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Neleus (; Ancient Greek: ) was a mythological king of Pylos. In some accounts, he was also counted as an Argonaut instead of his son, Nestor.[1][2]


Neleus was the son of Poseidon and Tyro, or according to Pausanias he was the son of Cretheus who was son of Aeolus[3]. Neleus had a brother called Pelias.

With Chloris,[4] Neleus was the father of Pero, Periclymenus, Alastor, Chomius, Asterius, Deimachus, Epilaus, Eurybius, Eurymenes, Evagoras, Phrasius, Pylaon, Taurus and Nestor. Some say that Chloris was mother only of three of Neleus' sons (Nestor, Periclymenus and Chromius), whereas the rest were his children by different women,[5][6] but other accounts explicitly disagree with the statement.[7] Otherwise, the mother of Nestor was called Polymede.[8]


Tyro was married to Cretheus (with whom she had three sons, Aeson, Pheres, and Amythaon), though she loved Enipeus, a river god. She pursued Enipeus, who refused her advances. One day, Poseidon, filled with lust for Tyro, disguised himself as Enipeus. From their union were born Pelias and Neleus, twin boys. Tyro exposed her sons on a mountain, but they were found and raised by a maid.

When they reached adulthood, Pelias and Neleus found their mother Tyro and then killed her stepmother, Sidero, for having mistreated her. Sidero tried to hide in a temple to Hera but Pelias killed her anyway, earning himself Hera's undying hatred. Neleus and Pelias then fought for the crown, and Neleus was banished to Messenia. There he was welcomed by his cousin Aphareus who gave him the maritime part of the land where he settled and established his palace. Neleus eventually became King of Pylos.

Heracles later asked Neleus to cleanse him of a blood-debt, but was refused. In retaliation, he killed Neleus and his sons, except for Nestor.[9]


  1. ^ Hyginus, Fabulae 10 & 14.4
  2. ^ Tzetzes, John (2015). Allegories of the Iliad. Translated by Goldwyn, Adam; Kokkini, Dimitra. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, London, England: Dumbarton Oaks Medieval Library. pp. 39, Prologue 516. ISBN 978-0-674-96785-4.
  3. ^ Pausanias, Graeciae Descriptio 4.2.5
  4. ^ Pausanias, Graeciae Descriptio 9.36.8
  5. ^ Aristarchus in scholia on Homer, Iliad 11.692
  6. ^ Scholia on Apollonius Rhodius, Argonautica, 1.152 -- apparently following Odyssey 11. 285, where only Nestor, Chromius and Periclymenus are enumerated
  7. ^ Apollodorus, 1.9.9; Diodorus Siculus, Bibliotheca historica 4.68.6; Hyginus, Fabulae 10
  8. ^ Tzetzes, John (2015). Allegories of the Iliad. Translated by Goldwyn, Adam; Kokkini, Dimitra. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, London, England: Dumbarton Oaks Medieval Library. pp. 39, Prologue 517. ISBN 978-0-674-96785-4.
  9. ^ Ovid, Metamorphoses 2.689


Further reading

  • Douglas Frame 2009: Hippota Nestor: Washington, DC: Center for Hellenic Studies
  • Douglas Frame 1978: The Myth of Return in Early Greek Epic, New Haven: Yale University Press.
  • Keith Dickson 1995: Nestor: Poetic Memory in Greek Epic: NY: Garland Publishers.
  • Keith Dickson 1993: "Nestor Among the Sirens," Oral Tradition 8/1: 21-58.
  • Richard R. Martin 2012: Review of Douglas Frame Hippota Nestor 2009 in American Journal of Philology (AJP) 133.4 (Winter 2012): 687-692
  • Hanna Roisman 2005: "Nestor the Good Counselor," Classical Quarterly 55: 17-38 doi:10.1093/cq/bmi002
  • Victoria Pedrick 1983: :The Paradignatic Nature of Nestor's Speech,: Transactions and Proceedings of the American Philological Assn. (TAPA) 113: 55-68.
  • R.M. Frazer 1971: "Nestor's Generations, Iliad 2.250-2" Glotta 49:216-8;
  • V.C. Mathews 1987: "Kaukonian Dyme: Antimachus fr.27-8 and the text of Homer," Eranos 85: 91-7.
  • Jack L. Davis (ed) 1998: Sandy Pylos: An Archaeological History from Nestor to Navarino. Austin: University of Texas Press.
  • William G. Loy 1970: Land of Nestor: A Physical Geography of the Southwest Peloponnesos: Washington, DC. National Academy of Sciences.
  • Carl Blegen and Marion Rawson (ed) 1966: Palace of Nestor at Pylos in Western Messenia for University of Cincinnati by Princeton University Press.

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