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Athena, also called by her Roman name Minerva in some versions, advises Telemachus first to visit Nestor, then to visit King Menelaus in Sparta, for Menelaus was the last of the Greeks to arrive home from the Trojan War; presumably, if he was the last to arrive, he would have the most knowledge of what happened to other Greeks, and would be best able to say whether Odysseus was alive or not.
While speaking with Nestor, he (Nestor) also recommends speaking to Menelaus, for Menelaus is a person of truth and excellent character, and is certain to know something more about Odysseus's fate than Nestor (who knows virtually nothing about what happened to him, other than that he stayed in Troy with Menelaus's brother, Agamemnon, for a time).
Presumably, Menelaus will be able to tell them if Odysseus is dead, and if he cannot confirm his death, he may at least give them clues as to where Odyssesu was last seen.
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