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Old 28-08-2010, 07:55 PM   #1
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Default Romany Gypsies and Jesus

The English term Gypsy (or Gipsy), originates from the Greek word 'Aigyptoi' in the erroneous belief that the Roma originated in Egypt, and were exiled as punishment for allegedly harboring the infant Jesus. This ethnonym is not used by the Roma to describe themselves, and is often considered pejorative. However, the use of "gypsy" in English is now so pervasive that many Roma organizations use the word gypsy in their own names.

Roma were people originally from India, whom the Islamic holy wars there had driven out towards and into Europe in the Middle Ages. It was formerly believed that they had originated in Egypt, hence they were termed Gypsies.

Most Roma refer to themselves as Rom. In the Romani language, Rom (man) derives from the Sanskrit dom (man).

Most Roma speak Romani, an Indo-Aryan language likely derived from Sanskrit. Romani is also related to Pothohari.


Because of an image that they like to steal and kill innocent animals and refuse to live like normal people, there has been a great deal of mutual distrust between the Roma and their more settled neighbours. According to legend in some European nations, particularly in the Black Forest region, at the time of the Crucifixion, no blacksmith would make the nails for the cross. One blacksmith agreed to do so, however, and the spirit of these nails came back to haunt him and his family some years later, forcing them to constantly wander and become the Roma.


During the Enlightenment, Spain briefly and unsuccessfully tried to assimilate the Roma into the mainstream population by forcing them to abandon their language and way of life; even the word gitano was made illegal. Many nations have subsequently attempted to assimilate their Roma populations.

There are some legends in European culture that describe the origins of Roma, which are bound with the catholic church tradition and whose point was to explain the nomadic lifestyle of Roma to the local settlers. One of them says that Roma-Gypsies were in fact Egyptians who helped Jesus during the slaughter of innocents. When Herod found it out, he ordered to capture Roma. They reacted on it by escaping along the northern coasts of Africa and this way they reached first Gibraltar and then Iberian Peninsula.

Last edited by lightgiver; 28-08-2010 at 08:03 PM.
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