"These Szgany are gipsies"
by cm

A Roma family in Transylvania, c.1862
Public DomainA Roma family in Transylvania, c.1862 - Credit: Theodor Glatz
The Szgany, or Roma, constitute about 3% of the population of modern-day Romania.  They are thought to originate from northern India, and to have arrived in eastern Europe in the 14th century.

In Wallachia and Moldavia, many of the Roma were held as slaves until Abolition in the 1850s.  It is therefore perhaps not surprising that they take a somewhat anti-establishment role in Dracula.  Or possibly their allegiance to Dracula dates back far longer than that: in 1445, Vlad Dracul is reported to have captured around 12,000 prisoners "who looked like Egyptians" whilst fighting in Bulgaria; could these be the ancestors of the Count's henchmen?

The cart in the picture may be what Stoker means by a "leiter-wagon".


Moldavian Roma, 1837
Public DomainMoldavian Roma, 1837 - Credit: Auguste Raffet