Notes on Hosting: Ancient Greek Hospitality

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The Insider @ Houst
Last updated on
November 18, 2019

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Notes on Hosting: Ancient Greek Hospitality

I hope you enjoy reading this blog post.

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Next time you get a bad Airbnb review spare a thought for poor Tantalus. Punished for all eternity in Hades, he was made to stand in a pool of water never quite able to reach the water to drink, or the fruit above him to eat. It's the origin of the word 'tantalising'.

His crime? Shoddy hospitality.

Table of Contents

The wrath of Zeus

In Greek mythology, hospitality was a divine right of guests and a divine duty of hosts. All strangers, without exception, were under the protection of Zeus Xenios - the god of strangers and suppliants. A violation of hospitality was likely to provoke the wrath of the gods.

Why?

Well, there were no inns or hotels in the ancient world - in fact, this was an age before even Booking.com. Travellers on the wild roads were few and far between, and they were entirely dependent on the kindness of strangers along the way for shelter and food. Divine protection was a necessary insurance policy for guests.

It wasn't a bad insurance policy for hosts either. Gods disguised themselves as mortals on a seemingly weekly basis. It was impossible to know whether the sudden appearance of a dishevelled and weary traveller was just the early Ryanair flight arrival, or an all-powerful, all-knowing, vindictive god coming to stay. So it was best to treat all guests like gods. You know, just in case.

Always check the cancellation policy

Drinking Games

Fast-forward to a mere 2500 years ago and the Greeks were making good use of their hosting skills at symposia: drinking parties.

A symposium could be a platform for great philosophers of the day - Socrates, Plato or Aristotle discussed everything from love to society and democracy. Mainly though, they were an excuse for ancient Greek blokes to get smashed and look at women. And probably sing Oasis too.

Lads' night in...

Guests would recline in a circle, and evenings would generally begin with a feast of cheese, olives and meats. Then the drinking would begin, and a 'master of the symposium' was selected at random from among the guests.

Much like a university rugby captain, this man's job was to impose drinking on everyone, imposing forfeits on those who didn't. Forfeits ranged from dancing naked to giving piggybacks. Truly, this was the foundation of western civilisation.

History Lessons

So what can the Greeks teach us about modern hosting? Well, for starters, it's clear Greek philosophers would almost certainly fail our guest vetting process. But surely we can all learn a little by treating hospitality as a divine responsibility - even if the threat of eternal punishment in Hades has diminished in recent years.

Happy World Philosophy Day!

Hosting on Airbnb takes 50 hours a month. So don't do it alone. Find out how much your home could be earning with our nifty calculator. Absolutely no philosophers, cyclopes or vengeful gods allowed - we promise.

The Insider @ Houst

The Insider @ Houst

The Insider team at Houst is dedicated to providing up-to-date and relevant information on short-term rentals. If you have hosting inquiries, please write to us at expert@houst.com. For guest inquiries, reach out at guest@houst.com. We are here to help you navigate the world of short lets and look forward to assisting you with your needs.

The Insider @ Houst

The Insider @ Houst

The Insider team at Houst is dedicated to providing up-to-date and relevant information on short-term rentals. If you have hosting inquiries, please write to us at expert@houst.com. For guest inquiries, reach out at guest@houst.com. We are here to help you navigate the world of short lets and look forward to assisting you with your needs.

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David
Account Manager

"I have a philosophy in life called keep it simple. I don't live to work, I work to live. This is the first time I've leased this property on Airbnb. A house allows me to have vision of all the revenue and all the expenses associated with the apartment. They work as a well-oiled machine. They strive very hard to keep both myself and the tenants happy."

Jules
Sales Director

"Honestly, if I didn't have Houst, I don't think I'd have this house anymore. With Houst's help, I can focus on my busy life while they manage my Airbnb listing. Guests call this place the 'magic cottage', and Houst makes it possible to share its special charm without any stress."

Charlotte
Musician

"Houst has been a game-changer for us, enabling my husband and I to expand our property portfolio effortlessly. Their personalised service lets us be hands-off yet fully in control, making property management seamless while we pursue our careers as musicians."

Ahmed
Software Engineer

"Houst has been a game-changer for my Airbnb rentals, significantly boosting my income. Their user-friendly platform and comprehensive management services, covering everything from cleaning to guest interactions, make property management stress-free."

Jim
Construction

"Finding Houst has been like a godsend for my Airbnb venture. It's made the entire process really easy, from the onboarding to managing guests. Their seamless service has enabled me to host successfully without needing to invest my limited time. If it weren't for Houst, I wouldn't be hosting on Airbnb."

David
Account Manager

"I have a philosophy in life called keep it simple. I don't live to work, I work to live. This is the first time I've leased this property on Airbnb. A house allows me to have vision of all the revenue and all the expenses associated with the apartment. They work as a well-oiled machine. They strive very hard to keep both myself and the tenants happy."

Jules
Professional Landlord

"Honestly, if I didn't have Houst, I don't think I'd have this house anymore. With Houst's help, I can focus on my busy life while they manage my Airbnb listing. Guests call this place the 'magic cottage', and Houst makes it possible to share its special charm without any stress."

David
Account Manager

"I have a philosophy in life called keep it simple. I don't live to work, I work to live. This is the first time I've leased this property on Airbnb. A house allows me to have vision of all the revenue and all the expenses associated with the apartment. They work as a well-oiled machine. They strive very hard to keep both myself and the tenants happy."

Jules
Sales Director

"Honestly, if I didn't have Houst, I don't think I'd have this house anymore. With Houst's help, I can focus on my busy life while they manage my Airbnb listing. Guests call this place the 'magic cottage', and Houst makes it possible to share its special charm without any stress."

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If you want my team to just manage your Airbnb for you, just book a call.
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