Friendship, ritualized (or guest-friendship), a bond of trust, imitating kinship and reinforced by rituals, generating affection and obligations between individuals belonging to separate social units. In Greek sources this bond is called xenia, xeiniē, and xeineiē; in Latin, hospitium. The individuals joined by the bond (usually men of approximately equal social status) are said to be each other's xenos or hospes. As the same terms designated guest-host relationships, xenia and hospitium have sometimes been interpreted in modern research as a form of hospitality. Xenia, hospitium, and hospitality do overlap to some extent but the former relationships display a series of additional features which assimilate them into the wider category called in social studies ritualized personal relationships, or pseudo-kinship. The analogy with kinship did not escape the notice of the ancients themselves. According to the *AristotelianMagna Moralia, xenia was the strongest of all the relationships involving affection (philia) (2.
The idea that giving goods or rendering services imposed upon the recipient a moral obligation to respond pervaded Greek thought from its earliest documented history. Linguistically, the idea is most commonly signalled by the preposition anti, either by itself or attached to a noun or verb.Reciprocity was one of the central issues around which the moral existence of the Homeric heroes revolved; see homer. In the poems, it is consistently implied and sometimes plainly stated that a *gift or service should be repaid with a counter-gift or a counter-service. This need not be forthcoming immediately, and may not be in the same category as the original gift or service. In the long run, however, allowing for slight temporary imbalances, the gifts and services exchanged must be equal in value and bestow equal benefits upon both parties. In making this assumption the Homeric world differs significantly from that of the Old Testament, in which God rather than the recipient is said to requite both good and bad deeds. Gain, profit, and loss belonged in Homer to the world of traders, or to that of aristocrats engaged in plunder and spoliation. Reciprocity aimed at the forging of binding relationships (see friendship; greece; friendship, ritualized; marriage law) between status equals, from which a long series of unspecified mutual acts of assistance could be expected to flow.