-text and photos Andrei Dorian Gheorghe
design Florin Alexandru Stancu
special guest astrophotographers Valentin Grigore and Maximilian Teodorescu-

Venus and Mars
Brighter than the stars
Visual diversions
Harnessing dimensions.

This project begins with a picture by Valentin Grigore
taken in 14 February 2015 in the Chindia Park, Targoviste,
and representing a close between the two planets between which the Earth orbits.

As we know,
the solar system’s planets have denominations of Roman gods,
so I’ve chosen these two god-planets just because I’d like to tell something about
the Dacian-Roman fusion which gave birth to the Romanian people.

I’ll begin with Mars
because one of the most interesting arguments for this continuity
is the Densus Church in the Hunedoara County.

It is said that this edifice was firstly built in the 2nd century
as a temple dedicated to the supreme Dacian god Zamolxis.

In the 4th century it was remade with stones from the Roman Capital of Dacia,
Ulpia Traiana Sarmizegetusa,
as a temple dedicated to Mars, the Roman god of war.

Then in the 14th century it was remade again
as a Christian Orthodox Church…

In this respect I’ll end the Mars chapter with an anticipation photo-poem
in which I’ll use two images by another great astrophotographer,
Maximilian Teodorescu:
a collage with the Densus Church and a photo with the planet Mars.

What an irony!

Since the first planet which will be populated by earthlings
will be just Mars,
I would say that that the god of war will be transformed
into a planet of peace.

Long live the future colony!

About Venus (the goddess of beauty and the closest planet),
I’ll begin with a photo with this heavenly body,
which I took in 29 November 2013 in Bucharest near the ROMEXPO building,
conceived by an former international rugby player in the interbellic times,
Ascanio Damian.
(That’s why it has a cupola in the form of a rugby half-ball!)

In that moment I smiled, thinking that the first feminine rugby team in Romania,
founded in 1996,
was named just… Venus Piatra Neamt!

(Regarding the Romanian feminine contribution to the rugby game
I have to add that the first woman-coach in the world
who led masculine junior teams to national titles of champions was, in the 1970s,
Mariana Lucescu!)

Then a little later, before an extraordinary international rugby festival
(including an important Romanian-Italian rugby union match,
Bucharest Wolves- Cammi Calvisano,
and the Bucharest Grand Prix Sevens 2014),
I thought of the connection between the Roman goddess Venus
and the Romanian Sfanta (Saint) Vineri
(a name which means Friday in Romanian and comes from Veneris,
the genitive of Venus in Latin),
and I chose to catch the last Friday sunrise before the autumn equinox of 2014.

Venus or Saint Vineri. Is this a question?
Venus and Saint Vineri. Rather a mention.

Saint Vineri in Romanian consciousness is a complex combination
of more feminine typologies coming
from old Dacian traditions,
from Venus the Roman goddess of beauty (associated to the day of Friday, too),
from the Greek Saint Paraskeva (an ascetic woman who
lived in the 12th century, Paraskevi meaning also Friday in the Greek language),
and from various late Romanian adaptations.

Thus, finally, Saint Vineri signifies a widow
who gives beauty to the women and protects animals and travellers,
but she is severe to the undisciplined women.

On the same day (Friday, 19 September)
I visited one of the most beautiful churches dedicated to Saint Vineri,
founded in 1937,
built in the Neo-Romanian style (the Wallach branch),
and placed between the North Railroad Station and the national rugby stadium.
This has proud sun crosses and starry paintings,
and keeps even a vestment of Saint Paraskeva of Balkans.
(I completed the photo-series below with an image, including the Moon’s Sickle,
which I took later.)

I began the next day (Saturday, 20 September)
watching on the Internet sequences from the pool stage
of the Bucharest Grand Prix of Rugby Sevens,
the last one in the European Championship 2015,
where Romania (presenting a perspective team) was outclassed by Spain and Russia,
but it surprisingly defeated Portugal (21-14).

Then, on that evening, I personally went to the national rugby stadium
for the match of classic rugby between
Bucharest (followers of Sfanta Vineri) and
Calvisano (followers of the goddess Venus),
which, after the last changes in professional rugby,
appeared as a final of the Qualifying Competition
(or the Third Cup, after the Champions Cup and the Challenge Cup).
Practically, the best two clubs in Europe (except for those from
the Home Union - UK and Ireland -, France and two Italian franchises),
the selected team of the Romanian championship (so an invitational club)
against the winner of the Italian championship (“Eccellenza”)
fighting for a place among the “classics”.

The Romanians won, 18-13,
but this was only a small advance before the retour in Italy,
programmed one week later.

On Sunday 21 September (one day before the equinox)
I watched on the Internet how Romania was defeated by Georgia
in the second day of the Bucharest Grand Prix Sevens.

Then I went again to the national rugby stadium and I arrived when
France defeated Scotland in the last semifinal.

As a big coincidence, the final for 11-12 was contested also
by followers of Dacians (Romania) and followers of Romans (Italy),
this time the Italians being the winners (score 20-12).

But at least the Romanians, as organizers of the competition,
made something… “of strong essence”!

At the same time,
that match made me think,
as a strong continuation of the Dacian-Roman connections,
that a special cemetery in Bucharest
is dedicated to the Italian heroes from World War I.

The finals appeared like an intelligent explosion of human energy between
the sign of Archangels Michael and Gabriel
(the patrons of the close church, Casin)
and the sign of Beethoven’s Symphony 5
(Ode to Joy, which accompanied all festivities):
Georgia beat Portugal for 9-10,
Germany beat England for 7-8,
Belgium beat Wales for 5-6,
Scotland beat Russia for 3-4,
France beat Spain for 1-2,
and the final ranking of the European Championship
after all four Grand Prixes in 2014 was:
1.France; 2.Scotlamd; 3.England.

Then, thinking of the retour match between Calvisano and Bucharest Wolves,
in 22 September I tried to watch the Saint Vineri New Church
from another position (farer and higher,
between the Basarab Passage pillar and the Elevators Tower)
under the last sunset before the autumn equinox.

Obviously, I asked Sfanta Vineri
for helping the Romanian team.

And…it seems it worked.

In 26 September, after a dramatic match,
Cammi Calvisano defeated Bucharest Wolves
(who played in 14 for 3/4 of time because of a disciplinary sanction),
but the Romanians obtained the qualification,
marking 3 points (a penalty kick) in the last minute!

That’s why,
since the Romanian Rugby Federation put a 100 year commemorative inscription
on the old gate of the national rugby stadium,
I would add on it:
“On the occasion of the centenary of the Romanian rugby championship,
which was inaugurated here,
the selected team of this championship in 2014,
Bucharest Wolves,
won the Qualifying Competition in Continental Europe,
obtaining a place among the classics
(England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland and France)
of Ovalia.”


I decided to prolong this project adding something
about the Dacian-Roman connection.

There are three main theories about it.

1. The classical one, saying that
the Romans Romanised the Dacians,
who remained connected for more centuries
to the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire.

2. A newer one, saying that
the populations that speak the Latin languages in Europe
mainly spoke the same languages before the Roman conquests,
and the Dacian-Romanians are included in the same category.

3. Another one, saying that after the last glaciations (about 10000 years BC)
people who had survived in the Carpathian Mountains migrated all around,
so that the Dacians and the Romans had a common trunk,
and the Dacians spoke a proto-Latin language.
Thus, because of this relationship, the Romans avoided
to attack Dacia for over three centuries.
Then they conquered only a part of Dacia
and withdrew after 3 generations (about 165 years),
so that, without television and internet,
it seems rather impossible to impose a foreign language
in such a short time and on a much larger space.

Nobody knows exactly where the truth is,
but I would add that before the Roman conquest of Dacia
King Burebista made a giant Dacian Kingdom in the 1st century BC
from the Middle Danube (west) to the Bug River (east),
and from the Forest Carpathians (north) to the Balkan Mountains (south),
and, until recent times,
groups of Vlachs-Aromanians existed (or still exist) in
Slovakia, Poland and Ukraine (even beyond the Bug River),
so much out of the former Roman Empire,
and certainly the Romans had not sent teachers of Latin for them.

Thus, they seem rather followers of Burebista’s Dacian Kingdom
(as well as the Vlachs-Aromanians from the Balkan Peninsula,
many of them shepherds,
just like many Thraco-Dacians in antiquity).

the population of Dacia continued for one millennium to remain loyal
not to the Roman alphabet, but to the Dacian oral culture.
So how could they abandon so easily their mother language?

Even a unique Dacian royal inscription from the 1st century AC,
“per” meaning “through” in Latin
(the last great defender of Dacia, Decebal,
becoming king after the reign of Scorilo),
could be the simplest evidence
that the Dacian language was similar to Latin.

And another question.
The oldest populations in Balkans were
Thraco-Dacians, Illirians (current Albanians) and Greeks,
the last two continuing to speak their original language
(with normal foreign influences in time) until today.
Then I wonder how only the Dacians (current Romanians)
could replace their native language,
although they lived a much shorter time under Roman administration?

But maybe I am wrong.
The past is still searched by specialists,
and one of the Roman-Dacian connections has evolved into
the Italian-Romanian friendship,
and in this respect
the Italian state sent in 1906 to Bucharest the copy of a famous old statue,
Lupa Capitolina,
with the she-wolf sukling Romulus and Remus, the legendary founders of Rome.

So that I prefer to end this project with a picture
which I took in 3 April 2015 in the centre of the Romanian Capital,
with… Venus over the Bucharest variant of Lupa Capitolina.


© 2015 SARM
(Romanian Society for Meteors and Astronomy)