Hospitality in the Iliad gives us an insight in ancient greece and was a major characteristic of their culture. In the Iliad there are many instances of the applications of hospitality in the lives of the people back then. We use the Iliad as a tool to look into their culture because this would have been passed down orally for generations as some of the only literature they had. SO their worldviews and values would be apparent in these precious tales.
Hospitality in the greek is Xenia which was the guest to host friendship and obligations of the host and guest. The giving of gifts was usually done between guests and hosts. They really strived for a symbiotic give and take relationship in which the host does most of the leg work but a honorable and good guest would give so gift or reward in return. The only time when the host could really reject or throw out a guest was when a guest violated xenia terribly to the point where Zeus would give the order to seek justice for an act of such magnitude. For example when Paris is a guest in the King of Sparta Menelaus’ house as a guest and then steals his beautiful daughter from him and runs away. The theft of a princess is a major offense and would definitely deserve some repercussions it says many times in the Iliad of how the gods disapprove of this act.
Although, most of the time the host is at a major injustice because direspect runs ranpant through visitors and unless they do something deserving of a ten year war Xenia would inmplie that you would have to tough it out until they leave. The intensity of these rules comes into question when Paris, Hectors brother,who has just instigated the war,is found “polishing fondling his splendid battle gear” (Iliad 6.378) as the trojans get destroyed all around the city.It would be a normal course of action for Hector to throw Paris out since he is disrespecting the kindness of his brother. But in ancient Greece his hands are tied. There is a major catch to the rule of hospitality through ancient Greece, the guests dont have to be very respectful at all to their hosts. Although Paris is not just a passer by, this is not his castle, he is being sheltered in the city from a war he started and is not exactly in good standing with the trojans. This eventually leads to a disregard of justice because with the added benefit for people who really need shelter comes the bad of having to always show hospitality even to those who do not deserve it. It is apparent, that Greek xenea was something that happened sparingly and dusted off when needed. You needed to show xenea even if it was not in your best interest.
Hospitality in ancient Greece can make make friendships that make a lasting impact. And in the Iliad Greece and Troy, countries that both had a strong grasp on hospitality or xenia, are in a difficult time. They are at war and have been at war for eight to nine years and have lost many people over a cause that most of them do not believe in. These values are...