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WHY hospitality is such a key for Homer (or for the Iliad really)

October 12, 2021
Christopher R. Teeple

Xenia or hospitality in ancient Greek is a topic that is very much present in The Iliad. We see the effects of being hospitable and of being hostile throughout the poem. The Iliad outlines just how important it is to be hospitable to others, and the negative effects being inhospitable has not only for oneself but the world around them. There are many moments throughout the text that highlight that being hospitable to others leads to benefit for the world. One clear example is how book 1 and book 24 differ from each other. Agamemnon refused to give back the priest’s daughter even when offered a ransom (780). This led to his troops being killed by Apollo’s arrows (79) and an argument with the best soldier in his army, Achilles, making him refuse to fight (81-83). In book 24 Achilles gives back the body of the man who killed his close friend happily (605) and offers him time to grieve before starting the war again. Achilles showed hospitality to Priam, and he did not suffer or make others suffer because of this unlike Agamemnon in book 1. The effects of hospitality are also seen in book 6 when Glaucus and Diomedes meet. As Glaucus introduces himself and lineage Diomedes discovers that Glaucus’ grandfather hosted Diomedes’ grandfather and showed him hospitality (209). The two decide not to fight but become friends and exchange gifts (203). All of this shows just how being hospitable to others improves the world around oneself. Since this is such a highlighted topic in The Iliad it is clear that Homer is trying to point out how one ought to be hospitable to others, as the effects of doing so will lead to good in the world that will be seen for generations, and the effects of not doing so will cause harm. It’s important to Think about WHY hospitality is such a key for Homer (or for the Iliad really) – why is THIS what he focuses on in an epic set around a war. You may add any examples but must cite exactly from the book and only the book. Should be about : 1 paragraph – 1 Page for Intro, 2 Page+ for body, 1 paragraph – 1 page for conclusion (Can add more if necessary)

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