Specifically an A-Z dictionary for Romani culture & mythology. It is a good introduction for terms, this work would serve best as a complement book to historical and origin stories in narrative form or a starting place for more in depth research.
– Net Galley Feedback
Although the Romani’s own myths and their common name point to Egyptian origins they originated in India, as evidenced by studies of their language. They arrived in Europe in the ninth century and spread across the continent from East to West, reaching England in the 15th century and Scandinavia by the end of the 16th century. A nomadic people, these wanderers were reviled by local populaces wherever they went and regarded as misfits, intruders, foreigners, and thieves.
Drawing on a number of sources never before available outside of Eastern Europe, Claude Lecouteux reconstructs the oral tradition to provide a comprehensive A-to-Z look at Romani mythology, including their folktales, rites, songs, nursery rhymes, jokes, and magical traditions. His main source is material collected by Heinrich Adalbert von Wlislocki (1856-1907), an ethnologist who lived with them in Romania, Transylvania, and Hungary in the latter half of the 19th century.
He presents the origin myths of these amazing people, their legends which form the ancestral memory of the Romani people and often closely touch on their daily life.
Lecouteux explores the full range of supernatural beings that inhabit their world, including fairies, undines, ogres, giants, dog-people, and demons, and he examines the three major settings of these folktales–the forest, the waters, and the mountain, which they worshiped as a sacred being in its own right. He also reveals how coexisting with peoples of different religions led the Romani to adapt or borrow stories and figures from these groups, and he shows how the religious concepts and sacred stories of the Rom testify to a profound syncretism of pagan traditions and Christianity.
Complete with rare illustrations and information from obscure sources appearing for the first time in English, this detailed reference work represents an excellent resource for scholars and those seeking to reconnect to their forgotten heritage.