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Many gypsies, particularly females, possess mystical or oracular abilities, and the iconic Character Creation process in Ultima IV is facilitated by an unnamed gypsy woman. Other gypsy mystics throughout the series include Inoo, Malifora, Taynith, Penumbra, Margareta and Morganna. Tarot cards and crystal balls are traditionally used by gypsies as tools of divination, although some charlatans, such as Arturos and Irina, use the promise of fortune-telling to fleece curiosity seekers of a quick coin.
From Ultima VI onward, gypsies were shown as being under the loose leadership of various "kings" of the gypsy people, although the existence of a hierarchy that transcends more than one traveling group is never delved into. At one point, there were even two self-declared "kings" of the gypsies (Zoltan and Arturos) with little to imply that there was any consensus as to who was in charge. In Ultima IX, the title of leadership seemingly changes to Rom Baro.
Gypsies are often depicted as facing persecution and repression from the greater populace of Britannia, particularly from the Fellowship. Jergi, the reluctant king of the gypsies in Ultima VII states that such persecutions have been deep-rooted since the time of ancient Sosaria and that his people are beginning to die out from the world as a result. Although some gypsies, such as Arturos and his crew, have vices which reflect the prejudices of a world that brands their entire people as criminal, most gypsies encountered by the Avatar were good and virtuous people, and many of them proved instrumental in the hero's quest.
Individual Gypsies Edit
Ultima IV Edit
Ultima V Edit
Ultima VI Edit
- Andreas: a prostitute and swordsman encamped near Trinsic
- Arturos: king of the gypsies and fortune-teller encamped near Trinsic
- Blaine: a juggler and potential party member
- Karina: a young dancer
- Penumbra: a mage living in Moonglow
- Taynith: a mystic and fortune-teller
- Wanda: a prostitute encamped near Trinsic
- Zoltan: a second king of the gypsies
Ultima VII Edit
- Frederico: former King of the Gypsies; murdered in Minoc
- Jergi: King of the Gypsies; encamped near Minoc
- Margareta: fortune-teller encamped near Minoc
- Sasha: a young Fellowship member encamped near Minoc
- Tania: a murder victim in Minoc
Ultima IX Edit
- Alara: the Rom Baro's wife; living in Minoc
- Irina: the Rom Baro's daughter; living in Minoc
- Morganna: fortune-teller living in Minoc
- The Rom Baro: leader of the gypsies in Minoc
The real world RomaniEdit
The Ultima gypsies are a romanticized version of the real world Romani people, an ethnic group originally from the Indian subcontinent which emigrated into the European peninsula. The term "gypsies" is based on the mistaken assumption that their origin was Egypt. This label is sometimes also applied to other ethnicities and groups know to travel, such as the Pavees of Ireland or members of the New Age movement who have taken up a nomadic lifestyle.
True to Ultima's depiction, the Romani have historically faced tremendous persecution (antiziganism) from numerous sources and are still a people who deal regularly with institutional prejudice, poverty and social inequality. The itinerant lifestyle often associated with the Romani is largely a result of them being categorically banned from settling in various nations.
Ultima's romantic depiction of the "gypsies" is a common one. The Romani are often fictionalized as being a carefree and passionate people with strong criminal tendencies, although few Romani are nomadic by choice and numerous Romani cultural bans prohibit vices such as promiscuity. Their oft-attributed mystical powers are commonly used in works of fiction as narrative devices to communicate omens and prophecies.
The device of the "king of the gypsies," which Ultima employs, reflects a real phenomenon, although many such historical "kings" proclaimed themselves as such for the sake of relations with the gaje (non-gypsies) rather than because they held any real power among their people.
- The term giorgio, used by Zoltan to denote non-gypsies in Ultima VI is a real term in the Romani language.
- In spite of their nomadic roots, the gypsies of Ultima seemingly come to settle near the city of Minoc, given that this is the only city in which they are found in Ultima VII and Ultima IX.
- Rom Baro is actually a term used, primarily by American Romani, to denote leadership. It translates to "big man" in the Romani language.
- Romani People on Wikipedia
- Fictional Representations of Romani People on Wikipedia
- Roma Rights Network: Roma Facts: a discussion of several of the popularized myths which have arisen regarding Romani culture.