Book Three

Dawn finds the travelers at Pylos, in the kingdom of Nestor, who at the age of ninety led a contingent in the Trojan War. Telemachus asks the wise old king to tell him how and where his father died, for he cannot help but assume the worst. In reply, Nestor tells what he knows of the Greeks' return from Troy.

"It started out badly because of Athena's anger. She caused dissension between our leader Agamemnon and his brother Menelaus. Menelaus was for setting sail immediately, while Agamemnon insisted that a sacrifice be held first to pacify the goddess. In the end, half the army left while the others remained with Agamemnon.

"Those of us who sailed with Menelaus made good speed at first, but then we were at each other's throats again. One group, under Odysseus, broke off and rejoined Agamemnon. I'm sure that even in Ithaca you've heard what eventually happened to him."

"To Agamemnon? Yes," responds Telemachus. He knows that the great king's wife fell in love with another. Together they murdered Agamemnon upon his homecoming. Then, seven years later, he was avenged by his son, Orestes.

"But tell me, Nestor, if you will, why did Menelaus not slay his brother's killer with his own hand and throw his body to the dogs?"

Nestor explains how the fair winds that brought that first party of Greeks safely home from Troy failed Menelaus. A storm blew him all the way to Egypt. There he lingered, unable to return home until it was too late.

"Journey to Sparta," suggests Nestor. "Seek further news from Menelaus. I will loan you a chariot and one of my sons to accompany you."

And so in the morning, after participating in a sacrifice to Athena, Telemachus sets out for the kingdom of Menelaus.

Book number: 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 8 - 9 - 10 - 11 - 12 - 13 - 14 - 15 - 16 - 17 - 18 - 19 - 20 - 21 - 22 - 23 - 24


Pylos (PYE-loss)

Agamemnon (ag-uh-MEM-non)

Menelaus (men-eh-LAY-us)

Orestes (oh-RESS-teez)

sacrifice When Telemachus and Athena first arrived in Pylos an impressive sacrifice to Poseidon was in progress. Homer goes into detail about the number of bulls being offered, an indication of Nestor's wealth and piety. The two strangers are asked to join in an invocation to the god, and Athena, speaking through her mortal disguise, makes wishes on behalf of all present. What is more, being a goddess she is able to make them come true.
Nestor realizes that one of his visitors is a deity, and he even knows which one. Accordingly, he orders that a sacrifice to Athena be held on the morrow. This time Homer goes into even greater detail, describing how a goldsmith is called for to gild the horns of a heifer that has never known the plow. Prime cuts are doused with wine and burned on the fire in offering to the goddess. Only then do the men of the household put meat on long forks and hold them in the fire for themselves.

Book number: 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 8 - 9 - 10 - 11 - 12 - 13 - 14 - 15 - 16 - 17 - 18 - 19 - 20 - 21 - 22 - 23 - 24