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As novels (from Latin Romani , Sg. Romanus , Romans') or Roman peoples are peoples whose occupation of languages on the Latin decline. In the early Middle Ages , those inhabitants of the former Roman Empire were called romani who spoke Vulgar Latin or the precursors of the Romance languages ​​in order to distinguish them from the Germanic gentes and their respective languages who immigrated to the area of ​​the western Roman Empire during the migration of peoples .

As a result of the separate political development of the individual Romance-speaking regions and the emergence of different pro-Romance vernacular languages, this term was already out of use in the course of the Middle Ages and was replaced by geographically or politically determined terms. Only in the Graubünden or Rhaeto- Romanians , Romanians , Aromanians and Istrian Romanians have self-names that go back to Romanus received .

The states with a Romance national language ( France , Italy , Portugal , Spain , Romania and Moldova ) that exist today in the former area of ​​the Roman Empire are also known as Romance countries . However, the common name for the inhabitants of these countries is derived from the respective country names ( French , Italian , etc.) and is not Romanes .


Although they do not speak a Romance language, some Greeks still refer to themselves today as Romií ( modern Greek Ρωμιοί , Roman ' ). The reason is the traditional name of the Greek-speaking citizens of the Eastern Roman Empire as Rhomaioi ( ancient Greek Ρωμαίοι Rhomaioi , German ', Romans , Eng. Rhomaioi transcribed; in the Byzantine too, Rhomäer ' Germanized). Similar transfer effects also affect the designation ' Romania ' for the settlement area of ​​the 'Romans'.

The self-designation of the Roma people does not come from Latin, but from the Romani word rom for 'husband'. Since Romani does not belong to the Romance but to the Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European languages , the Roma are not Romans.


  • Bodo Müller: Names for the languages, speakers and countries of Romania . In: Günter Holtus u. a. (Ed.): Lexicon of Romance Linguistics (LRL). Niemeyer, Tübingen 1996, vol. 2.1. Latin and Romansh. Historical-comparative grammar of the Romance languages . 1996, ISBN 3-484-50232-0 , pp. 134-151.
  • Carlo Tagliavini : Introduction to Romance Philology (“Le origini delle lingue neolatine”). 2., verb. Ed., Francke ( UTB ; 8137), Stuttgart 1998, ISBN 3-8252-8137-X .


  1. On the research problems relating to “Romanes” and “Germanic peoples” cf. about Hubert Fehr: Teutons and Romans in the Merovingian Empire. Early historical archeology between science and current affairs. Berlin / New York 2010, p. 21 ff.
  2. ^ Carlo Tagliavini: Introduction to Romance Philology . 2nd ed., Stuttgart 1998, pp. 119-124.