Stender_podcast_Gk112_2013

Nick Stender examines the scene in the Odyssey where Odysseus, dressed as a beggar, shows up at the hut of the swineherd Eumaeus, and is received with gallant swineherd hospitality–quite a contrast to the supposedly noble suitors who are occupying Odysseus’ palace. What does this scene reveal about the custom of xenia or guest-friendship in dark age Greece? Odyssey 14.48-61, discussed, translated, and read aloud by Nick Stender.

Odysseus and Eumaeus on a Greek red-figured vase Athens 5th century BC

Odysseus and Eumaeus

ὣς εἰπὼν κλισίηνδ’ ἡγήσατο δῖος ὑφορβός,
εἷσεν δ’ εἰσαγαγών, ῥῶπας δ’ ὑπέχευε δασείας,
ἐστόρεσεν δ’ ἐπὶ δέρμα ἰονθάδος ἀγρίου αἰγός,
αὐτοῦ ἐνεύναιον, μέγα καὶ δασύ. χαῖρε δ’ Ὀδυσσεύς,
ὅττι μιν ὣς ὑπέδεκτο, ἔπος τ’ ἔφατ’ ἔκ τ’ ὀνόμαζε·
“Ζεύς τοι δοίη, ξεῖνε, καὶ ἀθάνατοι θεοὶ ἄλλοι,
ὅττι μάλιστ’ ἐθέλεις, ὅτι με πρόφρων ὑπέδεξο.”
τὸν δ’ ἀπαμειβόμενος προσέφης, Εὔμαιε συβῶτα·
“ξεῖν’, οὔ μοι θέμις ἔστ’, οὐδ’ εἰ κακίων σέθεν ἔλθοι,
ξεῖνον ἀτιμῆσαι· πρὸς γὰρ Διός εἰσιν ἅπαντες
ξεῖνοί τε πτωχοί τε. δόσις δ’ ὀλίγη τε φίλη τε
γίνεται ἡμετέρη· ἡ γὰρ δμώων δίκη ἐστίν,
αἰεὶ δειδιότων, ὅτ’ ἐπικρατέωσιν ἄνακτες
οἱ νέοι.



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