“We reached Tenedos quickly, sacrificed to the gods,
the crews keen for home, but a quick return was not
in Zeus’s plans, not yet: that cruel power
loosed a cursed feud on us once again.”
~The Odyssey Book III Lines (176-179)
In the ancient world, many found it prudent to avoid displeasing the gods. In the first three Books of The Odyssey, by Homer the gods are always present.. In book III of The Odyssey, King Nestor and his crew sacrifice a “sleek black bull” to the gods for a safe passage back to their homes. The thesis quote shows how superstitious the Greeks were and, at that time in history, superstition and religion were intertwined.
When Telemachus traveled by boat to King Nestor’s, with King Nestor’s son Pisistratus, estate to find out about his father’s, Odysseus, where abouts, whether his is dead or not. King Nestor recalls his memories of the time after the Trojan War, on the beaches of Troy, specifically the journey home and where he last saw Odysseus. King Nestor bring up the memory of fear for his life, at the hands of the gods. To continue protecting his crew, they sacrifice every time they make landfall. The crew sacrifices large black bulls, to the sea god Poseidon, and to Zeus. King Nestor says about the powers of Poseidon:
Many thighs of bulls we offered Poseidon there… never once did the strong wind go limp from the first day the god unleashed its blast.
~The Odyssey, (Book III, Lines 199, 204-5)
King Nestor felt it was necessary to sacrifice to Poseidon, the sea god, for a safe journey home back to Ithaca. To Nestor, sacrificing was a way of life, because he was a captain of a ship. Every time he would go somewhere, anywhere, he would sacrifice to stay safe from the wrath of the gods. If King Nestor had not been as religious, literally, about sacrificing to the gods, the long trip from the beaches of Troy back would have been much harder.King Nestor worshiped the gods for his and his crews safety. Without the help of the gods, they might now have made it home to their wives.