When Athena departs from Telemachus and Nestor, how does she reveal that she is a goddess?

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jameadows eNotes educator| Certified Educator

After Nestor, the King of Pylos, invites Telemachus to stay in his palace in Book Three, Athena, disguised as Mentor, tells Nestor and Telemachus that she will go back to the ship. Then, "With that the bright-eyed goddess winged away/in an eagle's form and flight" (lines 415-416; Fagles translation). In other words, she turns into an eagle and flies away in front of Nestor and Telemachus. Nestor seizes Telemachus's hand and tells him that he, Telemachus, will never be a coward or "defenseless" because he is protected by the gods. Nestor immediately knows that Mentor was really Athena, and he makes a sacrifice to her right away, as mortals are supposed to do. The next day, Nestor orders the slaughter of a heifer, and he summons a goldsmith to coat the heifer's horns in gold. He then makes a sacrifice to Athena, who attends the ritual.