National Geographic : 1918 Dec
THE NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE 501 Photograph by A. W . Cutler GYPSIES: THE NOMADS OF EVERY LAND Whence they come and whither they go is a puzzle not only to the dweller in city or country whom they pass, but to the student of races as well. Their origin is lost in the mists of legend and tradition. They are to be found in many countries of Europe, chiefly in the Balkans, in Hungary, and in Spain. He who is fascinated by the romantic subject of the Gypsies finds in the pages of George Borrow's "Lavengro" and "Romany Rye" accounts of these wanderers which are of absorbing interest. The man in the photograph is holding the silver-crowned cane which he uses when on the road. His coat is adorned with immense silver buttons (see page 5 02). Rome had regarded the Jews merely as dan gerous rebels who must be crushed. After they became powerless, they were allowed to live and prosper as they pleased. The Mishna, or Oral Law, the foundation of the Talmud, was evolved. Meanwhile a marvelous teacher, Mar Samuel, wrought into the very being of the exiles a principle that was to control their attitude and conduct. He taught that every where "the law of the government is the bind ing law," and that it was their religious duty, not from expediency, but from moral obliga tion, to conform to and obey, as far as possible, the laws of any country in which they were found. They were even to pray for the peace of the place wherein they dwelt. Thus was their adaptation to any habitat made incumbent and possible. From it has come about the racial suppleness which bends but never breaks. To it Graetz, the foremost of Jewish historians, declares Judaeism has owed "the possibility of existence in a foreign country." Through tribulation and agony, un exampled in the life of any other people, it has enabled the Jewish race to survive. The nominal profession of Christianity by Europe set the Jew by himself apart. To an ignorant and brutal age every Jewish hand seemed red with the blood of the Saviour. That Jesus and the apostles were themselves Jews was sometimes denied. Under the mask of piety, every foul passion robbed and mal treated the Jews. The laws against them were more merciless than the mobs. In Italy they were at times less harshly treated through the influence of the Popes, and sometimes a great sovereign like Charlemagne would shine as their open friend. Yet, with rare exceptions, injustice, persecution, and proscription were their invariable, universal lot from Constan tine far down into modern times. The severe Moslem laws against them were laxly enforced. So they shared the brilliant prosperity of the Moors in Spain until both were expelled.