peopleCeNTiLMeN date_rangeKasım 29 2022

Rules of Hospitality in Ancient Greece

Well, there were no hostels or hotels in ancient times – in fact, it was a time before Booking.com. Travelers on the wild roads were few in number and completely depended on the kindness of strangers on the way for lodging and food. Divine protection was a necessary insurance for the guests. Finally, Baucis noticed that despite the filling of the god`s cups, the jug of wine was still full all night. When she realized who they were, she told her husband, who even thought of slaughtering his goose! Zeus rewarded both for their wonderful hospitality by turning their home into a temple. Kazantzakis not only refers to his Cretan experience in Greece, but also refers to the ancient concept of Xenia. If you don`t know, Xenia in Greece is the ancient concept of hospitality. It is also known as philoxenia, which means a love for strangers or strangers and a desire to show them hospitality. In ancient times, it was expected that one would always be hospitable to travelers. Although it was not regulated by law, it was considered a moral obligation to be fulfilled by Greek civilization.

“Xenia” embodies the idea of hospitality and is part of the compound word “philo-xenia”, which means “friend of the stranger”. Whether king or beggar, a visitor had to stick to his duties as a respectful guest. When he violated the rules of hospitality, he returned to the role of a hostile stranger. Everyone understood the hospitality code, but sometimes decided to violate it. What can Greeks teach us about modern accommodation? Well, for starters, it`s clear that Greek philosophers would almost certainly fail our guest evaluation process. But surely we can all learn a little if we treat hospitality as a divine responsibility – even if the danger of eternal punishment in Hades has diminished in recent years. These unique scenes, though distinctly Homeric, together reflect a traditional formula for giving and receiving hospitality: arrival; waiting at the threshold; supplication; reception; seats; the party; drink after dinner; visitor identification; Exchange of information; Entertainment; the visitor`s blessing for the host, the common libation or sacrifice, the request for sleep; the bed; the bathroom; attempts by the host to detain the visitor; Gifts; the starting meal and libation; the farewell blessing; the omen and interpretation of the gap; and accompaniment to the visitor`s next destination. Scholars suggest that hospitality is central to virtually all Old Testament ethics.

In a particularly relevant passage today, Leviticus 19:33-34 says, “If a stranger dwells among you in your land, do not mistreat him. The stranger who lives among you must be treated as your native by birth. Love them as yourself, for you were strangers in Egypt. Ultimately, hospitality in myth and religion manifests the age-old “golden rule”: treat others as you want them to do to you. Sooner or later, a stranger begins to realize that there is an established etiquette not only for the host, but also for the guest. No one should forget what Ulysses Penelopes did to greedy and inappropriate admirers who lost their dignity (and ultimately their lives) for abusing the rules of hospitality. They abused their role as guests in Odysseus` house and showed a lack of respect for their hostess Penelope – whose hand they ironically try to win. The two ancient Greek gods, according to history, visited many villages in search of a refuge for the night. A poor elderly couple, Baucis and Philemon, welcomed them as guests into their home and generously served them food and wine.

Xenia was considered especially important in ancient times, when people thought that the gods mingled among them. If a stranger was badly entertained, there was a danger of incurring the wrath of a god disguised as a stranger. It is believed that the Greek practice of theoxene may have been the precursor to the Roman rite of lectisternium or draped sofas. To ensure the sustainability of this relationship, hospitality could even be hereditary. Euripides` play from the fifth century BC. J.-C. “Medea,” for example, shows that sometimes a host and his guest exchanged a distinctive sign that could be redeemed when hospitality was desired again, or that could be passed on to the next generation. In ancient Greece, in order to be a gracious host and conform to the concept of Xenia, certain rules had to be followed. The host must offer abroad not only food and drinks, but also a bath and fresh clothes. They were also forced to entertain them and not ask questions until the guest was satisfied.

They also had to help the customer with directions to their next destination. In this way, they were probably rewarded for their kindness or punished for their lack of kindness. Because remember, Zeus has eyes everywhere. Our relentless fascination with Homer`s epic tales stems largely from the window they offer into the mysterious and mythical, but strangely familiar paths of ancient Greek life. The most important of the ancient practices and beliefs described in these works was hospitality. Another possible reason for this hospitality was the fact that there were no nations that would allow travelers to enter their territory safely. Without such hospitality, foreigners could be captured or even killed when they enter a foreign country.

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