on in all his battles. But when Lycurgus 2 grew old, he gave the armour to his squire Ereuthalion 1, and while the latter wore this armour no man dared to challenge him, except Nestor, who though being the youngest in the army, defeated and slew Ereuthalion 1, or so he tells us.

Nestor joins the LAPITHS

Nestor joined the LAPITHS, a people from Thessaly, in their battle against the CENTAURS, and he fought side by side with other non-LAPITHS, like Theseus and Peleus, who also participated in that battle.

Role of Nestor during the Trojan War

When the Trojan War broke out, Nestor and his sons Antilochus and Thrasymedes 1 sailed from Messenia, and joined the coalition against the Trojans. At this time Nestor, though still keeps his strength, is already an old man, and better known for the past deeds he recalls and tells, or for the wise words he is believed to utter, than for saving the day in the battlefield. However, he is respected by all, and he has wide influence in most decisions.

Mediates between Achilles and Agamemnon

When Agamemnon took away Achilles' sweetheart, and the conflict that ensued threatened the unity of the Achaean army fighting at Troy, Nestor attempted to appease their anger:

"Neither do you, Agamemnon, mighty though you are, take away the girl, but let her be, as the Achaeans first gave her to him as a prize; nor do you, Achilles, be minded to strive with a king." (Nestor. Homer, Iliad 1.275).

Pride makes them deaf

But they would not listen:

Agamemnon: "All these things, old man, to be sure, you have spoken as is right. But this man wishes to be above all others; over all he wishes to rule and over all to be king, and to all to give orders; in this, I think, there is someone who will not obey."
Achilles: "Surely I would be called cowardly and of no account, if I am to yield to you in every matter that you say. On others lay these commands, but do not give orders to me, for I do not think I shall obey you any longer."
(Homer, Iliad 1.285).

False dream in his shape

Later Zeus, who wished to vindicate Achilles for the outrage Agamemnon had inflicted on him, sent Agamemnon a false dream in the shape of Nestor, whom the king trusted, so that Agamemnon would believe that the hour of victory was at hand, and that he would soon take the city of Troy. When Agamemnon referred the dream to his war council, even wise Nestor deemed it to be a true dream though it was false, for as it is said, the wisest of men, if compared with a god, will in wisdom appear as a monkey.

More divine intervention

So Zeus decided, after having lifted on high his golden scales with the fates of death, to give defeat to the Achaeans, and award victory to the Trojans, and thundering from Mount Ida he sent a blazing flash among the Achaeans. At the sight of this no one had the heart to continue the battle, except Nestor. But then his horse was shot dead by Paris, and after him came Hector 1, and Nestor would have probably died had it not been for the intervention of Diomedes 2. So Nestor mounted his chariot, and together they kept on fighting until Zeus hurled his lighting-bolt to earth in front of their horses. Now Nestor understood, and telling Diomedes 2:

"A man may in no wise thwart the purpose of Zeus" (Nestor. Homer, Iliad 8.144).

exhorted him to leave the field.

Nestor advises Agamemnon

Since Achilles retired to his tent, it had not been possible for the Achaeans to improve the course of the war. Nestor tried then to persuade King Agamemnon to placate Achilles' wrath:

"Let us now take thought how we may make amends, and persuade him with kindly gifts and with gentle words." (Nestor to Agamemnon. Homer, Iliad 9.113).

Agamemnon's gifts

It is now that Agamemnon, realizing his fault and wishing to appease Achilles, offered the seven tripods, the seven women, the seven cities, and many other gifts besides Achilles' sweetheart Briseis, for, as it seemed, without the participation of Achilles in the war, only defeat could be expected. Concerning Briseis, Agamemnon swore that he had not slept with her, and no one has ever said anything against this oath, nor suggested that it was false.

Achilles despises the gifts

When these words were uttered and the gifts were offered, Nestor appointed envoys to meet Achilles, and among these were Odysseus, Ajax 1, and Phoenix 2. But when Achilles heard from Odysseus what was offered to him he refused to give up his wrath:

"Hateful in my eyes, as the gates of Hades, is that man that hides one thing in his mind and says another." (Achilles. Homer, Iliad 9.313).

arguing that:

"Why has he gathered and led here his host, this son of Atreus? Was it not for Helen's sake? Do they then alone of mortal men love their wives, these sons of Atreus? No, for he who is a true man loves his own and cherishes her, as I too loved Briseis with all my heart, though she was but the captive of my spear … Never again shall Agamemnon beguile me with words…Hateful in my eyes are his gifts." (Achilles to Agamemnon's envoys. Homer, Iliad 9.340).

Nestor present at the turning point

But some time after, when Achilles saw Nestor carrying away from battle the wounded Machaon, son of Asclepius, he started to pity the Achaeans, and sent Patroclus 1 to find out whether the wounded man was indeed Machaon.

Nestor and Patroclus 1

When Patroclus 1 came to Nestor's tent, he was sitting with his squire Eurymedon 4, telling tales and drinking the Pramnian wine that Hecamede, a woman from Tenedos given to Nestor after Achilles sacked the island, served them. Patroclus 1 would not sit with them, but was nevertheless informed about all the wounded and the severe military defeat that the Achaeans were suffering. And Patroclus 1 also was instructed by Nestor, who wished him to convince Achilles of fighting again:

"It is not too late for you to talk to Achilles … A good thing is the persuasion of a friend … But if Achilles is secretly deterred by some prophecy or word from Zeus that Thetis has disclosed to him, let him at least allow you to go to battle with the Myrmidon force behind you … " (Nestor to Patroclus 1. Homer, Iliad 11.790).

These were decisive words (see Patroclus 1).

Return from Troy

After the sack of Troy, Nestor and Diomedes 2 put to sea in company, joining Menelaus in Lesbos. Later Menelaus was overtaken by a storm, and having lost the rest of his vessels, arrived to Egypt with only five ships. Diomedes 2 returned to Argos, but having met a sedition, had to leave for Italy. Of these, only Nestor had a regular return, being one of the few ACHAEAN LEADERS who ruled undisturbed after the Trojan War.

Telemachus visits Nestor in Pylos

When Telemachus was still looking for his father Odysseus, who had not yet returned from Troy, he came to Pylos, and there he met prosperous Nestor, sitting with his sons while people about him were roasting meat and making preparations for a feast. In this meeting Nestor informed Telemachus about the fate of the ACHAEAN LEADERS (see also The Returns), and then took him to his palace, where Telemachus, having drunk an eleven years old wine, was accommodated. The next day, Nestor's youngest daughter Polycaste 2 bathed Telemachus and anointed him with oil, and after having a meal, Telemachus left for Sparta.

Life for three generations

This clear-voiced orator of the Pylians is said to have lived three generations by favor of Apollo. For Apollo had once killed the brothers and sisters of Nestor's mother Chloris 1. And it is asserted that the years Apollo took from these young men and women (the NIOBIDS), he granted to Nestor. So at the time of the Trojan War two generations had passed away in his lifetime, and he was now in the third. The circumstances of his death are still unknown.



Mates (two versions)



Neleus & Chloris 1

Chloris 1, daughter of King Amphion 1 of Thebes, is one of the few NIOBIDS who escaped the wrath of the sweet children of Leto, Apollo and Artemis.

a) Anaxibia 3

b) Eurydice 8

Pisidice 3

Polycaste 2

Perseus 2


Aretus 2

Echephron 2

Pisistratus 1


Thrasymedes 1

Anaxibia 3 is daughter of Cratieus. Yet the wife of Nestor could be Anaxibia 4, sister of Agamemnon and daughter of Plisthenes 1 and Aerope 1.
Eurydice 8 is the eldest daughter of Clymenus 4.
Polycaste 2 is Nestor's youngest daughter. She prepared Telemachus' bath, and some say they had a child Persepolis.
Pisistratus 1 was the first to receive Telemachus on the sandy beach of Pylos. He also went with him to Menelaus' court, when Telemachus was inquiring for the fate of his father Odysseus
Antilochus, who is counted among the SUITORS OF HELEN, was one of the Pylian leaders against Troy. Some have said, strange enough, that Antilochus was exposed on Mt. Ida, and there suckled by a bitch. Antilochus was killed by Memnon, king of the Ethiopians, or perhaps by Hector 1 during the Trojan War. Leonymus says he saw his soul in the White Isle, but Odysseus saw it in Hades. Antilochus had a son Paeon 3, whose sons were expelled from Messenia by the HERACLIDES Temenus 2 and Cresphontes.
Thrasymedes 1, who commanded of a group of sentinels in the Trojan War, is counted among those who hid inside the WOODEN HORSE. He is father of Sillus, father of Alcmaeon 2, who was expelled from Messenia by the HERACLIDES Temenus 2 and Cresphontes.

Genealogical Charts

Names in this chart: Aeolus 1, Alcidice, Alcmaeon 2, Alcyone 1, Aleus, Amphion 1, Antilochus, Antiope 3, Aphidas 1, Arcas 1, Aretus 2, Atlas, Callisto, Chloris 1, Clonia, Deimachus 1, Deucalion 1, Dione 3, Echephron 2, Enarete, Eurydice 8, Hellen 1, Hyrieus, Neleus, Nestor, Niobe 2, Nycteus 2, Orseis, Paeon 3, Persepolis, Perseus 2, Pisidice 3, Pisistratus 1, Pisistratus 2, Pleione, Pluto 3, Polycaste 2, Polyxo 3, Poseidon, Pyrrha 1, Salmoneus, Sillus, Stratichus, Tantalus 1, Telemachus, Thrasymedes 1, Tyro, Zeus.

Related sections

Apd.1.8.3, 1.9.9; Dictys 1.1; Hes.CWE.11, 12; Hom.Il.2.20; Hom.Od.3.452; Hyg.Fab.97; Ov.Met.8.299ff., 12.210ff.; QS.3.516; Strab.8.3.1, 8.13.19.