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Dimensions of hospitality: exploring ancient origins

O'Gorman, Kevin D. (2007) Dimensions of hospitality: exploring ancient origins. In: Hospitality: A Social Lens. Advances in Tourism Research . Elsevier, Oxford, pp. 17-32. ISBN 0080450938

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Abstract

Hospitality has an ancient origin and honourable tradition. As more attention is being channelled towards seeking a greater understanding of hospitality, there is an increasing debate between academics working in the field of hospitality management and those from the wider fields of the social sciences. The hope has already been expressed that this is 'a beginning from which the subject will grow and develop' (Lashley and Morrison, 2000: xvi). The aim of this chapter, therefore, is to contribute to this debate by providing a summary of findings from a continuing investigation into the historical origins of hospitality. The chapter explores the origins of hospitality in the ancient and classical worlds, focussing mainly on the Greek and Roman civilisations. The time period to 500BC is generally referred to as the ancient world, and the time period 500BC to 500AD is generally referred to as the classical world. After considering the etymology of hospitality, the chapter goes on to explore: hospitality and mythology; hospitality and the household; public hospitality; commercial hospitality, and hospitality in the contemporaneous religious writings. The evaluation of the outcomes leads to the identification of five dimensions of hospitality, which have been evolving from the beginning of human history.