Recent linguistic, anthropological and biblical studies have shed light on the history and origins of the Roma people.
The Romani language has Indo-aryan roots, member of the Indo-european languages spoken from the beginning of the Middle Ages in the diaspora outside of the Indian subcontinent, which now is integral part of the linguistic diversity in Europe. Linguistics and anthropological studies confirm that the migration of the Roma people occurred around 1500 ago (6th century), from North-Western India through Persia and the Balkan Peninsula and then to the rest of Europe. Roma people are thought to have emigrated through the main continental roads and through Cyprus (known at that time as “Little Egypt”). For this reason, some scholars have coined the term “Gypsy” when referring to the Roma, due to their arrival to Europe from Egypt (Little Egypt to be more precise).
However, the term “Gypsy” is loaded with many negative and prejudicial connotations, Roma continue to call themselves “Roma” a term which means “husband” or “man” in Romani. The First World Roma Congress, determined “Roma” as the official term by which they would call themselves, respecting the decision made by local communities in how they referred to themselves; also other terms adopted in Romani language (e.g. “manush” which in Albanian means “person” or “sinti” derived from earlier tribal affiliations).
Some biblical scholars accept the fact that Roma started their travels to Europe from India, but that India was not the place of origins o Roma. Biblical scholars claim that there are several elements in common between the beliefs of Israelites and Roma, which according to them appear only in the torrah, stating that they have no link with Indian beliefs. According to these scholars, Roma have a connection with the Jewish diaspora in India, and that they may be one of the 10 lost tribes of Israel.
Independent of the Indian or Jewish origins of the Roma people, it is a fact that elements of both cultures are present nowadays in the Roma diaspora in Europe. While linguistic analysis show that Romani, besides a base on Indian languages, has enough influence from the local languages where they have traveled (e.g. Greek), other ethnographic elements (like traditional womens clothes, the black hat worn by men) are similar to traditional clothing of Jewish people, without setting aside the entrepreneurial skills, or the history of slavery, discrimination and persecution on both the Jewish and Roma diasporas.