The Renaissance of Romani Re-presentation
Description and self-description
Exonyms and ethnonyms
Exonyms and ethnonyms
From the arrival of proto-Romani people in Constantinople around 1050CE, to the end of the 14th century CE, only one early trace of self-representation remains, and we are not sure if indeed any further were produced.
This one instance is the record of self-ascription, an ethnonym, of a group of 'Egyptians' in black tents, outside the city of Modon (now Methoni) in the Morea (modern Peloponnesus) in 1384CE. This is the seemingly sole example of the assertion of an ethnonym, by a particular group of people, who were more usually described using other, often pejorative terms by other people, e.g., exonyms (other peoples’ descriptions of self).
Whether this term, Romitoi or Romiti, was just used amongst this particular group in Modon, or in the Morea, or used more widely across a broader population, is impossible to say without other examples. But there are none.
However, to carefully speculate upon a historical and linguistic connection between such a self-ascription, that describes a relationship with rulers and rulership, is perhaps possible. Romitoi means 'sons of the Romans1' in Byzantine Greek. The modern Romani language term, Romanichal - a term British Gypsies and Travellers refer to themselves when speaking Rromani–chib (Romani language) - can be translated as 'children of princes', recognising that the modernisation of this term involves interpretation and removing gendered, specific language.
However, the certainty of asserting that this record from more than 700 years ago, recorded by an Italian nobleman (whose account of his voyage to the Holy Land, in the later 14th century, is considered highly accurate and reliable), is not something that can be claimed without caution.
The case can be made that on one occasion at least, in medieval Greek, the ancestors of modern Romani populations claimed an identity that was not an exonym, but therefore an indigenous construction. It may have been the case that this was not a unique, isolated incident; although any other such occasions have not survived in the written record, or were ignored by those doing the recording, or a likely combination of both.
1 i.e., the Byzantines or Romaioi, as the empire's inhabitants called themselves. See Kaldelis, Anthony, 2019, Romanland: Ethnicity and Empire in Byzantium, Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press