The treatment of a guest was very important in the times of the ancient Greeks. It defined your social class, and it also helped you in favour with Zeus, who is the god of travellers and guests. A wide range of things can be classified as hospitality, but the general idea is always the same and cannot change. Hospitality was giving any stranger food, warmth, shelter and comfort before asking questions such as their name, heritage, or means of transportation. Hospitality also meant an ear for every word and respect for every word as well. Also, the host is responsible for being the aegis of the guest while the guest resides at his home. Telemachus feels that he cannot provide this for his father (in guise of a beggar), and is therefore ashamed. “How can I take and entertain a stranger guest in my house? I myself am young and have no faith in my hands’ strength to defend a man, if anyone else picks a quarrel with him (Bk. XVI, 69 – 72). Examples of good hospitality are abundant throughout The Odyssey, such as when Athene goes to Telemachus in Ithaca, when Telemachus goes to Nestor, when Telemachus goes to Menelaos, when Odysseus goes to the Phaiakians, and when Odysseus goes to Eumaios. Presents at arrival are expected, but presents at departure are not always present. However, in case of a wealthy, generous, or friendly host, presents, even those with incalculable and immense values can be exchanged.


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