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 For it is said that one of the nation of the Getæ, named Zamolxis,1 had served Pythagoras, and had acquired with this philosopher some astronomical knowledge, in addition to what he had learned from the Egyptians, amongst whom he had travelled. He returned to his own country, and was highly esteemed both by the chief rulers and the people, on account of his predictions of astronomical phenomena, and eventually persuaded the king to unite him in the government, as an organ of the will of the gods. At first he was chosen a priest of the divinity most revered by the Getæ, but afterwards was esteemed as a god, and having retired into a district of caverns, inaccessible and unfrequented by other men, he there passed his life, rarely communicating with any- body except the king and his ministers. The king himself assisted him to play his part, seeing that his subjects obeyed him more readily than formerly, as promulgating his ordinances with the counsel of the gods. This custom even continues to our time; for there is always found some one of this character who assists the king in his counsels, and is styled a god by the Getæ. The mountain likewise [where Zamolxis retired] is held sacred, and is thus distinguished, being named Cogæonus,2 as well as the river which flows by it; and at the time when Byrebistus, against whom divus Cæsar prepared an expedition, reigned over the Getæ, Decæneus held that honour: likewise the Pythagorean precept to abstain from animal food, which was originally introduced by Zamolxis, is still observed to a great extent.
1 ζάλμοξις is the reading of the Paris manuscript, No. 1393, and we should have preferred it for the text, as more likely to be a Getæn name, but for the circumstance of his being generally written Zamolxis.
2 D'Anville imagines that this is the modern mountain Kaszon, and the little river of the same name on the confines of Transylvania and Moldavia.
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