Here, then, he offers Telemachus his guest-gift and promises to provide him with horses and a chariot, which can serve as transportation. However, it may be surprising that above all these, it is one that appears so simple, xenia, that has a hugely dominant role to play.
Disguise and Recognition in The Odyssey.
Thus, Odysseus is framing an element of the guest-host relationship, the clothing of the guest, along the premise of his return.
Also an excellent if humble host, Eumaeus makes his king proud as he speaks respectfully of the royal family and abhors the invasion of the suitors.
In this case, the punishment is death at the hands of Odysseus. Xenia is important between humans and also between gods. His gift is simply to spare Odysseus until he is the last man, and then eat him.
Overview[ edit ] Xenia consists of two basic rules: Civilized people, therefore, make an investment in hospitality to demonstrate their quality as human beings and in hopes that their own people will be treated well when they travel. In Phaeacia and on Ithaca, the hospitable reception of Odysseus as a guest and the development of the guest-host relationship lead to the The expression of xenia throughout the story of odyssey and revelation of his true identity.
As Odysseus prepared to draw the first arrow, Zeus sent an omen signalling his approval, a loud thunderclap. First, the Cyclops Polyphemus fails to provide Odysseus and his men with food, instead eating it all for himself. The episode between Polyphemus and Odysseus stands in stark contrast to the previous episodes, where the guest-host relationship is developed according to a formula and where the hosts uphold their responsibilities.
They include the bath, the feast, the questioning of the guest, and the offer of transportation. Showing good xenia could also be a way of spreading fame for your house or country.
Herman points out that these goods were not viewed as trade or barter, "for the exchange was not an end in itself, but a means to another end. He even moves her chair away from the suitors who are rude.
Such is the importance of xenia that, by honouring it, Telemachus would rather risk ruin and murder from the Suitors than wrath or disfavour from Zeus. Odysseus had been gone for nearly 15 years when the suitors showed up.
Even when the beautiful goddess-nymph tempts him with immortality, Odysseus yearns for home. A good executor of xenia should: She then directed her maids to take him to the river and bathe him, providing him with oils to rub onto his skin.
Importance of Xenia in Greek Civilization The custom of xenia was, to the Greeks, the mark of civilization in the late 12th century BC, a time when most of the world was still savage. The circumstances, however, are quite different.
There are many other households observed in the epic, including those of CirceCalypsoand the Phaeacians. Xenia has been broadly interpreted as comprising aspects of hospitality and generosity directed towards foreigners i.
He is proposing as his reward, a gift of clothes, something that constitutes the success of the prediction, the removal of his disguise. However, she most famously appears to Telemachus as Mentor, an Ithacan adviser who helps to protect the prince from the murderous suitors and to guide him through his coming of age.
Works Cited Biggs, Cory, et al. An understanding of what constitutes the guest-host relationship and xenia allows the reader to then understand its role in The Odyssey and recognize that the role it plays is significant.
It was a set of rules and customs that defined the guest-host relationship between two individuals, two groups of people, or an individual and a group Wilson Likewise, Odysseus shows very poor hospitality by slaughtering the suitors in his own house. Introduction Odysseus and Athena One of the most important themes in The Odyssey is the concept of xenia, which is the old Greek word for hospitality.
Polykrates, having seized the government in Samos, "concluded a pact of xenia with Amasis king of Egypt, sending and receiving from him gifts dora ".
Often, however, strangers are but wayfarers, probably in need of at least some kind of help. In fact the entire poem, chronicling the plight of a man trying to combat gods and monsters on his way home, is largely preoccupied with entertaining, or being entertained.
During the Trojan War, he posed as a beggar to enter the city; he also initiated the ruse of the giant wooden horse filled with Greek soldiers, a story retold by the bard Demodocus, not realizing that the hero himself is present, during the visit to Phaeacia 8.
A guest must be provided for before he is to be questioned. The custom was for the guest to take shelter in a home that fit his social standing, so you would not normally see a beggar looking for hand-outs at the palace of a king, or a noble seeking xenia from a commoner under, ideal circumstances at least.The Odyssey, with all of its examples of both good and bad xenia, offers us a look into the world of the Greeks, and the importance this cultural element played in their daily lives.
Throughout the story, bad xenia is punished and good. The major themes in The Odyssey are especially significant because they serve to form the moral and ethical constitution of most of the characters.
The reader learns about the characters through the themes. The more complicated a character is, the more he or she engages these major themes. Therefore. Perhaps, then, xenia plays a role in allowing Odysseus to shed his disguise during his return home and when he is prepared to fight the suitors.
Indeed, the plot of The Odyssey establishes a positive connection between recognition and the observance of hospitality. In Phaeacia and on Ithaca, the hospitable reception of Odysseus as a guest and the. As a matter of fact, the theme of xenia being an elite- only institution runs throughout the Odyssey, as Odysseus gradually loses more and more of his men, i.e.
the community over which he presides during the course of his voyage, to various foreign peoples who have a strange or non-existent idea of xenia. In Book XI, Homer reinforces major themes that repeat through the rest of the story that show Odysseus he can get home using the ideas seen throughout the text.
Hospitality is a theme in Book XI that occurs in many of the other books of The Odyssey. While the Argonautika takes place before the Iliad and the Odyssey, it was written by an Alexandrian librarian, Apollonius of Rhodes.
Since the story takes place during Greek times, the theme of xenia is shown throughout the story.Download