Odyssey Epic Masterpiece
Ancient Greece is known for its beautiful theaters and its skilled poets. One of
the most famous ones at that time and famous even now is Homer. Nobody knows who
he actually is but the works that he has created are far more than magnificent.

The Odyssey and The Iliad are two poems that turned into myths, have actually
been accepted as part of the history of the Greeks. The Odyssey is a story about
a hero from the Trojan War who struggles to get home to his family and when he
finally does he faces the suitors who he fights and defeats with the help of the
gods and his son who he hasn\'t seen for around twenty years. The gradual
development of the plot, the actual, end of the book is easily noticed. A big
role in that development plays hospitality or as Homer calls it the xenia.

Odysseus\' journey on his way back to his island Ithaca contains numerous details
about hospitality and what it is to be a good or a bad host. His voyage is based
on the kindness and the warmth of the people. There are gods and humans, and
giants that do not appreciate the hero but he deals with them and we meet with
the actual plot of the story, his homecoming. Warmth and kindness are presented
within every visit described in the book. Homer draws a very good picture of how
guests are welcomed, what entertainment they are given and the way they are send
on their way. The picture is filled with kindness and warmth. We could say that
the kind of hospitality presented in the book is hardly seen today. The
different steps of welcoming some one are really interesting. The host is bathed
and fed right after his arrival no matter who he is. Hosts do not really present
the question that identifies their guest until later on, after he has been well
rested and entertained. A great example of this is when Telemachos and Athene,
in the body of Mentor, visit Nestor. When Nestor sees the two men he has never
seen before he has a feast with his sons and companions. In the sight of the
strangers they all stand up and greet them. The first thing that is done is to
find a place for the two guests on the table and to feed them. " But when
they had put aside their desire for eating and drinking, first to speak was the

Gerenian horseman, Nestor: \'Now is a better time to interrogate our guests and
ask them who they are, now they have had the pleasure of eating...\'"¹ In
this quote we see some of the interesting customs of welcoming a guest. They are
even more emphasized in the visit of Telemachos and Nestor\'s son to Menelaus, in

Sparta. More specifically in the words of Menelaus to his servant when he is
asked if the strangers should be send away: " Eteoneus, son of Boethoos,
you were never a fool before, but now you are babbling nonsense, as a child
would do. Surely we two have eaten much hospitality from other men before we
came back here..."² Then he tells his servant to bring the guests to be
feasted. Another great custom is seen when Menelaus sends Telemachos and

Nestor\'s son on their way. He gives them precious and expensive gifts. What is
the reason for this customs? What is their meaning and significance? If this
friendliness did not exist among the characters in the book, Odysseus would
never be able to go to his homeland, Ithaca. There would not have been a
homecoming that long, and may be the plot of the story would have been
different, if Homer did not introduce the detaining of Odysseus at Kalypso\'s
island. The goddess is in love with the mortal and for a long time tries to
persuade him to be her husband, only the will of the hero is to go back to his
wife and already grown son. Even though holding him against his will, Kalypso is
a very good hostess. She never harms Odysseus\'s. She cooks for him and bathes
him but never uses her powers in a negative way. She even promises that she
would make him immortal if he marries her. There is warmth and kindness again,
the two important elements of xenia. The time spend on Kalypso\'s island helps
pieces of the story, other than Odysseus\' journey home and important for its
plot, to be developed. Really significant are the Phaiakians. Without their