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Zamolxe The Arian,
Son of Dumnezeu
Zamolxe of Dacia (560-472 BCE)
(A Biographical Sketch)
by Octavian Sarbatoare,
BA (Hons) MA GradDip Syd
PhD (Honorary Degree)
Zamolxe (Zamolxis or Zalmoxis) is best known among historians and students of religious studies as a messianic god and civilizing hero of Dacians, the ancestors of the present days Romanian people. The reconstruction of a biographical account of Zamolxe, the Great God of Dacians, is a challenging task. Although the information from antiquity may rely on legends and myths, a biographical sketch could still be created. The result is that any biography is as legendary as the historical data employed.
Certain data are used as pillars of reference. From the historian Herodotus it is known, for instance, that Zamolxe lived in the island of Samos with Pythagoras, who most likely was born at about 580 BCE. We presume that Zamolxe was Pythagoras’ pupil. It may be a gap of 20 years between their birth dates; hence Zamolxe’s birth may be in the year 560 BCE. That makes him part of the Axial Age paradigmatic religious figures such as Buddha, Confucius, Lao-Tze, Mahavira, Pythagoras, and prophet Zechariah.
Zamolxe’s birthday is in a day of pagan winter celebration that is nowadays Christmas Day (the Romanian language still preserves the old name as CRĂCIUN), 25 December. His place of birth is in the area of Sarmisegetuza Regia, where for long existed an old sanctuary of the Dacian religion. Today in Romania, Sarmisegetuza still has remnants of the ancient cult temples.
The life of Pythagoras played a great role in that of Zamolxe. The Samian sage (Pythagoras was born in the Greek island of Samos) left Babylon in 535 BCE at the time of Persian invasion (by king Cyrus the Great) and stayed in Egypt until the Persians (king Cambyses II) conquered it in 525 BCE. The Persians took Pythagoras captive and brought him to Babylon. There he learned with Zarates, a Zoroastrian priest, until 520 BCE when he returned from the 20 years long spiritual journeys to Samos, his birthplace in Ionia (part of the ancient Greece).
Herodotus, the historian, remarks that Zamolxe was Pythagoras’ slave, but we interpret his statement, as that He was his pupil. There aren’t historical accounts of Pythagoras keeping slaves. The time period of Zamolxe’s study with Pythagoras was probably of two years until 518 BCE, the time when the sage decided to go to Croton in Magna Graecia, a Greek colony in the Southern Italy.
Another hypothesis is that Zamolxe reiterated to a lesser extent the spiritual journey of Pythagoras. In 518 BCE Zamolxe went to Babylon where he studied three years in the company of the same Zoroastrian priest Zarates. Then in 515 BCE He went to Jerusalem at the time of dedication of the second temple. In the same year Zamolxe went to Egypt for a further three years of deepening his learning. Overall Zamolxe of Dacia was away from His home for eight years. During that time He acquired the great wisdom relevant to that ancient spiritual world. Returning home in about 512 BCE, Zamolxe started a series of religious and social reforms in order to civilise His people.
The apprenticeship with Pythagoras and other scholars shaped the backbone of His teachings. The beliefs that Zamolxe held were that:
1. Do oppose evil, honour the truth, look for justice and fill your soul with justice. By following those, the power of darkness diminishes.
2. Live in harmony with people, but if they are not peaceful enough they should be confronted for their minds are mastered by darkness.
3. Any person who did wrong deeds should restore them if possible; else that person is to be punished for own mistakes.
4. Respect everybody, but if someone is unworthy of it just ignore that person.
5. In all that you do, look at following the light of God.
6. Those with plenty of The Spirit of Wisdom go to the kingdom of God and are immortals.
7. Never offer sacrifices, based on killing and destruction of flowers and fruits, to God or gods; deities don’t need your material offerings. Your sacrifice has to be understood as giving up disorder in thinking, speaking and acting.
8. Learn from any nation what they have the best, thus the light of your people shines brighter.
9. Live simply, beautifully and justly.
10. Look at the flame of the sacred fire that is your link to God.
Zamolxe the Arian became Great Priest, then king, thus being able to be more efficient with His social reforms. As legislator and religious leader Zamolxe was known in the Greek world of His time and thereafter. He had knowledge of astronomy, medicine and mathematics; subjects learned primarily from Pythagoras.
The religion that Zamolxe instituted (better to say reformed), known as zamolxianism was a solar cult, a creed of soul salvation and of mysteries. It intermingled the secular with the religious, yet the society was not theocratic. Its timely evolution is yet to be discovered; today there are relevant traces of Zamolxe’s creed in the Romanian popular religion. The origin of certain traditions and customs point out to a native rather than Christian basis. Studies in Romanian ethnography and folklore have uncovered trails of Zamolxian creed that survived and even evolved during centuries of Christian domination (mainly of the Romanian Orthodox Church).
At present a new creed is emerging as Neo-zamolxianism, modern Zamolxianism (terms similar to that of Zamolxian spirituality) blending the old teaching of Zamolxis with modern spirituality based on human-nature partnership.
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