Their own origins myths put them at the scene of the Crucifixion,
deprived of a home of their own, doomed to a life of wandering, and
granted by God the right to steal from other people in order to
survive. In the Middle Ages, it was believed they had come out of
Egypt. And yet their language shares a number of words with Greek,
and has its roots in India. So who are the Romani people, really?
As one of the last remaining societies in the Western hemisphere
with a strictly oral culture, the Romani people have no written
record of their history that can be consulted. From the early
1990s, linguist Yaron Matras has been working with the 'Rom', as
they call themselves, one of a handful of people to have done so.
Travelling widely in central and eastern Europe, studying their
language and learning their dialects, he has witnessed their
campaign for recognition. In I Met Lucky People Matras gives us the
first comprehensive account of their culture, language and history.
It is a story of the echoes of a rich past left in language and
customs, and of how the changing fortunes of Europe throughout the
centuries have been imprinted on Romani culture...