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Gypsy Folk Tales, by Francis Hindes Groome, [1899], at

In Corfu.

The Empress Catherine de Courtenay-Valois (1301-46), granted to the suzerains of Corfu authority to receive as vassals certain 'homines vageniti,' coming from the Greek mainland, and using the Greek rite. By the close of the fourteenth century these vageniti were all of them subject to a single baron, Gianuli de Abitabulo, and formed the nucleus of a fief called the fief of Abitabulo or feudum Acinganorum, which lasted under various superiors until the abolition of feudal tenures in the beginning of the present century. One of those superiors,

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about 1540, was the learned Antonio Eparco, Melanchthon's correspondent; another, the tyrannical Count Teodoro Michele, who died in 1787. This little Gypsy colony, numbering about a hundred adults, besides children, had a tax to pay twice a year to their superior, as also such fines as two gold pieces and a couple of fat hens for permission to marry. They were mechanics, smiths, tinkers, and husbandmen; celebrated a great yearly festival on the first of May; and were amenable only to the jurisdiction of their lord. Carl Hopf, in Die Einwanderung der Zigeuner in Europa (Gotha, 1870, pp. 17-23), tells us much about them, collected from the papers of Count Teodoro Trivoli, who succeeded to the property in 1863. Still we would fain know much more, especially something as to their language. One point to be noticed is that Italians must in Corfu have come early in contact with Gypsies, for the island belonged to Venice from 1401 to 1797.

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