FYI France 

File 12.73 -- An FYI France Resource List --

Gypsies in France, 1566 - 2011

A Selected Resource List

2) Pre-2008

by Jack Kessler,

Last update: October 30, 2010 -- 498 entries so far, combined total for all files -- this is a work-in-progress, more entries will be added, and suggestions of emendations, additions, eliminations all will be gratefully received via email to


Romani people ; Lom people, in East Anatolia and Armenia ; Lyuli, in Central Asia ; Dom people, in South-West Asia ; Irish Travellers, also known as Pavee, mostly in Ireland, Great Britain, and the United States ; Sea Gypsies, a number of different peoples of Southeast Asia ; Yeniche (people), mostly in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France, and Belgium ; Banjara ; not to be confused with Romanians, a completely unrelated ethnical group ; Roma ; Gypsies ; Travellers ; Tinkers ; Tsigani (and variants) ; in France as gitans besides the dated bohémiens and manouches ; the Romani of England call themselves (in Angloromani) Romanichal, those of Scandinavia (in Scandoromani) Romanisæl ; Sinti ; Manush ; Kalo/Kale ; Kalderash ; Machvaya ; Boyash ; Lovari ; Modyar ; Xoraxai ; Lăutari, etc. ; cigány ; Bohémiens ; Rom ; "rom is a masculine noun, meaning 'man, husband', with the plural romá, Romani is the feminine adjective, while romano is the masculine adjective, some Romanies use Romá as an ethnic name, while others (such as the Sinti, or the Romanichal) do not use this term as a self-ascription for the entire ethnic group... ; Rommany ; Romany ; rrom ; rromani ; Romá ; Sanskrit ḍoma "a man of low caste, living by singing and music" ; ḍom ; ḍam ; Kannada ḍamāra ; Telugu ṭamaṭama ; Gypsy (or Gipsy) ; Αιγύπτιοι (Aigyptioi, whence Modern Greek γύφτοι gifti ), in the erroneous belief that the Romanies originated in Egypt, and were exiled as punishment for allegedly harboring the infant Jesus... ; gitano ; gitan ; Egipcian ; Egypcian ; 'gypcian ; égyptiens ;  "gyp" meaning "to cheat" ; New Age Travellers ; Greek τσιγγάνοι tsigani ; Hungarian: cigány [ˈtsiɡaːɲ] ; Romanian: Ţigani ; German: Zigeuner ; Italian: Zingari [and, yes, Zingarella, JK] ; French: Tsigane ; Turkish: Çingene, Çigan ; Latvian: Čigāni ; Norwegian: Sigøynere ; Swedish: Zigienare ; Polish: Cyganie ; Portuguese: Cigano ; Russian: Цыганы ; Ukrainian: Цигани ; Czech: Cikáni ; Lithuanian: Čigonai ; Byzantine Greek ατσίγγανοι (atsinganoi, Latin adsincani) or αθίγγανοι (athinganoi, literally "untouchables"), a term applied to the sect of the Melchisedechians... ; "The Adsincani appear in an 11th-century text preserved in Mt Athos, 'The Life of Saint George the Athonite' (written in the Georgian language), as 'a Samaritan people, descendants of Simon the Magician, named Adsincani, who were renowned sorcerers and villains'. In the text, emperor Constantine Monomachos employs the Adsincani to exterminate wild animals, who were destroying the game in the imperial park of Philopation... ; Bohémiens, because many Romanies living in France had come via Bohemia... ; Zott...

-- -- “Gypsy (term), a generic term that usually refers to Romani people but may also encompass other nomadic groups.”

Preface to The List

Comment ça marche:

* The resources listed below must be "selected" -- because the perennial complaining, by gypsies against the French and by the French against gypsies, goes back very far -- it is a long & uncomfortable & impassioned & fascinating relationship, and it forms a very full & complete & sometimes-tragic, & often-joyful, & nearly-always dramatic, history. There are some in France who have worked hard for a very long time on this, it presents a set of complex issues not easily addressed. Titles here which may be of particular interest to a beginner are prefaced by

* A few websites will be listed separately at the bottom, here, they being far easier nowadays to find and use than other resources. The other entries are listed in descending order by latest publication date, then alphabetically by author/title -- the chronological order because that seems more useful for understanding a particular culture's development than do arbitrary academic categories such as “history” or “politics”, or equally-arbitrary and increasingly-irrelevant bibliographic boxes distinguishing different “media”, such as filmstrips & movies & dvds & floppies & monographs & print journals & articles of clothing & iphones, all of which appear to be merging digitally now anyway, see,,

* Because a great variety of sources are being used, all pretensions to exact bibliographic description have been abandoned, here -- standardization is attempted and not entirely achieved, but hopefully the data provided at least will help you find the thing -- the indication of a “Cote” is not meant to suggest a unique copy, other institutions may have theirs as well -- universal bibliography still being a chimæra, like universal language (Eco) and universal knowledge (Jeanneney), and hopefully we'll never become so organized and rational and stale as to arrive at any such well-ordered dystopias. The gypsies can help us all with that...

* Sources in various languages are listed, concerning various locales not all in France -- Rajasthan, Slovakia, Romania, Andalusia, etc. -- the goal here being to address the needs of someone interested in “gypsies in France” who also wants to go a little further, to Rajasthan or Slovakia or Romania or al Andaluz or elsewhere, to discover how people there, before they got from there to France or to there from France, live and work and think and play -- a curiosity incumbent upon anyone interested in these people who do not “stay put”, and who get “sent places”, characteristics increasingly typical of all of us now in our Globalizing world.

* This also is a hesitant, tentative, very gun-shy FYI France experiment in "cloud computing"... i.e. Inside this particular “cloud”, will it rain?... and if it does, will the bits get rusty?... And the cross-platform work's not going so well, so far: onthefly mark-up shows readers a moving target, typical of the Internet, please refresh your screens... -- and Google's mini-markup html doesn't like margin settings, so for now I've retreated reluctantly to a famously user-unfriendly format known as Microsoft Word, altho Google doesn’t translate links well from Office2Plus, grrr -- format integration'll get'em every time... please see, for some ongoing generalized discussion of that...


The List -- Pre - 2008

* Footnote: Do I, personellement, "like gypsies"?... Depends on which one... It's a question I'm often asked, with my interests in them and in the French. In the US we have an old expression from our own local "racial" segregation experience: it runs, "Some of my best friends are -- Wops / Chinks / Polaks / Krauts / Micks / etc. -- but I wouldn't want my daughter to marry one..." To my mind the "gypsy" question in Europe is suspiciously similar: a highly-suspect social and political and economic classification, subject to invidious "racial" discrimination. I have known, and lived among, and worked with, people who have borne the label "gypsy" -- some proudly, some so-designated by others -- some have been foes of mine, a few have been friends. Plenty of impoverished gypsies are not certain themselves who their own forebears were, so how are The Authorities so sure, without the spurious "racial" profiling and stereotyping we all left behind scientifically a century ago?

And no, these problems are not unique to France: the French may be unique, but their problems are not -- other countries, too, have minorities and poverty and racism, and immigration issues, and ham-fisted opportunistic politicians.

For example at this very moment, outside the San Francisco donut shop where I sit writing this, a beggar is seeking alms from his wheelchair, appealing to passers-by and to us donut patrons in the shop window, his hands outstretched & trembling, lips cracked & open-sore skin discolored, head lolling & sleepy & apparently unable to dress himself & dirty & smelly & wheezing, clearly very ill from many maladies yet his fingers clutch a cigarette someone has given him and he puffs when he can draw his breath -- there are thousands like him, here, sleeping at night in the doorways of this the world's financially-richest society by far -- and next week we good citizens of San Francisco will enact a law forbidding "sleeping in doorways"... question-begging contradictions... and so, as always, the US and France have much experience to share, and much to learn from one another...



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