A REVIEW OF M. PAUL BITAILLARD’S REVIEWS
§ 1. Preliminaries
M. PAUL BATAILLARD—ominous name!—who has thus offered me battle in the Academy, is apparently an indefatigable Tsiganologue,1 to use his own compound; and he seems to have been studying Chinganology since 1841. Of bookmaking on the Gypsy theme there
1 The following are his advertised works; he kindly supplied me with copies of all, except the first two, which were out of print:
1. De l'apparition et de la dispersion des Bohémiens en Europe. Reprinted from the Bibliotèque de l’École des Chartes, 1844, in 8vo of 69 pages; and again in 1849 by M. Franck. I understand that in this, his first paper, the author knew the “Zott,” but ignored the “Jats.”
2. Nouvelles Recherches sur l'apparition des Bohémiens en Europe (particulièrement dans l'Europe Orientale,—avec un appendice sur l'arrivée de dix ou douze mille Louri, Zuth, ou Djatt en Perse entre les années 420 et 440). From the same Bibliothèque, 1849, in 8vo, of 48 pages, a petit travail (as the author calls it) containing his first notice of the Jats.
3. Les derniers travaux relatifs aux Bohémiens dans l'Europe Orientale. From the Revue Critique, Vol. II. of fifth year (1870‑71). Reprinted Paris: Franck, 1872. In treating of the Gypsies the Jats now become an important element.
4. Notes et questions sur les Bohémiens en Algérie. From the
is no apparent end; even the mighty “Magician of the North” proposed, we are told, adding his item to the heap. The reading public, indeed, seems to hold these Hamaxóbioi an ever virgin subject; and since the days of “Gypsy Borrow’s” Translation of St. Luke (1838),1 The Zincali, The Bible in Spain (1841), and other popular works, it has ever lent an ear to the charmer, charm he never so unwisely. A modern author was not far wrong when he stated: “A great deal of what is called genius has been expended upon the Gypsies, but wonderfully little common sense.”2
And the subject has its peculiar charms. These “outlandish persons calling themselves Egyptians or Gypsies”; these cosmopolites equally at home in the snows of Siberia and in the swamps of Sennaar; these Ishmaelites still dwelling in the presence of their brethren, at once on the outskirts and in the
Bulletin of the Société d'Anthropologie de Paris, Séance du 17 Juillet, 1873. Reprinted Paris: A. Henmeyer, 1874.
5. Sur le mot Zagaie ou Sagaie, et accessoirement sur le nom du soufflet de forge primitif. From the Bulletin of the Société d’Anthropologie de Paris, Séance du 21 Mai, 1874.
6. Sur l’origine des Bohémiens ou Tsiganes, avec l’explication du mot “Tsigane.” Lettre à la Revue Critique. Paris: Franck, 1875. This last publication criticises my identification of the Gypsies and the Jats, etc.
1 Embéo e Majáro Lucas, etc., now rare. This version preserved intact many of the Spanish words used by Padre Scio, instead of converting them into pure “Romani.” See Borrow.
2 For instance, when Borrow makes Chai denote the men of Egypt, or the sons of Heaven, when it simply signifies children, being a dialectic variety of the Hindi Chokra, Chokrí.
very centres of civilized life; this horde of barbarians scattered over the wide world, among us but not of us; these nomads of a progressive age isolated by peculiarities of physique, language, and social habits, of absolute materialism, and of a single rule of conduct, “Self‑will,” all distinctly pointing to a common origin; this phenomenon of the glorious epoch which opened a new thoroughfare to the “East Indies,” and which discovered the other half of the globe, is still to many, nay, to most men, an inexplicable ethnic mystery. Englanders mostly take the narrow nursery view of the “Black Man”; at the highest they treat him picturesquely in connexion with creels and cuddies, hammer and tongs, the tin‑kettle and the katúna or tilt‑tent. Continental writers cast, as usual, a wider and a more comprehensive glance. M. Perier, with French “nattiness,” thus resumes the main points of interest in the singular strangers: “Une race extraordinaire, forte, belle, cosmopolite, errante, et cependant (?) pure, curieuse par conséquent, à tant de titres.” The Rumanians have deemed the theme worthy of poetry; witness the heroic‑comic‑satyric “Tsiganida,” or Gypsy‑Camp, of Leonaki Diancu.1
The “wondrous tale” of the old Gypsy gude‑wife concerning the “Things of Egypt” is more won-
1 A second “Tsiganida” was in the hands of the late M. Pierre Assaki, possibly composed by one of his kinsmen.
derful, observe, than aught told of Jewry. Certain of the learned credulous, as we read in the Evidences of Christianity and other such works, essentially one‑sided, point to the dispersion and the cohesion of the self‑styled “Chosen People” as a manner of miracle, a standing witness to certain marvellous events in its past annals. They ignore or forget the higher miracle of the “tinklers.” Whilst the scattering abroad of the Israelites arose naturally from the same causes which in the present day preserve their union, the powerful principle of self‑interest and wealth‑seeking, the deeply rooted prejudices, social and religious, fostered by a theocratic faith and by a special and exclusive revelation, the lively tradition of past glories and the promises of future grandeur confirmed by the conviction of being a people holy and set apart, the barbarous Romá1 are held together only by the ties of speech2 and consanguinity, and by the merest outlines of a faith, such a creed as caste, or rather the outcast, requires. Still the coherence is continuous
1 Rom (man), masc. sing.; Romá (men), masc. plur. Romni, Romniá, woman, women; Romaní, adjectival, belonging to man. Hence our phrases “rum fellow” and “pottering Rommany.” Lom is a mere popular mispronunciation of Rom, and Ro is a vulgar abbreviation. The latter word I would derive from the Coptic ρωμε (romé), a man.
2 The bond of language has perhaps been exaggerated by M. Alexandre G. Paspati, Étude sur les Tchinghianés en Bohémiens de l'Empire Ottoman (Constantinople, 1870), and others, where they assert “l’Histoire entière de cette race est dans son idiome.”
and complete; still, like the rod of Moses, this ethnological marvel out‑miracles the other, and every other, miracle.
Hardly less peculiar is the historical relation of the Jew and the Gypsy. They have many points in common. Both have had their exodus, and are dispersed over the world. Both have peculiarities of countenance which distinguish them from the “Gentiles,” whom they hate, the Goyím and the Busne. Both have their own languages and preserve their racial names.1 Similarity of conditions, however, which should breed sympathy, as usual amongst men has borne only hatred. But the Jew was wealthy, like his cousin the Morisco. Hence the horrible persecution of the Israelites in Spain (A.D. 1348‑98), when a prevailing pest was attributed to their poisoning the water, and which endured till the Hussites drew down upon themselves the earthly “anger of Heaven.” During those dreadful years many of the Hebrews fled to the mountains, the Alpujarras and the Sierras—Morena and de Toledo—and to the wild banks of the Upper Ebro, the Guadiana, and the Tagus. Meanwhile the Gypsies suffered under the conviction that they were Jews
1 As the Jews all have especial Hebrew names for the Synagogue besides the Gentile family‑names known to the world, the Gypsies are also binominal. Thus the Stanleys are Bar‑engres (stony fellows); the Coopers, Wardo‑engres (“wheel fellows,” coopers); the Hernes, Balors (hairs, hairy fellows); the Smiths, Petul‑engres (“horseshoe fellows,” blacksmiths); and the Lovells, Camo‑mescres (amorous fellows). See The Zincali.
who, denying their forefathers, represented themselves to be of Egyptian blood. Presently, when the revenues of the Catholic kings, Henry III. and John II., amounting to 26,550,000 reals (dollars) reduced to our present value, fell under Henry IV. to 3,540,000, the plethoric money‑bags of the Israelites led to the establishment of Holy Office and its inquisitorial tribunal (January, 1481). Finally, as if persecution and death were not sufficient, a wholesale expulsion took place in March, 1492. These horrors are still, after the lapse of ages, fresh in the Jewish mind. I have seen at Jerusalem a Khákhám (scribe) so moved by the presence of a Spanish official, that the latter asked me in astonishment how he had managed to offend his host.
But what could the Santa Hermandad alias La Bruja (the witch) find to plunder and pillage in the tent of the Rom? During three centuries of loose wild life, often stained by ferocious crime, and made bestial by the Draconian laws of mediæval Christianity, the Gypsies had their seasons of banishment, torture, and execution; but their poverty and isolation saved them from the horrors of a deliberate and official persecution. Mas pobre que cuerpo de Gitano (Nothing poorer than a Gypsy’s body) is still a proverb in Spain, where men also say, Tan ruin es el conde como los Gitanos. All these barbarities ended in Europe with the close of the eighteenth century, where the new Religion of
Humanity had been preached by the encyclopedists whose major prophets were Voltaire and Rousseau, Diderot and D’Alembert.
No Disraeli has hitherto arisen to vindicate the nobility of these “masterful beggars”; and to chronicle their triumphs in court and camp, in arts and arms; to trace them in the genealogies of titled houses, or to strip off the disguises assumed during the intolerant times when the Jew was compelled to swear himself Gentile and the Muslim a Christian. Yet the Gypsies have had their great men, whilst their pure blood has leavened much dull clay and given fresh life to many an effete noble vein. Witness the “King Zindl” or “Zindelo”; the Dukes Michael and Andrew; Counts Ion (Juan) and Panuel (Manuel) of Little Egypt; the Waywodes (Vaivodes) of Dacia; the noble cavalier Pedro, and the chief, Tomas Pulgar, who in A.D. 1496 aided Bishop Sigismund to beat off the Turk invader. Witness, again, the Hungarian Hunyadis, the Russian Tolstoys, and the Scotch Melvilles, not to speak of the Cassilis and the Contis under Louis XIV. Certain Gypsies became soldiers of renown; and John Bunyan, one of the immortals of the earth, is shrewdly suspected of Gypsy descent. Borrow mentions an archbishop and “four dignified ecclesiastics”; while some of the most learned and famed of the priesthood in Spain have been, according to a Gypsy, of the Gypsies, or at least of Gypsy blood.
Such is the Gypsy summed up in a few lines.
These pages have no intention, I repeat, of treating the subject of the Romá generally. My humbler task is confined to showing the affinities between the Gypsies and the great Jat tribe, or rather nation, which extends from the mouths of the Indus to the Steppes of Central Asia. And my first objection must be to a question of precedence with M. Paul Bataillard.
The Tsiganologue claims, as has been seen, “a still earlier priority” in the identification of Gypsy and Jat; and he proposes to “establish exactly the share belonging to each of us.” This is the normal process of the cabinet savant, who is ever appearing, like the deus ex machinâ, to snatch from the explorer’s hand the meed of originality. The former borrows from his books a dozen different theories; and when one happens to be proved true by the labours of the man of action, he straightway sets himself up as the “theoretical discoverer” of the sources of the Nile, or of any other matter which engages popular attention. But in the present case I deny that my rival has any claim whatever. My personal acquaintance with the Jats began in 1845, and my Grammar and Vocabulary were sent to the Royal Asiatic Society in 1848 before my departure from India. On the other hand, M. Paul Bataillard, I understand, knew nothing of the Indine Jats when he wrote his first paper De l'apparition, etc., in 1844.
He honestly owns that he is no Orientalist; and that he required the assistance of the late M. Reinaud, who was a scholar, to identify the Zuth of Hamsa Ispahani (tenth century), the Luri musicians of the Shahnameh (eleventh century), and the Zoth or Zutt of the Kamûz dictionary (fourteenth century) with the Zatt or Dyatt of India. This was in 1849. His exposé étendu was accepted by Professor Pott in the same year, and appeared in the Nachtrag before mentioned, which completed the grand travail—Die Zigeuner. Such was the extent of my claimant’s discovery. He had even to learn from Professor Fleischer, of Leipzig, that “the Zigeuner descend from the G'at or G'et, the most ancient inhabitants of North‑Western India,”1 a second‑hand opinion, derived from “Gypsy Borrow,” Colonel Sleeman, and other Englishmen. I need hardly say that Professor Pott, the distinguished member of that heroic band which founded comparative philology, knew nothing practically or personally about either the Gypsies or the Jats. And it is evident that Professor de Goeje is in outer darkness when he speaks of “the view propounded by Pott as early as 1853.”
At that time, and indeed until I wrote to the Academy in 1875, M. Paul Bataillard evidently ignored “M. Burton”; and no blame be to him for not knowing a paper published by a colonial society a quarter of a century ago. But he also ignored
1 Getæ, Goths.
far more important facts. He applies the term petite population Djatte to the great scattered nation called Jat. He was of course not aware that this people preserve in the Indine Delta, the “Salt Country” of the Sindhis, the purity of its tongue, which, farther north, is corrupted by an admixture of Sindhi, Belochki, and Panjabi. Nor could he be alive to the fact that many points of similarity, anthropological and linguistic, connect the Gypsy and the Jat. There are men who are personally averse to new things, and the easy alternative is to depreciate their value. “He,” I am assured by my rival claimant, “has perceived a probable relation between these two tribes of men, and he has expressed it in half a page; but this is not sufficient.”
Such an assertion, however, is more than sufficient for estimating and appreciating the Bataillard system of treating a literary question. For “half a page” read a dozen pages,1 which might easily have been extended to many a dozen. But I had hoped that the statement of a traveller who had met the Gypsies at Oxford (Bagley Wood), in England, and on the Continent, and the knowledge of their racial characteristics, general amongst educated Englishmen, justified a conciseness imperiously demanded whilst treating in one volume the geography, history, and
1 History of Sindh, pp. 246, 247, and Notes, p. 411; Scinde, or the Unhappy Valley, Vol. II., pp. 116‑19; Journal of the Bombay Asiatic Society, pp. 84—90; without including the Grammar and the Vocabulary.
ethnology of a country nearly equalling England in length. Again, when M. Bataillard assures his readers that I have “not given even the smallest information respecting the type (appearance) of the Jats,” be once more makes it evident that be should have read me before pretending to write about me. I will quote my description in full,1 so that the public may judge between him and me:
“We are now in the provinces inhabited by the Jats. Your [i.e. Mr. John Bull’s] eye is scarcely grown critical enough in this short time to see the tweedle‑dum and tweedle‑dee‑like difference between their personal appearance and that of their kinsmen the Scindians; nor can I expect you as yet to distinguish a Jat wandh (village) from a Scinde goth (village). You are certain to take some interest in a race which appears to be the progenitor of the old witch in a red cloak, whose hand, in return for the cunning nonsense to which her tongue gave birth, you once crossed with silver; and of the wiry young light‑weight, whose game and sharp hitting you have, in happier days, more than once condescended to admire.
“Our authors2 probably err when they suppose the Jat to be the original Hindu of Scinde converted to Islam. Native historians and their own
1 Scinde, or the Unhappy Valley, Vol. II., pp. 116‑19.
2 Alluding chiefly to Captain Postans’ Personal Observations on Scinde, chap. iii.
traditions concur in assigning to them a strange origin; their language, to this day, a corrupt dialect of that spoken throughout the Indine provinces of the Panjab, gives support and real value to the otherwise doubtful testimony.1 It is probable that, compelled to emigrate from their own lands by one of the two main causes that bring about such movements in the East, war or famine, the Jats of Scinde travelled southward about the beginning of the eighteenth century of our era.
“Under the quasi‑ecclesiastical Kalhorá dynasty, when Scindians composed the aristocracy as well as the commonalty of the country, the Jats, in consequence of their superior strength, their courage,
1 Both of these statements have been modified by subsequent experience. The Jats are not immigrants, nor is their language corrupt Panjabi. It is connected with the Sindhi; but it wants those intricacies and difficulties, and that exuberance of grammatical forms, which, distinguishing the latter from its Prakrit sisters, renders it so valuable for the philological comparison of the neo-Aryan tongues. The vernacular of the Sindh Valley has preserved many forms for which we vainly look in its cognates, and it is notably freer from foreign admixture than any other of the North Indian dialects, the Panjabi, Hindi, and Bengali of our day. It has, in fact, remained tolerably steady to that first stage of decomposition which attacked the Prakrit of the ancients. Hence Dr. Trumpp (loc. cit.) holds it to be an immediate derivation from the Apabhransha, which the old grammarians placed lowest in the scale of Prakrit speech. “While all the modern vernaculars of India,” he says, “are already so degraded that the venerable mother tongue (Sanskrit) is hardly recognizable in her degenerate daughters, the Sindhi has, on the contrary, preserved most important fragments of it, and erected for itself a grammatical structure which far surpasses in beauty of execution and internal harmony the loose and levelling construction of its sisters.”
and their clannish coalescence, speedily rose to high distinction. The chiefs of tribes became nobles, officials, and ministers at court; they provided for their families by obtaining grants of ground, feoffs incidental to certain military services, and for their followers by settling them as tenants on their broad lands. But the prosperity of the race did not last long. They fell from their high estate when the Belochis, better men than they, entered the country, and began to appropriate it for themselves; by degrees, slow yet sure, they lost all claims to rank, wealth, and office. They are now found scattered throughout Scinde, generally preferring the southeastern provinces, where they earn a scanty subsistence by agriculture; or they roam over the barren plains feeding their flocks upon the several oases; or they occupy themselves in breeding, tending, training, and physicking the camel. With the latter craft their name has become identified, a Jat and a sarwan (camel‑man) sounding synonymous in Scindian ears.
“The Jats in appearance are a swarthy and uncomely race, dirty in the extreme, long, gaunt, bony, and rarely, if ever, in good condition. Their beards are thin, and there is a curious (i.e. Gypsy-like) expression in their eyes.1 They dress like
1 Every observer has noticed the Gypsy eye, which films over, as it were, as soon as the owner becomes weary or ennuyé; it has also a remarkable “far‑off” glance, as if looking over and beyond you.
Scindians, preferring blue to white clothes; but they are taller, larger, and more un‑Indian in appearance. Some few, but very few, of their women are, in early youth, remarkable for soft and regular features; this charm, however, soon yields to the complicated ugliness brought on by exposure to the sun, by scanty living, and by the labour of baggage‑cattle. In Scinde the Jats of both sexes are possessed of the virtues especially belonging to the oppressed and inoffensive Eastern cultivation; they are necessarily frugal and laborious, peaceful, and remarkable for morality in the limited sense of aversion to intrigue with members of a strange Kaum.1 I say in Scinde; this is by no means the reputation of the race in the other parts of Central Asia, where they have extended (or whence possibly they came).2 The term ‘Jat’ is popularly applied to a low and servile creature, or to an impudent villain; and despite of the Tohfat el Kiram,3 a Beloch would consider himself mortally affronted were you to confound his origin with the caste which his ancestors deposed,
Borrow (The Zincali) describes it as a “strange stare like nothing else in this world.” And again he says that “a thin, glaze steals over it in repose, and seems to emit phosphoric light.” It is certainly a marvellous contrast with the small, fat‑lidded eye of the Jew, the oblique and porcine feature of the Chinese, and the oblong optic of the old Egypt which in profile looks like full face.
1 In the language of the Jat a Kaum is a clan.
2 The italicised words are in the second edition.
3 The author of this well‑known Persian history of Sindh asserts that the Jats and the Belochis are both sprung from the same ancestors.
and which he despises for having allowed itself to be degraded. The Brahins, Afghans, and Persians all have a bad word to say of them.”
Thus far M. Paul Bataillard has shown himself only the carpet‑slippered littérateur de cabinet, who laboriously borrows from others, and who evidently expects his second‑hand labours to faire époque.
But my rival claimant, let me hasten to own, has solid merits. His theory that Gypsy emigrations are of ancient date, and probably of high antiquity, deserves consideration. His later notices of the Jats correct the vulgar error which made Taymur the Tatar cause the first exodus of our “sorners.” He notes the especial hatred, possibly racial, nourished by these Gentile vagrants against the other scattered nation, the Jews. Other minor but still interesting matters of which he treats are the history of the Gypsies especially with respect to their slavery and serfdom—Crown captives, not chattels personal; their periodical wanderings and visitings; their vestiges of faith; their vernacular and humble literature; their private and tribal names suggesting those of the modern Israelitic Synagogue; and their supplying the dancing‑girls of the nearer East, while in the lupanars of Europe a Gypsy girl is unknown.
I now propose to run as rapidly as the subject permits through M. Paul Bataillard’s four papers seriatim. The critique will not only notice
novelties, but will also attempt to correct what to a practical man appears to want correction in connexion with the Gypsies.
§ 2. “Derniers Travaux, etc.”
This paper treats chiefly of South‑Eastern Europe, which has been estimated to contain at least six hundred thousand of the Romá—a number, by‑the‑bye, wholly inadequate. The author’s self‑imposed limits would be the western Slav frontier, a meridian drawn from the southern bend of the Baltic to the Adriatic head. Topographically disposed, upon a line trending from east to west, the review deals in its progress with writers mostly modern; and it forms an excerptive rather than an exhaustive or even a summary bibliography.
The first of the two component parts travels with the authorities who treat of Russia, Poland and Lithuania, Germany, Bohemia, Hungary, Transylvania, the Banat, the Rumanian Principalities, and Turkey, or rather Constantinople. The lands about the Balkan Range, so unknown not many years ago and now so much talked of, are justly considered a second Gypsy patria, the “old home” being India. The review is accompanied and followed by side‑glances at those who treat of Finland and Norway, of Persia and Basqueland, of Scotland and Holland, of Sicily and Italy, which once owned an exceptional castrum Giptiæ.
This section ends with linguistic and ethnographic remarks borrowed from many sources and specifying a considerable number of requisites.
In the second part the critic reviews M. Alexandre G. Paspati, D.M., a famous name in Gypsydom. This learned Greek physician—one of the few children, by‑the‑bye, who escaped the “gentle and gallant” Turk in the foul Chios massacre of 1822—was educated in America, and is as highly distinguished for his Indian and Byzantine as for his Gypsy studies. The Étude, etc., of 1870, which continued and completed his elaborate memoirs (1857—1862), is the work of a scholar who knew the Romá personally, not of a mere littérateur. The book teemed with novelties. For instance, it suggested that the article (o or u; í and e), as unknown to the Asiatic Gypsy (?) as to the Sanskrit and the Prakrit, had been borrowed by his European congener from the Greek ό and ή, thus suggesting long residence in Hellas and familiarity with its people. Might it not, however, have been a simple development of íhá and uha, the demonstrative pronouns in Játaki—this and that becoming the? But as all Germanic, neo‑Latinic, and Slav tongues have either produced or borrowed an article, the same may have been the case with the Gypsy, which comes from the same root.
M. Paspati satisfactorily proved that the wandering tribes of the Romá, e.g. the wild Zapáris or Dyáparis
(Szapary?),1 have preserved in Rumelia the langue mère of their ancients, whereas the “domigence,” the sedentar dwellers in cities and towns, have “falsified” the tongue. The same is said by the Bedawin concerning the “Jumpers of Walls,” the settled Arabs. This part of the subject leads to notices of Gypsy tales and legends, in which, by the way, Gypsies rarely figure, and to other productions of la pauvre Muse tsigane.
After some discursive matter our critic passes from M. Paspati to M. Bartalus, who has quoted from certain very rare tracts (La Véritable origine, etc., A.D. 1798 and 1800) on the rise of the Gypsy nation. The Bohémiens, it appears, are descendants of Cham or Ham, “which is admissible”; and, like their brethren, they were damned by Noah. But, on the destruction of the Plain cities, Sodom and Gomorrah, Adama and Saboim—Segor being honourably excluded—Zoar and its inhabitants were saved because they harboured one Lot. The lands, however, were assigned to this “patriarch”; and the Hamites, being dispersed, became Gypsies. Once more that myth of Noah!—for how much false anthropology is it not responsible? Again, we do not fail to meet another old friend. The wicked king of Egypt appears
1 I cannot but suspect some connexion between the Gypsy tribal name and that of the Counts Szapary, one governor of Fiume, and the other commanding a corps d’armée in Bosnia.
in a famous “Pharaoh Song,” whilst in Iceland he gave his name to a cavalry of seals. The oath formula of the Hungarian Gypsies prescribed by the courts was: “As King Pharaoh was engulfed in the Red Sea, so may I be accursed and swallowed up by the deepest abyss if I do not speak the truth! May no theft, no traffic, nor any other business prosper with me! May my horse turn into an ass at the next stroke of his hoof, and may I end my days on the scaffold by the hands of the hangman!”1
The critic then passes to a second and a remarkable characteristic of the Gypsy race, the musical, which is now becoming known throughout Europe. At the Paris Exposition of 1878 the “nightingales of Koursk,” a troop of forty Romá from Moscow, followed the Hungarian Cziganes, and were equally admired. Even the celebrated Catalani appreciated the Chingáneh girl of Moscow, “who performed with such originality and true expression the characteristic melodies of the tribe”; and threw over her shoulders a papal gift in the shape of a rich Cashmere shawl. Most Englishmen now know that Mr. Bunn’s “Bohemian Girl,” thus unhappily translated from La Bohémienne of St. George, was a Romni girl. The far‑famed Abbé Liszt2 attributed to these “tinklers” the chief rôle in treating the
1 Die Einwanderung der Zigeuner in Europa. Ein Vortrag von Carl Hopf. (Gotha, 1870.)
2 Des Bohémiens et de leur Musique en Hongrie. (Paris, 1859.)
musical épopée; but this opinion of the great master is opposed by the artistic M. Bartalus. I, however, incline to Liszt’s view. Let me note that the popular Romani word for musician, Lautar (plural Lautari), may either be the Persian Lútí,l or more probably a deformed offspring of the Arabic El ’Aúd, which gave rise to our “lute.” Our critic holds that the Gypsy’s music, like his tales and poetry, is his own; whilst the matter of the songs and ballads is borrowed from Hungarians, Rumans, and even the unimaginative Turk: he also points out that many of the legends are cosmopolitan. When the Catalan Gypsy, met by the author in 1869 at St. Germain, told him that the état (Dharma or religious duty) of the Romni‑chel, the “sons of women” (i.e. their mothers), is to cheat their neighbours; that they learned this whole duty of man from St. Peter, who as our Lord’s servant habitually tricked and defrauded his Master; that le dieu Jesus, who established all human conditions on the creation day, had taught them, by example as well as precept, to beg and to vagabond naked‑footed; that his tribe were veritable Christians “who knew only God and the Blessed Virgin”; and that all these things were written in the “Book of the Wanderings of our Lord,”—we recognize the old, old tale. The ancient Rom, like a host of other facetious barbarians, was solemnly
1 Literally, a descendant from Lot; popularly, a loose fellow, a cad.
hoaxing a simple student, a credulous “civilizee.” Still the joke has its ethnological value; it shows that the pseudo‑Christian saints of the Gypsy Evangel are thieves and “sorners.” Highly characteristic also is the address to the Gypsy deity: “Good, happy God of gold!” On the other hand, such laical legends of the Apostles are current even amongst Christian peoples, from whom they may have been kidnapped by the Romá. Witness the French peasant’s tale of Jesus and St. Peter, the horseshoe and the cherries, which has for moral the market value of thrift.
The supplementary article analyzes the scholarly work of M. Franz Miklosich.1 This erudite Slavist whose only reproach is that he finds Slavism in every place, distributes the Gypsies into twelve linguistic groups, to which he assigns an inadequate total of six hundred thousand head. Amongst the highly conservative Romá of Northern Russia he detects, besides Russian and Polish, Ruman and Magyar words, expressions borrowed from the neo‑Greek of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. As these Hellenisms are also adopted by the Spanish Gypsies, the natural deduction is that Greece generally formed an older home long inhabited by the wanderers, who thence passed on viâ Poland to Russia.
1 Ueber die Mundarten und Wanderungen der Zigeuner Europa’s. Von Dr. Franz Miklosich Denkschriften der k. Akademie der Wissenschaften. (Wien, 1872‑77.)
But this theory, if proved to be fact, would not invalidate the general belief that some Gypsy tribes migrated through Egypt and Morocco into Spain without crossing the Pyrenees. The Romá, being “sturdy vagabonds,” rather than true nomads, would borrow from one another during their frequent and regular meetings the terms wanting to their scanty and barbarous speech. It appears rich enough in material and sensuous expression, and the same is notably the case with the wandering Arab and the Turkoman. M. Paspatil notices that “the [Rumelian] wanderer has more than forty words for his tent and the implements of his trade.” A “Thieves’ Latin” would not be required by these bilinguals; but for the purposes of concealment and villainy they would readily adopt strange vocables. Thus in the Scottish Lowlands they make their English speech unintelligible by French and Gaelic, Welsh and Irish insertions. As will appear, they have invented in Egypt and Spain, and I believe there only, a regular argot. Such irregularities prevent our attributing much importance to the general remark that the Gypsy dialect does not return; i.e. that the Polish Romá do not use Russian terms, nor the Turkish Romá Magyar words.
Finally, M. Miklosich puts to flight the “Tamerlane tenet” of popular belief which would place the last Gypsy exodus after A.D. 1399. He adduces
1 Étude, etc., p. 15; see also Derniers Travaux, p. 37.
documentary evidence, the well‑known donation instruments of A.M. 6894 (= A.D. 1386‑87) issued by the Kings of Wallachia; noting that during the fifteenth century, and even between 1832 and 1836, the Principalities, which have still preserved the Jewish disabilities, held the Gypsies to be a Slav race.
The Derniers Travaux has the merit of bringing prominently forward the “hypothesis of Hasse,” advanced in 1803 and presently forgotten. It would explain the purity of the Gypsy tongue by the fact of these tinklers being settled in Europe ab antiquo. It has often been remarked that the farther we go eastward, and the nearer we approach the cradle of the race, Sindh or Western India, the more completely the language changes and degrades. This is to be expected. The Jats living in close contact with other dialects would necessarily modify their own after the fashion of their neighbours; such is the rule of the world. The Romá have only two ties: one is of blood, the love of “kith, kin, and consequence”; the other is of language which serves to conceal his speech. During the dispersion of centuries the Gypsies, surrounded by alien and hostile races, would religiously adhere to the old tongue; and having a vital interest in preserving a secret instrument, it would war against change. It is the more necessary to insist upon this view, as our critic expects to find after a separation of some four
centuries the Jats or other tribes speaking pure old Gypsy. The modern Gypsy may still represent the ancient Játaki. Hence also the dialect of their ancestors is dying out amongst the sedentary Romá. M. Paul Bataillard has carefully separated, and perhaps too curiously, the historical arrival of the Gypsies in Western Europe and their establishment in the south‑eastern regions, Thrace, Dacia, etc. An abuse of his theory makes him urge the identity of his Tsigane with the mysterious Sicani who held Sicily before the Siculi. These and other prehistoric identifications have not yet been generally adopted.
Had M. Paul Bataillard reflected a little more, he would not have advocated, considering the extensive habitat of the Jats, the insufficient theory of M. Ascoli—namely, that the Gypsies are Sindhis who dwelt long in Hindustan; nor would M. Ascoli have omitted the widely spoken Játaki from his list of neo‑Indian tongues, which he unduly reduces to seven. We should have been spared the “conviction” that the Romá dwelt in Mesopotamia, which was only one station on their way, Asia Minor and the Lower Danube being the general line of Aryan emigration; that they are aborigines of Kabul, in fact primitive Afghans, as supposed by another French littérateur, whose lively imagination strips him of all authority; and, finally, that they are “descendants of those ancient peoples of Bactriana and Arya, successively conquered by Persians, Greeks,
Indogetæ, and Afghans.” A most trivial comparison is made between Segor, the biblical city, and the Gypsy name Cingani (Singani). When Professor Pott and M. de Saulcy find “relationship” and “close connexion” between Sanskrit and Romanichíb, they should have explained that the latter is a Prakrit or vulgar tongue with an Aryan vocabulary reposing upon the ruins of a Turanian base. The former, as its name shows, was a refined and city language, never spoken, nor indeed understood, by the peoples of India in general; in fact, a professor’s speech, like the present Romaic of the Athenian logiotátoi.
The word Berber (Barbar), again, applied to the Gypsies in Persia, means, according to its root, a chatterer, patterer, or speaker of unintelligible cant. It is the Sanskrit Varvvara, , a low fellow, a savage, the Barbaros of the Greeks and Romans; the Berber, , or Berber, , of modern Hindustan; and the racial name of that great scattered people the Barábarah, who stretch from the Nile Valley to North‑Western Africa. The lunar god, Raho, of the Norwegian Gypsies is a palpable reminiscence and survival of the demon Ráhu. The Gházieh of Egypt are not “also called Beremikeh”;1 the Barámikah are a substitute of the Ghagar. The “Chungaló,” the “Jungaló,” and the “Zungaló” of
1 Here the mincing French pronunciation has done its very worst wholly denaturalizing the Perso‑Arabic word.
Paspati, signifying a non‑Gypsy, is evidently Jangalí, wild or sylvan (jungle) man, the popular title of Europeans, especially of Englishmen, in India. Das also, the term applied by the Romá to their Bulgarian and Wallachian neighbours, bears a suspicious resemblance to the Hindu Dashya and Dasa, vulgarly Doss, a low caste or rather a no‑caste man, supposed to represent the original Turanian lords of the land.
Moreover, why assume with M. Paspati that γ, θ, and χ are “Greek importations into the Gypsy tongue”? Of these letters two are Arabo-Persian: χ is = Khá, ; and γ is = Ghayu, ; the gamma pronounced Ghámma in Romaic parlance when preceding the open vowels, á and o. The third generally corresponds with the Arabic Sá, , pronounced in Persian and Hindi as a simple Sín (s). The critic, however, should not have told us, “Le θ répond assez bien au ‘th’ Anglais.” Our sibilant has two distinct sounds: one soft, as in thy, answering to the neo‑Greek δ; the other hard, as in theme, = θ. The Gypsy Owa, Va (yes) bears a suspicious resemblance to the vulgar Arabic Aywá, contracted from Ay w’ Allah—aye by Allah! A man must have absolutely no practical knowledge of the Rom or of his congener the “mild Hindu” who can ask, “Les esprits grossiers sont‑ils donc plus subtils que les nôtres?” This is the mere morgue and outrecuidance of European ignorance. Let the author try the process of
“finessing” upon the first lad, Jat or Sindhi, who comes in his way, and he will readily be made to understand my meaning. Finally, I venture to throw out a hint that the “barbarous helot” may preserve the tribal name Nath, , a mime. This caste, with which the Gypsies used formerly to be identified,1 certainly did not represent the “wild aboriginal inhabitants of India”; they may have Dravidian affinities, but they are certainly not of Turanian blood.
§ 3. “Origines, etc.”
This paper was published in 1875, when M. Paul Bataillard had the benefit of my letter to the Academy; and apparently its main object is to prove that he preceded me in identifying the Gypsies with the “Djatte” (Jats). It is divided into three parts, which are four. No. 1 contains the author’s reclamation and his notice of Professor de Goeje; No. 2 works out more fully his own theory of Gypsy origin; No. 3 contains a “certain and definitive explanation of the word Tsigane”; and No. 4, by way of colophon and endowment of research, thrusts forward certain preachments upon the direction of future inquiries for the benefit of us rude practical men.
Of No. 1, I have already treated, and content
1 Asiat. Res., VII. 451.
myself with energetically objecting to the statement that all who have treated about the peoples of the Indine Valley have imagined either a possible or a probable rapport between the Jats (not Juth) and the Gypsies. M. Paul Bataillard again shows that in 1850, when my paper was published in 1849, neither he nor Professor Fleischer knew aught concerning the modern Sindhi Jats, a mere section of the race, save the corruption of a name. They were ignorant of its extensive habitat scattered between the Indus mouths and the Tatar Steppes. They had never learned that it speaks its own peculiar dialect, which is like that of the Gypsies and the Sindhi to a certain extent, Persico‑Indian.
Part No. 2 becomes much more sensational. We find that our critic’s ideas have grown, and that the antiquity of the Gypsies in South‑Eastern Europe extends deep into the misty regions of the past. In 1872 he merely alluded to the high importance of the ethnic name Sindho or Sinto (feminine Sindhi; plurals Sindhe and Sindbiyan), “meaning the great.” Now he would identify them with the aborigines of Lemnos, those “lords of Vulcan” the Σίντιες—a word generally understood to signify robbers (σίνομαι). The connexion is brought about because Homer describes these metal‑workers as speaking a wild speech (άγριόφωνοι), and because Hellanicus of Lesbos derives them from Thrace. Two independent authorities—the original hypothesist
Dr. Johannes Gottlieb Hasse in 1803, and M. Vivien de Saint-Martin in 1847—had suggested an idea which M. Paul Bataillard borrowed and adopted. The Tsigane represent, we are assured, not only the Sicani of Sicily, but also the Σιγΰναι, Σιγΰνοι, Σίγιννοι, whom Herodotus places in the Caucasus, Asia Minor, and Thrace. The broad gap of years is bridged over, in the teeth of M. Paspati, by means of certain mediæval Byzantine heretics, the ’Αθίγγανοι, Manichæans like the Albigenses, the Paulicians, and especially the dwellers in Bosnia and its neighbourhood, also called Athigarii, Atingarii, Anthingarii, and Atingani; and this only because certain of the modern Greeks call their Gypsies Athinganoi (’Αθίγγανοι). Brosset1 notices that in the eleventh century, when King Bagrat visited Constantinople, he there heard a marvellous and wholly incredible thing; namely, that a tribe of the Samaritans descended from Simon Magus, and called Atsinkan, were still infamous for their evil‑doings and sorceries. And then we have a silly story of how the monk St. George of Athos rendered all their poisons of no account.
Moreover, we are told, if the modern Tsigane represent the Sinties and the Siginnoi, they must, ergo, stand in the same relationship to certain
1 Histoire de la Géorgie, Part I., p. 338. The modern Armenians call the Gypsies Boscha, possibly from Bokchá, by which the Russian Gypsies denote Hungary.
mysterious tribes inhabiting the Caucasus and Western Asia, Egypt, the Levantine Islands, and the Danubian basin. Thus we see the origin of the Telchini, the Chalybes, and other “Cabiric peoples.” The latter has the disadvantage of being purely Semitic, Kabír meaning “the great” applied to the twelve Dii majores of the Phœnicians who sent forth Kadmos (El Kadín) = the old or the great.1 But let that pass. Our author proves his fact by showing that these races, like the modern Romá, were makers of weapons, especially the assegai or javelin; whilst the Cabiri and the Telchini were renowned for music and soothsaying. And how not recognize the Troglodytic Sibyls of Asia Minor and Egypt, of Greece, and especially Thrace, in the pure Gypsy, when Σίβυλλα is only a form of Σιβύνη or Ζιβύνη, which naturally derives from Σιγύνη, Σίγυννος = Tsigane? How not perceive that the Egyptian prophetesses turned into black pigeons by Herodotus, and the doves of Dodona, were not identical with the Romní?
This becomes a disease—Tsigane on the brain; from which our author evidently suffers in an acute form—so acute as to render his imagination
1 I am not a little surprised to see a scholar like Mr. Gladstone declaring that “Kadmos signifies a foreigner” (Homer: Primer.) The “Old One” with his sixteen letters is supposed by M. Freret (Canon Chronologique) to have settled at Bœotian Thebes in B.C. 1590, or some century and a half before Troy was founded (B.C. 1425).
most lively. To the unimaginative ethnologist the “Sindhi” are simply the Sindh tribes of Gypsies, so called from the Sindhu, that mighty stream which gave to Europe a name for the Indian Peninsula. Hence, indeed, some philologists would derive the Spanish word Zincale (Zinkale), making it a compound of Sindh and Kálo (plural Kále, black) = dark men of Sindh. Rejecting this treatment, we must consider it a tribal name like Karáchi (= lower Sindhian), Helebi (Aleppine), Lúri (from Lúristán), and many others into which the great Jat nation is divided.
But whilst we reject particulars, we must beware how we treat the general theory. Tradition and ethnological peculiarities, far stronger than philological resemblances or coincidences, tend to prove that the earliest metal‑workers and weapon‑makers were an Indine race whose immigration long preceded the movement of the last ethnic wave, the Gypsy of history. Herodotus notices a caste or corporation of ambulant founders and metal‑workers which came from Asia, possibly belonging to the age called by M. de Mortillet de la chaudronnerie, when the hammer took the place of simple fusion. Modern research has shown that these prehistoric artisans affected Gypsy habits like the caldereros (coppersmiths) of the Romá in later ages. They had no permanent abodes: their ateliers were not inside the towns, but en plein champ near inhabited
centres; here they fashioned their new and recast their old metal, bartering their works for furs, hides, amber, and other articles of local provenance. Hence M. Émile Burnouf1 assumes these wandering workmen of the Bronze Age to have been a Gypsy race; while the remarkable similarity, I may, almost say the identity, of the alloy suggests that it was the produce of a single people. We must, however, be careful how we accept his derivation from Banca and Malacca of the prehistoric tin required for bronze. It would first be supplied by the Caucasus mines to a race of workmen migrating along the southern base from the West to the East. The next source of supply, before passing to Southern France, Spain, and the Cassiterides, would be North‑Western Arabia. The Book of Numbers* distinctly mentions the metal, placing it between iron and lead, as part of the spoils taken by the children of Israel from their cousins the Midianites (circ. B.C. 1450); and the two Khedivial expeditions (A.D. 1877‑78) have brought home proofs that it may still be found there. Indeed, I have a suspicion that the “broken” people of Western Arabia are descended from the ancient Gypsies who may have worked the gold mines of Midian.
Part No. 3 corrects Professor de Goeje, M. Fagnan, and myself in our several explanations of Tsigane.
1 “L'Age de Bronze,” Revue des Deux Mondes, July 15, 1877.
[* Chap. xxxi. 22.]
The exaggerated value attributed by M. Paul Bataillard to his own “typical proof and the material confirmation of all his system” seems to have hindered his revelation; and he insists upon it naïvely as if it were proof of Holy Writ. Its venerable “hypothetical origin” must be sought in the root CHINÁV, meaning to thrust, throw, fight, cut, kill, write, and eject saliva. It survives in the word Sagaie or Zagaie (our assegai): the latter, when split in two, contains a first part similar to sag‑itta, and a second like gais (gæ‑sum), the heavy, barbed Gallic javelin; whilst the whole resembles the Amazonian Sagaris, an axe.
In the name of the Prophet—figs! This dreamery is ushered in as usual by a whole page of discursive matter. The debased Romaic κατζίβελος, a “maker of javelins,” used by a Byzantine poet of the middle fourteenth century, is shown = Sigynos = Tsigane. Kilinjirides, a Græcised form of the Turkish Kilij‑ji, or sword‑maker, is the same word. Let me here note that the “pure Turkish term Kaldji,” still used at Rhodes, is not the same as Kilij‑ji; it is the bastard compound Arabic and Turkish Kala’‑jí, a tinsmith. Such are some of the linguistic will‑o’‑the‑wisps which have, I fear, habitually misled our critic.
I must now consider the origin of the corrupted “typical term” Tsigane, which M. Paul Bataillard has converted into a “generic name.” The old
and obsolete derivations of the Zingaro, which with various modifications prevails throughout Europe, are the following.1 Ciga or Siga, the seaport of Mauretania Cæsariensis, or the Ciga or Cija River mentioned by Lucan; the Magian Cineus; Zeugitania Regio (Zeugis); Singara, the Mesopotamian city; Zigera, a Thracian settlement; the Zinganes, a tribe inhabiting the Indus Delta (?); the Zigier Province in Asia Minor; and “the bird Cinclo” (motacilla or wagtail), a “vagrant bird which builds no nest,” and therefore gave rise to the term Cinli or Cingary. Less absurd is the derivation from Singus, or Cingus, the chief of a horde under “Tamerlane,” who employed these men, not as combatants, but camp‑followers and to export trains2 (A.D. 1401). Arabshah, the biographer of the great Tatar Amír, recounts a contrivance by which in A.D. 1406 he rid his city (Samarkand) of the rebellious Zingaros; and the account of this race shows a certain correspondence with the Gypsies. Hence, probably, Borrow (The Zincali) tells us that “the Eastern Gypsies are called Zingarri.” The word is quite unknown to Turkey and Persia. In 1402 they accompanied the Sultan Báyezíd on
1 Borrow; El Gitanismo.
2 Tamerlane is our corruption of Taymúr—i.e. long, limping Taymur. The Gypsies call Asmodeus Bengui lango, the lame devil, the devil on two sticks. Not a few Hungarian Chingáneh, accompanied the Napoleonic armies to Spain.
his invasion of Europe along the Danube, and thus settled in Bulgaria and Old Servia.
What we know for certain is that the Gypsies have been known in Persia from time immemorial as Chingáneh, . Professor de Goeje writes the word Tsjengán (Chengán), and would explain it by the Persian plural of Tsenj, a musician, a dancer. Is this word intended for Chang, a harp, or for Zang, in Arabic Zanj, a Kálo, a “black man,” as the Gypsy is still called in England? Chingáneh in Syria becomes Jingáneh, the Semites having no ch; and the term now applies, not to the Gypsies generally, but to a small and special tribe. The Greek and Romaic ’Ατζίγγανος and ’Αθζίγγανος, corruptions of Chingáneh, are, as we have seen by Atsinkan, as old at Constantinople as the eleventh century. In Turkish the word is written as in Persian, but the pronunciation changes to Chingyáneh; M. Paspati adopts Tchinghiané, the Turco‑French corruption, with the e = eh. Hence evidently the Hungarian Czigan (Czigany, Czigányok, Czingaricus, etc.), and the Transylvanian Cingani, which appears in writings of the fifteenth century; the former evidently engendered M. Bataillard’s bastard Tsigane. The Poles turned Chingáneh into Cygan (Cyganaeh, Cyganskiego, etc.), and the Russians into Zigan. Here we see the Italian Ciano, Cingano, and Zingano, the older forms of Zingaro and the Portuguese Cigano.
The Spanish Zincali is derived by Borrow from two Gypsy words meaning “Kále” (the black men) of Zend (Sind or Ind), a theory perfectly inadmissible. The Iberian Gitáno, now a term of opprobrium, is probably a survival of the racial name, and not a corruption of the older Egypciano, the Basque Egipcioac. The latter, evidently from Aigyptos, Ægyptus, Egypt, an “Egyptian,” is itself a corruption of Kupt, , in modern parlance a Copt. Hence the Turks also call their vagrants Kupti or Gupti. Hence also Γύφτος in Romaic applies indifferently to a Gypsy or a blacksmith, and hence finally our Gypsy, which should be pronounced with a hard g, and written as by the older writers Gypsy. All four derive from a different root, the Egyptian.
As regards the German Zigeuner and its older forms Secane and Suyginer (fifteenth century), Professor de Goeje would derive it from Sjikâri (Syikári), as he writes Shekári, a huntsman, much reminding us of that diction which confounds “srimp” with “shrimp.” The word means a wanderer, and seems to derive from the root that gave us zig‑zag. The Dutch call these Indians Heiden af Egyptiër’s; the French Égyptiens, but preferably Bohémiens, showing what they believed to be the last halting‑place of the tribe before it passed on to Western Europe. A curious irony of fate has connected in the Gallic mind the old land of the Boii with all that is wild
and unsettled, when its sons are the stiffest and the most priggish of the Austro‑German beamter class.
Not a few commentators on the Bible1 have believed the Gypsies to be that “mixed multitude” which has done so much for romantic ethnology. This medley, the Hebrew’s hasaphsuph, corresponding with the Arabic Habash (Abyssinian), we are told “went up also with the Jews out of Egypt.” The learned add that they marched eastward to India, became veritable Aryans, retraced their steps to Misraim, the two Egypts, upper and lower, and thence spread over Europe.
For the first set of words, Tsigane included, I hold Chingáneh to be the origin, owning at the same time my inability to determine the root or history of the word. For the second, whose type is Gitano, I think it probable that the wanderers may have modified their racial name Jat and its adjective Jatáni into the semblance of Egyptian at the time when they represented themselves to be descendants of the old Nile dwellers and to speak an Egyptian (Coptic) dialect. The Jugo‑Slav tongues abound in similar instances of conversion, vernacular and significant terms being often applied to the older terms of conquered or occupied countries. For instance,
1 For instance, Roberts on Ezekiel (chaps. xxix. and xxx.)
Aurisina, the Roman station near Trieste, became Nabresina, from na‑brek = ad montem.
Returning to M. Paul Bataillard, we find him declaring that the Gypsies are generically Chamites (descendants of Ham!), and specifically Kushites, “who lived long enough under the ’Aryas in the Indus region to lose their Kushite tongue and to adopt an Aryan dialect.” This immense assertion, made perfunctorily, as it were, and without acknowledgment of its source, is worthy of the eighteenth century and its “mixed multitude” borrowed from the Book of Exodus. What the learned Movers (Geschichte d. Phœnicier) said of the “Kushites” was that, originally from India, they migrated in prehistoric days westwards, allied themselves with the Semites, and became the peoples speaking such Aryo‑Semitic tongues as the Egyptian and Coptic, Himyaritic and Ghiz. To believe that this also was the history of the Gypsy movement is to hold that, whilst other “Kushites” changed their physique and their morale, their eyes and hair, their cheekbones and figures generally, the Gypsies have remained pure Indians without a trace of other blood.
A word here upon this “Kushite” theory, which has been accepted by men of the calibre of Heinrich Brugsch Bey. It appears to be simply a labour-saving institution, in fact what algebraists call supposer un inconnu, a pure assumption which spares
the pains of working out the origination of the so‑called Aryo‑Semitic races. These Kushites, who were they? Where are they mentioned in history or legend as emigrants from the plains of Hindustan to the north‑eastern angle of Africa? What traces have they left upon the long route across Western Asia which connects the Indus with the Nile? How came it that, without marking their exodus by a single vestige of civilization, they began at once to hew the obelisks and build the pyramids in their new home, the chef‑d’œuvres of artistic Egypt’s golden age? No answer to such objections as these.
In Part No. 4, concluding the paper, M. Paul Bataillard attempts to conciliate his “principal thesis” with the views of M. de Goeje. The Leyden professor opines that the first colonies of Djatts (Jats) were founded amongst the Persians and Arabs of the seventh century; and M. Fagnan also speaks of inscriptions in Buddhist characters treating of the Jats in the fourth and fifth centuries. The tribal name, corrupted by Arabization, appears in the “Canal of the Zott” (Zutt) near Babylon, and in the “Zott‑land.” Families of “Zotts” were transplanted to Syrian Bosra, Bostra, or Old Damascus during the earliest Muslim conquests in the seventh century (circ. A.D. 670), not in the ninth (A.D. 855), as our author had determined. About A.D. 710 “Zotts” and Indians were transferred from the Indus to the Tigris (Khuzistán); and between A.D. 714 and 720
a certain number were sent with their four thousand buffaloes—“which make the lion fly (!)”—to colonize the Antioch regions. Hence possibly the name of the large tribe which is known in Egypt and elsewhere as “El H’aleb,” or “Helebi, the Aleppine.” They waxed powerful enough in their new possessions to contend with the Caliphat till A.D. 820—834, when they were subjugated, and some twenty‑seven thousand were transplanted to Bagdad. Thence they were sent north‑eastwards to Khánikin and westwards to Ayin‑Zarba (?) in Syria, a place subsequently (A.D. 855) captured by the Byzantines; and finally the “Zott” and their belongings were carried off and dispersed throughout the empire.
So far so good. But our critic appends a rider to Professor de Goeje’s tale. He owns that this race, Zott or Jats, may have transformed itself into Gypsies—not difficult, as they were Gypsies. But he contends that they formed a feeble modern addition to his “Kushites,” to the race which was represented ab antiquo by the Sicani and Sinties et hoc genus omne.
Further let me note en passant the vulgar error now obsolete which, confounding Hindi with the Urdú-Zabán or camp dialect,1 made the former a bastard modern tongue when its literature is as old as the earliest English and French. And here we may note
1 An Urdú‑Zabán has been formed in Italy, where the soldiers drawn from a multitude of provinces, each speaking its own dialect, not to say patois, have developed a special speech. The officers are obliged to study this “pidjin‑Italian.”
that, while the Romni‑chíb is in point of vocabulary a sister of the Hindi, the grammar of the noun with its survival of regular cases belongs to a more remote age. It is partly Prakrit and partly Sindhi, a dialect whose numerous harsh consonants make us suspect, despite Dr. Trumpp, a non‑Aryan element. Besides the prehistoric occupation of the trans‑Indine regions by the Indo‑Scythians noticed in Alexander’s day, we find another dating from far later times. The Bactrian kingdom which became independent sixty‑nine years after the great Macedonian’s death lasted one hundred and thirty years, and was destroyed about B.C. 126 by the “white Huns,” Chinese Tatars, who crossed the Jaxartes. Hence possibly the Dravidian Brahins still dwelling in the midst of Aryan populations. The apparent anomaly that the wild and vagrant Gypsies have preserved in Europe ancient forms which have died out in the old home has already been accounted for; I may also number amongst the causes of conservation the total want of a written character, which also proves the early date of the Gypsy exodus.
§ 4. “Notes et Questions, etc.,” “Sur le mot
I treat of Nos. 4 and 5 out of order of date because they are mere ausflugs illustrating Nos. 3 and 6. From the first we learn that when the
French occupied Algiers in 1830 they found the city and its territory partly occupied by Gypsies, who did not mix with the Arabs or the Kabyles (Kabáil or the Tribes), with the Jews or the Europeans. They spoke their own tongue, and they were often visited by their congeners of Hungary and other parts of Europe. It is conjectured that these Romá may have passed over from Spain, and possibly that they travelled eastward from Morocco, as Blidah contains many of the race. The question becomes interesting when we find the Egyptian Ghagar claiming to be emigrants from the West. According to the Librarian of Algiers, the late M. Berbruger in 1846, they were known as Guesáni, pronounced G’sáni or G’záne (Gezzání), the feminine singular being Gezzána (Gezzáneh).1 Here of course M. Paul Bataillard finds no difficulty in detecting, through Dzâna and Tsâna, “a corruption of the true name Tsigani or Tchingani.” The latter form, I would observe, retaining the nasal of the original Chingáneh and the Arabized Jingáneh, is far preferable to the mutilated Tsigane adopted afterwards (1875) with so much pomp and such a flourish of trumpets.
A family dislodged from a house in the present Rue de Chartres was found lying upon the straw surrounded by human skulls, serpents, and other
1 The feminine plural is not given; analogy would suggest it to be Ghanázineh.
instruments of their craft. Whilst being evicted they noisily threatened their molesters with all manner of devilry; but as usual they ended by submitting. The men apparently had no occupation; the women used to wander about the streets in small parties, generally a matron followed by four or five girls, crying, “Gezzáneh! who wants to know the future?”1 The Durke,2 or pythoness, carried a tambourine; and when divining she placed upon her drum‑head a bit of alum and of charcoal, with pebbles, beans or grains, wheat and barley; these represented the “elements,” water, fire, and earth, thus showing that the process was a rude form of the Arab’s geomancy. Sometimes the “spae‑wife” made passes over the consultee’s head, holding in her hand a lump of sugar; this reminds us of the magicians in Morocco and Egypt and their mesmerized “clear‑seers.” Between 1837 and 1838 these Gypsies retired into the Sahará or Desert; and now they visit the city only in caravans. Their women, tattooed and painted like the Bedawiyyah, are generally robed in rags and tatters, and decorated with the usual tinsel, rings, and hangings.
An interesting subject, but by no means easy of treatment, would be the order of Dervishes known as
1 The same cry used by the Egyptian Gypsies: see Von Kremer’s Notes.
2 Literally, a far‑seer. The Persian word dúr, far or distance, Germ. dort and Engl. forth, is familiarly used in Hindustani, and its compound forms are frequent in Turkish.
Aïssaoua, also “called Adrá, from the name of one of their festivals.”1 They have been noticed by a multitude of writers each more ignorant than the other. These men are probably Gypsies, to judge by analogy with the Rifá’i Dervishes, who will be noticed under the head of Egypt. The same may be said of the Naïlette, the Almah (Álimeh) or dancing‑girl of Algiers, who affiliates herself with the Aulád Ná’il, the large and wealthy Bedawin tribe occupying the inner regions. Similarly the Nawar Gypsies farther east derive themselves from the Beni Nawar. These Naïlettes are public when young, yet in after‑life they become faithful wives; the same is said of the Egyptian Ghagar and the nach‑girls of India. According to one authority, there are among the Mozabites two or three Gypsy tribes that live by prostituting their women to caravans. It is curious to compare the rigid chastity of the Gypsy girls in England and Spain, indeed in Europe generally, where a lapse would lead to certain death, with their looseness of life elsewhere. But the Romá is une race curieuse entre toutes, and both extremes may be expected from it.
It remains only to treat of No. 5, which discusses the origin of the word Zagaie or Sagaie, the Spanish and Portuguese Azagaia, a small kind of Moorish spear which we have named assegai, transferring it to
1 The Id el Zuhá, alias Kurbán Bayrám, the festival of the yearly pilgrimage to Mecca.
the throwing dart of the Básetu or Káfir race. We have seen (§ 3) that M. Paul Bataillard has fathered upon this term the mysterious racial name Tsigane (Chingáneh), and there is no reason to repeat what has been said of his derivation. We may accept his dictum: “There are words whose history would, if known, throw vivid light upon human migrations and the affinity of peoples in very ancient ages.” But here we find, in lieu of illumination, outer darkness. The comparison of Zagaie, Gæsum, and Gais is bad enough; but it is worse to transport the assegai into South American speech. Demersay, describing the Paraguayan tribe of “Payagas” (the Payagúas or Canoe Indians), calls their lance Pagaie, “which,” remarks our author, “may, it appears, be permitted to me to identify with Sagaie.” This is again transcendental etymology applied to ethnic misuse. Pagaie here is simply the popular European, and especially French, corruption of Tacapé or Tangapé, the paddle‑club of ironwood sharpened to serve as a sword, and used by all the maritime tribes of Eastern South America. Finally Korik, the bellows, so called by the Gypsies of Asia Minor, is not Turkish, but a corruption of the Arabic Kor.
Here ends my long notice of M. Paul Bataillard’s four papers; the novelties introduced into them will, it is hoped, be held to justify the prolixity.