The Odyssey Piety Quotes
How we cite our quotes: (Book.Line)
(Odysseus:) 'Then I went away along the island in order to pray to the gods, if any of them might show me some course to sail on, but when, crossing the isle, I had left my companions behind, I washed my hands, where there was a place sheltered from the wind, and prayed to all the gods whose hold is Olympos; but what they did was to shed a sweet sleep on my eyelids […].' (12.333-338)
Check out how Odysseus washes his hands first. This is a cool little detail about everyday religion in Ancient Greece—and it probably says something about just how dirty they were.
(Odysseus:) ‘You dogs, you never thought I would any more come back from the land of Troy, and because of that you despoiled my household, and forcibly took my serving women to sleep beside you, and sought to win my wife while I was still alive, fearing neither the immortal gods who hold the wide heaven, nor any resentment sprung from men to be yours in the future. Now upon you all the terms of destruction are fastened.’ (22.35-41)
Odysseus cites the suitors’ crime as one not only of incivility, but of impiety as well.
(Odysseus:) 'Keep your joy in your heart, old dame; stop, do not raise up the cry. It is not piety to glory so over slain men. These were destroyed by the doom of the gods and their own hard actions […].' (22.411-413)
Piety isn't just about sacrificing to the gods—it's also about how you treat your fellow men. It's not quite "do unto others," but Odysseus is reminding the overly enthusiastic woman that these men are dead because the gods wanted it to be that way. Making a fuss about it just isn't respectful.