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The Odyssey

The Odyssey


by Homer

The Odyssey Hospitality Quotes

How we cite our quotes: (Book.Line)

Quote #4

(Alkinoös:) 'Now, having feasted, go home and take your rest, and tomorrow at dawn we shall call the elders in, in greater numbers, and entertain the guest in our halls, and to the immortals accomplish fine sacrifices, and after that we shall think of conveyance, and how our guest without annoyance or hardship may come again, convoyed by us, to his own country, in happiness and speed, even though it lies very far off […].' (7.188-194)

We have to assume that the Phaiakians didn't get guests too often, because throwing a feast every time a stranger walked up would get pretty exhausting. (It's probably true that most people didn't travel very much in Ancient Greece.)

Quote #5

(Odysseus:) 'Let any of the rest, whose heart and spirit are urgent for it, come up and try me, since you have irritated me so, either at boxing or wrestling or in a foot race, I begrudge nothing; any of the Phaiakians, that is, except Laodamas himself, for he is my host; who would fight with his friend? Surely any man can be called insensate and good for nothing who in an alien community offers to challenge his friend and host in the games. He damages what it is.' (8.204-211)

Guest rule #121: don't beat your host in an arm-wrestling match. It's just not nice.

Quote #6

(Polyphemos, in Odysseus's tale:) '"Give me still more, freely, and tell me your name straightway now, so I can give you a guest present to make you happy."' (9.355-356)

We didn't have a good feeling about this cave anyway, but the minute Polyphemos starts talking about hospitality, we know it's not going to end well. Not only is he going to perform the host's duty of feeding his guests, he's actually going to eat them. That's pretty much the exact opposite of gracious.

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