This engraving by Jacques Callot (1592-1635) belongs to the series of four etchings known as Les Bohémiens, produced between 1621 and 1625. Classified as number two of the set, the print emphasises the warlike character of the gypsies. Impeccably dressed, heavily armed with firearms, mounted on splendid horses, wearing feathered hats and moustaches, they are the spitting image of the arrogant military man. Numerous examples of Gypsies as mercenaries have been recorded; to Bishop Sigismund, defender of the city of Funfkiirchen, they provided muskets, bullets and war harnesses, displaying their knowledge of the art of metalworking. It is also known that in the 16th century Henry IV of France had a battalion of 400 Gypsies in his service, and that during the Thirty Years’ War (1618-1648) the Swedes had a Gypsy leader among their troops. In 1773, a decree of the tsar ordered the formation of two cavalry regiments by recruiting Gypsy men. Another later example can be found in 1780 in the Hungarian detachments of Orosaish and Jalaish, where there was one Gypsy for every eight soldiers.
Project: 4. Family, daily life and social inequality in Europe., 7. Persecuted by justice and powers: rebels, political dissidents and criminals in the history of Europe., 9. Travels and travelers: economic, social and cultural connections.
Resource type: Image
Format: Printmaking, etching and engraving, 12,2 x 23,6 cm
Source: Gallica. Biblioteca Nacional de Francia. Departamento de Estampas y Fotografía
Owner: Blanca Rodríguez Hernández (Modernalia)
Copyright: Dominio público
Abstract: Mercenary gypsiesImage