The Odyssey of Homer

Homer, trans. Robert Fagles

Penguin, 1996

p. 81

Telemachus is at home while suitors of his mother Penelope waste the household’s substance.  The goddess Athena has come to visit and to help, but Telemachus sees her only as a stranger: “Greetings, stranger!  Here in our house you’ll find a royal welcome.  Have supper first, then tell us what you need.”  A gracious piece of hospitality.  Supper first, then tell us what you need.  So Telemachus treats his visitor as a guest first, and only then as a petitioner.  At dinner, he escorts her to “a high, elaborate chair of honor,” seating himself, a prince, beneath her.