The Etymology of the words țigan (gypsy) and (r)rom (romany)

  1. Early Documents


Today it is almost unanimously accepted in the research that the first written mention of the Gypsies occurred under the name of atsincani, the Georgian version of the Greek form athinganoi which was the term used by the Byzantines to refer to the Gypsies[1]. This mention appeared in a hagiographic manuscript written by a Georgian monk at the Iviron Monastery on Mount Athos and dated to 1068 AD. According to the manuscript, in 1054 AD, during the reign Emperor Constantine IX Monomach, a large number of athinganoi arrived in Constantinople from Asia Minor; they were part of a ‘heretic sect’ and famous for their fortunetelling and witchcraft skills[2]. The Emperor is said to have asked the athinganoi to get rid of the wild beasts that were eating the other animals in the palace park[3], which they appear to have done by feeding the beasts ‘charmed’ food.


Against this historical background, even if it is not certain who the athinganoi were, their arrival in Europe corresponds to a time when manifestations of Christianity were at their height, when “everything was approached and explained in keeping with the dogmas of the Church, which was the ultimate authority”[4]. Some researchers consider that the term atsiganos is an incorrect form of athinganoi, the name of the heretic sect, used to refer to the gypsies because they also had a reputation for telling the future and casting spells[5]. However, as will be shown below, the two forms came to be associated by folk etymology.


To these days the origin of this sect has not been clarified and it is not certain if the above- mentioned manuscript referred to the ancestors of the Gypsies, to a different population, or was a generic term applied to the Non-Christian populations the Byzantines came into contact with. Nevertheless, this does not affect my argumentation. If the athinganoi are not connected with the Gypsies, and the name simply has religious and attitudinal connotations, a different etymology should still be looked for in later historical mentions which are considered to be certain. Alternatively, if the athinganoi were the ancestors of the Gypsies, my endeavor is even more justified. In both cases the argumentation has a similar starting point and the same objective.


The next mention of the term athinganoi, this time unquestionably in reference to the Gypsies, is found in a 12th-century commentary by the clergyman Theodore Balsamo regarding the 61st canon of the Council in Trullo (692 AD). According to this canon, there was an interdiction on exploiting the public by exposing it to bears and snakes or by preparing medicine, casting spells or making predictions about the future[6]. The athinganoi are mentioned twice as performing such activities.


This information is consistent with opinions expressed by a number of researchers. Thus, the historian A. F. Pott considers that the Gypsies lived in the Eastern Roman Empire starting from the 11th century, when the Byzantines brought several thousand slaves from Syria[7]. Similar conclusions are reached by the Austrian historian I.H. Schwicker, who writes in the second half of the 19th century that the language of the Gypsies, in particular the grammar, is similar to the Aryan languages of India, and that

these languages were formed around 1000 AD[8]. According to Romanian historian Mihail Kogalniceanu, the first certain mention of the Gypsies in Europe dates back to the year 1260 and occurs in a letter written by the King of Bohemia, Ottocar II, who informs Pope Alexander IV that the Hungarian army of Bela IV also comprised groups of a population called Cingars[9].


  1. Inconsistencies in the Research Literature


The most widely accepted hypothesis in the 19th and 20th centuries is that the words athinganoi/thinganoi are of Greek origin, being variants of atsiganos/tsinganos, which in turn are said to have derived from the word athingánōs, meaning ‘untouchable, intangible’ (cf. the privative prefix a + vb. thingánō ‘to touch, to hurt’). Therefore, the terms athinganoi/thinganoi had the following possible meanings: ‘untouchable, intangible, pagan, impure’ or ‘someone who should be treated with caution’ – from thingánō ‘to touch, to move’ (in relation to feeling)[10]. According to this hypothesis, the privative prefix a- was subsequently lost and only the word tsigganos was preserved in Greek. However, this idea is contradicted by the fact that both terms still exist in Greek, as well as other languages. Since it overlooks the initial and subsequent mention of the two terms in several languages (Greek, Romanian, Bulgarian etc.) after 1348, their practical equivalence and, implicitly, the optional use of one of them, this approach seems to be an oversimplification.


It has also been said that neither the word țigan (‘Gypsy’), nor any similar forms exist in the Romany language, but were borrowed from other European languages. In my view, this is a questionable statement. In the Gypsy language, the word țigan is used under the form o tsigano (‘the Gypsy’), which is indeed very similar to its equivalent in other European languages: tsiganos/atsiganos (Greek), çiganinu/açiganinu (Slavic), Zigeuner (German), tziganiok (Hungarian), țigan/ațigan (Romanian), cigain (French) etc. Yet the very existence of almost identical versions in all European languages may point to the fact that the word was borrowed by these languages from the Gypsies themselves as they came to Europe. It may have been the term tsigan used in order to distinguish themselves from people outside their communities. In contrast, within the communities the identification occurs via the word rrom (‘Romany’). There is a subtle difference between being a member of the Gypsy community and belonging to the Gypsy ethnic group, since not everyone who is part of the former is necessarily a Gypsy by ethnicity. Someone’s direct identification, their belonging to a Gypsy community is expressed by the phrase san rrom? (‘are you one of us?’). If, on the other hand, the focus is on the person’s membership in the Gypsy ethnic group, the phrase san rrom tsiganiako! (‘you are a true, a genuine gypsy’) is used.


I start from the hypothesis that the ancestors of the Gypsies, albeit in a small number[11], were present in Byzantium in the 10th, 11th and 12th centuries AD, as the manuscript at Mount Athos and later references confirm, and that their descendants are the ones who appear in Central and East European documents starting from the 13th century, under various names: tsiganos/atsiganos, çiganinu/ açiganinu, tsigan/atsigan or cengari, secani, suyginer.


One element which has drawn my attention is the coexistence in Greek of the equivalent terms atsiganos and tsiganos. As already mentioned, the meaning of thingánō in Byzantine Greek was ‘to touch, to move (in relation to feeling)’ and, by contrast, a-thingánō, through the privative prefix a-, meant ‘not to touch, not to move’. Hence the terms thingánōs and athingánōs, easily confused with tsiganos and atsiganos. At this point, two questions arise. Firstly, why are these words absent in the manuscripts of the time, where only athinganoi is used? And secondly, why starting from the year 1348, when a document of the Serbian tsar Dušan mentions the words çiganinu and açiganinu, both terms appear, but are used as equivalents if the Greek etymology presented above is correct and they are actually semantic opposites? In the Etymological Dictionary of the Romanian Language by Alexandru Ciorănescu, for example, the term țigan (‘Gypsy’) also has the variant ațigan, derived from the Greek (a)tsiganos via the Slavic (a) ciganinū[12]. It should be noted that these two terms co-occur in Greek, but also in the Slavic languages and Romanian and are used in the same way, which clearly results in a contradiction if we accept that etymologically they have opposite meanings.


Furthermore, dictionaries of ancient Greek[13] do not contain any terms similar to those mentioned above[14], which shows that the two words must have appeared at the earliest in Middle Greek in relation to the Gypsies. The two nouns tsiganos[15] and atsiganos[16]  appear in Modern Greek dictionaries as equivalents, without negative connotations such as ‘untouchable, intangible, pagan, impure’. This leads to the hypothesis that initially the two terms might have had different, yet converging meanings and that they are probably not of Greek origin.


Any population has the consciousness of its own identity, which it communicates to those it comes into contact with. At the same time, this population will be perceived in a certain way by those external to it. Therefore it is reasonable to assume that the Gypsies had a name which they themselves used to refer to their own population: rrom, dom or lom[17], as well as an identifying name given by other populations. Since the starting point of the gypsy migration was Northern India and the adjacent areas, it follows that during the first part of their journey they came into contact with populations which spoke languages related to their own. It is therefore possible that the Gypsies were given names such as athinganoi, the term mentioned in Greek documents of the 11th and 12th centuries, and took these on their journey across the world.


  1. An Alternative Etymology of the Terms Țigan and (R)rom


At this point, it is necessary to clarify the meaning of the terms: athinganos, tsiganos and atsiganos[18], cengar, (r)rom, dom, lom and of the names secan and suyginer[19]. Each of them has behind it a reality as yet insufficiently explored; in order to eliminate the confusions generated over time with regard to their significance, it is worth analyzing their etymologies in more depth.


3.1. Athinganoi/Athinganos


Athinganoi/Athinganos, a term used in the 11th and 12th centuries, definitely expresses a coordinate of Byzantine Greek mentality, but also provides information about the mentality of the gypsies’ supposed ancestors, who appeared in Byzantium at the time. Why would a Byzantine Greek perceive unknown groups of people from outside the empire as ‘intangible, untouchable’ (athinganoi) instead of referring to them simply as pagans, wizards, magicians etc.? At first sight it might appear to be the reaction of a radical Christian world to groups of unknown, non-Christian people. There is no irrefutable proof in this sense, however, so further information may be needed in order to explain the name athinganoi[20].


But what does the meaning ‘intangible, untouchable’ remind us of in this context? Who were India’s ‘untouchables’[21]? They were – and still are – all the individuals situated outside the castes, also called pariah, people without a stable home (nomads!), as well as a part of the lower caste, sudra –  people deemed to be ‘impure’ due to their occupations[22], most of which involved contact with dead bodies (undertakers, tanners, sweepers, hunters, fishers, executioners etc.). Is it a simple coincidence or did the word athinganoi in mediaeval Greek have an affinity with ‘intangibility’ in the Indian sense?


In the Indian culture the two meanings ‘nomad’ and ‘impure’ were associated based on their complementarity. But how did they come to be adopted into Greek? Let us remember that between Greek and Indian culture there were strong connections starting with the reign of the Seleucid kings[23], who ruled the Greek-Bactrian Empire in Northern India for several hundred years (they were the Diadochian descendants of Alexander the Great, conquerer of the Indus Valley between 328 and 326 B.C.). It was a time when, alongside Sanskrit, the official state language spoken in this space was common Greek (koine)[24]. The commercial and cultural relations between India and Greece also continued after the decline of the Empire via the famous ‘Silk Route.’ During the Antonine dynasty (1st and 2nd centuries AD), some of the most important commercial routes of the Roman Empire were the “caravan roads which left the old Seleucid harbors of the Levant for the Far East, the sea route to India via the Red Sea […]. Trade with far-off countries allows at least the contact with other civilizations; due to the advantages of the monsoon, India is regularly visited and fairly well known by Greek traders; […]”[25]. There is evidence that Byzantine Greeks continued these commercial relations, especially after the defeat of the Parthians by General Belizarius who lived during the reign of Emperor Justinian (527-565 AD).


Given these circumstances, we may assume that mediaeval Greeks knew the exact meaning of the word athinganoi, and may have used it in a sense that was identical with its Indian counterpart: at(i)-ingā-nin (‘a person who is on the move, a traveller, a nomad’ to refer to all homeless or supposedly inferior groups situated outside the castes. The pejorative sense, inherited from Indian mentality, was probably amplified by the special religious attitude, better said by the reserve that Byzantine Christian groups showed towards Non-Christians who practiced witchcraft and tamed wild animals. Hence the tendency to interpret the Indian term at(i)-ingā-nin (‘nomadic traveller’) through the Greek a-thinga-noi/nos ‘untouchable, dirty, impure,’ in keeping with the focus of Indian culture on the pure-impure opposition.


3.2. Tsiganos/Atsiganos


As far as the terms tsiganos and atsiganos are concerned, I will use as a starting point the ideas of historian George Potra. He mentions a number of scholars who consider that the Gypsies brought their name with them when they came to Europe, and that this name originates in the name of the so-called Cingar tribe they descended from: “According to other scholars, țigan is a name of their own, which they brought along from their place of origin, and is derived, as already mentioned, from the Cingars, the name of an inferior people which still lives in India today”[26]. I fully agree with the first part of Potra’s statement, but not with the second one. Since the exodus of the Gypsies from India occurred in several phases and started in several different places, I consider that the origin of the word țigan should not simply be looked for in the connection with the Cingars, but in Sanskrit[27].


A possible etymology could be traced back[28] to the Sanskrit structure ati-ga-nin, with the meaning ‘(he) who passes by, trespasses’ and consisting of the particles ati and ga. Ati [29] occurs in some Ablative forms, as a preposition with the sense ‘beyond’, but also as a verb meaning ‘to pass, to trespass’, ‘to step, to walk into a forbidden place, a place which does not belong to you’ or ‘to overtake, to separate oneself from’; ga[30] means ‘(he) who/(that) which walks, moves.’ Similarly, the root tyaj-ga[31] can be considered. By contraction, this can be reduced to the form tyāga- with the meaning ‘forsaking, abandoning, departure, separation’. Hence the compound tyāga-nin, tyāgin- ‘(he) who abandons, forsakes, leaves’. The generic desinential suffix -in, with its more rare forms -nin and -min, has a possessive meaning[32] in Sanskrit. It is used with adjectives and nouns with agentive meaning, like in the examples above. Other possibly relevant structures are adhi-GAM ‘to come towards, to approach’[33] and adhy-ā-GAM ‘to come across, to meet’[34] etc.

It should be noted that the words atiganin (‘(he) who passes, trespasses’) and tyāganin ((he) who abandons, forsakes, leaves’) have complementary meanings and can both be used without contradictions to define a wanderer, a nomad (someone who passes by, trespasses, abandons, forsakes, leaves). By adapting these words to the particularities of the gypsy language, in which the consonant g is usually preceded by n in a velar position, we will obtain the variants atinganin/tyānganin. This is probably also where the names cingar/cengar have their origin. On this view, cingar, as a velar variant, could be derived from ci-ga-ar, cigār, cingār, whereby ci- means ‘to search, to research’[35], -ga- has the sense ‘(he) who walks, moves’ and ar(ur) is an Ablative-specific ending for animate nouns[36]. This ending can also be found in the New Indian languages, Hindi and Bengali (manushestar ‘from the man’, rromestar ‘from the gypsy’, phuveatar ‘from the earth’ etc.). Thus, cingar is ‘(he) who searches, walks (from), moves’.


In light of this theory, I believe that after the 12th century the two words atiganin and tyāganin (as either their velar variants atinganin/tyānganin or the terms cingar/cengar) accompanied the Gypsies throughout their nomadic existence. Previous mentions in Georgian-language documents as atsincani and in Greek-language documents as athinganoi (‘untouchable, (emotionally) unmoveable’) probably refer to groups of vagrants  who may not have been gypsies at all, just ‘untouchable’ due to the religious mentality of the time.


The series of confusions that have accompanied the word țigan are natural at the border between two culturally different worlds, which nevertheless interacted for a long time and held intransigent religious views. The senses put forward by the erroneous theories mentioned earlier in this paper, which trace tsigan back to atsigan ‘untouchable, intangible, pagan, impure,’ converge towards the attitude of rejection that mediaeval Christian populations had towards the Non-Christians they came into contact with: ‘pagan,’ ‘dirty,’and therefore ‘impure,’ ‘untouchable’ etc. In the same way, the term athinganoi, used to refer to the (supposed) gypsies before the 12th century, was connected in Greek mentality, in the Indian sense, with people who were outside the Indian castes (pariah!) and to a part of the lower caste sudra. For these reasons, it becomes clear why the complementary senses, i.e. those provided by the word thingano (‘not pagan, clean, pure, touchable’) were not taken into consideration.


The meaning of the Greek word athinganoi seems to have been associated with the Sanskrit forms and their meanings by folk etymology, a process by which a word from a certain language is associated with a similar one (in terms of form and partially in terms of meaning) from another language[37], eliminating the negative connotation of the ethnonym țigan. Further evidence of the fact that we are dealing with an instance of folk etymology is the fact that in the other European languages the term was borrowed directly from the gypsy language. This is the only way in which the fact that the two Greek antonyms athinganoi and thinganoi could have the same meaning with regard to Gypsy ethnics. On the one hand, there was the Greek word athinganoi, with the meaning ‘impure, dirty, untouchable,’ compatible with the sense of the Indian word athingan(in). This association was reinforced by the religiously motivated tendency to reject unknown populations; on the other hand, in the same context we encounter the Sanskrit words atingan(in) and tyāgan(in), with the meaning ‘nomad, migrant, searcher, traveller,’ which explains the real etymology of the Greek words tsiganos and atsiganos, with their Romanian equivalents: țigan and ațigan. The phonetic similarity, insufficient information, but also historical hazard fostered the regrettable confusion regarding the true etymology of the word țigan.


In conclusion, I consider that the hypothesis of the Sanskrit origin of the words țigan and ațigan with the meaning ‘nomad, migrant, wanderer, searcher’ is more consistent with the history of the Gypsies and supported by a sufficiently coherent logic of the historical data available in the field.


The terms derived from the Greek word (a)tsiganos and which exist in most European languages are now almost unanimously regarded as pejorative by Gypsy communities as well as researchers, also based on the initial meaning of the words in the Georgian manuscript of 1068. The suggested Sanskrit etymology, which brings the term țigan in relation with the original meaning ‘nomad, migrant, wanderer, searcher,’ has the merit of eliminating the negative connotations of the word and restoring its historical dignity.


3.3. (R)rom, Dom, Lom


As for the words (r)rom[38], dom and lom[39], which refer to the three main branches of the Gypsy migration from Northern India to Europe (the ‘western’ branch, the ‘south-western’ branch and the ‘North’ branch), the American linguist Ian F. Hancock believes that these three groups became separated before entering the Persian-speaking territories[40] and that they all exhibit Iranian borrowings which are nevertheless almost entirely different between the groups[41]. Contrary to this idea, I would like to propose the hypothesis that then Persian-speaking region, being adjacent to northern India, was strongly influenced by the Sanskrit language long before the three groups of gypsies started their migration. The fact that the language of the original Vedas is almost identical to that of the Iranian Avesta is not a simple coincidence, as both languages are part of the Indo-Iranian group. Linguistic borrowings, even if they existed, cannot have been very significant, since the Gypsies were migrants to those areas and as such organized in closed communities which had a limited exchange of information with the local populations. This would explain the similarities between the Iranian languages and the languages of the three Gypsy groups, without presupposing intensive contact and exchange between the closed gypsy communities and the populations they encountered during their migration.


According to this hypothesis, the meaning of the words (r)rom, dom and lom should be traced back to the Sanskrit language or the Arian languages derived from it and spoken in the countries of origin of the gypsies before their migration.


I will start my enquiry with a number of facts which are considered certain in the research. Angus Fraser mentions that the Gypsy term (r)rom can be found in Persian under the form dom, and in Armenian under the form lom. In all three cases, it has the same meaning: ‘man, husband, master of the house’[42]. He considers dom and lom to be derived from rom and phonetically adapted to the languages they became part of. This thesis will be accepted for the moment, until it can be proved or disproved.


Romany language dictionaries define the word rom (in the variant rrom) as ‘man, gypsy’[43] or ‘man, husband, gypsy (member of the gypsy ethnical group), member of a gypsy community’[44]. If we only take into account the first two meanings ‘man, husband,’ we are close to Fraser’s explanation of dom and lom as ‘man, husband, master of the house’[45]. This assimilation of meanings can be made keeping in mind the traditional Asian mentality and that of patriarchal societies in which the man in general and the husband in particular have a special, privileged role in the family – that of master.


I contend that the migration of the three Gypsy branches (rom, dom and lom) could not have taken place much before 1000 AD. Arguments in favor of this thesis can be found in the work of Franz Miklosich[46] and I.H. Schwicker[47], who show that the Gypsy language is similar to the Arian languages of India. Hence the conclusion that all of these languages were formed at the same time and in the same circumstances, i.e. after the dissolution of Sanskrit around 1000 AD.


It is not possible to take into account the evolution of each language derived from Sanskrit over the past 1,000 years. However, these languages are based on the structures and vocabulary of Sanskrit, an Indo-European language belonging to the Indo-Iranian group and displaying many similarities to Avestan[48]. Since even after 1000 AD Sanskrit continued to be a heritage of the educated classes and an instrument for the preservation of sacred texts, I will rely on this language to provide the etymology of the three words: rom, dom and lom.


The Sanskrit words I would like to discuss are: roman, roma[49] (with the meaning ‘hair’), but also the derivatives romaça[50] ‘hairy, (man) wearing long hair and a beard’ and romaka [51] ‘the name of a people (in India)’; romā, romāli (romāvali. In the same dictionary, there is a reference to the term roman as being synonymous with loman[52] with the meaning ‘hair,’ but also with lomaça[53] ‘hairy, (man) wearing long hair and a beard.’ Given that equivalence, it can be inferred that lomā, lomāli (lomāvali) In other words, the forms lom, loman are only variants of rom and roman, obtained by changing r to l, a fairly common phenomenon in Sanskrit. On the other hand, the form dom has a different origin, but acquired the same meaning as the other forms through contamination: since it had a similar meaning, the senses eventually overlapped. In Sanskrit we also find the words dam-, dam-pati-[54] with the meaning ‘master of the house, husband,’ but also dama[55] ‘to discipline, to subject, to impose, to tame’ as well as dámūnas ‘lord of the house’: cf. Latin dominus ’lord of the house, ruler’.  There is no doubt that dom derives from the same root which was later contaminated with roman, roma.


From this it should be concluded that Sanskrit terms phonetically similar to rom, dom and lom converge towards the meaning ‘lord, master of the house, husband.’ Therefore it appears that dom and lom are not the Persian and Armenian variants of the Gypsy word rom, but its Sanskrit synonyms. In the Romany language the word rom means ‘man, husband’ Together these words, which in Sanskrit were equivalent, reconstitute the original meaning of ‘lord, master of the house, man, husband’.


  1. Conclusions


Establishing the true etymology of the words tigan and (r)rom has proved to be a difficult undertaking due to the relatively large number of avatars they have taken. In a Sanskrit interpretation of their etymology, the terms athinganoi, tyagan, atigan, cengar and cingar have the meaning ‘traveller, nomad, wanderer.’ A similar approach in relation to the word (r)rom, in its attested variants rom, lom and dom, points to a unique meaning, that of ‘man, husband, master of the house,’ and, in the context of identifying a member of the Gypsy community, ‘one of us, someone who understands us in terms of soul and attitude.’


In time, postulating an erroneous etymology for the word țigan has had an unfortunate effect on the identity and historical destiny of the Gypsy ethnic group, with echoes and pejorative connotations reaching all the way into contemporary European history and still unpredictable future consequences.


I believe that clarifying the etymology of the words țigan and r(r)om has a great scientific, as well as social and historical significance[56]. In this way, the historical name țigan is restored to its correct  significance at the level of ethnic identification, while the term r(r)om reveals its restricted relevance in a family and community context.




Note: An earlier version of the present paper was published in Cercetari Filosofico-Psihologice, Academia Romana/Institutul de Filosofie si Sociologie “C. Radulescu Motru” si Societatea Germano-Romana de Filosofie, 3rd year, January-June 2011, 1st Issue, p. 147-157. The current version differs significantly from the initial one through exhaustive explanations, commentaries and nuanced conclusions.





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Becescu, Enric,  Gramatica practică a limbii sanskrite, vol. I, Bucharest: Editura ψ, 2003.


Cherata, Lucian, Dicţionar al limbii rromani, Bucharest: Orion, 2003.


Ciorănescu, Al., Dicţionarul etimologic al limbii române, Bucharest: Saeculum I.O., 2002.


Fraser, Angus, Ţiganii, Bucharest: Humanitas, 1998.


Georgin, Ch., Dictionnaire grec-francais, Paris: Librairie A. Hatier, 1932.


Hancock, Ian F., On the Migration and Affiliation of the Dōmba: Iranian Words in Rom, Lom and Dom Gypsy, in: IRU Occasional Papers, series, 1992.


Kogălniceanu, Mihail, Esquisse sur l’histoire, les moeurs et la langue des Cigains, Bucharest: Edit. Academiei, 1976, Opere, vol. II.


Liegeois, Jean-Pierre, Tsiganes et Voyageurs. Données socio-culturelles. Données socio-politiques, Strasbourg: Conseil de l’ Europe, 1985.


Miklosich, Franz, Über die Mundarten und die Wanderungen der Zigeuner Europa’s, Vienna, in Denkschriften der Kaiserlichen Akademie der Wiesenschaften, 1872 – 1880, VI.


Potra, George, Contribuţiuni la istoricul ţiganilor din România, Bucharest: Mihai Dascălu, 2002.


Renou, Louis, Grammaire sanskrite, Paris: Librairie d’Amérique et d’Orient, 1984.


Sarău, Gheorghe, Dicţionar rrom-român, Bucharest: Sigma, 2006.


Schwicker, I.H., Die Zigeuner in Ungarn und Siebenbürgen, Vienna, 1883.


Stchoupak, N., Nitti, L., Renou, L., Dictionnaire sanskrit-français, Paris: Librairie d’Amérique et d’Orient, 1986.


Universo, La grande enciclopedia per tutti, volume undicessimo (SAH-TAG), Novara: Institute Geografico de Agostini, 1978.

[1] A. Fraser, Ţiganii, Bucharest: Humanitas, 1998, p. 52.

[2] J.-P. Liegeois, Tsiganes et Voyageurs. Données socio-culturelles. Données socio-politiques, Strasbourg: Conseil de l’ Europe, 1985, p. 13-14.

[3] F. Miklosich , Über die Mundarten und die Wanderungen der Zigeuner Europa’s, in: Denkschriften der Kaiserlichen Akademie der Wiesenschaften, Vienna, 1872 – 1880, VI, p. 60.

[4] G. Potra, Contribuţiuni la istoricul ţiganilor din România, Bucharest: Mihai Dascălu, 2002, p. 5.

[5] A. Fraser, op.cit., p. 52.

[6] Ibid., p. 52-53.

[7] After G. Potra, op. cit., p. 17.

[8] I.H. Schwicker, Die Zigeuner in Ungarn und Siebenbürgen, Vienna, 1883, p. 18.

[9] M. Kogălniceanu, Esquisse sur l’histoire, les moeurs et la langue des Cigains, Bucharest: Editura Academiei, 1976, Opere, vol. II, p. 357.

[10] Ch. Georgin, Dictionnaire grec-francais, Paris: Librairie A. Hatier, 1932, p. 385.

[11] A major work in Byzantine historiography: M. Pselos, Un veac de istoriografie bizantină (976-1077), Iaşi: Polirom, 1998, does not mention this population when referring to the Byzantium of that time. This points out to a reduced, accidental presence of the athinganoi mentioned by the hagiographic document of 1068. Due to the Christian intolerance towards magic, references to the athinganoi would have been directly proportional with their presence. This assumption is based on the large number of works written immediately after the year 1000 against magic, demonic practices and occultism. See Timotheos sau despre demoni, despre acţiunea demonilor, actul de acuzare al prelatului Mihail Cerularios (written in 1054, in which the prelate Mihail Cerularius was accused of magic practices) – after M. Pselos, op.cit, p. 225).

[12] Al. Ciorănescu, Dicţionarul etimologic al limbii române, Bucureşti: Saeculum I.O., 2002, p. 785.

[13] M. A. Bailly, Dictionnaire grec-français, Paris: Librairie Hachette, 1928.

[14] M.A. Bailly, ibid. θυγγαννō (thinganō) goes back to the root θιγ (‘to touch’), from Dorian  θιγō (‘to touch’). Derived from θιγ are both θιγγαννο (thinganō) and θιζις (tixis) (‘to touch (the action)’); P. Chantraine, Dictionaire  étimologique de la langue grecque, Volume 2, Paris: Éditions Klicksieck, 1970, p. 437: the etymology of the word θιγγαννο (thinganō). Also, information about related words is in consonance with my  argumentation. Ibid., the 2000 edition, p. 35: α-θιγηνς, -ηνς, ενς (a-thigēs,ēs, es);); θιγγαννο (thinganō), p. 397 having a supposed affinity with the Sanskrit root dehmi; similarly, in: Roberti, Dictionaire  de la langue grecque: θιγειν (thigein), infinitival aorist 2, dialectal attic, from θιγγαννω (thinganō).

[15] L. Peţinis, Dicţionar grec-român, Bucharest: Vox, 1995, p. 402a.

[16] Ibid., p. 117a.

[17] A. Fraser, Ţiganii, Bucharest: Humanitas, 1998, p. 33.

[18] In Greek, the structure gg is read and transliterated to the velar version ng.

[19] J.G. Eckard, Corpus historicum medii aevi, Leipzig, vol. 2, col. 1225, translated from Latin after Hermann Cornerus, Chronica novella usque ad annum 1435, on the journey of the gypsies across Northern Germany: “they called themselves secani”; the pilgrim Arnold von Harf of Cologne, 1497, on the gypsies in the town of Modon: “…They call themselves gypsies (Zigeuner in German) (suyginer); we call them pagans from Egypt when they come to these parts…”

[20] N. Stchoupak, L. Nitti, L. Renou, Dictionnaire sanskrit-français, ibid., ati (‘very, excessive, intense’, ‘relative to’); p. 10b; ingā (‘mobile, on the move’), 130b; -nin (‘a suffix which indicates an agent of movement in the Sanskrit language’); in conclusion: at(i)-ingā-nin ,a person on the move, a traveller, a nomad’ (Sanskrit); this may well be the true sense of the word atinganoi, borrowed into Greek from the adjacent cultural space and linguistically compatible to a large extent with the Indian one.

[21] V. Zartarian, Marile civilizaţii, Bucharest: Lider, 2004, p. 265.

[22] Ibid., p. 263.

[23] After the death of Alexander the Great (324 BC), general Seleucos founded the Seleucid dynasty, which ruled intermittently over the North of India until the 2nd century B.C. In the 2nd and 1st centuries, the Greek-Bactrian Empire was set up, ruled continuously for over 200 years by Seleucid kings.

[24] Jean Paul Roux, Asia Centrală, Istorie şi civilizaţie, Bucharest: Artemis, 2007, p. 73.

[25] M. Bordet, Istoria Romei Antice, Bucharest: Lider, 1998, p. 289-290.

[26] G. Potra, op. cit., p. 11.

[27] N. Stchoupak, L. Nitti et L. Renou, Dictionnaire sanskrit-français, Paris: Librairie d’Amérique et d’Orient, 1986.

[28] Ibid., p. 11.

[29] Ibid., p. 10, 17.

[30] Ibid., p. 222.

[31] Ibid., p. 290.

[32] E. Becescu, Gramatica practică a limbii sanskrite, vol. I, Bucharest: ψ, 2003, p. 176.

[33] N. Stchoupak, L. Nitti et L. Renou, op.cit., p. 22.

[34] Ibid., p. 25.

[35] Ibid., p. 249.

[36] L. Renou, Grammaire sanskrite, Paris: Librairie d’Amérique et d’Orient, 1984, p. 363.

[37] A similar example is the confusion which appeared when the word r(r)om was began to be used in Europe, and seemed to have the same root as the word român (‘Romanian’), though they were unrelated in terms of origin, etymology and meaning.

[38] The form  rrom can be found in Romanian and gypsy and indicates an accentuated pronunciation of the consonant r.

[39] Ibid.

[40] Ian F. Hancock, On the Migration and Affiliation of the Dōmba: Iranian Words in Rom, Lom and Dom Gypsy, in: IRU Occasional Papers series, 1992, pp. 1-7, 12-15.

[41] Ibid.

[42] A. Fraser, op.cit., p. 33, 44-47.

[43] Gh. Sarău, Dicţionar rrom-român, Bucharest: Sigma, 2006, p. 172.

[44] L. Cherata, Dicţionar al limbii rromani, Bucharest: Orion, 2003, p. 213.

[45] Ibid.

[46] F. Miklosich, op.cit., p. 107.

[47] I.H. Schwicker, op.cit., p. 18.

[48] Universo, La grande enciclopedia per tutti, volume undicessimo (SAH-TAG), Novara: Istituto Geografico de Agostini, 1978. Obs. Only Vedic Sanskrit is almost identical to Avestic. Later, the two languages evolved differently, post-Vedic Sanskrit representing the second phase in the evolution of Sanskrit.

[49] N. Stchoupak, L. Nitti, L. Renou, op. cit., p. 609.

[50] Ibid., p. 610.

[51] Ibid.

[52] Ibid., p. 609.

[53] Ibid., p. 619.

[54] Ibid., p. 299.

[55] Ibid.

[56] Unfortunately, at present, the erroneous use of these words in the media is having a devastating impact on public perception and unfortunate long-term consequences for the Romanian people at a social, historical, juridical and moral level. So much the more dangerous is the fact that ‘playing’ with these terms is often superficially and irresponsibly encouraged by people with scientific authority in Academia.