Nestor – King of Pylos

Affiliate Disclosures

Nestor was the King of Pylos and one of the Argonauts who sailed with Jason on his quest for the Golden Fleece. He’s also known for joining in the hunt for the Calydonian Boar. Nestor didn’t play a main role in Greek mythology, but he was a great warrior who fought alongside the Achaeans in the Trojan War.

Nestor was known for his speaking abilities and bravery. In Homer’s Iliad, it’s mentioned that he often adviced young warriors. He was also the one who adviced and convinced Achilles and Agamemnon to fight in the war which resulted in their victory.

Who Was Nestor?

Nestor was the son of Chloris, the Greek goddess of flowers, and her husband Neleus, the king of Pylos. In some accounts, his father, Neleus, is mentioned as an Argonaut instead of Nestor. Nestor was brought up in Gerenia, a small town in ancient Messenia. He had a wife who was either Anaxibia or Eurydice and together they had several children including Pisidice, Polycaste and the famous Perseus. In later renditions of the myth, Nestor was said to have a beautiful daughter called Epicaste who became Homer’s mother by Telemachus, the son of Odysseus.

Nestor had many siblings but they were all killed by the Greek hero, Heracles, along with their father, Neleus.  After their deaths, Nestor became the new king of Pylos.

When he was growing up, Nestor learned all the necessary fighting skills that he knew he’d need in the future. Over time, he slowly turned into a brave, skilled and strong warrior. He played an important role in the battle between the Lapiths and the Centaurs, in the expedition of the Argonauts and the hunt for the Calydonian Boar. He’s also famous for participating in the Trojan War with his sons Thrasymedes and Antilochus, on the side of the Achaeans. Of course, Nestor was about 70 years old by this time, but he was still noted for his impressive speaking abilities and bravery.

Nestor the Advisor

According to Homer, Nestor was a man of ‘sweet words’ with a voice that ‘flows sweeter than honey’ and who was a ‘clear voiced orator’. These were considered the elements of a good counselor. Although nestor was too old to fight in the Trojan War, he was respected by the Achaeans. His wisdom, eloquence and justice  was what kept the Greek army united during the Trojan War. Whenever there was dissent among the Greeks, Nestor would provide counsel and they listened to what he said.

When Achilles quarreled with Agamemnon and refused fight against the Trojans, the Greek morale was at a low. At this point, it was Nestor who spoke to Patroclus, Achilles’ faithful friend, and convinced him to dress in Achilles’ armor and lead the Myrmidons onto the battlefield. This was a turning point of the war since Patroclus was killed during battle and Achilles returned to the Greeks’ side to continue fighting. He wanted revenge which he gained by finally killing Hector the Trojan Prince.

Interestingly, Nestor’s advice didn’t always have good outcomes. A case in point is the advice he gave to Patroclus, which resulted in his death. However, the Greeks didn’t judge Nestor wisdom by the outcomes of his advice. At the end of the day, the outcome was always in the hands of the gods, who were fickle and capricious. Regardless of the outcomes, Nestor should be seen as a good counselor.

back to menu ↑

Nestor and Telemachus

After the Trojan War came to an end, Nestor was in Pylos where the son of Odysseus, Telemachus, had fled to find information about his father’s fate. Homer states that Nestor didn’t know who Telemachus was, but he welcomed the stranger and invited him into his palace. He treated him like a guest and gave him food and drink and the end, he asked Telemachus who he was and where he had come from.

This is an example of Nestor’s unique personality. He trusted and invited a complete stranger into his home before he asked him questions, demonstrating his equilibrium, diplomatic nature and tact.

back to menu ↑

Nestor Facts

  1. Who are Nestor’s parents? Nestor’s parents are Neleus and Chloris.
  2. Who is Nestor’s wife? Nestor’s wife was eitehr Anaxibia or Eurydice, not to be confused with the wife of Orpheus.
  3. What was Nestor known for? Nestor was known for being a wise counselor, a clever diplomat and a brave fighter when he was young.
  4. What happened to Nestor’s brothers and father? They were all slain by Heracles.
  5. What happened to Nestor after the Trojan War? Nestor didn’t stay on to take part in the sack of Troy. Rather, he chose to leave for Pylos, where he settled and ultimately welcomed Telemachus as a guest into his home.

In Brief

In Greek mythology, Nestor is one of the very few characters with a brilliant personality full of justice, wisdom and hospitality, all in one. This is why he was a very wise king and a great counselor who inspired and influence many great people and from the few who know him in the modern world, some still continue to look to him for inspiration.