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BIDIAEI (βιδιαῖοι), called in inscriptions βίδεοι or βίδυοι, were magistrates in Sparta whose business was to inspect the gymnastic exercises. Their house of meeting (ἀρχεῖον was in the market-place. (Paus. 3.11.2.) They were either five (Paus. l.c.) or six in number (C. I. G., Nos. 1270, 1271, 1364), and had a president who is called in inscriptions πρέσβυς βιδέων. (C. I. G. i. p. 611.) Böckh conjectures that βίδεοι or βίδυοι is the Laconian form for ἴδυοι or Ϝίδυοι, and signifies witnesses and judges among the youth. (Comp. Müller, Dorians, 3.7.8.) Valckenaer (ad Hdt. 6.57) supposed that the bidiaei were the same as the νομοφύλακες: but the inscriptions given by Boeckh show that the bidiaei and νομοφύλακες were two separate classes of officers. The [p. 1.299]annually elected heads of a priesthood of Helen and the Dioscuri at Sparta were also called βιδιαῖοι (Le Bas et Foucart, Inscr. du Peloponnèse, No. 163A): they may have been identical with the preceding.

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