Document Type

Contribution to Book

Publication Date



In this chapter, I gather the evidence for the Athenian cult of the Thracian goddess Bendis, who was officially worshipped both by Thracians and by Athenian citizens from the end of the fifth century B.C. on. I also compare the historical record with the literary characterizations of the Thracians, and I examine the connection between religious, political, and ethnic identity and the ways in which the cult of Bendis reflects ambivalent Athenian attitudes toward their northern neighbors. The cult of Bendis in Athens reproduces on the level of ritual the polarity of Greeks versus barbarians that exists on the level of myth. While the mythical level of such a polarity is well-known through the studies of François Hartog, Edith Hall, and others, the ritual dimension needs further study. This chapter about Thracian Bendis addresses that need.


Sulochana R. Asirvatham, Corinne Ondine Pache, & John Watrous


Rowman & Littlefield


Lanham, MD



Publication Information

Between Magic and Religion: Interdisciplinary Studies in Ancient Mediterranean Religion and Society

Included in

Classics Commons