Hospitality is the idea that no one is unwelcome in your home; everyone is treated like an honored guest. In the Iliad, written by Homer, this practice is extremely important in the culture present, as it a reoccurring idea throughout the books. The characters in the Iliad are split between the Greeks and the Trojans, excluding the gods, all with their own separate interpersonal conflicts, all of which are greatly affected by hospitality. Hospitality in The Iliad is an important theme, whose importance is shown through the situations it shifts along with its affects on character development, that is either respected or ignored, both with dramatically different results.
Homer values the characteristic of hospitality because the characters who do not demonstrate this characteristic typically suffer fatal or near-fatal injuries. In the Odyssey, Penelope (Odysseus’ wife) was hosting an event to make one of the suitors (potential marriage partners) her new husband because she had given up hope that Odysseus would not return home. The men who were at her house would just eat and drink, and showed no hospitality (21.70-78). In the Odyssey, Odysseus had attended this event disguised, and became aware of Penelope’s discourteous guests. Odysseus then goes on a “rampage” and slaughters all of the guests except for a few men who Telemachus (Odysseus’ son) swore their loyalty (22.16-529). Additionally, in chapter 21, Antinoös was the first to be killed because of his abrupt and rude manners, and distinctly
In the Odyssey, Xenia is also shown to be one of the hallmarks of a civilised society, allowing us to judge the societies that Odysseus visits by their attitudes to xenia. For example, the Cyclopes are well informed about Xenia, yet disregard it because they have no fear of the God’s retribution. This tells us that the Cyclopes live in a formidable and amoral society. Even the Gods are shown to respect Xenia rules, for example in Book 5 when Calypso gives hospitality to Hermes. Good xenia is shown to have good repercussions for both the guest and the host: for example, Odysseus’ stay on the island of Calypso, where he is met with exceptional hospitality. Odysseus received this hospitality well and continued to please Calypso. Only at the end did he ever try to refuse her hospitality and leave, and even this caused no serious problems. Here we have an example of the guest-host relationship working well. Calypso is provided with a companion, even if it was not permanent, and Odysseus was provided with shelter, provisions, and protection for his men. In the end it proves to be a beneficial situation for them both.
The Cyclops shows bad hospitality. He comes home to Odysseus and his men. Instead of being hospitable, he starts eating his men. When Odysseus asks the Cyclops for hospitality, the Cyclops replies “We Cyclops never blink at Zeus and Zeus’ shield of storm and thunder, or any other blessed god- we’ve got more force by far.”(Book 9, pg 220, Line 309). Odysseus didn’t act very hospitable. He asked and seemed demanding toward the Cyclops. When you are a guest you’re supposed to allow your host to extend hospitality not ask or demand. Although the Cyclops was not
Telemachus house is the suitors and he doesn't enjoy their stay but still is being a good host and letting them stay. In contemporary society if someone offers a person to stay in their home and doesn't like them they would probably kick them out. But in Greek hospitality they allow their guest to stay however long they want. Telemachus does not have much to take care of himself but if offering as much as he can to Odysseus who is a stranger. In American society if someone doesn't have much they wouldn't let no stranger in their home and would be self-centered and wouldn't offer anything. When having a guest over in someone's home in contemporary society we do offer shelter and food and anything else needed just like the Greek but they are more extravagant towards their guests.
Throughout Homer's The Odyssey, Odysseus the main character in the story is tested with the true meaning of hospitality. In the heroic age, hospitality was viewed as punishment or acceptance of a stranger. While Odysseus longed for his return to home, he faced the two different kinds of hospitality offered within the heroic age. My theory is that Odysseus was provided with good hospitality when he would enter a town that allowed him to eat at their table, bathed within their baths, and sleep within their homes. The townspeople and their king often provided superior hospitality for strangers without questioning them first. It's thought that maybe the wonderful hospitality was provided in return of viewing the stranger as a
The Odyssey is an epic poem attributed to the now-famous Greek poet, Homer, written approximately in the early sixth century B.C.E. The poem shares the tale of the wily adventuring solider, Odysseus', return from the Trojan war to his wife and home in Ithaca. The poem details his misadventures, the efforts of his son, Telemachus, to find him, and revenge on his wife's suitors. While many themes run through this poem, the most prevalent is that of hospitality. The Host-Guest relationship is significant in the Odyssey as it acts as one of the main thematic devices used by Homer and examples of good hospitality versus bad hospitality and their results serve as the main plot elements throughout the tale.
The concept of guest hospitality is extremely important in ancient Greece. Hospitality, or Xenia, is so essential in Greek society that Zeus, in addition to being the king of the Gods, is also the God of travelers (Wikipedia). This created an obligation for the host to be hospitable to their guests, and conversely, the guests had their own responsibilities as well. If either the host or the guest was to break any rule set by Xenia, there would be severe penalties dealt by Zeus and also by society (Wikipedia). In The Odyssey, Xenia is a theme which is shown repeatedly throughout the book: Nestor and Menelaos take in Telemakhos warmly as a guest and Eumaios plays an excellent host to Odysseus, while Odysseus is disguised as a wandering
The Greeks have been known for their hospitality and politeness, especially when treating guests- whether strangers or not. This is demonstrated near the beginning of the Odyssey when Telemachus went to Pylos to visit Nestor. Nestor, not knowing who he was taking into his home as guests, treated them with great honor and respect. "Now is the time," he said, "for a few questions, now that our young guests have enjoyed their dinner. Who are you, strangers? Where are you sailing from, and where to, down the highways of sea water (p 299)?" If ever Greeks were to serve themselves before their guests or even a little better than them, then they were breaking the most basic of all Greek customs,
The hospitality is both wanted by the guest and willingly given by the host, and Menelaus fulfills all the “requirements” that are expected of a good host. Telemachus is bathed by the women of Menelaus’s palace, which is a recurring example of good hospitality in Homer’s works. The women “draw warm fleece and shirts around their shoulders” (Homer, 240), and Menelaus welcomes him with a grand feast. He tells Telemachus to “Help yourselves to food, and welcome! Once you’ve dined we’ll ask you who you are” (Homer, 240); here he demonstrates that he knows the proper “principles” of xenia, as he only asks questions after he serves his guests. “I’ll give you a princely send-off – shining gifts, three stallions and a chariot burnished bright- and I’ll add a gorgeous cup so you can pour libations out to the deathless gods on high and remember Menelaus all your days” (Homer, 253). The “three stallions and a chariot” included in his gifts to Telemachus are meant to serve as transportation. “…and remember Menelaus all your days” – as stated previously, hospitality could have been used to spread a person’s name if they would provide a high standard of it to strangers, and Menelaus would have wanted to be known for his hospitality. He also would have wanted for Telemachus, the son of the known Odysseus, to remember that Menelaus
The two examples given above provide us with support that gift giving and gifts were connected to respect. However, throughout the Odyssey we also witness the operation of a degenerate society going against what was important to Homeric society. Polyphemus didn’t worship the gods and lived in caves. They didn’t live like how Odyssey or those from Homeric societies were accustoming to. They went against the guest-host relationship because they simply didn’t care. Polyphemus doesn’t provide Odysseus and his men with food instead he ate all of it. Yes, like the previous examples he asks that who they are but he didn’t offer them something to eat. This deviating from what is expected in Homeric society. Odysseus states “ Your filthy crimes came down on your own head, you shameless cannibal, daring to eat your guest in your own house.” (Book IX) Odysseus expected a gift and some sort of hospitality from Polyphemus. He gives Polyphemus the opportunity to provide them with gifts, transportation, anything. Odysseus reaction to his treatment from Polyphemus shows us how important and valued the guest-host relationship was. Polyphemus was not the only one to challenge
Hospitality goes two ways; Guest have responsibilities just like the host does. The suitors, who are actually unwelcomed, guest takes Odysseus’s wife hospitality for granted as they waste all the goods and try to get at her constantly. Also when Odysseus returns in the disguise of an old man, the suitors treat him with great inhospitality.
Each culture treats strangers and guests with distinct differences from every other culture. One of the most hospitable cultures was that of the ancient Greeks, exemplified in Homer’s The Odyssey by both gracious hosts and guests. In Greece and The Odyssey, not only was good hospitality etiquette expected, but the added pressure from the conviction that the gods would punish the host if guests were treated without respect (whether they were poor or rich) further compelled excellent manners. The Odyssey illustrates the proper etiquette when dealing with guests.
The final aspect of positive hospitality that is shown in the Odyssey, is by Eumaus, the old swineherd of Odysseus. Eumaus uses his very appropriate upbringing (he was kidnapped royalty) in order to provide help to Odysseys (in disguise as a beggar) all the help and wealth he can afford to share, in his meager setting. Odysseus used
Another example of generous hospitality is when Odysseus landed on the shores of Skheria, land of the Phaiakians. They give him a boat full of supplies and send him sailing home, but Poseidon had not finished teaching Odysseus a lesson. Zeus, not wanting to interfere with his brother, allowed him to destroy the Phaiakians and their boat while allowing Odysseus to live. They were punished because the dared to interfere with the gods' punishment of Odysseus.