The 25th of the month of Thargelion marks the day of the Plynteria festival. This minor festival was held solely in Athens and surrounding areas and was in honor of Athena Polias, protector of the city. It was considered an auspicious day by the ancient Athenians because on this day, they did not have the protection of Athena. Around the time of the Pynteria the Kallunteria also took place, a festival during which the temple of Athena was cleaned throughly and Her sacred fires relit. Elaion will organize PAT rituals for both celebrationss and invites you to join us on 31 May and 4 June. Note! The Plynteria is a nighttime festival and thus not at the usual 10 am EDT.

Plutarch, in his 'Life of Alkibiades' describes the Plynteria festival beautifully:

"But while Alcibiades was thus prospering brilliantly, some were nevertheless disturbed at the particular season of his return. For he had put into harbour on the very day when the Plynteria of the goddess Athene were being celebrated. The Praxiergidae celebrate these rites on the twenty-fifth day of Thargelion, in strict secrecy, removing the robes of the goddess and covering up her images. Wherefore the Athenians regard this day as the unluckiest of all days for business of any sort. The goddess, therefore, did not appear to welcome Alcibiades with kindly favour and good will, but rather to veil herself from him and repel him. However, all things fell out as he wished, and one hundred triremes were manned for service, with which he was minded to sail off again; but a great and laudable ambition took possession of him and detained him there until the Eleusinian mysteries." [34.1]

During the Plynteria, the wooden statue of Athena was disrobed of the Peplos that she received during the Panathenaia by Her priestesses, veiled, and then taken down to the sea for a wash. Veiling a Theos' image from head to toe was considered apophras, unlucky, as it removed Their presence.

The women who removed the robe and jewelry from the ancient wooden image and then veiled her, were part of an Athenian family traditionally entrusted with this task. They were called the Praxiergidai. The procession to the sea, several miles away, was a city-affair. As all other sanctuaries and temples in Athens remained closed on this day, it's likely many attended.

In front of the procession was a single woman, carrying a basket of fig pastries (known as 'hegeteria'), for the fig was believed to be the first cultivated food, and was--like the sea water--a purifier. Mounted young men, known as 'epheboi' escorted the statue deep into the water before coming back to shore. Thee, it was bathed by two girls, the bathers (loutrides). A single priestess was most likely in charge of washing the peplos of the Goddess. her title has not survived. In the evening, a torch-lid procession brought the statue back to Her temple and she was redressed by the Praxiergidai. The statue may have remained veiled for the remainder of the day.

There is another, smaller, festival connected to the Plynteria: the Kallunteria, which was celebrated somewhere in the vicinity of the Plynthria. During this festival, the temple of Athena was swept out--the name of the festival means 'sweeping out' or 'to beautify by sweeping'--and cleaned thoroughly, so that the washed statue would have a clean home to return to. The lamp of Her eternal flame was also refilled and relit by the priestesses on this day. The lamp was a golden vessel, created in the late fifth century by Kallimakhos, and was big enough to hold enough oil to burn day and night for the whole year. It's therefor logical to assume that the festival was held on a day close to the twenty-fifth, possibly the twenty-fourth or twenty-sixth. Ancient sources state that the festival must have taken place after the Bendideia. From Proklos' 'Timaeus of Plato':

"For they say, that the Bendideia were celebrated in the Piraeus on the twentieth day of [Thargelion], but that the festival sacred to Minerva followed these."

Mikalson, in his 'The sacred and civil calendar of the Athenian year', gives the 24th as the date but stresses that the 24th is merely a estimation, and we, in fact, do not know when the festival was held. He assumes it could even have taken place after the Plynteria, and places the Kallunteria between the 24th and the 28th of the month, with the exception of the 25th, as that was the date of the Plyneria. Christiane Sourvinou-Inwood in 'Athenian Myths and Festivals' sets the date as the 27th with a somewhat unshakable certaintly. We have accepted the 27th as the possible date of the Kallunteria festival for our PAT ritual although we again stress that the date of the Kallunteria is unknown.

The rituals for the event can be found here for the Plynteria and here for the Kallunteria, and you can join the community page here.
In the category 'stories that are almost too amazing to believe', it seems an incredibly rare gold crown believed to be more than 2,000 years old has been discovered under a bed in a Somerset cottage. The delicate Hellenic myrtle wreath, which is thought to date to 300 BC, was found in a tatty cardboard box in the modest Taunton property. Its elderly owner, who wants to remain anonymous, was stunned when he found it. Needless to say his shock gauge went through the roof when an auctioneer then told him the valuable artefact it is worth at least £100,000. This reports The Daily Mail.

Valuers from Duke's of Dorchester in Dorset attended the pensioner's home to look at some items he had inherited from his grandfather. But Guy Schwinge from the auctioneers was astonished when he pulled aside the newspaper inside a worn box to reveal the precious ancient piece. He said:

"When the owner pulled the gold wreath from a tatty cardboard box filled with paper, my heart missed a beat. When I went to the cottage the last thing I expected to see was a piece of gold from antiquity. It is notoriously difficult to date gold wreaths of this type. Stylistically it belongs to a rarefied group of wreaths dateable to the Hellenistic period and the form may indicate that it was made in Northern Greece. It is eight inches across and weighs about 100 grams. It's pure gold and handmade, it would have been hammered out by a goldsmith. The wreath is in very nice condition for something that's 2,300 years old. It's a very rare antiquity to find, they don't turn up often. I've never seen one in my career before."

Gold wreaths like the one found were meant to imitate the wreaths of real leaves that were worn in Ancient Hellenic in religious ceremonies and given as prizes in athletic and artistic contests. They usually depicted branches of laurel, myrtle, oak and olive trees, which were symbolic of concepts such as wisdom, triumph, fertility, peace and virtue. Due to their fragile nature, they were only worn on very special occasions. Many were dedicated to the Gods in sanctuaries or placed in the graves of royal or aristocratic people as funerary offerings. It seems this one might have been a funerary offerign as well as bits of dirt embedded on the wreath suggest this one was buried at some point. Most date to the Hellenistic period (323 BC to 31 BC), which this one is also thought to date from, and show the exceptional skill of goldsmiths at that time. Some were made during earlier periods but the wreaths became more frequent after Alexander the Great's Eastern conquests, when gold was more available in ancient Hellas.

The current owner's grandfather was a great collector who was fascinated by archaeology and the ancient world. Although his family do not know how he acquired it, it is likely he bought it sometime in the 1940s when he travelled extensively. The man said:

"I knew my grandfather travelled extensively in the 1940s and 50s and he spent time in the north west frontier area, where Alexander the Great was, so it's possible he got it while he was there. But he never told me anything about this wreath. I inherited quite a lot of things from him and I just put this to one side for almost a decade and didn't really think anything of it. Recently I decided I needed to sort through things and called in Duke's to have look at some of the items he'd passed on to me. The wreath is a beautiful piece but I never expected it to be so valuable. It was a mixture of excitement and just disbelief when they told me what it was."

The most famous of these types of wreaths is one that was found at Vergina in the tomb of Alexander the Great's father Philip II of Macedon in the 1970s, which is in a museum in Greece. A gold wreath similar to this latest one sold at auction in 2012 for almost £200,000. The antiquity will be sold on June 9.
In an announcement that makes me very giddy, archeologist Kostas Sismanidis has stated there are strong indications that a peculiar ancient tomb found in the area of Stagira, in central Macedonia, is the tomb of the Aristotle. The Archaeological News Network reports this after the announcement was made during an international conference on the famous philosopher in Thessaloniki.

Sismanidis, whose team has spent 20 years digging in the area, said the horseshoe-shaped domed building unearthed in the middle of the south side of the Stagira hill was just a few dozen meters from the agora arcade. The tomb had a tiled roof made at the royal pottery workshop, affirming its public function. A two-meter-wide raised, processional, built road lead to the monument entrance that was accessible to people offering bids.

Artefacts, pottery and more than fifty coins found in the area date the tomb and the altar at the times of Alexander the Great. The top of the dome is 10 meters high and there is a rectangular marble floor surrounding a Byzantine tower. Aristotle, considered as one of the most important philosophers, was a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. 

Sismanidis cited two literary sources that in his view indicate the people of Stagira may have transferred Aristotle's remains from Evia, where he died in 322 BC, to his birthplace. The manuscripts he referred to are from The Marciana Library and an Arabic biography of Aristotle from the second half of the 11 century BC. According to the latter:

"...when Aristotle died, the people of Stagira sent and brought back his ashes to their home, placed it in a copper urn and then deposited this urn in a location called ‘Aristotelion’. Every time they had important issues and wanted to resolve difficult problems, they convened their assembly in this place."

Addressing the “Aristotle World Congress”, Sismanidis, upon explaining these sources, stated the following on the transport of Aristotle's remains and a potential hero cult that was formed after his death:

"Based, therefore, on the above written sources, we believe that we cannot challenge the information they give us concerning the transport and burial of Aristotle's remains in the city of Stagira, on the establishment of an altar at the tomb of the philosopher, on the posthumous honours and on the establishment of the annual ‘Aristotelian’ celebration. We believe, but without having proof, just strong indications, that all evidence contribute to this version."

The possibility of a hero cult in honour of Aristotle in his hometown is not far-fetched. We know of many people who inspired or protected a town who, upon death, recieved these honours. The Erkhian calendar, for example, lists many heroes who recieved annual sacrifice but were worshipped nowhere else, at least not in such a way. It is the first time actual evidence has been brought to bear, however, in connection to an actually plausible location of his tomb. Of course, this evidence was immedietly challenged. The major pain points?

- The structure has been standing at Stagira for 20 years, why did Sismanidis wait so long to make his revelation? The announcement was quickly dubbed the “Amphipolis of the Left.”

- The area is found just a few kilometers away from the controversial Skouries mine, a high-grade gold-copper porphyry deposit located in the Halkidiki peninsula that was planned to operate as an open pit mine for about seven years, followed by approximately 20 years of underground development. However, in January 2016, Eldorado Gold suspended work on the controversial Skouries mine, with the decision coming after a year of confrontations with the Greek government that included permits being revoked and delayed by the state multiple times, principally due to environmental concerns, and local opposition. An important finding such as Aristotle’s tomb in the area would further weigh the balance against the operation of the mine.

- Though archaeologists point to Sismanidis as a respected scientist, they are critical of his decision to make his announcement at a conference where the findings would not be put to tough scrutiny by archaeologists but at an event of a philosophical character.

So there you have it. As with many archaeological finds, most likely only time will tell. For now, I love the idea and I'm rolling with it. Call it the privilage of the unscientific.
A unique adaptation of 'The Trojan Women' with a cast of solely Syrian women refugees recounting their stories of loss, flight and exile is coming to the UK with a 3-week summer tour. The tour will be an opportunity for the actresses to convey their personal tragedies and that of Syria, where a five-year war has led to 470,000 deaths and millions of homeless, leading to the biggest refugee crisis since the second world war.

The Trojan Women (Τρῳάδες, Trōiades) is a tragedy by the Hellenic playwright Euripides. It was produced in 415 BC during the Peloponnesian War and is often considered a commentary on the capture of the Aegean island of Melos and the subsequent slaughter and subjugation of its populace by the Athenians earlier that year. The Trojan Women was the third tragedy of a trilogy dealing with the Trojan War. The first tragedy, Alexandros, was about the recognition of the Trojan prince Paris who had been abandoned in infancy by his parents and rediscovered in adulthood. The second tragedy, Palamedes, dealt with Hellenic mistreatment of their fellow Hellenic Palamedes. This trilogy was presented at the Dionysia along with the comedic satyr play Sisyphos and won second place.
Euripides's play follows the fates of the women of Troy after their city has been sacked, their husbands killed, and as their remaining families are about to be taken away as slaves. Throughout the play, many of the Trojan women lament the loss of the land that reared them. It's a theme that rings oh so very true today for these women.
The play began as workshops with the Syrian director Omar Abusaada for 60 refugee women in Jordan from all walks of life to adapt and perform an Arabic interpretation of the play. Initially, several women faced pressure from some of the more conservative members of their community, who did not want them to go on stage. Differences of opinion emerged within the group itself; some wished to speak out publicly against the Assad government, others not. Others feared the consequences of speaking freely. Maha, one of the women in the play, said:
"Going to London is a very good thing indeed because we can tell the whole world about our home tragedy and of course, in a great country like Britain, the world will listen to us."
Several women have spoken about the therapeutic effects of the play, how it has brought them out of isolation, given them a new identity and family, and provided a sense of renewed purpose.
Khaula, another of the actors, said:
"We came to a new society and we were isolated. Doing the play made us break the ice and we started to connect with others and make some friends. It gave us the courage to talk about our problems frankly and clearly."
The UK project is a collaboration between Developing Artists, a charity working to support the arts in countries recovering from conflict, and Refuge Productions, founded by Georgina Paget and husband and wife team Charlotte Eagar and William Stirling. Refuge Productions came up with the original idea of transposing The Trojan Women to the Syrian war. Louise Chantal, the chief executive of the Oxford Playhouse, said it was a privilege to bring the project to Oxford:
“I can’t help thinking that the Queens of Syria might be the most important theatre project of the year.”
To coincide with the UK tour, the British Council will provide material online for thousands of schools in the UK and across the world to enable young people to discuss issues such as exile and trauma, and think about what they can do to welcome refugees. An event is also planned to link students with the cast.

Some things land like a sledgehammer and I would really, really, really love to go see this. For me, this is what the classics are all about: they are plays made by people, for people, to bring something unspoken or taboo into the light. I think one of the women in the trailer nailed it when she said: history repeats itself. It does, and often it's not pretty. The Trojan Woman is one of my, if not my, favourite ancient plays because it is absolutely gut wrenching. I can only imagine the impact it would have to see it with these women performing. If you are interested, you can go here for tickets.
I get a lot of questions from readers, and most of the time, the answers are fairly short. When I feel the question or the reply would be valuable to others as well, I make a post with a collection of them and post them in one go. Today is one of those posts.

"I have a very difficult time sorting out and keeping straight different variations of the mythos. I'm trying to learn about Chronos, Phanes, Aeon etc, the Primordial Gods, the Gods of Time, bu I'm struggleing to understand who is an equivalent to who, which is just another name, who was simply an idea more than a God, etc. Can you help?"

Ha! Oh... tall order! I can help you with specific Theoi and I can help you with a bit of background on why it's such a muddled mess. for the prior, I'd need you to contact me with a question about a specific Theoi and I will do the other now.

So, in general, this is what it comes down to: the Hellenic empire stretched out over hundreds of years, was influenced by hundreds of cultures and regional practices and was formed by the voices of thousands of people. What we have in written evidence of the ancient Hellenic views on the Theoi is, pretty much, what happens when all of these things come together: they make a muddled mess.

I tend to go with the idea that the Theoi know what happened and that what mankind recorded is greatly influenced by mankind. I use it as a foundation, not stone cold fact. Accept that Aphrodite may have been born from the castrated genitals of Ouranos in the sea's foam as Hesiod says, or of Zeus and Dione as per Homeros. Or that Ouranos was born either of the world egg formed by Khronos as per the Orphic Tradition or from Gaia with out a father, as per Hesiod. You won't ever find out which one is true--or neither, or both. This is why we have epithets.

An epithet is an attachment to the name of a God or Goddess, used to indicate either a specific domain of the Deity, a specific origin myth or region from which the Deity came, or an entirely different entity, through either domain or origin.  Epithets within polytheism pose a challenge; are all epithets different Gods or different faces of the same God(dess)? I belief Aphrodite Diôniaia (Daughter of Dione) and Aphrodite Anadyomenê (Risen from the Sea) are different Goddesses but the epithet Aphrodite Philommeides (Laughter-Loving) could be applied to both and is not a distinct Goddess. I have no set rule for this; it's a matter of feeling. 

All I can advice you is to read all interpretations and honour all version at the appropriate time. Embrace the practice of epithets, they will save you a monster headache. Worship the Theoi in a way that feels 'true' for you--at the end of the day, that is the best any of us can do.


"What do you know about the ancient Athenian calendar and the seasons? I am trying to figure out when to celebrate festivals we know little about, like the ones for Poseidon, and understanding how the Hellenes experienced the seasons would be quite instructive."

The Mediterranean climate is characterized by two seasons: the first dry and hot, from Mounichion to Metageitnion (April to September) when river beds tended to dry up, the second is humid and marked by often violent rain storms brought in by west winds, with mild, frost free temperatures.

The ancient Hellenes, however, destinguished three seasons: spring, summer and winter, and these had deities presiding over them--the Hôrai: Eunomia (Good Order, Good Pasture), Eirene (Peace, Spring), and Dike (Justice). They were originally the personifications of nature in its different seasonal aspects, but in later times they were regarded as Goddesses of order in general and natural justice, because these were required for farming prosperity. The association of agriculture with law and order can also be found in the divinities of Zeus and Demeter, for example.

To date festivals we don't have a set date about, the focus needs to be on the why of the festival. Why was it held? When would this event take place now? Then you can look at things like sacred days for a deity, the stage of the moon and the presence of other festivals to make a better guestimation. But it will always remain a guestimation--this is not bad, obviously, but it is something to forever remain aware of.


"Can you worship Hellenic deities without practicing Hellenismos? Like can you still worship those deities without defining yourself with that religion?"

Yes, of course you can! The greater Pagan community--and especially the non-recon branches like Religious Witchcraft and Wicca--incorporate many of the ancient Gods in some way, either as separate Gods or as a conglomorated whole in The God and Goddess who are generally understood as the whole of all individual Gods (or the other way around: all individual Gods as part of Them). Personally, I consider most people who worship solely one (or a small handful of) God(s) or Goddess(es) out of the Hellenic pantheon non-Hellenistic as well, so that is also a possibility. Worship however and whoever you are called to!

"How did Greek soldiers worship the theoi while out at war? I am curious how it differed from when home. Is there any practice of them wearing pendants of the theoi as an image of a god or the gods to worship? Sorry I am new to this and curious, thank you!"

To be honest, it wasn't as different as at home. Probably the only difference was that they made an impromptu altar out of sand or rocks instead of using one especially made and installed at the oikos (house) or temple, or they simply used their campfires to get the job done. Let me quote you some Homeros:

"They rose, and scattered quickly among the ships, lit fires in the huts and ate their meal. And each made sacrifice to the immortal gods, to whichever god they chose, praying they might escape death in the tumult of war. Agamemnon, their leader, himself sacrificed a fat five-year old ox to almighty Zeus, inviting the elders, the chiefs of the Achaeans, to attend. Nestor, first, and King Idomeneus, then Ajax and his namesake, and Diomedes son of Tydeus, and Odysseus, sixth, Zeus’ equal in counsel. Menelaus of the loud war-cry had no need of summons, for he knew his brother’s thoughts in the matter. They stood around the victim, and took up the sacred barley, and Agamemnon prayed: ‘Sky-dwelling Zeus, great and glorious lord of the thunder clouds, let the sun not set nor darkness fall before I have razed Priam’s smoke-blackened halls, torching his gates with greedy fire, ripping Hector’s tunic from his breast with the shredding bronze, toppling a host of his comrades round him, headlong in the dust to bite the earth.’ So he prayed, but Zeus would not yet grant his wish; accepting the offering, but prolonging the toils of war.

When they had offered their petition and scattered grains of barley, they drew back the victims’ heads, slit their throats and flayed them. Then they cut slices from the thighs, wrapped them in layers of fat, and laid raw meat on top. These they burned on billets of wood stripped of leaves, then spitted the innards and held them over the Hephaestean flames. When the thighs were burnt and they had tasted the inner meat, they carved the rest in small pieces, skewered and roasted them through, then drew them from the spits. Their work done and the meal prepared, they feasted and enjoyed the shared banquet, and when they had quenched immediate hunger and thirst, Nestor of Gerenia spoke up, saying: ‘Agamemnon, leader of men, glorious son of Atreus, let us stay here no longer, nor delay the work the god directs us to. Come, let the heralds of the bronze-greaved Achaeans make their rounds of the ships and gather the men together, and let us as generals inspect the whole army, so as to swiftly rouse the spirit of Ares in them.’"[Iliad, Bk II:394-483]

The ancient Hellenes did not believe that representations of the Theoi were linked to the Theoi. They did not, for example, believe that the statues in temples were a 'home' for the Gods. They placed them there as a gift to the Theoi in hopes of gaining Their favour and a bit more of Their attention. And because everyone who mattered (Greek citizens) honoured the same pantheon of Gods, they also didn't have the need to display their religious preference. The custom of wearing jewellery 'to keep the Gods close' is very recent; the ancient Hellenes performed sacrifice the way they did exactly for this reason, they did not need representations of Them for worship. The Theoi would always find them once They hear their name called in the beautiful singing of hymns.


"We're (my family and I) going to be culling our chickens this spring, and I have permission from my grandmother and my dad to set aside as an offering. Our chickens are black, so am I right in assuming that they would only be an acceptable offering to chthonic Gods? (This is not a problem for me, considering I feel closest to the chthonic Gods, but I wanted to check.)"

Yes, Khthonic Theoi usually recieved the black offerings. That said, heroes also generally recieved black sacrifices and so did Gaea (and some other Earth deities, as They are all also considered Khthonic). Good luck with your sacrifice!
A sacrifice to Menedeios was performed by the Attic deme Erkhia on the 19th day of the month Thargelion. Menedeios was an entirely local deitified hero and sacrifices to him seems to have been performed only at Erkhia. Because he was most likely a war hero, however, we will honour Him with the Theoi he would have prayed to for guidance and strength: Athena, Ares and Niké. Will you join us in honouring these Theoi and this hero on the 28th of May, 10 am EDT?

Heroes and heroines have a special place in Hellenismos, as they had in ancient Hellas. These were humans--most with at least a part divine heritage--who were considered so brave, so skillful, so extraordinary in their lifetime that they became revered. Some were priests or priestesses of a temple, some excelled in battle, others were skilled healers or good rulers. Once they passed to the realm of Hades, their names were remembered at least once a year on a special ocassion, because the ancient Hellenes believed that if the name and deeds of a person were remembered, they would live forever and potentially look out for those they had looked out for before.

We, unfortunately, know very little about Menedeios. We know he must have been local to the Erkhian area. He recieved a ram that was to be consumed on site. His name means 'the One who Stands his Ground' and as such, he was most likely a war hero, famed for bravery, skill and his ability to protect his home town. For us, this is enough to honour him with sacrifices.

You can find the ritual for the event here and join the community page here. As a note, the ritual calls for an offering of barley cake (shaped like a sheep) with ash placed into a pit in the ground. If you don't have the time or means to make a barey cake, try to at least give sacrifice in an offering pit or on an altar lower than your usual one.
On the 19th of Thargelion, an Athenian festival for the Thrakian Goddess Bendis (Βενδις) was held. This festival, which went on into the night of the 20th of the month, was designed especially for Bendis, who was introduced to Attika by Thrakian métoikoi who took the opportunity to introduce their Goddess into the Athenian pantheon after the Oracle of Dodona decreed that Thrakian worshippers should be granted the right for ground to build a sanctuary on. Their shrine to Her was built on the hill Mounykhia, near to the temple of Artemis Mounikhia, with whom She was identified. The temenos was completed somewhere before 429 BC, and at least one Thrakian festival to the Goddess was held before the Athenians got involved. Would you like to involve yourself with Her worship as well? Elaion is hosting a PAT ritual for Her, Artemis and Hekate on the 28th of May at the usual 10 am EDT.

The Goddess Bendis originated in Thrake, to the north of Hellas. Her cult was imported into Athens around 432 BC, at the outbreak of the Peloponnesian War between Athens and Sparta. Athens had always had close ties with Thrake, but besides the oracle's decree, it seems that the acceptance of the foreign cult into the city at this time was probably connected with Athens' military alliance with the Odrysian Thrakians, who supplied mercenaries throughout the war.
The Bendideia (Βενδίδεια) itself was celebrated in the port town of Peiraeeus. At first, only the Thrakians honored Her, but within a few years, the Athenians held their own procession alongside the Thrakians, theirs winding down from the Prataneion (Πρυτανεῖον)--the seat of government in ancient Hellas--in the morning  to the sanctuary of the Goddess in the Peiraios, while the Thrakian procession was entirely within the port town. The six-mile procession of the Athenians was so unusual, that a decree called for basins, water and sponges to bathe after it, and garlands. It seems obvious to place a meal here in the timeframe, followed by a period of rest until it became dark enough to perform the most telling of cult worship to the Goddess: an evening torch race on horseback; a true novelty. Plato, in his 'Republic' tells us a little it about this race:
"Polemarchus said to me: I perceive, Socrates, that you and our companion are already on your way to the city.
You are not far wrong, I said.
But do you see, he rejoined, how many we are?
Of course.
And are you stronger than all these? for if not, you will have to remain where you are.
May there not be the alternative, I said, that we may persuade you to let us go?
But can you persuade us, if we refuse to listen to you? he said.
Certainly not, replied Glaucon.
Then we are not going to listen; of that you may be assured.
Adeimantus added: Has no one told you of the torch-race on horseback in honour of the goddess which will take place in the evening?
With horses! I replied: That is a novelty. Will horsemen carry torches and pass them one to another during the race?
Yes, said Polemarchus, and not only so, but a festival will he celebrated at night, which you certainly ought to see. Let us rise soon after supper and see this festival; there will be a gathering of young men, and we will have a good talk. Stay then, and do not be perverse.
Glaucon said: I suppose, since you insist, that we must.
Very good, I replied."
What, exactly, Bendis presided over to either the Thrakians or the Athenians is unclear. She was identified mostly with Artemis, but not equated with Her, as She received a temple of Her own. Due to a connection with grain and the growth cycle of plants, she was identified with Demeter, and sometimes Persephone and/or Hekate. She was thus also associated with Selene.  Mostly, however, she was equated with Artemis Mounikhia.
In the Classical literature and in later traditions, Artemis was portrayed as a huntress; a savage and wild deity of nature, and a virgin maiden. Artemis Mounikhia, however, differed from this Classical image. The characteristics of this particular epithet of Artemis were in fact more similar to the cult of the moon Goddess Hekate. In Classical tradition, the holy day of Artemis was on the 6th day of the month, but the Mounikhia festival was instead held on the 16th day of Mounychion, under the full moon, an element of the cult of Hekate. During the Mounikhia procession, round cakes with little torches were offered to the Goddess, corresponding directly to the torch races of the neighbouring cult of Bendis.
It appears that Artemis Mounychia was seen as a deity of protection, one connecting women with the moon cycle, and one which represents marriage, fertility and the protection of human life and nature. The physical proximity of the Bendis temple to that of Artemis Mounikhia, and the similarity of festival activities (such as the torch use in relation to the moon cycle) suggests their cults were similar and prehaps even linked. And through Artemis, Bendis is also linked to Hekate.
The worship of Bendis outside of Thrake and Athens never caught on; she was revered almost solely at these places. Yet, the Athenians seemed to have held Her in high regard for a Goddess not of their pantheon.

Will you be honoouring Bendis with us on the 28th of May, at 10 am EDT? You cn find the ritual here and the community page here.