Abstract

In order to write about the significance of the name of Zalmoxis in the Dacian language and religion, I begin with the displaying of the sources. Afterwards, there are presented three debates, about: (1) the relation between Zalmoxis and Pythagoras, showing that the philosopher was definitely influenced by the Thraco-Dacian beliefs which were also present in Zamolxianism; (2) “immortalization” as an initiatic mystery cult, shamanic practices; (3) an exploration of the forms Zalmoxis and Zamolxis.

The first form, of Zalmoxis, attested in Herodotus, with witnesses in inscriptions, could be related with some terms and practices found in Siberian peoples, used for hunting and shamanism (cf. sϵl, at Ket and Yugh). These practices are connected to the Dance of the Bear and others in the Romanian folklore. The second part of the term Zalmoxis could have come from *mo(i)š) (skin, sack, i. e., shamanic mask), which could lead to the Romanian autochtonous word moş (old, elder, ancestor).

The second form, Zamolxis, was connected to the Indo-European satem *sem- < PIE *dheghom- (earth > man). The theonym could end up with two forms by a word game, due to the oppositions between the mystery cult and shamanism, and between the solar-uranian cult from Sarmizegetusa and a chthonian cult, supported mainly by the southern Thracians (Semele, Dionysos).

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