On the slope towards Paliokastro is Nestor´s cave which is a good stop on the way to or from the castle, but it is only accessible by foot and can be a little bit of a climb at times. The trail that goes to Nestor’s cave is an extension of the trail leading to Paliokastro.
There is a Greek myth telling a story of how Hermes, son of Zeus, stole cattle from Apollo and hid them in this very cave (Brooks 2008, pg. 189). There are no facilities other than the trail leading to and from the cave. At the time of our visit there were no other people there. Not many people go to Nestor’s cave; usually people do not just go to the cave if they are not going to
Paliokastro as well.
Nestor, in Greek legend, son of Neleus, king of Pylos (Navarino) in Elis, and of Chloris. All of his brothers were slain by the Greek hero Heracles, but Nestor escaped. In the Iliad he is about 70 years old and sage and pious; his role is largely to incite the warriors to battle and to tell stories of his early exploits, which contrast with his listeners’ experiences, shown to be soft and easy in comparison with his own. In the Odyssey he tells Telemachus about the sufferings and trials he and others endured during the Trojan War.
Nestor, most notable of the kings of Messenia and Pylos
Peisistratus, Thrasymedes, Pisidice, Polycaste, Stratichus, Aretus, Echephron, Antilochus
Neleus and Chloris
Pero, Periclymenus, Alastor
Nestor (Greek: Νέστωρ) was the son of Neleus and Chloris.
He is the grandson of Poseidon and became the king of Pylos after Heracles killed Neleus and Nestor’s siblings. His wife was Eurydice or Anaxibia. His children were Peisistratus, Thrasymedes, Pisidice, Polycaste, Stratichus, Aretus, Echephron, and Antilochus.
Nestor was one of the oldest and wisests Argonauts who helped fight the centaurs and was in the hunt for the Calydonian Boar.
When the Trojan War began, Nestor was old and was believed to have been 110 years old. He was known for his eloquence and bravery.
His two sons, Antilochus and Thrasymedes fought along the side of the Achaeans in the war. In Homer’s Iliad, he gave advice to the young warriors and suggested and advised that Agamemnon and Achilles reconcile.
Though he is too old for battle, he leads the Pylian soldiers via his chariot. One of his horses are killed with an arrow by Paris. Homer often addressed him as the epithet “the Gerenian horseman.” Nestor tells his son, Antilochus, how to win the chariot race during Patroclus’s funeral games. Memnon kills Antilochus in combat.
In the Odyssey, Nestor and those who were part of his army had safely returned to Pylos since they didn’t take part in the looting of Troy upon the Greek’s victory in the Trojan War.
Odysseus’s son Telemachus travels to Pylos to inquire about the fate of his father. Nestor receives Telemachus kindly and entertains him lavishly but is unable to furnish any information on his father’s fate.
Also appearing in the Odyssey are Nestor’s wife Eurydice (a mythological figure separate from Orpheus’s wife of the same name) and their remaining living sons: Echephron, Stratius, Perseus, Aretus, Thrasymedes and Peisistratus. Nestor additionally had a daughter named Polycaste.
Antilochus, in Greek legend, son of Nestor, king of Pylos. One of the suitors of Helen, whose abduction caused the Trojan War, he accompanied his father to the war and distinguished himself as acting commander of the Pylians.
As the story was told in the lost epic Aethiopis, Nestor was attacked by Memnon (king of the Ethiopians), and Antilochus saved his father’s life at the sacrifice of his own, thus fulfilling the oracle that had bidden him “beware of an Ethiopian.” Antilochus’s death drove Achilles to slay Memnon. The story survives in the sixth Pythian ode of the 5th-century-BC lyric poet Pindar.
This vaulted tomb dated back to the Mycenaean Era (1680-1060 B.C) had already been traced in the late 19th century by the English historian, G.B. Grundy, but the first systematic excavation was carried out in 1950 by Professor Sp. Marinatos.
The excavator considered it to be the burial monument of Thrasymedes, son of mythical king Nestor, as mentioned by Pausanias in his texts. The tomb was partially plundered, but the remaining votive gifts allow us to imagine its wealth: a multitude of stone arrows, two necklaces of amethyst and sard, four gold sheetings, two small Mycenaean clay vessels and other small objects.
The skeleton of an ox that was found intact and probably came from a sacrifice in honour of the dead, was another impressive finding.
Newer research (1977-1979) carried out by Professor G. Korres proved that the vaulted tomb was established on a burial mound of the Middle Helladic Era (2050-1680 B.C.). Traces of an early Helladic settlement (2650-2200 B.C.) has also been confirmed in this area based on the archaeological finds.
The multitude of terracotta tablets and figurines of the 4th – 3rd century B.C., found around the vaulted tomb, bear testimony to the worship of ancestors for a well-known hero, and they are possibly related to a small structure that lies nearby, probably an Hellenistic altar, that was interpreted as being a heróon (the hero’s tomb/memorial).