Gypsies: Roots of bellydance

Gypsies originated according the legend from the Sindh or "bilad as-sind" (translated: land of the sind), a southern province of Hindustan (nowadays Pakistan).
Hamza of Isfahan relates around 950 that the Persian ruler, shah Bahram Gur went to Hindustan to meet king Shangul and asked him to select musicians, male and female alike. So Shangul choose among the Luri tribe around 12.000 persons capable of playing oud. The story was later repeated by Firdouzi. According to the sources the tribe was also called Zott (single. Zotti) or Zitti and calling themselves "Romas," from the Sanskrit word meaning "man of the low caste of musician."

Other sources talk about the "sons of Rama", a legendary brotherhood of ancient India.

Another interesting theory is that çengi is derived from the Persian word zangi. The Dayereh zangi is a kind of frame drum used by the wandering musicians in Persia. Dayereh-zangi - also doyra, dojra, dajre, doira, dajreja - translates roughly as tambourine, an traditional instrument much used by the gypsies to accompany their dances. This round framedrum, hence the Persian name meaning "circle", has jingles he wandering gypsy tribes were mentioned for the first time in European history in the Romanian archives in 1385 as atsigani. Around 15 th century they spread over the rest of Europe. Some of them gained a living as musicians and dancers as a 16 th century Flemish wall carpet shows.

gypsy-dancer (33K)

The Manusj or Manoesjen (Sinti) arrived in the Netherlands (now Belgium and Holland) around the 15 th century. Some gypsy families settled and curiously enough the neighborhood where they lived became know as "Turkije" (Turkey) to indicate their roots.
The Rom tribe spread out centuries ago to Turkey, the Balkan, the Maghreb (North Africa), Iberia (Spain and Portugal) as well as France and Belgium where they arrived in the 19 th century.

gypsy woman 19th-century, Russia

An 1420 account of the city of Deventer in central Holland mentions a donation to "Andreas, Hertoch van Cleyn Egypte" (Andrew, the earl of Little Egypt). This was the leader of the dark skinned nomads that erroneously believed to have come from Egypt.
The "Egiptians dancing for the King in Holyrood House" received 40 shilling for their show from King James V - king of Scotland - in 1529. 78 years later another British king James I, azka James VI of Scotland, invited in 1607 gypsies to dance at the court. The tchingui as they were known in Ottoman Turkey, danced frequently in the harem and for the entertainment of the sultan and his guests.

Medieval Bohemia's population included large numbers of gypsies dark-skinned nomads. The gypsies were the Bohemians who wandered into France in the 15 th century as itinerant blacksmiths and entertainers, forging traditions that continue today in Roma tribes worldwide, still subsisting on society's fringes by luck and sharp wits. Bohemian became a synonym of gypsy in some European countries.

Among the many styles of Romany dance, perhaps the most wellknown is Flamenco, the typical dance from Andalusia in the south of Spain. Other styles are Ghawazee (Egyptian Gypsies), Rom (East-European Gypsies) and Tsjengui (Turkish Gypsies). The Turkish gypsies crossed Turkey through the northern Black Sea region (Kara Deniz) and moved on to Trakya passing Istanbul (former Constantinopel). In Istanbul the Sulekule district is still famous for it's gypsy dancers - who have a dubious reputation by the way - and interesting turkish gypsy music.


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Comment by AZureGray on April 14, 2012 at 2:06pm

Thank you!



Comment by PerseH ~Staff Wrangler~ on April 13, 2012 at 11:04pm

Wonderful Patricia, thank you.

Comment by Patricia Shettle on April 13, 2012 at 4:51pm

Important (read & understand)

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Patchwork Merchant Mercenaries had its humble beginnings as an idea of a few artisans and craftsmen who enjoy performing with live steel fighting. As well as a patchwork quilt tent canvas. Most had prior military experience hence the name.


Patchwork Merchant Mercenaries.


Vendertainers that brought many things to a show and are know for helping out where ever they can.

As well as being a place where the older hand made items could be found made by them and enjoyed by all.

We expanded over the years to become well known at what we do. Now we represent over 100 artisans and craftsman that are well known in their venues and some just starting out. Some of their works have been premiered in TV, stage and movies on a regular basis.

Specializing in Medieval, Goth , Stage Film, BDFSM and Practitioner.

Patchwork Merchant Mercenaries a Dept of, Ask For IT was started by artists and former military veterans, and sword fighters, representing over 100 artisans, one who made his living traveling from fair to festival vending medieval wares. The majority of his customers are re-enactors, SCAdians and the like, looking to build their kit with period clothing, feast gear, adornments, etc.

Likewise, it is typical for these history-lovers to peruse the tent (aka mobile store front) and, upon finding something that pleases the eye, ask "Is this period?"

A deceitful query!! This is not a yes or no question. One must have a damn good understanding of European history (at least) from the fall of Rome to the mid-1600's to properly answer. Taking into account, also, the culture in which the querent is dressed is vitally important. You see, though it may be well within medieval period, it would be strange to see a Viking wearing a Caftan...or is it?

After a festival's time of answering weighty questions such as these, I'd sleep like a log! Only a mad man could possibly remember the place and time for each piece of kitchen ware, weaponry, cloth, and chain within a span of 1,000 years!! Surely there must be an easier way, a place where he could post all this knowledge...

Traveling Within The World is meant to be such a place. A place for all of these artists to keep in touch and directly interact with their fellow geeks and re-enactment hobbyists, their clientele.

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