Importance Of Xenia In The Iliad

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In ancient times, an essential part of Greek pedagogy was the oral dissemination of epic poems that were widely known and revered by all. One of the most prominent poems is Homer’s epic, The Iliad, which successfully embodies the Greek culture and paints a picture of their idealized world. While it tells the story of the final days of the Trojan War, it also reveals fundamental Greek values concerning relationships, specifically between hosts and guests. The concept of hospitality is defined by the Greek term “xenia” and its influence is seen throughout the backdrop of this poem. Through its portrayal of various guest-host relationships, one can perceive the great importance that Greeks place on xenia, the proper way of demonstrating it and their belief that it is essential to be successful and have the favor of the Gods. Early in the poem, there is a clear example that emphasizes the special significance of xenia. During the heat of a battle in no-man’s land, two warriors, Glaucus and Diomedes, meet on the battlefield and share their lineage. After doing so, they realize that their grandfathers practiced xenia with each other, that is, they were once connected as guest and host. Due to this, they resolved not to fight and instead exchanged gifts to continue …show more content…
As a result, the Greek’s take heavy losses and Agamemnon even suggests retreating and surrendering. These examples show that for Greeks, refusal to show xenia meant hardship and the loss of the gods’ favor. Even Agamemnon recognized this when he said: “I see now that [Zeus’] orders/Are for me to return to Argos in disgrace”, a consequence of his reproachable actions. If he would have acted differently and shown xenia, the course of the war would have resulted very

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