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Contents:
  1. Staff in the Department of German
  2. “Gypsies” in European Literature and Culture
  3. Professor NDB Saul - Durham University
  4. Studies in European Culture and History

Want to Read saving…. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Other editions. Error rating book. Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Details if other :. Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Domnica Radulescu. This book traces representations of "Gypsies" that have become prevalent in the European imagination and culture and influenced the perceptions of Roma in Eastern and Western European societies. Get A Copy.

Staff in the Department of German

Published April 29th by Palgrave Macmillan first published April 15th Persian sources call them Luli or Luri ; in the middle of the tenth century they are attested to under the Arab name Zott. These names were, however, used indiscriminately for anybody coming from India. The Gypsies would have been able to reach Persia as part of population movements from the East or a Persian military expedition to India. The Gypsies also must have spent a fairly long period of time in old Armenia, since the Romany dialects of Europe contain Armenian terms.

From here they entered Asia Minor, thereby entering Greek language territory. It is certain that their arrival in the Byzantine Empire was a gradual process. It was here that they acquired the ethnic name they bear today: Tsigane. In Byzantine sources, there are more references to Athinganos , which some authors linked with the newcomers to the Empire. It is generally believed that the first attestation of the Gypsies in the Byzantine Empire is contained in a Georgian hagiographic text dating from the year in the text, there are references to so-called Adsincani , renowned for their sorcery and evil deeds.

This probably took place at the start of the fourteenth century, when it is believed that the European history of the Gypsies began.


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From Thrace they were dispersed in all directions. One group headed south, into what is today Greece. In , a Franciscan friar met them at Candia Iraklion on the island of Crete and produced a description of them.

“Gypsies” in European Literature and Culture

In the second half of the fourteenth century and the beginning of the fifteenth century in the Peloponnese, the western part of continental Greece and the Ionian Islands, the Gypsies are shown to already be a sedentary people, meaning that they must have been in that area for a considerable period of time; the migration probably took place at the beginning of the fourteenth century. They settled especially in the Peloponnese and on neighbouring islands, territories under the control of Venice. The Gypsies stayed for a long time on Greek-speaking territory in Asia Minor, the Balkan Peninsula and the islands , the proof being the considerable influence of Greek on Romanes.

They are mentioned for the first time in an official document in Wallachia in , in Transylvania around the year and in Moldavia in The first attestation in an official document appears in , when King Sigismund of Luxembourg grants free movement through his kingdom to a group of Gypsies, lead by the voivode Vladislav.

Evidence from place and personal names has been evoked to support the theory that the Gypsies arrived in Hungary at an earlier time. The chronicles place them in Hesse in and in Meissen and Bohemia in These were probably small groups. At that time, there was a more sizeable influx of the Gypsies in the countries of Europe, from Hungary to Germany and France. Some groups presented to the authorities the safe passage they had been granted from Emperor Sigismund of Luxembourg.

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Professor NDB Saul - Durham University

Contemporary sources describe them as a curiosity and generally speak of them in positive terms, while the local people gave them food and money. For a number of years the Gypsies wandered throughout Europe in genuine expeditions.

Gypsies in European Literature and Culture Studies in European Culture and History

Sometimes the same group is attested to successively in the different places. In , a large group enters Italy, reaching Rome. In the following decades, the Gypsies reached Spain, England and Scandinavia. In Spain, they arrived via two paths: through the Pyrenees from France at the beginning of the fifteenth century and over the Mediterranean starting from The number of Gypsies in Spain was large from the beginning.

They arrived in the British Isles at the start of the sixteenth century; the first mention of their presence there dates from At the beginning of the sixteenth century, the Gypsies entered Scandinavia, via England. They entered the Kingdom of Poland via two paths: from Hungary and from the Romanian territories. From Poland they entered the Baltic lands, while in Southern Russia they first appeared around In Germany the most frequently used names are Zigeuner— noted for the first time in the journal of Andreas, a priest from Regensburg Bavaria , in the year —and Sinte plural: Sinti ; the latter term is used only for part of the population of Indian origin and is presumed to originate from a hypothetical king of theirs.

This can be explained by the fact that the new arrivals presented letters of protection from Sigismund of Luxembourg, the Holy Roman Emperor and king of Bohemia, and it was therefore considered that they came from that country. In English and Spanish, they were given the names Gypsy and Gitano respectively, the names originating from their presumed Egyptian origin. The appearance of the Turks in the Balkans forced the Gypsies further on. The European migration of the Gypsies in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries was a lasting phenomenon.

It was not, however, a mass exodus. The majority of the Gypsy population stayed on in Turkey and the countries of south-eastern Europe, as well as Hungary.


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It represents, however, a particularly complex historical process that still contains many unknown factors. The linguistic method, particularly useful in this case, does have its limits. It has to be acknowledged that the migration of the Gypsies was not a targeted migration. The Gypsies living in India or Persia were not aiming to reach Europe.

Bibliographic Information

It was a spontaneous movement determined by an entire range of factors. Their arrival in Europe was conditioned by their contemporary surroundings. Military events played the principal role in determining the direction taken by the different groups of the Gypsies. Military events and population movements took place on those territories that could not have failed to have also an impact on the groups of the Gypsies.

They fled first before the Seljuk Turks, then before the Ottoman Turks, heading inevitably towards the West. The Gypsies were the last people of Asian origin to arrive in our continent. Their arrival in fact marks the end of the migrations of peoples. The distinguishing feature of the Gypsy migration is that it was not of a military nature. For example, both recent and earlier research have demonstrated that in old Armenia the Gypsies scattered in three directions: one route took them through the countries of the Middle East as far as Egypt, another took them into the countries of the Caucasus and to the north of the Black Sea, while the third route, the most important of the three, took them into the Byzantine Empire and from there into Europe.

Writers in the previous century, writing when the study of the history of the Gypsies did not yet have the rigorous foundations of later times, believed that the Gypsies had been brought to Europe by the Mongols Tatars ; it was stated that the Gypsies had been picked up by the Mongols in Asia and brought to Europe either in together with the great invasion of the Mongols or later on.

We shall see that although some Gypsies could have reached the territories in the east of the continent under the domination of the Mongols, there are no arguments to support the existence of a migration route around the north of the Black Sea for the Gypsies on their way into Europe.

Studies in European Culture and History

Today it is well established that the Gypsies that arrived in Europe had passed through Byzantium and the Balkans. They are the Indian population that is known in European languages as Tsiganes and all its derivatives. Their own name for themselves recalls their stay in the Byzantine Empire: Rom. Already in , Archbishop John of Sultanieh, a figure well acquainted with the realities of the situation in the Middle East and Eastern Europe, demonstrated in his geographical treatise Libellus de notitia Orbis that the Gypsies had spread everywhere.


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  8. From the sixteenth to the nineteenth centuries, together with the expulsions and deportations to which they were subjected or the process of colonisation outside the borders of Europe which began in Portugal, Spain, France and England, the Gypsies reached North and South America, Australia and New Zealand, South Africa and other places. From European Russia, they reached Siberia.

    To the migration of the Middle Ages can be later added, in the second half of the nineteenth century and at the beginning of the twentieth century, another smaller wave of migration from the east of the continent, particularly from Romania, which contributed to the spread of the Gypsies throughout Europe.

    There are, however, also Gypsies living in the countries of the Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia, present since the time of their first migrations. They do belong, however, to the same population as the Gypsies of Europe. The monastery had been founded by Wladislav I in the years —71 and had ceased to function a short time after, probably in , during the political and military events taking place in the area and the conflict between Wallachia and the Hungarian Kingdom for the land of Severin. The text of the donation, which has been preserved, 22 mentions the possessions listed in the deed of Dan I from , minus the forty Gypsy families.

    This means that the Gypsies were donated to the monastery later on, in a deed of donation which has not been preserved, or that they were omitted from the initial deed of donation. Since Wladislav I most probably died in , the donation must have taken place between and The first document attesting to the presence of the Gypsies in Wallachia is connected to this event. The Gypsies of the Tismana monastery are mentioned in all subsequent confirmations of the possessions of the monastery, in , —, circa , Therefore, Gypsies were already present in Transylvania around the year The Tatars supposedly brought them to this part of Europe, whilst the Gypsies remained after the withdrawal of the Tatars as the slaves of the Romanians.