Woven into the distress of Homeric epic, which often laments the terrors of war, the violence of passion, and the desperation of life, are records of ancient customs that hint at a deep respect for culture and human worth. To take but one example, recall Hector's refusal to take wine from his mother when he is bloody from battle. This moment is apt to strike modern readers as trivial. In fact, it reifies important ancient distinctions between war and peace, home and battlefield, and the equally ancient sentiment that to everything, there is a season. In this case, no matter what has occurred in war in Homer's Iliad, the poem makes clear there is a time to put away unrest, eat together, and, afterward, revere humanity. That is, there is an injunction to make space for acting in ways that acknowledge mutual value. Thus a repeated formula throughout the epics to affirm that "after they [often male warriors] had put away their desire for eating and drinking,” then comes a time for the bard's entertainment, games, or strategic discussions (e.g., book 12.310). As Jasper Griffin describes this element of the epics, "Eating together is a universal mark of union, creating a bond.”

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