Nestor in Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology
（Νέστωρ), a son of Neleus and Chloris of Pylos in
Triphylia, and husband of Eurydice (or, according to others,
of Auaxibia, the daughter of Cratieus), by whom he became
the father of Peisidice, Polycaste, Perseus, Stratius,
Aretus, Echephron, Peisistratus, Antilochus, and
Thrasymedes. (Hom. Od. 3.413, &c., 452, 464, 11.285, &c.;
Apollod. 1.9.9.) With regard to Anaxibia having been his
wife, we are informed by Eustathius (ad Hom. p. 296), that
after the death of Eurydice, Nestor married Anaxibia, the
daughter of Atreus, and sister of Agamemnon; but this
Anaxibia is elsewhere described as the wife of Strophius,
and the mother of Pylades. (Paus. 2.29.4.) When Heracles
invaded the country of Neleus, and slew his sons, Nestor
alone was spared, because at the time he was not at Pylos,
but among the Gerenians, where he had taken refuge. (Hom.
Il. 11.692; Apollod. 2.7.3; Paus. 3.26.6.) This story is
connected with another about the friendship between Heracles
and Nestor, for the latter is said to have taken no part in
the carrying off from Heracles the oxen of Geryones; and
Heracles rewarded Nestor by giving to him Messene, and
became more attached to him even than to Hylas and Abderus.
Nestor, on the other hand, is said to have introduced the
custom of swearing by Heracles. (Philostr. Her. 2; comp. Ov.
Met. 12.540, &c.; Paus. 4.3.1, who states that Nestor
inhabited Messenia after the death of the sons of Aphareus.)
When a young man, Nestor was distinguished as a warrior,
and, in a war with the Arcadians, he slew Ereuthalion. (Hom.
Il. 4.319, 7.133, &c., 23.630, &c.) In the war with the
Eleians, he killed Itymoneus, and took from them large
flocks of cattle. (11.670.) \When, after this, the Eleians
laid siege to Thryoessa, Nestor, without the warsteeds of
his father, went out on foot, and gained a glorious victory.
(11.706, &c.) He also took part in the tight of the Lapithae
against the Centaurs (1.260, &c.), and is mentioned among
the Calydonian hunters and the Argonauts (Ov. Met. 8.313; V.
Fl. 1.380); but he owes his fame chiefly to the Homeric
poems, in which his share in the Trojan war is immortalized.
After having, in conjunction with Odysseus, prevailed upon
Achilles and Patroclus to join the Greeks against Troy, he
sailed with his Pylians in sixty ships to Asia. (Il. 2.591,
&c., 11.767.) At Troy lie took part in all the most
important events that occurred, both in the council and in
the field of battle. Agamemnon through Nestor became
reconciled with Achilles, and therefore honoured him highly;
and whenever he was in any difficulty, he applied for advice
to Nestor. (2.21, 10.18.) In the picture which Homer draws
of him, the most striking features are his wisdom, justice,
bravery, knowledge of war, his eloquence, and his old age.
(Od. 3.126, &c., 244, 24.52, Il. 1.273, 2.336, 361, 370,
&c., 7.325, 9.104, 10.18, 11.627.) He is said to have ruled
over three generations of men, so that his advice and
authority were deemed equal to that of the immortal gods.
(Od. 3.245, Il. 1.250; comp. Hyg. Fab. 10.) In this sense we
have also to understand the tria saecula, which he is said
by Latin writers to have ruled. (Gellius, 19.7; Cic. De
Senect. 10; Hor. Carm. 2.9.13; Ov. Met. 12.158.) But,
notwithstanldim, his advanced age, he was brave and bold in
battle, and distinguished above all others for drawing up
horses and men in battle array. After the fall of Troy he,
together with Menelaus and Diomedes, returned home, and
safely arrived in Pylos (Od. 3.165, &c.), where Zeus granted
to him the full enjoyment of old age, surrounded by
intelligent and brave sons. (Od. 4.209, &c.) In this
condition he was found by Telemachus, who visited him to
inquire after his father, and was hospitably received by
him. The town of Pylos in Messenia claimed to be the city of
Nestor; and, when Pausanias visited it, the people showed to
him the house in which Nestor was believed to have lived.
(Paus. 4.3.4, 36.2.) In the temple of Messene at Messene he
was represented in a painting with two of his sons, and he
was also seen in the painting of Polygnotus in the Lesche at
Delphi. (Paus. 4.31.9, 10.25, in fin.; Philostr. Her. 2.) -
A Dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology,
William Smith, Ed.