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Bahram Gur, Shah of Persia, brought some musicians and dancers from India to Persia. Hamza, the Arab historian (950 AD) called these musicians "Luri”, or “Zott” depending on whose translation you read. Both names are used for Gypsies in the Middle East.
669 or 670 A.D.
The Caliph Muawiya brought several families of Zott and Sayabiga who had worked for the Shah from Basra to Antioch. This seems to have been a precautionary measure to remove from the Arab headquarters these untrustworthy elements who might still feel sympathy with the deposed Persian ruler.
Some of the Zott from the south were resettled in the Antioch region by Caliph Walid I.
Caliph Yazid II sent more Zott from the south to the Antioch region. These Zott were sent there as herdsmen along with their buffaloes. There were colonies then in Antioch itself as well as the neighboring settlements of Masisa and Buka.
820 – 834 A.D.
Zott state established on the banks of the Tigris River. 27,000 Zott were taken to Baghdad after their defeat. They were then deported and resettled in two towns in the north-east, Khaneikin and Ainzarba (Aintab).
The Greeks captured Ainzarba and the Zott were deported once more, this time to mainland Greece. Other captives went elsewhere in the Arab empire, to Khaneikin and the Syrian border. (These probably formed the main bulk of the unskilled Romanies who moved north into Armenia and then into Europe, ending up working the fields in the Balkans and elsewhere.)
Earliest reference to Gypsies ("Athingani") in Constantinople. They were astrologers, fortune-tellers, acrobats, snake charmers, bear trainers and vetinerary surgeons.
A Byzantine Chronicler describes how Emperor Constantine Monomachus asked the “Adsincani” to rid his forests of the wild animals which were killing off his hunting preserve. They were so proficient at this task that they were rewarded grandly for their time.
(Some Zott evidently did cross from Antioch to the Mediterranean islands) We have a report by the monk Symon Simeonis of a nomadic people living on the island of Crete. He wrote, "There also we saw a race outside the city asserting themselves to be of the family of Ham (Noah's son). They rarely or never stop in one place beyond thirty days but always wander and flee as if accursed by God, and after the thirtieth day they remove themselves from field to field with their oblong tents, black and low, and from cave to cave."
c. 1200 A.D.
The canonist Theodore Balsamon describes the canon LXI of the Council in Trulho (692) which threatens a six-year excommunication for any member of the Church (including Athinganoi) from displaying bears or other animals for amusement or by telling fortunes.
Romani shoemakers are recorded in Greece residing on Mount Athos.
Kenrick surmised the following dates for the arrival of the Gypsies to the Greek islands: 1322-Crete, 1373 or earlier-Corfu, 1384-Modon, 1397 or earlier-Nauplie. These Gypsies were part of a general movement from Asia Minor to Europe.
The Gypsies who landed on Cyprus around 1322 probably came across from the Crusader colonies on the eastern Mediterranean coast-present day Lebanon and Israel.
Roma are recorded living in villages near Rila Monastery, Bulgaria.
Roma are recorded in Hungary.
Romani shoemakers are recorded in Modon, Greece.
The first recorded transaction of Roma slaves in Romania.
Mircea the Great of Wallachia indicates that Roma have been in that country for over one hundred years.
During the rise of the Ottoman Empire, Gypsies are first referred to as “Egyptians” in Ottoman records.
Roma are recorded at Hildesheim, Germany. First documentation of Gypsies in Western Europe. Known to gypsies as the Hokkano Baró , or “Great Trick”.
Roma present in Kronsadt (today Brasov, Romania). According to documents there, “Master Emaus from Egypt, with 120 followers, received money and food from the city council.”
Roma are expelled from the Meissen region of Germany.
An alderman writes a vivid description of gypsies entering Arras in Burgundy.
1417 – 1423 A.D.
King Sigismund of Hungary issues safe-conduct orders at Spis Castle for travelling Roma.
Roma are recorded in Colmar, France.
Roma are recorded in Antwerp, Belgium.
Roma are recorded in Deventer, Holland.
An Italian writes descriptions of the garb the gypsies wear as they enter Rome.
Roma are recorded in Zaragoza, Spain.
Hundreds of Roma arrive at the gates of Paris. The city sends them on to the town of Pontoise in less than a month.
Prince Vlad Dracul of Wallachia transports some 12,000 persons "who looked like Egyptians" from Bulgaria for slave labour.
First record of Roma in Catalonia.
Roma are driven out of the city of Frankfurt-am-Main.
Written record of Gypsies in Cyprus. In the Chronicle of Cyprus compiled by Florio Bustron, the "Cingani" are said to have paid tax to the royal treasury, at that time King James II.
The first anti-Gypsy laws are passed in Lucerne, Switzerland.
17,000 Roma are transported into Moldavia by Stephan the Great for slave labour.
Duke Friedrich of the Rhine Palatinate asks his people to help Roma pilgrims.
King Matthias of Slovakia issues safe-conduct orders for travelling Roma.
The first anti-Gypsy laws are passed in state of Brandenburg.
King Matthias of Slovakia issues safe-conduct orders for travelling Roma again.
The first anti-Gypsy laws are passed in Spain.
Roma are expelled from Milan.
The Reichstag (parliament) in Landau and Freiburg declares Roma traitors to the Christian countries, spies in the pay of the Turks, and carriers of the plague.
On Columbus’s third voyage to the New World, he brought gypsies to the West Indies.
Medina del Campo in Spain orders Gitanos to find a trade and master, cease travelling with other Gitanos, all within sixty days. Punishment for failure to obey is 100 lashes and banishment. Repeat offences are punished by amputation of ears, sixty days in chains, and banishment. Third-time offenders become the slaves of those who capture them.
Roma are prohibited by Louis XII from living in France. The punishment is banishment.
Roma are recorded in Scotland, probably from Spain.
Roma are first recorded in Sweden on 29 September. A company of about 30 families, lead by a "Count Anthonius" arrives in Stockholm, claiming that they came from "Little Egypt". They are welcomed by the city and given lodging and money for their stay. A few years later, King Gustav Vasa (1521-1560), suspects that the Roma are spies and orders that they be driven out from the country.
Roma are expelled from Catalonia.
The first anti-Gypsy laws are passed in Holland and Portugal.
The first law expelling Gypsies from England is introduced. Henry VIII forbids the transportation of Gypsies into England. The fine is forty pounds for ship's owner or captain. The Gypsy passengers are punished by hanging.
Gypsies are allowed to live under their own laws in Scotland.
Andrew Boorde authors an encyclopedia in England entitled The Fyrst Boke of the Introduction of Knowledge. It has a chapter on Romani, which includes some of the earliest specimens of the language.
The French traveler Andre Theret found "les Egyptiens ou Bohemiens" in Cyprus and other Mediterranean islands. He observed their simple way of life, supported by the production of nails by the men and belts by the women, which were sold to the local population.
In the reign of Philip and Mary, an Act is passed which decrees that that the death penalty shall be imposed for being a Gypsy, or anyone who "shall become of the fellowship or company of Egyptians."
Spanish legislation forbids Gitanos of travelling in groups of more than two. Gitano "dress and clothing" is banned. Punishment for wearing Gitano clothing and travelling in groups of more than two is up to eighteen years in the galleys for those over fourteen years of age. This legislation is later altered to change the punishment to death for all nomads, and the galleys reserved for settled Gitanos.
The Council of Trent in Rome affirms that Roma cannot be priests
1574 –1595 A.D.
The historian Selaniki Mustafa reported that Gypsies could be found among the regiments of janissaries during the reign of Sultan Murad Khan.
Stefan Razvan, the son of a Roma slave and free woman, becomes ruler of Moldavia in April. He is deposed four months later and murdered in December of the same year.
Copyright 2002 by Amber Hansford, 96 Von Steuben, St. Marys, GA 31558. . Permission is granted for republication in SCA-related publications, provided the author is credited and receives a copy.
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