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View Full Version : Who were the Gypsies?Where did they come from?


thecrystalhunter
06-21-2002, 08:03 PM
Who were they? What is their origin? I am curious,can anyone help me find out some info?






CH

chula
06-21-2002, 08:07 PM
You mean, "who are they." There are lots of Gypsies living. They prefer to be called Romani.

Khadaji
06-21-2002, 08:15 PM
I had once read a book that claimed that they were the "lost tribe of the jews." The evidense seemed somewhat specious to me, but I am not a historical scholar. One thing that I remember is the claim that they were persecuted (sp) along side the jews in Germany during WWII. But I dunno if that is true.

Bosda Di'Chi of Tricor
06-21-2002, 08:17 PM
I believe you mean "who are they"?

Gypsies, or as they call themselves, the Rom or [/i]Romy[/i], are the decendents of a Hindi army that was defeated by Islamic forces. The survivors were mostly camp followers: prostitutes, fortune tellers, musicians, sutlers (horse trainers/veterinarians), jugglers, blacksmiths/weaponsmiths/tinkers, etc. They were sold into slavery in Turkey, where they spent several centuries in bondage.

Later freed, they went west.

Now nomadic, they survive on the road by doing the things their ancestors did.

They retain a simplified version of the polytheistic religion of India. Their language retains many Hindi military slang terms from that period.

The term "Gypsy" is derived from the word "Egyptian". Many Gypsies, on their first arrival in Europe during the Middle Ages, traveled under the disguise of being Egyptian Christians, i.e. The Copts, who were on an alleged pilgrimage.

yabob
06-21-2002, 08:29 PM
The Gypsies (or Roma) originated in Northern India and migrated into Europe, arriving sometime around the 14th century, give or take. The name "gypsy" is believed to come from a mistaken belief by Europeans that they were Egyptians. A wikipedia article which seems like a fairly good synopsis:

http://www.wikipedia.com/wiki/Gypsies

Morgainelf
06-21-2002, 11:53 PM
Here's a good place to start your research:
http://www.gypsyloresociety.org/cultureintro.html

irishgirl
06-22-2002, 05:33 AM
Could someone tell me about the Irish Travellers?
I have always thought that they were indigenous to Ireland, and not were Rroma.

Mainly because they speak Sheltru and not Romany.

Could someone educate me here?

festiva76
06-22-2002, 08:38 AM
The Irish Travellers are a fairly large group of close-nit gypsies living in North Augusta, SC. You can get some fairly decent info and news stories by searching the local media. Try http://www.wrdw.com or http://www.augustachronicle.com

festiva76
06-22-2002, 08:48 AM
The Irish Travellers are a fairly large group of close-nit gypsies living in and around North Augusta, SC. The local media in Augusta GA seems to love stories on this group, and you can perform searches on the local media web sites for more info. Try www.augustachronicle.com or www.wrdw.com. WRDW, the local CBS affiliate, ran a five-part series on the Travellers earlier this year, and you can find that link on their website. According to the reporter, there were numerous complaints and death threats received, and a couple of the stories had to be done over. The series concluded with an interview with two young men from the group, who were blurred out for privacy. There are alot of rumors and speculation about them amongst the non-gypsy locals, alot of which is untrue. In any case, read the local stories and judge for yourself. BTW, this particular group is supposedly related to another group located in White Settlement, TX, which is near Dallas.

ruadh
06-22-2002, 09:37 AM
Um, I think she was asking about the Irish travellers who live in Ireland, festiva.

The best resource on them is here (http://www.paveepoint.ie/).

Acsenray
06-22-2002, 09:39 AM
decendents of a Hindi army

"Hindi" is a language, not an ethnic group. Do you mean a "Hindi-speaking" or Hindustani army?

ElvisL1ves
06-22-2002, 09:48 AM
Read Isabel Fonseca's fascinating book Bury Me Standing for an excellent overall summary of their history and present social situation. She concurs with the consensus that they originated in northern India, and mentions that the Romany language is based on Hindi and Armenian, FWIW.

Bosda's version makes sense, but Fonseca suggests that the Rom were an exiled caste of horsemen, not defeated army camp followers, based on Indian histories. The Rom themselves, according to her, rarely show an interest in their own history, but that it would have been lost through generations of illiteracy anyway.

stankow
06-22-2002, 11:16 AM
ElvisL1ves is dead on. My great-grandfather emigrated from southeastern Europe less than a hundred years ago, and my family already can't even agree on what country he was living in before that, much less where our people came from seven hundred years ago.

As for the Irish (and Scottish) Travelers, well... accounts differ. Some people are absolutely certain they're ethnically Romany, and some people are absolutely certain that they're ethnically Irish/Scottish and merely have a similar lifestyle. Many of the Romany societies welcome Travelers, figuring what's good for one group is probably good for the other. I've seen Travelers, and they don't look like they share a common ancestor with me, but then, most Rom would probably say the same thing about me (the Romany half of my family is light-skinned, and the other half is of British Isles (non-Traveler) extraction).

ruadh
06-22-2002, 11:46 AM
Originally posted by stankow
As for the Irish (and Scottish) Travelers, well... accounts differ. Some people are absolutely certain they're ethnically Romany, and some people are absolutely certain that they're ethnically Irish/Scottish and merely have a similar lifestyle.

I've never heard anyone in Ireland claim they were ethnically Romany. They are always described as an indigenous minority.

stankow
06-22-2002, 12:16 PM
I don't know about Ireland, but here in the U.S., there are a lot of people (generally ill-informed, but some less so) who insist that Travelers are ethnically Romany. Perhaps there's been some cross-breeding. Also, I've come across some pretty clearly Romany families in the U.S. that are called Travelers, though not generally with the "Irish" modifier.

ruadh
06-22-2002, 12:37 PM
Well, "traveller" is sort of a generic term, isn't it?

And there has undoubtedly been some crossbreeding, but relatively little, especially here in Ireland - not enough to have any significant impact on the ethnicity of the Pavee (the Irish travellers' word for themselves) as a whole. I would like to know the source of anyone's claims that they are Romany - I bet you would find they are simply making assumptions without having actually researched the issue.

Lynn Bodoni
06-22-2002, 03:01 PM
Moderator's note:

At least some Rom regard Gypsy, gyppo, and the like to be vile insults. Since I don't believe that anyone was intending to use insulting language, I'm not warning anyone. However, I want to point this out, and insist that such terms not be further used in this thread.

Lynn
For the Straight Dope

emolson
06-23-2002, 02:11 AM
Originally posted by festiva76
The Irish Travellers are a fairly large group of close-nit gypsies living in and around North Augusta, SC. ... BTW, this particular group is supposedly related to another group located in White Settlement, TX, which is near Dallas.

Ahem. White Settlement is a hell of lot closer to Fort Worth, Where the West Begins.

Anyway, it was a big deal in FW a couple of years ago because a few of the young men were involved in a serious car wreck, and there were too many ID's with too many names and ages on them, and it eventually turned out the driver was 15, IIRC. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram did a couple of lengthy articles on the Travelers. I'll post a link if I can find one.

Kal
06-23-2002, 10:08 AM
If you want to know more about the Roma, I always suggest that you start with the Patrin web journal (http://www.geocities.com/Paris/5121/patrin.htm). You'll find a ton of information there and plenty of links to Romani rights groups etc.

thecrystalhunter
07-03-2002, 11:06 PM
Thank you all for this usefull information.




CH