NECTAR

ΝΕΚΤΑΡ

Was, according to the early poets, the wine or drink of the gods, which was poured out to them by Hebe or Ganymede, and the colour of which is described as red (Hom. Il. iv. 3, Od. v. 93, 195, &c.; Ov. Met. x. 161). Like the wine of mortals it was mixed with water when it was drunk, and the wine which Odysseus had carried with him is called by Polyphemus the cream of nectar (aporrôx nektaros, Od. ix. 359). Later writers sometimes by nectar understand a fragrant balm which prevents the decomposition of organic bodies, as, in fact, even in Homer (Il. xix. 39), Thetis prevents the body of Patroclus becoming decomposed by anointing it with ambrosia and nectar (comp. Ov. Met. iv. 250). Some of the ancient poets, moreover, described nectar not as the drink, but as the food of the immortals, that is, they made it the same as ambrosia. (Athen. ii. p. 39; Eustath. ad Hom. p. 1632.)