The Zincali: An Account of the Gypsies of Spain

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Author: George Henry Borrow

Wallachia and Moldavia

In Wallachia and Moldavia, two of the eastern-most regions of Europe, are to be found seven millions of people calling themselves Roumouni, and speaking a dialect of the Latin tongue much corrupted by barbarous terms, so called. They are supposed to be in part descendants of Roman soldiers, Rome in the days of her grandeur having established immense military colonies in these parts. In the midst of these people exist vast numbers of Gypsies, amounting, I am disposed to think, to at least two hundred thousand. The land of the Roumouni, indeed, seems to have been the hive from which the West of Europe derived the Gypsy part of its population. Far be it from me to say that the Gypsies sprang originally from Roumouniland. All I mean is, that it was their grand resting-place after crossing the Danube. They entered Roumouni-land from Bulgaria, crossing the great river, and from thence some went to the northeast, overrunning Russia, others to the west of Europe, as far as Spain and England. That the early Gypsies of the West, and also those of Russia, came from Roumouni-land, is easily proved, as in all the western Gypsy dialects, and also in the Russian, are to be found words belonging to the Roumouni speech; for example, primavera, spring; cheros, heaven; chorab, stocking; chismey, boots; - Roum - primivari, cherul, chorapul, chisme. One might almost be tempted to suppose that the term Rommany, by which the Gypsies of Russia and the West call themselves, was derived from Roumouni, were it not for one fact, which is, that Romanus in the Latin tongue merely means a native of Rome, whilst the specific meaning of Rome still remains in the dark; whereas in Gypsy Rom means a husband, Rommany the sect of the husbands; Romanesti if married. Whether both words were derived originally from the same source, as I believe some people have supposed, is a question which, with my present lights, I cannot pretend to determine.

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Chicago: George Henry Borrow, "Wallachia and Moldavia," The Zincali: An Account of the Gypsies of Spain, ed. Symons, Arthur, 1865-1945 and trans. Elwes, R. H. M. (Robert Harvey Monro), 1853- in The Zincali: An Account of the Gypsies of Spain (London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1904), Original Sources, accessed August 17, 2022, http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=4VW8S3ZGIBVM3B6.

MLA: Borrow, George Henry. "Wallachia and Moldavia." The Zincali: An Account of the Gypsies of Spain, edited by Symons, Arthur, 1865-1945, and translated by Elwes, R. H. M. (Robert Harvey Monro), 1853-, in The Zincali: An Account of the Gypsies of Spain, Vol. 3, London, Smith, Elder & Co., 1904, Original Sources. 17 Aug. 2022. http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=4VW8S3ZGIBVM3B6.

Harvard: Borrow, GH, 'Wallachia and Moldavia' in The Zincali: An Account of the Gypsies of Spain, ed. and trans. . cited in 1904, The Zincali: An Account of the Gypsies of Spain, Smith, Elder & Co., London. Original Sources, retrieved 17 August 2022, from http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=4VW8S3ZGIBVM3B6.