King Nestor rates several mentions in Homer’s poems, but the scene from Homer’s epic that is set here is the visit of Telemachus, son of Odysseus, who had journeyed from Ithaca to seek news of his father from the king. As Telemachus arrives at the beach, accompanied by the disguised goddess Pallas Athena, he comes upon Nestor with his sons and court sacrificing to Poseidon. The visitors are welcomed and feasted, “sitting on downy fleeces on the sand”, and although the king has no news of Odysseus, he promises Telemachus a chariot so he can enquire from Menelaus at Sparta. First, however, the guests are taken back to the palace, where Telemachus is given a bath by Nestor’s “youngest grown daughter, beautiful Polycaste”, and emerges, anointed with oil, “with the body of an immortal”. By some harmonious twist of fate, an actual bathtub was unearthed here, rendering the palace ruins as a whole potent ground for Homeric imaginings.

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