Zalmoxis

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Zalmoxis (Greek Ζάλμοξις, also known as Salmoxis, Σάλμοξις, Zamolxis, Ζάμολξις, or Samolxis Σάμολξις) was a legendary social and religious reformer, regarded as the only true god by the Thracian Dacians (also known in the Greek records as Getae Γέται). According to Herodotus,[1] the Getae, who believed in the immortality of the soul, looked upon death merely as going to Zalmoxis (who is also called Gebeleizis by some among them[citation needed]) as they knew the way to become immortals.

Contents

Life

Herodotus was told by the euhemeristic Pontic Greeks that Zalmoxis was really a man, formerly a disciple of Pythagoras,[2] who taught him the "sciences of the skies" at Samos. Zalmoxis was manumitted and amassed great wealth, returned to his country and instructed his people, the Getae, about the immortality of the soul. Zenon reiterates the idea that Zalmoxis was Pythagoras' slave.

However, Herodotus, who declines to commit himself as to the existence of Zalmoxis, expresses the opinion that in any case Zalmoxis must have lived long before the time of Pythagoras.

Pythagoras died around 495 BC. The archaism of Zalmoxis's doctrine points out to a heritage from before the times of Indo-Europeans.[3]

According to Herodotus, at one point Zalmoxis traveled to Egypt and brought the people mystic knowledge about the immortality of the soul, teaching them that they would pass at death to a certain place where they would enjoy all possible blessings for all eternity.

Zalmoxis then had a subterranean chamber constructed (other accounts say that it was a natural cave) on the holy mountain of Kogaion, to which he withdrew for three years (some other accounts considered he actually lived in Hades for these three years).

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