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Then the minstrel sang of Agamemnon. He was King of rich Mycenae, and his name was so high and his deeds were so renowned that all the Kings of Greece looked to him. Now Agamemnon, seeing Menelaus, his brother, flouted by the Trojans, vowed to injure Troy. And he spoke to the Kings and Princes of Greece, saying that if they all united their strength they would be able to take the great city of Troy and avenge the slight put upon Menelaus and win great glory and riches for themselves.
And when they had come together and had taken note of their strength, the Kings and Princes of Greece thought well of the word of Agamemnon and were eager to make war upon Troy. They bound themselves by a vow to take the City. Then Agamemnon sent messages to the heroes whose lands were far away, to Odysseus, and to Achilles, who was the son of Peleus and Thetis, bidding them also enter the war.
In two years the ships of all the Kings and Princes were gathered into Aulis and the Greeks, with their leaders, Agamemnon, Aias, Diomedes, Nestor, Idomeneus, Achilles and Odysseus, sailed for the coast of Troy. One hero after another subdued the cities and nations that were the allies of the Trojans, but Troy they did not take. And the minstrel sang to Telemachus and his fellow-voyagers how year after year went by, and how the host of Greeks still remained between their ships and the walls of the City, and how in the ninth year there came a plague that smote with death more men than the Trojans killed.
So the ship went on through the dark water, very swiftly, with the goddess Athene, in the likeness of old Mentor, guiding it, and with the youths listening to the song that Phemius the minstrel sang.
The sun rose and Telemachus and his fellow-voyagers drew near to the shore of Pylos and to the steep citadel built by Neleus, the father of Nestor, the famous King. They saw on the shore men in companies making sacrifice to Poseidon, the dark-haired god of the sea. There were nine companies there and each company had nine black oxen for the sacrifice, and the number of men in each company was five hundred. They slew the oxen and they laid parts to burn on the altars of the god, and the men sat down to feast.
The voyagers brought their ship to the shore and Telemachus sprang from it. But before him went the goddess, grey-eyed Athene, in the likeness of the old man, Mentor. And the goddess told Telemachus that Nestor, the King whom he had come to seek, was on the shore. She bade him now go forward with a good heart and ask Nestor for tidings of his father, Odysseus.
But Telemachus said to her, ’Mentor, how can I bring myself to speak to one who is so reverenced? How should I greet him? And how can I, a young man, question such a one as Nestor, the old King?’