NECTAR, in ancient mythology generally coupled with ambrosia, the nourishment of the gods in Homer and in Greek literature generally. Probably the two terms were not originally distinguished; but usually both in Homer and in later writers nectar is the drink and ambrosia the food. On the other hand, in Alcman nectar is the food, and in Sappho and Anaxandrides ambrosia the drink. Each is used in Homer as an unguent (Iliad, xiv. 170; xix. 38). Both are fragrant, and may be used as perfume. According to W. H. Roscher (Nektar and Ambrosia, 1883; see also his article in Roscher's Lexikon der Mythologic) nectar and ambrosia were originally only different forms of the same substance - honey, regarded as a dew, like manna, fallen from heaven, which was used both as food and drink. (See also AMBROSIA.)
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