The Odyssey Tradition and Custom Quotes
How we cite our quotes:
Telemachos replied: ‘My guest, your words to me are very kind and considerate, what any father would say to his son. I shall not forget them. But come now, stay with me, eager though you are for your journey, so that you must first bathe and take your ease and, well rested and happy in your heart, then go back to your ship with a present, something prized, altogether fine, which will be your keepsake from me, what loving guests and hosts bestow on each other.’ (1.307-313)
Telemachos shows his hospitality and gratefulness to Athene even though he does not know her true identity; this may be one of the reasons Athene disguises herself, to discern the true nature of various mortals. Clearly, Telemachos passed the test.
(Nestor:) ‘May Zeus and all the other immortals beside forfend that you, in my domain, should go on back to your fast ship as from some man altogether poor and without clothing, who has not any abundance of blankets and rugs in his household for his guests, or for himself to sleep in soft comfort. But I do have abundance of fine rugs and blankets. No, no, in my house the dear son of Odysseus shall not have to go to sleep on the deck of a ship, as long as I am alive, and my sons after me are left in my palace to entertain our guests, whoever comes to my household.’ (3.346-355)
Nestor shows great hospitality not only because of the Greek tradition, but because Telemachos is the son of his good friend.
(Nestor:) ‘Act quickly now, dear children, and do me this favor, so that I may propitiate first of all the gods, Athene, who came plainly to me at our happy feasting in the god’s honor. Come then, let one man go to the field for a cow, so that she may come with all speed, and let one of the oxherds be driving her, and one go down to the black ship of great-hearted Telemachos, and bring back all his companions, leaving only two beside her, and yet another go tell the worker in gold Laerkes to come, so that he can cover the cow’s horns with gold. You others stay here all together in a group but tell the serving women who are in the house to prepare a glorious dinner, and set chairs and firewood in readiness, and fetch bright water.’ (3.418-429)
Feasting and sacrifice appear to be an intricate part of Greek hospitality, reminding us that the tradition has much to do with piety and reverence toward the gods.