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How Old The Word "Çingene-Çıgany-Tsigani" 01/11/2011
"If you are rich, they call you as prince or general
If you are poor, they call you as Abdal or Çingene..."
Çingene-Çıgany-Tsigani is one of most common words which define people who are the victims of universal caste system which divides humanity according to subsistence ways. Some sources which have already started to be forgotten and are mostly ignored show that the word Çingene could be older 2500 years contrary to common belief.
The word Çingene in the form of Çıgany and yok-çıgany was used on one face of Orhun Sculptures which was erected between a.d 500-700 in middle asia purporting poor as an opposite word to prince. Poverty is something mostly tribal in contradistinction to modern-day. Tribes who have big animal stocks, agricultural lands and who are strong warriors are believed to be rich and governor tribes. On the other hand, tribes whose animal stocks, agricultural lands and forests in where they had huntered and gathered were captured by others were poor tribes.
Tribes who have no other possibility to subsist were serving some services and producing some craft productions for other tribes in exchange of food. When we look at the issue from this perspective, it is so understandable why the word Çıgany was used with meaning of poor in Orhun Sculptures and how it transformed to an umbrella word including all Gypsy peoples. The words Çıgany and yok-Çıgany are still being used to define Gypsy peoples in Balkan countries today.
An other information which makes more interesting the issue is that historian Heredot refered a tribe named Sigynnae in his book. The word sigynnae was the name of a peddler(blacksmith) tribe living in Balkans according to Heredotus. It's clearly understood that the tribe lived in Balkans 2800 years ago was a typical Gypsy tribe. On the other hand, Heredotus says that the word Sigynnae was not only the name of a tribe in some regions of Europe. It was also a generic term used with meaning of peddler. This also shows that it could be possible that the word Sigynnae was an umbrella term defining an universal caste, Gypsy Universal Nation.
What does it mean that we see the same word in a similar meaning contexts either in middle asia 1500 years ago and in Balkans 2800 years ago? Is it possible that the word Çingene-Çıgany-Tsigani derived from the language of an old society from which Balkan and Middle asian civilizations originated from? How old is the word? It's not easy to answer this question. Anyway, it's clear that origin of the word Çingene-Çıgany-Tsigani which is the most common name of peoples who are victims of universal caste system is implicit in the depths of history.
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Source: Ali Mezarcıoğlu Çingenelerin Kitabı Cinius Yayınları 2010 ( The Book of Gypsies; Cinius Publishing)