Xenia in The Odyssey

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  • Created by: Kate
  • Created on: 06-04-13 19:11

Xenia - Arguably the most important themes in the poem, it is the code of recieving and being a guest. Zeus is the god of xenia. Xenia was a mark of civilisation and anyone who didn't have it (like Polyphemus is refered to in Book 9 as having no culture,along with the other cyclopes) were looked down upon, both by the audience and by the characters themselves. 

A host must :

  • Feed and offer shelter to their guest before asking their name and where they're from
  • Treat them generally with respect and host them for as long as they need
  • When the guest does leave, the host must give them 'guest gifts,' which were very valuable items or property

A guest must :

  • Treat their host's house with respect (not steal or break anything)
  • Not outstay their welcome
  • Return the favour, should the host ever come and stay with them

Why is it important?

It changes the plot of the poem because without it, Odysseus would have never been able to getg around, or Telemachus in Books 2-4, he relies…


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