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the glitter of diamonds

Who hasn’t been seen on their hands and knees in some dusty archive, searching through the old books that are stacked behind stacks? Grimy things, damp-ridden. Some sodden, the leaves unable to be peeled apart. Some you lose.

Some you win.

A History of the Gypsies of Eastern Europe and Russia – David. M. Crowe. 1994

I’m reading this particular book now, looking for its diamonds.

Paraphrased from the Preface:

The author’s scientific and historic approach has enabled him to not only explore the negative aspects of the Roma’s relationships with non-Gypsies, but to also look at the other side of the coin, and examine the positive contributions they made in the culture and literature of the region.

Literature.

…… but there’s more.

(1) The Gypsies entered Eastern Europe and parts of the former Russian Empire and the Soviet Union between the 5th and 15th century.

(2) They travelled from Northern India.

(3) It was only in the 12th century that confirmed historical documents place a Roma presence in eastern Europe.

Documents.

(4) Detailed allusions during this period come from Croatian and Hungarian Slovak records.

Records.

(5) These allusions to Gypsies suggest they had a rich life in the republic.

~~

Notable Quotes

“There is no record of any written (Gypsy) language(s), although there are several suggestions for Romani, including one based on Devanagari.”

Ian Hancock, Professor, Department of Linguistics, College of Liberal Arts, University of Texas.

There is no universal written Romani language in use by all Roma. However, the codification of a constructed, standardized dialect is currently in progress by members of the Linguistic Commission of the International Romani Union.

Kemal Vural Tarlan – authors the Middle East Gypsies website

“It is now, we believe, generally admitted that Hindostan is the natural country of the Gypsies; and of the three dialects generally used in that country, the language of the Surat, the ancient Sarashtra, resembles the most nearly that used by his people (sic).”

Deardon’s Miscellany

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