Since their unexplained appearance in Europe over nine centuries ago, the gypsies have refused to fall in with conventional settled life. They remain a people whose culture and customs are beset with misunderstanding, and who cling to their distinct identity in the teeth of persistent rejection and pressure to conform. This book describes their history. The book opens with an investigation of gypsy origins in India. The author then traces the gypsy migration from the early Middle Ages to the present, through the Middle East, Europe and the world. Throughout their known history they have been renowned for their music, metal working, fortune-telling, healing and horse-dealing; but from the outset they outraged the prejudices of the populations they encountered: they were enslaved, harrassed, outlawed and hunted. Yet against all the odds the gypsies have survived, preserving a distinctive heritage and culture that transcends national boundaries. How they did so is the compelling theme of this book.
This new paperback edition has been revised to take account of recent research and of the political changes in Eastern Europe, which have sadly been followed by a resurgence of Gypsy persecution in a number of countries.
"The best general book on the Gypsies." Choice.
"This is an important book. Anyone interested in Roma in this country or elsewhere should read it." Traveller.
"Everyone has an opinion on Gypsies, and no one knows any. The opinions are almost always bad. Unfortunately, there's more published information available on the Martians than on Gypsies. Into the breach comes Angus Fraser with an accessible, well-informed introduction." Voice Literary Review.
"A particularly fascinating study, not least because of the author's precise and engaging use of the English language ... An absolutely essential foundation for embarking on this rapidly growing field." Contemporary Sociology.
"An important and welcomed contribution to the study of Gypsies." Man: The Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute
List of Illustrations.
2. Early Migrations.
3. Into the Byzantine Empire and the Balkans.
4. The Great Trick.
5. The Turn of the Tide.
6. Pressure of the Gyves.
7. Forces for Change.
8. The Approach to Avernus.
9. Modern Times.