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Throughout The Odyssey, hospitality towards guests is repeatedly discussed. One of these instances occurs in Book XX when a story is related about Ulysses’ friend Iphitus. The text states

Iphitus had gone there also to try and get back twelve brood mares that he had lost, and the mule foals that were running with them. These mares were the death of him in the end, for when he went to the house of Jove's son, mighty Hercules, who performed such prodigies of valour, Hercules to his shame killed him, though he was his guest, for he feared not heaven's vengeance, nor yet respected his own table which he had set before Iphitus, but killed him in spite of everything, and kept the mares himself.

This quote reveals that


hospitality is not as important as valor.


even Hercules is expected to abide by the customs of hospitality.


gods and heroes were not expected to show hospitality.


offering hospitality was considered respectable, but was not a key value in society.


no one blamed Hercules for wanting such an important commodity.

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