I am rereading the Iliad and I am wondering how old Nestor, Agamemnon, Odysseus etc. were. Nestor was and old man, but how old ? 60 ? What age was the prime of life, which I suppose Agamemnon and Odysseus were in.
I think I saw a reference to Achilles age ( late 20's) but am not sure.

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    the Iliad and Odyssey normally say that at the time of the Trojan war he was either 2 or 3 generations old. Never found an excact number though, with exception to various sites on the internet claiming 60-70-90-110 but all without links to their sources. My thought is 90 if we count 30 years per generation but I don't have any source other than a well estimated guess. Interesting question!
    – Tom Sol
    Commented Oct 22, 2020 at 12:56

1 Answer 1



I am using the translated versions of the Iliad and Odyssey as provided by The Internet Classics Archive. The answer from @Codosaur from my question How much time is a generation in the odyssey and Iliad? this answer concludes that a generation is 30 years, with the exception of Sparta. Also How old were Paris and Achilles at the time of the Trojan War? to build upon what "young age" means.


In the Iliad Nestor is noted to have been king of Pylos for 2 generations and starting on his third. This would mean that Nestor was more than 60 years old when the Trojan War started and my guess is between 70 and 80 since he was young when Herakles asked Neleus (Nestor's father) to cleanse him of a blood-debt. When Neleus refused, Herakles killed him and his sons, with the exception of Nestor. This would have made Nestor king of Pylos at a (as Ovid nicely puts it in his Metamorphoses) young age.

With this the son of Peleus dashed his gold-bestudded sceptre on the ground and took his seat, while the son of Atreus was beginning fiercely from his place upon the other side. Then uprose smooth-tongued Nestor, the facile speaker of the Pylians, and the words fell from his lips sweeter than honey. Two generations of men born and bred in Pylos had passed away under his rule, and he was now reigning over the third. With all sincerity and goodwill, therefore, he addressed them thus:-

The Trojan War went on for about ten years which would make Nestor around 80 or 90 when he sailed home directly after the conclusion of the war.


In the Odyssey, Telemachus notes that Nestor is like an immortal because he has reigned for 3 generations, again this gives a broad indication of his age since reigning for 3 generations gives us 30 possible years for him to rule this third generation. However by building on the fact that the Trojan War took ten years and my own counting we can safely assume that Nestor was close to 90 or 100 years of age. This would look like he was indeed immortal since as noted in the Iliad, two generations had bred and passed away under his rule, making it seems like he has been there forever, since he already outlived the fathers and grandfathers of the generation under his current rule.

"Mentor," answered Telemachus, "do not let us talk about it any more. There is no chance of my father's ever coming back; the gods have long since counselled his destruction. There is something else, however, about which I should like to ask Nestor, for he knows much more than any one else does. They say he has reigned for three generations so that it is like talking to an immortal. Tell me, therefore, Nestor, and tell me true; how did Agamemnon come to die in that way? What was Menelaus doing? And how came false Aegisthus to kill so far better a man than himself? Was Menelaus away from Achaean Argos, voyaging elsewhither among mankind, that Aegisthus took heart and killed Agamemnon?"

I leave you with this comment of @DukeZhou beneath his answer.

time is a fuzzy thing in the Greek mythology

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