Hospitality in the Odyssey

Hospitality in the Odyssey


Thesis Declaration: Analysis of the significance of the traditional hospitality idea as seen through the actions of different characters in The Odyssey poem
Table Of Contents

  • Intro: The poem Odyssey as a source of knowledge about the Ancient Greek culture
  • Example of Calypso as a bad host
  • Laistrygones as another example of bad hospitality
  • Princess Nausicaa and King Alcinous as excellent and welcoming hosts
  • Components of great hospitality in Ancient Greece times
  • How Odysseus shows he is a respectful guest
  • Conclusion: Significance of hospitality displayed in Homer’s impressive poem

Homer’s Odyssey can teach us about culture in ancient Greece through Odysseus’ voyage house. In the legendary poem hospitality, or “xenia,” is expressed as a reoccurring theme. Throughout the legendary poem, there are various examples of hosts and visitors. Firstly, the poem presents bad hosts such as Calypso and Laistrygones. Calypso is considered a bad host because she held Odysseus prisoner in her home for numerous years. In Book Five, Athena stated to Zeus,

“Now he’s left to pine on an island, racked with grief in the nymph Calypso’s house– she holds him there by force.

He has no other way to voyage home to his own native land, no trim ships in reach, no team to ply the oars and send him scudding over the sea’s broad back”

(Odyssey, Book 5, lines 12-19).

Example of Calypso as a bad host

While he is held there, Calypso sleeps with him and uses him immortality if he will stick with her. When Zeus informs Calypso to release him, she is angered. She states,

“I’ll send him off, but not with any escort. I have no ships in reach … But I will gladly encourage him– I’ll hide nothing– so he can reach his native nation all unharmed”

(Odyssey, Book 5, lines 156-157, 159-160).

Her hospitality is not the considerate type that visitors are supposed to receive; another example of bad hospitality is Laistrygones. Odysseus and his men discover their way to an island and seek shelter in a cave that appears to be the house of a giant. Expecting the regular compassion that guests would receive, they let themselves in and offer red wine to the gods and after that consume some themselves. When Laistrygones returns home and finds strangers there, he is not the type of host they thought he would be. He greets them by stating,

Complete stranger, you should be a fool, stranger, or originate from nowhere, informing me to fear the gods or avoid their wrath!
I ‘d never ever spare you in worry of Zeus’s hatred, you or your pals here, unless I had the desire

(Odyssey, Book 9, lines 306-308, 312-3113).

Princess Nausicaa and King Alcinous as excellent and welcoming hosts

After their introduction, he attacks the guys, Homer says,

Lurching up, he lunged out with his hands toward my men and nabbing two at once, rapping them on the ground he knocked them dead like pups– their brains gushed out all over, soaked the floor– and rigging them limb from limb to repair his meal he bolted them down like a mountain-lion, left no scrap, feasted on entrails, flesh and bones, marrow and all!

(Odyssey, Schedule 9, lines 324-330).

This is not at all how strangers are expected to be dealt with as visitors. Laistrygones and Calypso are perceived as bad hosts. In The Odyssey Homer likewise shows examples of good hosts too. When Odysseus crashes on another island, he is greeted by Princess Nausicaa of the Phaeacians, she states,

Complete stranger, pal, you’re barely a wicked man, and no fool, I ‘d say– Today, seeing you have actually reached our city and our land, you’ll never ever do not have for clothing or any other gift, the right of damaged suppliants come our method.

I’ll reveal you our town, inform you our individuals’s name

(Odyssey, Schedule 6, lines 204-205, 210-213). This is the correct way a visitor was anticipated to be treated in Ancient Greek times. She welcomes him to their land and uses him clothing. Later when the housemaids are being disrespectful to Odysseus, Nausicaa tells them,

Enough. Offer the stranger food and beverage, my girls

(Odyssey, Reserve 6, lines 272-273). This is another example of good hospitality in the legendary poem. This is how visitors were anticipated to be treated. At one point on his go to there, Echeneus informs King Alcinous,

This is no way, Alcinous.

How indecent, appearance, our visitor on the ground, in the ashes by the fire! Your people are holding back, waiting on your signal. Come, raise him up and seat the stranger now, in a silver-studded chair, and inform the heralds to blend more white wine for all so we can put out cups to Zeus who enjoys the lightning, champion of suppliants– suppliants’ rights are sacred. And let the housemaid offer our visitor his supper, unstinting with her stores

(Odyssey, Reserve 7, lines 189-198). Visitors were to receive a host’s utmost regard.

Elements of good hospitality in Ancient Greece times

Elements of great hospitality in this time were things such as: immediate welcoming, shaking their hand, assisting him bring in his personal belongings, bathing and washing their hands, providing new clothes, providing a meal and wine, then concerns about the guest and discussion amongst the guest and hosts. Both great and bad visitors were portrayed in Homer’s impressive poem as well. The suitors at Ithaca are depicted as bad guests. They abuse Penelope’s hospitality by slaughtering their animals, declining to leave, bullying Telemachus, and behaving riotously.

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How Odysseus reveals he is a considerate guest

Odysseus, being the hero of the story, is portrayed as a great guest when he stuck with King Alcinous and Princess Nausicaa. Homer says,

He introduced in simultaneously, capitivating sly and suave: ‘Here I am at your grace princess– are you a goddess or a mortal?

(Odyssey, Schedule 6, lines 162-164). He opens up by saying that he is at her mercy and advocating assistance because he has suffered a lot disaster, then he compliments her appeal hoping that will assist him along even more. Later on again he reveals his respectfulness to them by saying,

Alcinous, cross that thought from your mind.
I’m absolutely nothing like the never-ceasing gods who rule the skies, either in construct or reproducing. I’m simply a mortal man

(Odyssey, Schedule 7, lines 243-246).

Importance of hospitality

He is the example throughout the legendary poem of a great visitor. Hospitality in the ancient world was thought about highly important and typically sacred. Homer teaches about both excellent and bad hospitality in The Odyssey through Odysseus and the trials he endures on his journey house. This hospitality shown throughout the legendary poem is a picture of what Ancient Greek hospitality was anticipated to be.