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PostSubject: Dacians   Mon May 31, 2010 4:15 am

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Dacians – Gods Gebeleizis
septembrie 18, 2009 at 21:33 (HIstori) (Geto-Daci)

In the old pantheon, before the coming of Zalmoxe, Gebeleizis is the supreme god, the master of the Earth, Sky, storm, thunder and lighting and the keeper of the secrets of life and death. He is also the god of war and of the military aristocracy.
The Dacians pictured Gebeleizis as a strong, bearded man. In some representations, he is shown sitting on a throne, while in others he is seen as a rider, holding a bow in his left hand. He is often accompanied by an eagle who has a horn on its head. The eagle sometimes appears alone, in which cases it represents the god itself; when it is shown alone, the eagle holds a fish in its beak and a rabbit in its claws. In other illustrations, Gebeleizis is a rider accompanied by a dog; in this case, he has a lance which he throws at a wild boar. When he’s not seen as a fighter or hunter, he is a peaceful rider wearing a torch or a horn of abundance in one of his hands. In some rare cases he has three heads, like his dog. Finally, some drawings represent him as a blessing god, with the first three fingers of his right hand spread wide, and the last two fingers closed.
In the god’s honour or against him, the Dacians used to fire arrows towards the sky. This ritual has been interpreted either as a veneration act, in the attempt to purify the face of the celestial god by sending the clouds away, or as an anger manifestation, reproaching the clouds and bad weather, which destroyed the forests or the crops.
The image of this god is associated with the swastika symbol, which is an interesting thing because this is also the symbol of the norse god Thor, representing the hammer that Thor wields, called Mjollnir.
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Dacians – Gods
septembrie 18, 2009 at 21:22 (HIstori) (Geto-Daci)

The dacian pantheon, as we know it today, is mature and well defined. It doesn’t need many gods, going towards a monoteist model, with one supreme god and very few (3-4) lesser gods.
Initially, the dacian religion was built around the supreme god Gebeleizis, but an event that happened somewhen between centuries 10 and 5 BC changed this fact: the coming of the prophet Zalmoxe and the birth of his religion. However, the new religion wasn’t a radical change from the old one, but more of a reorganization. Zalmoxe became the only god, replacing an already restricted pantheon and taking the function of the previous gods. The belief in life after death, present for a long time in the Dacian religion, remained unchanged after the adoption of the new cult: true life only begins after death, where the worthy will live together with their god.
Before Zalmoxe, there was a god for each essential element of life: fertilty was represented by Bendis, and health and vitality were assigned to Derzelas. Gebeleizis plays the role of master of the nature, god of war and keeper of the secrets of life and death. Neither of the forms of the religion, pre- or post-Zalmoxe doesn’t have semigods or moralizing heroes; the reason why they are absent is detailed in the Myths section.
Switching from a polytheist religion to a monotheist one, however brought a major change, in the function of the priests. The old priests, called the kapnobatai, mastered the primary elements of the nature and used their powers to actively change the world around them. In contrast to them, the priests of Zalmoxe, called the ktistai, have a more non-intrusive role, being oriented to healing, and letting their god handle the major changes; their function is more one of creating a bond between the people and the supreme god.

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Dacians – Myths The Hultan
septembrie 17, 2009 at 21:33 (HIstori) (Geto-Daci)

The myth of the Hultan (or the “Zgrimintes”) is one of the original and special creations of the dacian mythology, which was later transposed in the romanian mythology as well. The origins of the hultan’s image can be traced back to the ascetic practices of the ancient dacians, to the priest castes, the early initiates.
Only those children born with the placenta on their head or the seventh son of the seventh son may become a hultan. Some of this special children are stolen by the old hultans when they are still young, and taken to the school in “Crugul Pamantului”, where they are trained until the age of 20. “Crugul Pamantului” can be translated as “the middle of the Earth”, but not necessarily “the center of the Earth”, but rather “the origin of the Earth”, as in the expression “raised in the middle of the wolves”. The folk in some zones in Romania still believe that children born with the placenta on their head are meant to know the secrets of the weather, while in other zones people think that these children will become strigoi, i.e. will be able to travel outside their body.
After completing their magic training, the hultans become the protectors of the mountain roads, masters of the air and the weather. They live a lonely life, isolated somewhere in the “guts of the mountains”. In order to practice their magic, the hultans have to take – among others – a very strict chastity oath; merely falling in love with a woman is enough to cause them to lose their powers. At times known only to them, these wizards come down from the top of the mountains and wander through the villages, disguised as beggars, putting men’s hearts to a test. Whatever they recieve as charity they throw on running water, as offerings for “the other World”. When people are mean or when they hurt that which the hultans protect, the wizards unleash rain and hail upon their lands.
Since Christianism was adopted as the official religion, the myth of the hultans was altered. The Christians called them “solomonars”, a name coming from the king Solomon (renowned for his wisdom), but, as it happens in any assimilation process, they turned the hultan into an evil figure, in order to drive people away from the old beliefs. At the same time, Christianity produced a new character, called the anti-solomonar, meant to defend the people against the hultan; the hultan suddenly became a tyrant, threatening to destroy the villagers’ crops if he doesn’t receive proper payment.
The hultan is directly associated with the image of the dragon; the Getae called the dragon the balaur. In order to fly through the clouds, a hultan must summon a balaur and ride it. While riding the balaur or walking on clouds, the wizard is invisible to men’s eyes, being visible only to other mages. Calling the balaur is an essential ritual for the hultan; the legend says that the dragons live in bottomless mountain lakes, and in order to ride one, the initiate must break the lake’s ice with an enchanted axe and put a rein made of birch wood onto the balaur’s neck. This is why the hultan never parts with his enchanted axe, his birch rein and his spell book.
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Dacians – Myths
septembrie 17, 2009 at 21:25 (HIstori) (Geto-Daci)

Being very old, the mythology of the Dacians is born from the desire of the humans to find their place in the world. It contains very few moralizing motifs and doesn’t have a manipulatory function. Even the moralizing function is meant to protect the nature that men tried to be in balance with, and doesn’t contain social elements like the more recent mythologies do. As an example, the symbols and representations that the Dacian mythology contains do not try to create a doctrine of submission to some political leaders and there’s no desire to impose any kind of subconscious order or respect for a certain social class.
The myths of the Dacians are closely related to their way of life. The harsh living conditions of the mountain areas, the loneliness and wilderness of the geography lead to a set of myths related to the primary elements of the nature. Weather, long distances and the threat of the wilderness are an important part of this mythology and of the dacian magic practices.
The dacian rituals and magic were performed by both men and women, but there was a distinction in roles between the two sexes. The men could become wizards that controlled the primary forces of the nature, a kind of guardians of the world and the nation, while the witches took care of enchantments, fertility and relations between people.

The ancestral myths have been altered by the adoption of Christianism as the official religion. Like in any other assimilation process, the Christians have integrated the local beliefs into their own system, but gave the old myths a negative, malefic value, in order to turn the people away from them. The christian priests do not deny the ancient rituals, but rather they describe them as satanic manifestations, which is more effective than saying they are inventions or superstitions.

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Dacians – Armory
septembrie 16, 2009 at 22:27 (HIstori) (Geto-Daci)

The military strength of the Dacians, well known and feared by their neighbors, was a result of their mentality and education, as well as the weapons and tactics that they used.
One of the main advantages of the Dacians was given by the extensive use of the bow, especially as the main weapon of the cavalry. The bow was a worshipped instrument in the Dacian culture, more than a weapon. On one side, they used it as a weapon, for hunting and in manly contests, but it also played an important role in several rituals. The supreme god Gebeleizis is often represented as an archer, and in some moments in their history the Dacians have used arrow heads as money. Basing a large part of the troops on archery allowed the Dacians to destroy an important part of the enemy force before it reached them in close combat, and the light cavalry equipped with bows was able to deal large amounts of damage to the enemy infantry, while being very hard to stop. As a matter of fact, the military history regards the bow and cavalry combination as one of the most efficient and mobile weapons, until the invention of heavy armor.
For melee combat, the Dacians used a one-handed sword, called the Sica. The blade of this sword was about 25 inches long and was sharp on only one side. It became narrower towards the end: the back was straight, and so was the edge near the hilt, until a point where only the cutting side started to describe a curve, so that the tip of the blade was a sharp point. The guard was fairly big, in order to offer good protection for the hand and was often ornated with sacred symbols.
Some of the dacian fighters used another kind of sword, which resembled the celtic model. This sword was sharp on both sides and it had a triangular blade. The celtic sword also inspired the Gladius, the famous sword that the roman soldiers used.
The Dacians wore light armor for defense, made of tanned leather and in some cases covered with metal scales. This kind of armor offered maximum mobility, which was necessary especially for the archers. Those who chose to fight with a one-hand sword also used a medium sized round or oval shield. Very few fighters – usually the nobles - wore metal breast plates. The Dacians also wore metal helmets, with defenses for the face, but with a short back side, in order to allow free movement. Some of the helmets were ornated, as the swords, with ritual symbols or with a special sign: a pair of eyes on the forehead.
The Dacian flag was a wolf head with a tail made of metal scales, and it was called a Drakon. The Drakon was built so that when the wind passed through it, it would make a sound that resembled a wolf’s cry, which lead to the association of the Dacians with the image of this animal.

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Dacians – Civilization
septembrie 16, 2009 at 22:20 (HIstori) (Geto-Daci)

Dacia, the cradle of the tracian civilization, spread from the Dinaric Alps and the Italic Peninsula in the West, to the mountains of continental Greece in the South. At the center of this territory there stood the Carpathian mountains, which served as natural fortifications to the Dacians, and divided their people in several tribes. The waters that spring from these mountains segmented their land, and those that make up its borders (the Danube, Tisa and Nistru rivers) helped creating bonds with the mediteranean and aegean peoples, and lead to continual mutual influences between the Dacians and the southern peoples, thoughout their history.
The Dacians are the descendants of the first humans to inhabit these lands; they didn’t appear inside this territory as a result of a migration, instead they were born and their culture evolved here. The age of the dacian civilization is proven by a long series of archaeological discoveries, of which the most recent are also the most spectacular. The oldest bronze furnaces in Europe have been discovered in today’s Romania, and their age is over 8000 years. The bronze objects found together with these furnaces show good skill from their makers, which suggests that the civilization that produced them had some time to develop this skill, and thus it is much older than the objects.
Other “firsts” were discovered in Romania, once the territory of the ancient Dacians: the oldest house built above the ground, as well as the first writing in the world. In 1961, the archaeologists have unburied a few clay tablets near Tartaria, in Transylvania. These tablets contain abstract drawings – i.e. not representation of images from the nature – which have been interpreted as a written message. Having been dated to around 4800 – 4500 BC, these tablets are about 2000 years older than the sumerian writings, which have long been considered the oldest writings in the world. Neither the Tartaria tablets, nor the sumerian symbols have been deciphered, but they are considered “writing” by the same principle of abstraction.
The spiritual and scientific preocupations of this ancient culture can be seen in the calendars they left us, which are made up by structures simmilar to those found in the Britannic peninsula. The most well known calendar of this kind is that in the Sarmizegetusa city (the capital of the Dacian kingdom), where researchers have uncovered a solar sanctuary with a complex structure, apparently used for measuring time and keeping track of astronomical phenomena.
The main occupations of the Dacians were pottery, metal crafting, sheep tending and apiculture. The ancient Greeks – which called them hiperboreans – wrote that the Dacians ate mostly honey, milk and derrivatives and that they lived in perfect harmony with the nature. Their society was divided in three classes: the priests, called kapnobatai before Zalmoxe and ktistai after; the nobles, called tarabostes; and the common folk, called pileati or comati. The identifying mark of the nobles was a specific fur hat they wore, while common people didn’t cover their heads. The romanian word “coama”, which means “mane”, comes from these “comati”, because they wore long hair and beard.

The military history of the Dacians contains numerous events. At the peak of their power – the rule of king Burebista, first century BC – the borders of Dacia extended in the West until they reached the territory of today’s Switzerland. They became a threat for the Roman Empire, such that a roman emperor, Domitianus, even payed tribute to them in exchange for peace. The famous Caesar planned an attack against the Dacians, but a series of factors stopped him: on one side, the campaigns that the Empire was already fighting didn’t allow him to raise enough troops; on the other hand, the Dacians carried out frequent short and powerful attacks at the Empire’s borders, which created the impression that they had a large military force, able to travel fast. More than one century had to pass until emperor Trajan continued Caesar’s intentions, and decided to crush the Dacians by setting off the full force of the roman war machine against them. The first war between the Dacians and the Romans led by Trajan was fought between 101 and 102 AD, and ended in truce. The Dacians sustained heavy losses in this war and the terms of the armistice forced them to even reduce their military power. Compared to them, the Romans had huge resources and were able to regroup relatively fast, so that a second campaign begun in the spring of 105. The second war ended in 106 with the defeat of the Dacians and the conquest of their capital city, Sarmizegetusa. The southern part of Dacia was declared a roman province and was given the name “Dacia Felix”, which means “Wealthy Dacia” (not “Happy Dacia”, an alternative translation, erroneous in this context). To celebrate this victory, Trajan held the biggest celebration in the history of the Roman Empire, which lasted no less than 123 days. The emperor was so proud of this victory that he ordered bread and money to be given to all roman citizens, and he suspended taxes for his people for a whole year; this says a lot about the importance of the Dacians, at least in the eyes of the Romans. Trajan’s Column, the famous monument in Rome, dedicates a large area to the illustration of the war against the Dacians. The Romans maintained an occupation force in Dacia Felix until 275 AD, when a series of external factors forced emperor Aurelian to recall it.

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Dacians 2
septembrie 16, 2009 at 22:18 (HIstori) (Geto-Daci)

The dacian witch doctors were renowned in the ancient world for their skill. They said that, in order to cure the body, one has to cure the soul first, and they applied this principle in their remedies. As the fortresses and settlements of the dacians were located in the mountains (to protect them against attacks), these people were used to harsh winters and the wilderness. This way of life lead to them having a close relationship with the nature, but not the kind that the Celts had. The life of the Dacians was dominated by weather, long journeys through the wilderness and the lonelyness of the unforgiving mountains. This is why the magic of the Dacians is based on the fellowship with everything that is alive, on the control of the primary elements of nature. The dacian wizards will bring rain or snow, will walk on smoke or clouds and will be able to defend themselves against the wild beasts. The relation between the wizard and the elements that he controls is that of a brotherhood, stability and respect. The dacian wizard isn’t tolerated by the wolf from fear, nor simpaty, but rather because the nature accepts him as part of the power that holds the world together, and it won’t touch this balance.

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septembrie 16, 2009 at 22:16 (HIstori) (Geto-Daci)

The father of history, Herodot, mentions the Dacians in his works as “the bravest and fairest of all the Thracians“. He also says that “the Thracian people is the most numerous one in the world; the Thracians have several names, according to their specific regions, but their habits are more or less the same”. At the peak of their power, the Thracians controlled over half the Europe and some territories in the Middle East. In some writings, the Dacians are also referred to as the Getae.
The territory of Dacia, the Getae’s country, was roughly that of today’s Romania, Hungary and parts of Bulgary and Ukraine. During the reign of king Burebista (1st century BC), the western border advanced to the Constanta lake, situated in today’s Switzerland.
The Dacians were a warrior people, and their polytheist religion saw death as a liberation. Their belief in the supreme god Gebeleizis made them fearless on the battlefield, and this virtue was passed on even after the old religion was replaced by the cult of Zalmoxe. As with other hiperboreean peoples, true life only began after death, where they would meet with their god. The Dacians cheered at the funerals, but cried when a child was born, weeping for the life he was going to have. This education and their beliefs meant that the Dacians were not afraid of death, and thus they were fearsome warriors in the eyes of any ancient civilization.
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