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The Odyssey Reading Club -- Entry 9 -- Gloss on Book III

Okay, time for a gloss on Book III. It's not exactly full of action, per se, but it is full of story, a lot of it of the back variety. Normal caveats about line numbers, etc. being implied, let's get on with it.

Lines 1-33: Telemachus, Athena, and his crew arrive at Pylos, home of old King Nestor. Athena encourages Telemachus to approach him and ask for news of his father.

Lines 34-74: Nestor's youngest son, Pisistratos, approaches the strangers and invites them to feast, which they do after praying and pouring libations.

Lines 75-109: Nestor asks Telemachus who he is and what has brought him to Pylos. Telemachus makes a plea for information about his father, Odysseus.

Lines 110-217: Nestor tells the story of the fall of Troy, mourns many great heroes who fell there, and details his journey home, as well as those of other returning Argives--especially Agamemnon.

Lines 218-241: Telemachus and Nestor discuss the problem of the suitors, Telamachus comparing himself unfavorably to Orestes.

Lines 242-256: Athena (still in the guise of Mentor) rebukes Telemachus for suggesting that some things are not meant to be, even if the gods will them. She makes the claim that death alone is the only power over which the gods do not hold dominion.

Lines 257-358: Telemachus ask Nestor to tell more fully the story of how Agamemnon was murdered, which he does--including an explanation of why his brother king, Menelaus, did not interfere and prevent it happening or revenge it afterwards. Nestor concludes by saying that Menelaus is now home and should be Telemachus' next stop in his attempts to learn of his father's fate.

Lines 359-375: Athena proposes that they end the feasting and storytelling and complete the sacrifices to the gods, which they do.

Lines 376-435: Nestor offers to let Telemachus and Athena/Mentor stay the night in the palace. Athena refuses, instead saying that she will spend the night with the sailors before abandoning her human disguise and departing in the shape of a sea bird. Nestor realizes he has been entertaining a god and pours out more libations before going to bed. They all realize that Athena is guiding Telemachus in his quest to find Odysseus.

Lines 436-505: The next morning, Nestor instructs his sons to sacrifice a heifer in a magnificent manner to please the goddess Athena.

Lines 506-end: Telemachus, bathed and dressed in new fine clothes which were a gift from Nestor, sets off over land to Sparta to see Menelaus. He is accompanied by Pisistratus, Nestor also having provided horses and provisions for their journey.

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