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Dacians - Myths

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Dacians - Myths

    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. In Getica, the player will find spells based on real incantations and magic formulas, as they were taken from the folklore.
    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. The myths that form the basis of the Getica world have been found in this altered form, but we carefully removed the parts that can be easily recognized as christian additions, in order to present the original form of the dacian beliefs.




Articles in this section:

    The Hultan
    The Hultan was a powerful wizard who controlled the weather. The main character in Cult of the Elders is a hultan, so you should probably read this article.

Dacians - Myths
The Hultan

    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. In Getica, we tried to filter the Christian elements and show the true image of the hultan, before the alteration.

    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.

Dacians - Gods

    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.


Articles in this section:

    Gebeleizis
    The supreme god in the dacian pantheon, before the coming of Zalmoxe.



Dacians - Gods
Gebeleizis

    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.

Dacians - Creatures

    In the dacian beliefs, the relation between gods and men is more distant than in other mythologies. The gods do not have a strict control over the actions of the mortals and their manifestations are rarely seen in everyday life. This is why the fantastic beings from the dacian myths are not instruments of the gods, but creations of nature itself. The 'good' creatures are guardians of nature and are not born of some god. Their role is to determine people not to destroy nature, but not because the gods meant them so. In a simmilar manner, the malefic beings are not bound to any god; they attack people even if they haven't done anything wrong (as opposed to the good creatures), but the measures one has to take in order to be protected against them usually include a concept that the mythology wishes to introduce in the education of the people.
    The fantastic creatures can have several origins: they can be transformations of living beings (humans or animals), dead souls, or they can be completely separate from the real world (like the dragons are). The 'good' creatures are those that do not attack man unless he threatens the thing that the creature is meant to defend. These creatures can even be invoked through some enchantment in order to protect one against certain things. The malefic creatures will seek out victims and attack them even if they do not do anything wrong. Against each such malefic being there is a ritual that can be carried out in order to keep out of harm's way.
    Depending on their origin, the fantastic creatures have different behaviours. Undead creatures only appear at night, at the crossroads or in places that are important in men's lives, and they terrorize their victims in a systematic, determined manner. As opposed to this, the demons that originate from living beigns have an unpredictable behaviour, can appear during day time too and they attack random people, without focusing on a specific victim. The separate category of demons that are not related to real beings (alive or not) have the most forseeable behaviour, appearing at fixed dates (usually during certain holidays) and picking their victims by very strict and well known principles.
    In Getica, the fantastic creatures will be more than simple monsters. Instead, they will be tightly integrated in the story line. The mission of the player is not to kill lots of monsters in order to gain experience and advance. Instead, the player can gather all sorts of information from the creatures he meets and he can discover the place that the creature has in the bonds that hold the world together. He will then be able to act in such a way that the interraction between him and the creature will have the desired side effects in the living world of Getica.


Articles in this section:

    Fata Padurii
    A demon that takes the shape of a beautiful woman, in order to lure young men into the woods and kill them.

    Paduroiul
    The protector of the forest, the master of all magical beings and the messenger of the gods when they want to speak to the wizards.

    Samca
    A malefic spirit who attacks little children and pregnant women, making them sick or even killing them.
Dacians - Creatures
Fata Padurii

Fata Padurii    Fata Padurii ('the Forest Girl') is a demon that lures young men into the woods, where it kills them. She has two faces: when she first shows herself to a man, she is a young and very beautiful woman, tall, thin, with big, black eyes that shine into the starlight, curved eyebrows, ruddy cheeks and long, dark hair. After she mesmerizes the victim with her beauty, Fata Padurii turns into a hideous and scary monster, she kills the boy and eats his heart. She only appears at night and never leaves the woods, so she doesn't attack human villages.
Fata Padurii - transformation    This monster is a symbol for a maturity test which all young men have to face: discovering love. The deadly threat of the demon warns the lad that love can have a dangerous side, at the same time with the beautiful one. There is a masculine counterpart for her in the dacian mythology, who appears to young women. His name is Zburatorul ('the Flying Man'), but he is less dangerous and aggressive than Fata Padurii. The romanian folklore contains several superstitions related to this demon: you shouldn't whistle or sing in the woods at night and you shouldn't fall asleep near a burning fire, as these signs might attract the monster.
    Fata Padurii is the daughter of Muma Padurii ('the Mother of the Woods') and Paduroiul. Her parents are enemies and she doesn't love any of them either. She stole from her mother the spell which makes her beautiful, and from her father - the magic ivy that she uses to trap her victims. She eats her prey's heart not only as a trophy, but because she needs it for the transformation spell to work and turn her into a young woman.




Dacians - Creatures
Paduroiul

Paduroiul    The legends say that the gods meant Muma Padurii ('the Mother of the Forest') to be the one who protects the forest and its creatures from the evil that men do, as well as men themselves from the dangers of the wilderness. In time, Muma Padurii started hating men more and more, due to the devastation that they brought to the things she tried to protect. First, she would only scare off wanderers, but quickly she ended up killing any man that she encountered in the woods. The goddess Bendis found out about all these and cursed her to share her life with the next man that she will kill. Muma Padurii ignored the curse and killed again, so Bendis brought the victim back to life and forced Muma Padurii to marry him. This man became known as Paduroiul and the gods trusted him with the work that Muma Padurii had abandoned. His name comes from the word 'padure', which means forest.
    Because of his fate, Paduroiul tries to protect those who are lost in the woods, or have been lured there by demons. Still, his origin doesn't stop him from being unforgiving to those who threaten the forests or the creatures that live in them. His wisdom bought him the confidence of the gods, who eventually made him the master of all magical creatures. To the wizards, he also became the voice of the gods, as the rulers of the world started using him as a messenger whenever they wanted to repay the wizards, punish them or send orders to them. Even Uniila, the master of the wizards and of the hultans asks him for advice from time to time.
    Derzelas, the god of vitality, gave him a magic spear which makes him almost invincible, because any wound heals very quickly as long as he is holding the spear in his hands. He also has a bow with enchanted arrows which never miss the target, and when they hit, they turn into thick ivy which entangles the victim.
    Even though he's been forced to marry Muma Padurii, Paduroiul doesn't love her because she didn't give up her hatred against mankind. Still, they have a daughter, Fata Padurii.

Dacians - Creatures
Samca

    Samca, as the legends say, is a malefic spirit, very ugly and fierce: a naked woman, with very long, untied hair that reaches her ankles, long breasts that touch the ground, small eyes that shine like stars, fire tongue, iron hands, long and sharp nails straight like needles or curved like sickles.
    This demon, whose very big, ugly and irregular mouth always spits fire, comes near the end of the month, when the moon is almost full, and appears to children less than four years of age, and frightens them so badly that they immediately become sick. This demon also appears to women about to give birth, frightening them too, crippling or even killing them.
    Samca can change its form. It can be seen as a very big and scary pig, as a dog baring its teeth, as a hairless cat with large eyes, as a large crow with bloody red eyes or as a large, black spider.
    Samca has 19 names: Vestitia, Navadaraia, Valnomia, Sina, Nicosda, Avezuha, Scorcoila, Tiha, Miha, Grompa, Slalo, Necauza, Hatavu, Hulila, Huva, Ghiana, Gluviana, Prava and Samca. In order to be protected from it, one must write all of its names on one of the house walls or convince someone else to write an enchantment which must then be worn all the time. The enchantment will make Samca go to the person who wrote it instead, but if the person is an old man, who lived his life, it won't hurt him; it will only make him gnash his teeth in his sleep.








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