A Motley Crew: Medieval Gypsies

They were much more than travelling fortune tellers and performers. This week, Dame Aoife explores the culture of the various people commonly called Gypsies.

Greetings My Faithful Readers!

This week's Links List is about what we'd commonly call Gypsies, those of several races who call themselves by many other names and who speak several different languages. Some are nomadic, some are settled. What unites them is their love of music, color, fun, and their own culture.

This links List was inspired by the questions of a new member in my home group who wanted information about the Rom. I hope this list comes in handy!

As always, please feel free to pass this Links List along to those who will find it interesting!

Cheers!
Aoife

Dame Aoife Finn
m/k/a Lisbeth Herr-Gelatt
Riverouge
Endless Hills
Aethelmearc

If you wish to correspond with Aoife directly, please send mail to: mtnlion at ptd dot net.


Gypsies, a Persecuted Race
http://www.chgs.umn.edu/ ...very long URL
(Site Excerpt) William A. Duna is an American Gypsy descended from Hungarian musicians who emigrated to the U. S. in 1893. He continues to be active in the music field as a teacher, writer, performer and entertainment consultant. He is the director of Basipen, the Society for the Preservation of Gypsy Music. Dr. Ian Hancock is a British-born Gypsy. besides teaching full time at the University of Texas, lie is the U. S. representative to the United Nations from the World Romani Union. He has authored many works about Gypsies and is a leading authority on the Romani language. Mr.Duna and Dr. Hancock have both directed efforts to obtain recognition of the persecution of Gypsies in the Holocaust and throughout history. In the present day they continue to actively pursue Gypsy civil rights.

The Medieval England Gypsie
http://www.comm.unt.edu/histofperf/christiwells/introduction_page.htm
(Site Excerpt) The first recorded transfer of Romani slaves took place in 1385 (Kenrick, 1998). By the end of the 14th century, gypsies were being treated as slaves in Romania, with fewer rights than the serfs in that families could be split up and the members sold or given away as gifts. Fifteenth century gypsy immigrants told the authorities they had come from the Turkish-controlled Middle East. It is rumored that the first gypsies came to England around 1480 (Kenrick, 1998). The first written record, however, dates from 1514 and refers to a fortuneteller while further references occur between 1513 and 1530.

Religion and Culture of the Roma
http://www.religioustolerance.org/roma.htm
(Site Excerpt) The Roma people originally lived in north west India, and migrated to Persia from 224 to 642 CE. They lived under Arab rule in the Middle East from 642 to 900 CE, and eventually arrived in Constantinople. 17 Some authorities believe that there may have been additional migrations at a later date. By the 14th and 15th centuries, they had drifted into western Europe. Some emigrated from Europe to the US and Canada in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Following World War II, and lately the fall of Communism in Eastern Europe, there has been an additional westward migration. Most Roma settle down in a single location. Only about 5% of European Romanies are believed to be nomads.

Irish Travellers
(a separate race from what we'd traditionally call Gypsies, who lead a remarkably similar lifestyle)
http://sca.lib.liv.ac.uk/collections/gypsy/travell.htm
(Site Excerpt) The Gypsy Collections at the University of Liverpool include some material relating to Irish Travellers. As with the rest of the Collections, this material mostly dates from the first half of this century. The Archives of the Gypsy Lore Society also include the original research carried out around the turn of the century by John Sampson and others into the Travellers' language, Shelta.

Wagons, caravans, vardos
http://sca.lib.liv.ac.uk/collections/gypsy/wagons.htm
(Site Excerpt) The Romany Gypsies seem to have taken to the wagon or vardo about the middle of the nineteenth century. George Borrow writing in his Romano Lavo-Lil, which he finished in 1873, says that the caravans were not very numerous on the roads at this stage and it is true that many Gypsies continued to live in bender tents right up to the end of the century. The Gypsy style of wagon was certainly in vogue however, even as early as 1840 when Charles Dickens described Mrs. Jarley's van with its bed, stove, closet or larder and several chests (Old Curiosity Shop, ch. xxvii):

Gyspy Collections, Archives and Museums
http://sca.lib.liv.ac.uk/collections/gypsy/othercol.htm
A collectin of 33 contacts for organizations that have or hold information about Gypsies.

Belly Dance Origins: Gypsies: The Wandering Artists
http://www.belly-dance.org/gypsies.html
The site is copy-protected; however the article is well thought out and informative.

Jaysalem Ayo!
(A film about Gypsy root-tribes)
http://www.artnetwork.com/Jaisalmerayo/

Latcho Drom
http://latchodrom.org/
(Site Excerpt) This is to be a place where all those interested in developing an accurate period Romani persona within the Society for Creative Anachronisms, Inc. (SCA). What we hope to do here is collect information and documentation to help someone new to a Romani persona to research and develop an accurate portrayal, negating the myths and stereotypes of the Romani people.

Gypsy Lore Society
http://www.gypsyloresociety.org/
(Site Excerpt) The Gypsy Lore Society, an international association of persons interested in Gypsy and Traveler Studies, was founded in Great Britain in 1888. Since 1989 it has been headquartered in the United States. Its goals include promotion of the study of Gypsy, Traveler, and analogous peripatetic cultures worldwide; dissemination of accurate information aimed at increasing understanding of these cultures in their diverse forms; and establishment of closer contacts among scholars studying any aspects of these cultures.

Gypsies and Fortune-Tellers
(Note: Contains words and images of historical bigotry towards Gypsies, and while citing references, it will none the less offend some readers)
http://ilaria.veltri.tripod.com/gypsies.html
(Site Excerpt) "This page is intended to give easy access to the various pictures of Gypsies and other counter-culture peoples. I make no claims as to the authenticity of any of the "gypsies" portrayed herein."

Stefan's Florilegium

Gypsie's Art
http://www.florilegium.org/files/CULTURES/Gypsies-art.html
Gypsies-msg
http://www.florilegium.org/files/CULTURES/Gypsies-msg.html
Timeline of the Roma
http://www.florilegium.org/files/CULTURES/Gypsy-tmeline-art.html

Brief History of the Czech Roma
http://www.mtholyoke.edu/~mdohnalo/third%20level/Briefhistory.html
(Site Excerpt) During the Medieval times they slowly spread around the Middle East, Mediterranean and consequently to Europe. The exact time, when Roma came to the Czech lands is not known, but the earliest estimates come to the mid 13th century. In those times they were quite popular known to the local habitant especially by their distinctive culture and more over by their nomadic way of life. In the earlier Medieval Age they were considered as a penitent Christian Pilgrims and generally well accepted, although never really integrated into local population mostly because of their own close community life style and cultural differences.

SCA Rom Households with Web Pages

Kumpania Copper Lantern
http://www.geocities.com/gypsy_sabine/
Website of a Lochac Gypsy Household
Kumpania Painted Wheel
http://www.paintedwheel.com/
Kumpania del Chatro Trandofir
http://www.geocities.com/trandofir/
Clan Stravnos
http://www.geocities.com/vicolstravnos/
Kumpania Ven Droma
http://www.enslin.com/rae/vendroma/
Kumpania De Phralmulo
http://hometown.aol.com/wndlady/
Kumpania Wintersteppe
http://westwood.fortunecity.com/armani/208/vitsa.html

MY FRIENDS, THE GYPSIES
By Lawrence Bohme
http://www.xmission.com/~dderhak/monte/gypsies.htm
(Site Excerpt) We now know that the gypsies originated in the Punjab in northwestern India, fleeing from the region during the clashes between invading Arab and Mongolian warriors, a thousand years ago. On their long odyssey, they travelled through, and settled in, the countries of the Middle East, including Persia and Egypt.

SCA Gypsy yahoo group
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/SCA_Gypsy/