Hospitality plays a major role in the ancient Greek society, as it is a reflection of their culture and values. In Homer’s epic poem The Odyssey, hospitality is seen as a common courtesy, and is even seen as an obligation among the people of ancient Greece. Here are some excerpts from The Odyssey that demonstrate how important hospitality was in ancient Greece:
“Sing to me of the man, Muse, the man of twists and turns … driven time and again off course, once he had plundered the hallowed heights of Troy.”
The beginning of The Odyssey finds the hero, Odysseus, wandering aimlessly in the Mediterranean Sea after the Trojan War. He is in search of a safe haven, which is something that all travelers in the ancient Greek society looked for. In Homer’s world, it was not just a courtesy for hosts to take in travelers, but an obligation. This excerpt demonstrates the importance of hospitality and how it was taken seriously in this society.
“Just as a father takes a child by the hand and sets him on the right path, so Pallas Athena gave him courage… leading him along the right-of-way to the famed island of the Phaeacians.”
The gods are often portrayed as having immense power in The Odyssey, but they are also responsible for showing hospitality to the hero, Odysseus. In this passage, Athena is guiding Odysseus to the island of the Phaeacians, a place that is known for its hospitality. This excerpt demonstrates the gods’ commitment to the value of hospitality, showing that it was seen as a critical part of life in ancient Greece.
“Now the king Alcinous asked his housekeeper Eurycleia to prepare guest chambers. That good woman went up on the lifting stairs to the shadowy halls and set about making beds in the well-built rooms.”
This excerpt from The Odyssey shows the importance of hospitality at the home of King Alcinous. He immediately provides Odysseus with a place to stay after hearing his story, showing his commitment to the value of hospitality. This passage demonstrates that hospitality was seen as an obligation, rather than something that was done out of kindness.
Hospitality was seen as an essential part of life in ancient Greece, and The Odyssey is a great example of this. These excerpts show how important it was for the gods, rulers, and ordinary citizens to demonstrate hospitality. They demonstrate that hospitality was not only seen as a courtesy, but as a moral obligation in ancient Greece.