Xenia in ancient greece

How did ancient greeks treat their guests

Hospitality… Or Else! Hunding then tells him he can stay there for the night as he would be protected by their laws of hospitality but he would hunt him down later to avenge the deaths of his relatives. The Greek god Zeus is sometimes called Zeus Xenios in his role as a protector of travelers. As anyone can see, the people from ancient Greece were very hospitable. From the very nature of this behavior, one can easily come to the conclusion that the people of ancient Greek society were truly hospitable. None of them are able to pass the test of stringing the bow of Odysseus except Odysseus himself. Although the primary consequence is their death, they also lose the hand of Penelope. Philoxenia today can be as simple as a smile, helping a stranded motorist, buying a meal for a homeless person, or opening your home to friends and family.

According to legend, even an event as momentous as the Trojan War began because of a guest's violation of xenia. Although many people — even nowadays — see Germans as barbarians and warmongers, Richard Wagner demonstrates how civilized they were when it came to Xenia.

Also, protection is not a large concern for most travelers, especially in the United States.

hospitality in ancient times

The cyclops is punished for the transgression. It also serves as a warning to wicked people, reminding them that the guest they refuse could be a god in disguise who might punish them later.

xenia hospitality

In the biblical story of Sodom and Gomorra three angels search in the city for someone who will welcome them into their home.

There is no need to for someone to ask for these. It was also believed that turning away someone and not providing them this hospitality would result in some form of punishment from the gods.

However, fear of the gods, rather than pure decency, is a possible cause of the actions of ancient Greeks towards their guests.

Xenia meaning in english

Finally, hospitality could have been used to spread ones name and bring them a sense of fame if they would provide a high standard of hospitality to strangers. In the Argonautika[ edit ] While the Argonautika takes place before the Iliad and the Odyssey, it was written by an Alexandrian librarian, Apollonius of Rhodes. It seems as though modern people do show hospitality towards others, but in a different way than those in Homeric times. The most violent reaction to the disregard of the responsibilities between a host and his guests occurs when the suitors are killed. Calypso is provided with a companion, even if it was not permanent, and Odysseus was provided with shelter, provisions, and protection for his men. Moreover, the host was expected to offer his guest refreshments, a bath and clean clothes. If one had poorly played host to a stranger, there was the risk of incurring the wrath of a god disguised as the stranger. Although both of these women had fine homes and fine things to offer him, their hospitality was too much for Odysseus. In both the Bible and The Odyssey violent penalties are given as a threat to anyone who is not hospitable and accommodating to their guest. In The Odyssey, providing hospitality often fell into these unwanted areas. Wotan, supreme god and father of Siegmund, refuses at first but then is forced to agree that his son must die. In the case of the suitors, however, there was a larger assumption made on their part. During the travels of both Odysseus and Telemacus, one can easily see how strangers were greeted and treated upon their arrival to a new place. Xenia was considered to be particularly important in ancient times when people thought gods mingled among them. It is also the first time Medeia is depicted in love with Jason due to Eros.
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Xenia the ancient Greek concept of hospitality