Xenia- Greek Concept

761 WordsJan 31, 20183 Pages
Xenia is a Greek concept with a broad of meaning and a rather interesting history behind it. Xenia can easily be defined as guest-host reciprocity but that would not be enough to tell its history, enunciate it’s meaning and warn of the retribution that comes along with breaching of Xenia. Xenia is an institution as important as any other in the culture of a community, is empowered by the Greek god, Zeus, the protector of travellers. Along with the respect of the god, Zeus and fear of angering him by turning away a traveller, comes some cautionary tales told by the Greeks. These are tales of punishment that may be received and the rewards that may be lost if the traveller that is turned away is a god or goddess in disguise. Xenia is established by exchange of both material and non-material services and goods such as food, shelter and protection. Breeching of Xenia has played a very important role in history and myths of the Greeks. One of the most important is the Trojan War, which was caused when Paris breached the Xenia in the house of Menelaus and abducted his wife Helen. Paris ignored the mutualistic respect that is supposed to be observed between parties involved and he stole from his host The Greek myth I shall elaborate on is that of Atreus and his twin brother Thyestes. It is a very perverse myth; it contains adultery and very distasteful cannibalism, however unintended it may have been. After Atreus took over the Kingdom of their father Pelops, Atreus also
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