Homeric Greek | Odyssey 1.118–124: xeinos as stranger and as guest

We are pleased to share this segment in the series on reading Homeric epic in ancient Greek. In each installment we read, translate, and discuss a small passage in the original Greek in the most accessible way. If you’ve ever dreamed of reading Homer in ancient Greek, here is your chance to do so with teachers who have spent a lifetime studying these works. Together they help even new readers explore the words and formulas that make “the poetry of grammar and the grammar of poetry” in Homeric epic so exquisite and rewarding.

In this segment, Gregory Nagy (Harvard University), Douglas Frame (CHS), and Leonard Muellner (Brandeis University), read Odyssey 1.118–124.  Topics include:

  • xeinos as stranger and as guest
  • correct procedure and sequence of events when receiving a guest
  • comparing this scene with Telemachus as a guest at Sparta
  • words denoting a speech act

Odyssey 1, Lines 118–124[1]

τὰ φρονέων, μνηστῆρσι μεθήμενος, εἴσιδ᾽ Ἀθήνην.
βῆ δ᾽ ἰθὺς προθύροιο, νεμεσσήθη δ᾽ ἐνὶ θυμῷ
ξεῖνον δηθὰ θύρῃσιν ἐφεστάμεν: ἐγγύθι δὲ στὰς           120
χεῖρ᾽ ἕλε δεξιτερὴν καὶ ἐδέξατο χάλκεον ἔγχος,
καί μιν φωνήσας ἔπεα πτερόεντα προσηύδα:
‘χαῖρε, ξεῖνε, παρ᾽ ἄμμι φιλήσεαι: αὐτὰρ ἔπειτα
δείπνου πασσάμενος μυθήσεαι ὅττεό σε χρή.

Mentioned in this video clip:

Richard P. Martin: The Language of Heroes: Speech and Performance in the Iliad, especially chapter 1: ‘Performance, Speech-Act, and Utterance’ available online at the Center for Hellenic Studies.

[1] Homer. The Odyssey with an English Translation by A.T. Murray, Ph.D. in two volumes. Cambridge, MA., Harvard University Press; London, William Heinemann, Ltd. 1919.
Odyssey 1.80–124 on Perseus
Odyssey 1.118–124 on Scaife

‘Reading Homer’ series