A Thracian goddess. Greek artists represented her as a booted huntress, like Artemis. Her cult was introduced to Athens in two stages: by 430/29 bc she shared a small treasury under the control of the Treasurers of the Other Gods; and a decree of (probably) 413/12 assigned her a priestess and founded the great festival in Piraeus known from the opening of Plato's Republic, at which twin processions, of native Thracians and of Athenians, were followed by a torch‐race on horseback and an ‘all‐night celebration’ The immediate motivation for the introduction of the goddess's cult is unknown; at bottom, the Athenians' interest in Bendis must be a product of their preoccupation with Thrace, which goes back to the 6th cent. See religion, thracian; thrace.
Subjects: Classical Studies.