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For a water flow, see Zmeu River. For the village in Iaşi County, see Lungani.

The Zmeu (plural: zmei, feminine: zmeoaică/zmeoaice) is a fantastic creature of Romanian folklore and Romanian mythology. Sometimes compared to other fantastic creatures, such as the balaur or the vârcolac, the zmeu is nevertheless distinct, because it usually has clear anthropomorphic traits: it is humanoid and has legs, arms, the ability to create and use artifacts such as weapons, or the desire to marry young girls. In some stories, Zmeu appears in the sky and spits fire. In other stories, it has a magical precious stone on its head that shines like the sun. It likes beautiful young girls, whom it kidnaps, usually for the purpose of marrying them. It is almost always defeated by a daring prince or knight-errant. Its natural form is that of a dragon or balaur.

Name[edit]

Most scholars agree that Zmeu's name and appearance is derived from the Slavic Zmey. However, the linguist Sorin Paliga challenges the notion that the Romanian word Zmeu is of Slavic origin, and hypothesizes that the pan-Slavic forms were an early Slavic loan from the Dacian language.[1] The relation with Romanian zmeură ("raspberry") has been deemed to be possible, but rather unlikely, by Alexandru Ciorănescu.[2]

The word also refers to the kites that children fly.

Role and functions[edit]

The "zmeu" figures prominently in many Romanian folk tales as the manifestation of the destructive forces of greed and selfishness. Often, the zmeu steals something of great value, which only Făt-Frumos (the Romanian "Prince Charming"; literally: "handsome youth") can retrieve through his great, selfless bravery. For example, in the ballad of the knight Greuceanu, the zmeu steals the sun and the moon from the sky, thereby enshrouding all humanity in darkness. In the story of Prâslea the Brave and the Golden Apples, the zmeu robs the king of the precious "golden apples"; a parallel can be drawn to the German fairy tale The Golden Bird, the Russian Tsarevitch Ivan, the Fire Bird and the Gray Wolf, and the Bulgarian The Nine Peahens and the Golden Apples — although in all these other cases, the thief was a bird (nevertheless, in some versions of the Romanian story, the zmeu does transform into a bird to steal the golden apples). Usually, the zmeu resides in the "other world" (celǎlalt tǎrâm) and sometimes Făt-Frumos has to descend into his dark kingdom, implying that the zmeu lives underground.

The zmeu has a plethora of magical, destructive powers at his disposal. He can fly, shapeshift, and has tremendous supernatural strength. Ultimately, the abilities of the zmeu are of no avail, as Făt-Frumos defeats him through martial skill and daring.

Some English translations refer to the "zmeu" as the ogre or giant from western European mythologies. Like the ogre, the zmeu likes to kidnap a maiden to be his wife in his otherworldly realm. After Făt-Frumos slays the zmeu, he takes the maiden as his bride-to-be. Similarly, like the giant in the popular British stories of Jack and the Beanstalk, the zmeu returns home to his fortress from his raids into human lands sensing that a human (Făt-Frumos) is lying in ambush somewhere nearby. A Zmeu is also sometimes pictured as a flame who goes in the room of a young girl or widow and once inside, becomes a man and seduces her.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ S. Paliga, Lingvistica si arheologia slavilor timpurii. O alta vedere de la Dunarea de Jos.Ed. Cetatea de Scaun 2009
  2. ^ Zmeură, in Alexandru Ciorănescu, Dicționarul etimologic român, Universidad de la Laguna, Tenerife, 1958-1966.

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zmeu — Please support Wikipedia.
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39 news items

New York Times

New York Times
Thu, 28 Aug 2014 10:57:53 -0700

The knight Fat-Frumos, who rescues her from a zmeu, a shapeshifting part-human, part-multi-headed dragon, presides over steamed dumplings with similarly hearty fillings but delicate skins, crimped like gyoza. Also worthy are the less heroically ...
 
Sport.ro
Thu, 11 Sep 2014 11:33:45 -0700

Rebeca Zmeu n-are adversari nici la fete si nici la baieti. E mica si rea. A strans medalii cat altii intr-o cariera. De-abia le tine la gat. "Nu stiu cate am castigat, dar stiu ca am multe. Cele mai valoroase sunt doua", spune Rebeca. Micuta din ...

Gazeta de Nord-Vest

Gazeta de Nord-Vest
Sun, 14 Sep 2014 11:11:15 -0700

Mult așteptata revenire a Olimpiei nu s-a produs nici la Câmpina. Galben-albaștrii au pierdut și al doilea meci din campionat și au ajuns la coada clasamentului în serie. Fortuna a început în forţă meciul cu sătmărenii, hotărâtă parcă să tranşeze cât ...
 
Ziarul Evenimentul
Tue, 09 Sep 2014 19:27:06 -0700

În timpul lucrărilor de restaurare şi consolidare la clădirea din strada Zmeu nr. 3, unde va fi înfiinţat Muzeul Municipal Iaşi, au fost descoperite ziduri de secol XVIII-XIX. În urma săpăturilor, a fost descoperit, într-una dintre cele 16 camere ale ...
 
Ziarul Vaii Jiului
Sun, 07 Sep 2014 10:07:47 -0700

... colegul nostru şi prietenul bun al lui Mircea, scriitorul Marian Boboc, colega noastră, doamna profesoară şi epigramistă Vali Slavu şi alţi câţiva „oameni de bine”, cum spunea moderatorul acţiunii, Ionel Zmeu (printre care şi din cadrul Primăriei ...
 
ProSport
Sun, 31 Aug 2014 23:32:42 -0700

Kitesurfingul presupune folosirea unui zmeu drept ”motor” pentru placa de surf, iar acest sport a început să devină cunoscut la începutul anilor '90. Recordul de viteză este deţinut de francezul Sebastien Cattelan care a atins 50,26 noduri pe 3 ...

Formula AS

Formula AS
Thu, 11 Sep 2014 02:56:15 -0700

Adrian Năstase a ieşit din puşcărie triumfător ca un zmeu şi cu mesaje politice zbârnâitoare, care arată că e gata să tragă, măcar sforile, dacă funcţii publice nu mai are dreptul să ocupe. Mai există vreo şansă să influenţeze politica PSD? - Aş spune ...

Automarket

Automarket
Wed, 03 Sep 2014 02:16:11 -0700

nu este o solutie buna sa combati legea incalcand-o. vrei s-o combati ? du-te si protesteaza dar fa-o in legalitate. nu circula fara rca ca esti zmeu. daca eu fara rca iti dau tie dauna totala, imi iau amenda, raman fara masina, carnet si ce mai patesc ...
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