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The Odyssey

The Odyssey

by Homer

Tradition and Custom Quotes

How we cite our quotes:

Quote #13

(Laodamas:) ‘Come you also now, father stranger, and try these contests, if you have skill in any. It beseems you to know athletics, for there is no greater glory that can befall a man living than what he achieves by speed of his feet or strength of his hands. So come then and try it, and scatter those cares that are on your spirit. Your voyage will not be put off for long, but now already your ship is hauled down to the sea, and your companions are ready.’ (8.145-151)

We see from Laodamas that there are many different ways to show hospitality; it extends beyond mere provisions to friendly camaraderie.

Quote #14

(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)

Odysseus shows the behavior of a good guest by refusing to challenge his host and protector. He places so much store by this that he compares it to the cutting away the ground from beneath one’s feet; in other words, insulting one’s host is akin to harming oneself.

Quote #15

(Alkinoös:) ‘[…] one who is your companion, and has thoughts honorable toward you, is of no less degree than a brother […].’ (8.585-586)

The notion of hospitality is so strong in the world of the Odyssey that guests can even be considered part of one’s family.

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