Tuesday, March 24, 2009



Stephanie West, commentary on Homer, Odyssey 1.113 ff. ("typical scheme in Homer for scenes describing the reception of a visitor"):
(1) The new arrival waits at the entrance until (2) one of the company notices him, (3) gets up from his seat and hastens to the doorway, (4) takes the visitor by the hand, (5) leads him in, (6) offers him a seat, (7) fetches food and invites him to eat; (8) after a meal come questions.
West refers to Walter Arend, Die typischen Scenen bei Homer (Berlin: Weidmann, 1933), pp. 34 ff., and Mark W. Edwards, "Type-Scenes and Homeric Hospitality," Transactions of the American Philological Association 105 (1975) 51-72. Where West identified 8 elements of this type-scene, Steve Reece, The Stranger's Welcome: Oral Theory and the Aesthetics of the Homeric Hospitality Scene (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan, 1993), identified 35.

Patrick Leigh Fermor, Mani: Travels in the Southern Peloponnese (1958; rpt. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1984), chapter 11:
Many things in Greece have remained unchanged since the Odyssey and perhaps the most striking of these is the hospitality shown to strangers; the more remote and mountainous the region, the less this has altered....There is still the same acceptance, the attention to a stranger's needs before even finding out his name: the daughter of the house pouring water over his hands and offering him a clean towel, the table laid first and then brought in, the solicitous plying of wine and food, the exchange of identities and autobiographies; the spreading of bedclothes in the best part of the house—the coolest or warmest according to the season—the entreaties to stay as long as the stranger wishes, and, finally, at his departure, the bestowal of gifts, even if these are only a pocketful of walnuts or apples, a carnation or a bunch of basil; and the care with which he is directed on his way, accompanied some distance, and wished godspeed.

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