, Hdt. 5.9
; Eth. Σίγυνοι
, Apollon. 4.320
; Orph. Arg.
759; Eth. Σίγιννοι
, Strab. xi. p.520
The only name of any Trans-Danubian population, other than Scythian, known to Herodotus was that of the Sigynnes, whom he seems to have described as the Thracians described them to either himself or his informants. The Thracian notion of one of these Sigynnes was that he wore a Median dress, and considered himself a descendant of the Medes; though how this could be was more than Herodotus could say. “Anything, however, is possible in a long space of time.” The horses of the Sigynnes were undersized--ponies, indeed, rather than horses. They were flatnosed and long-haired; their coat being five fingers deep. They were too weak to carry a man on their back; but not too weak for harness.
In chariots they were light and quick; and in the drawing of chariots the Sigynnes took great delight.
We must look on Sigynnes as a general and collective name for a large assemblage of populations; inasmuch as their country is said to extend as far westwards as the Heneti on the Adriatic. Say that it reached what was afterwards the frontier of Pan nonia. On the north it must really have been bounded by some of the Scythian districts.
In the language of the Ligyans above Massilia, the word Sigynna
means a merchant,
In Cyprus they call spears
by the name Sigynna.
The resemblance of this word to the name Zigeun==Gipsy
has often been noticed. Word for word, it may be the same.
It may also have been applied to the gipsies with the meaning it has in Ligyan.
It does not, however, follow that the Sigynnes were gipsies.