Books and written accounts of Gypsy travel to Europe from India

Nov 2012
3,852
#1
Books and written accounts of Gypsy travel to Europe from India. From their persecutions by the Muslim empires in the medieval era, their enslavement, capture, being sold as slaves or migrating towards the west and their journey. What books or legends are available which show the memory of their migration.
 
Nov 2010
7,648
Cornwall
#2
I've just seen bits and pieces in different works. Even the dates conflict and I dont think there is a definitive version or if anyone has written one.

It does seem they spilt into 4 main groups, one of which headed for Spain and Portugal. Initially in the Seville/Cadiz region (where the majority are) they were welcomed as reliable farm workers and therefore permitted to live on the land. They would take the name of their 'landlord', which is why they all have old, traditional Spanish names down that way - according to Mena in his Historia de Sevilla. Later they seemed to inhabit ghettos in the cities and run metalwork businesses which, although technically illegal, were desperately needed by the catholic metal workers.

They were very heavily discriminated against during the period of Limpieza de Sangre as illustrated in Ildefonso Falcones' novel La Reina Calzada.

And they are still discriminated against today they will tell you, despite their large presence. Just as they are to a point in my county, Cornwall.

That said, it ties in with the old immigration and jewish arguments - they stay together in groups, maintain very strongly their own traditions and language, sometimes out of kilter with the law. Society does not like people who do not integrate and remain 'different'.
 
Nov 2012
3,852
#3
I've just seen bits and pieces in different works. Even the dates conflict and I dont think there is a definitive version or if anyone has written one.

It does seem they spilt into 4 main groups, one of which headed for Spain and Portugal. Initially in the Seville/Cadiz region (where the majority are) they were welcomed as reliable farm workers and therefore permitted to live on the land. They would take the name of their 'landlord', which is why they all have old, traditional Spanish names down that way - according to Mena in his Historia de Sevilla. Later they seemed to inhabit ghettos in the cities and run metalwork businesses which, although technically illegal, were desperately needed by the catholic metal workers.

They were very heavily discriminated against during the period of Limpieza de Sangre as illustrated in Ildefonso Falcones' novel La Reina Calzada.

And they are still discriminated against today they will tell you, despite their large presence. Just as they are to a point in my county, Cornwall.

That said, it ties in with the old immigration and jewish arguments - they stay together in groups, maintain very strongly their own traditions and language, sometimes out of kilter with the law. Society does not like people who do not integrate and remain 'different'.
multiculturalism????

Its surprising how in the west assimilation is a strong narrative yet most people in western media accuse a multicultural and diverse democracy like India of being intolerant.
 
Nov 2010
7,648
Cornwall
#4
Britain today is a totally different place to what it was 20 or 30 years ago. Whether by accident or not we seem to have soared past America in acceptance and tolerance of other people and I can honestly say it's not given a second thought by most right-thinking people.

BUT - in contrast to the poster from Addis Ababa who advocates everyone staying entrenched in their own communities, I do believe this is where the problems lie. Yes this may be enforced at times but I do believe those who do not mix, keep enclosed their culture, language etc, will always generate hostility, which is what happens to both jews and romanies and has happened to other communities.
 
Sep 2015
1,711
Romania
#6
I don't know any detailed works on gypsies in english but if you want I can give some bits of information.

They were the slaves/assistants of the mongols and came with them to Europe. They were cleaners, horsekeepers, blacksmiths, etc. brought from India. To this day they speak an indian dialect with few influences from the countries they came in contact with. Their culture, clothing, etc are traditionally indian-like.

The terms used to describe them are gypsy, which comes from the word egiptean, and tigani, which comes from the greek athinganein which translates as ''not to be touched''(lol).

They ended up as essentially a slave race in this area. Like in India they were split in several casts, not surprisingly the same casts they were brought as, blacksmiths, horsebreeders, etc. They were also a cast as a whole basically, and having a relationship with one of them was considered taboo as well as being illegal.

Since they were always... erm... free spirits and since their old identities are obsolete in the modern world, many of them seem lost in these modern days.
 
Last edited:

Sindane

Ad Honorem
Aug 2013
4,686
Europe
#7
Books and written accounts of Gypsy travel to Europe from India. From their persecutions by the Muslim empires in the medieval era, their enslavement, capture, being sold as slaves or migrating towards the west and their journey. What books or legends are available which show the memory of their migration.
This is the best book

The Gypsies (The Peoples of Europe) - Angus Fraser

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