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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.[citation needed]

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

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

 
Ziarul de Iaşi
Sun, 20 Jul 2014 04:37:30 -0700

Casa monument istoric de pe strada Zmeu este, în istoria arhitecturii româneşti, o mărturie a stilului neoclasic aşa cum s-a constituit el în Moldova primei jumătăţi a secolului al XIX-lea. Este, de asemenea, o imagine emblematică a efortului prin care ...
 
Ce se intampla doctore:
Sun, 13 Jul 2014 14:00:00 -0700

Însă, dacă vrei să arăţi că eşti mai zmeu decât zmeul de la kite, s-ar putea să ai surprize. {i dacă ai o alergie la soare puternică, poţi în continuare să faci sportul ăsta dacă ai un echipament din lycra, mască, ochelari de soare. Există locaţii unde ...

China Radio International

China Radio International
Thu, 10 Jul 2014 05:00:00 -0700

Zmeul este de origine chineză. Primul zmeu a fost realizat de filosoful chinez Mo Zhai. Potrivit consemnărilor istorice, acest filosof a provenit din localitatea Qingzhou, provincia Shandong. După o cercetare minuţioasă care a durat trei ani, el a ...
 
Ziarul National
Wed, 16 Jul 2014 11:04:42 -0700

Mie mi se pare o conopida care vrea sa planeze ca un zmeu, un OTV bine furajat de structuri, unde Magda Ciumac si Nikita sunt interpretati de securistii din presa si din parlament. Dar, tu, Cristoiule, las-o mai usor cu verdictele, pentru ca ticalosii ...

PeMotoare

PeMotoare
Wed, 16 Jul 2014 15:55:43 -0700

Nu te crede zmeu. Oricât ți s-ar părea că ești de bun în poligon sau la examen, mersul pe motocicletă se învață bătând cât mai mulți kilometri. Iar dacă-i bați pe o motocicletă ușoară, manevrabilă și care „iartă“, potrivită pentru începători, vei ...
 
Cosmopolitan
Sun, 06 Jul 2014 02:00:00 -0700

Este un sport care câştigă din ce ȋn ce mai mult teren peste tot prin lume, poate pentru că este combinaţia perfectă ȋntre visul de copil, acela de a zbura cu un zmeu pe mare, şi adrenalina de a manevra un zmeu imens şi colorat şi o placă. Nu-ţi mai ...
 
Tribuna
Mon, 14 Jul 2014 14:02:45 -0700

Când stai ca milogul la uşa guvernării şi-ţi oferi serviciile de mic servitor dispus să propteşti o coaliţie firavă pentru o ciosvârtă, după care te transformi într-un zmeu ameninţător, joc pe care-l repeţi de câteva ori, îţi dai în vileag aluatul ...
 
Gazeta Sporturilor
Sun, 13 Jul 2014 23:33:45 -0700

Federaţia nu-şi permite să-l dea afară pe Piţurcă, nici vorbă să aducă vreun zmeu precum Collina, care percepe tarif cu şase zerouri. A venit Vassaras, pentru 100.000 de euro pe an. De ce? Nu pentru că Alexandru Deaconu n-ar fi fost un preşedinte bun ...
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