THE ANTI-GYPSY LEGISLATION OF THE DUCHY OF MILAN IN THE EARLY MODERN AGE
Maria Gloria Tumminelli
University of Pavia
Between the 15th and 17th centuries, Gypsy people were the target of fluctuating legislative persecution in the Duchy of Milan. Bans and gride issued by political and religious authorities clearly attest to the negative evolution of the image of the Gypsies, often associated with beggars, criminals, bandits and other archetypical groups at the margins of the society. Despite these efforts of organized repression, Gypsies elaborated a wide range of “tactics” in order to escape banishment and safeguard their presence and their wandering lifestyle in the Milanese territory. They often demonstrated their profound knowledge of the Duchy’s political and juridical system and benefited from this in order to procure trade permission, licenses to carry weapons and residence privileges. The constant need for armed forces also made it possible for some groups of Gypsies to enjoy special rights thanks to their service as light cavalry in the army of the Thirty Years War.
In: Kyuchukov, Hristo; Elena Marushiakova; and Vesselin Popov (eds.). 2016. Roma: Past, present, future. ISBN 9783862887361: 6-23. (pdf e-paper).
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