The Romani were a faction for hire that consisted of dancers, fire breathers, street performers and musicians. With their spirited performances, they were sure to make an impression – and distract anyone.
- "My people are from eastern Persia and beyond. Yet, somehow we have become citizens of a land we have never seen."
- ―The Romani leader to Ezio Auditore, on the misconception that her people were from Egypt.[src]
The Romani were semi-nomadic, stateless people, originally from the eastern reaches of Persia and South Asia (most notably India and Pakistan). Over many centuries, their population migrated west, eventually reaching as far as Eastern Europe and northern Africa.
However, the Romanies were a fiercely independent culture who refused to assimilate to their host nations. Although these difficult relations did cause them to endure hardship, the Romani were able to retain a rich and varied culture all of their own.
The Romanies were referred to in much of the English-speaking world as Gypsies, a corruption of the name "Little Egyptians," from the mistaken belief that they came from Egypt. While they generally considered this term offensive, they would call themselves Romani, coming from the word "Romanes" in their language, for "the people." Many ethnicities existed within the group, including the Roma that most likely occupied the Middle East.
- "For centuries my people have been slandered and insulted, labeled witches and warlocks. Well, so be it. We will not run from these lies any more, but embrace them. Encourage these rumors, for it is better to be infamous than ignored."
- ―The Romani leader explaining the plan to Ezio.[src]
In 1511, six month's worth of profit was stolen from the Romani by Byzantines. While in deep melancholy, the Romani received a visit from the Assassin Ezio Auditore da Firenze. After arriving, Ezio offered to help the Romani as they attempted to gain infamy in the city, claiming it was better than being overlooked.
The Romani leader explained their plan to Ezio, in which he would have to stealthily assassinate each guard who held the chest containing their gold, to present the idea that it was cursed. Ezio agreed, and left the headquarters to rendezvous with a group of Romani in the streets.
After he met up with the designated group, Ezio tailed each guard around the city, poisoning each guard as they carried the chest, to maintain the myth that the chest was cursed. Weaving his way around the city with his group of Romani, the Assassin took care of each guard, though he made sure to remain unseen. Eventually, the guards fled, confused and scared at the mysterious deaths. Following this, Ezio picked up the chest and reunited it with the leader of the Romani.
As Ezio walked the Romani leader back to their headquarters, she informed the Assassin of the origins of her people. Once they reached the headquarters, Ezio set the chest of profits down and the Romani thanked him, telling him the faction was available to him if he needed their help.
- "A heated conflict is brewing between two factions of Romanies. One group has banded together against a woman they call Mirela, accusing her of swindling the poor on dozens of occasions. As we speak, they are on their way to exile this trickster, by force if necessary."
- ―An Assassin apprentice to Ezio Auditore.[src]
Later that same year, a heated internal conflict began to form amongst the Romanies. A group of Romani wanted to exile a fellow Romani named Mirela Djuric, for they believed she was stealing from the poor. One of the members of this group then decided to confront Mirela at a small meeting.
On the Romani's way to the meeting, she and her friends were attacked by numerous Byzantine assassins. However, Ezio Auditore and one of his Assassin apprentices followed the Romanies, and warded off the attackers when they attempted to strike.
Once she had reached the meeting, the Romani confronted Mirela about her deeds, yelling at her loudly. However, Mirela discreetly threatened the group of Romanies, before brushing past and stealthily poisoning the one who had confronted her.
Observing the killing, a group of soldiers then rushed to the scene and attempted to arrest the group of Romani women on the charges of murder. From there, Ezio and his apprentice then emerged and disarmed the soldiers, preventing them from harming the Romanies.
Some time after, Mirela was spotted buying datura, a deadly poison, by Ezio's apprentice. The recruit then met with Ezio and informed him of the situation, before Ezio left to flush out Mirela and assassinate her. Once he had located Mirela, she used a thunder bomb to obstruct the Assassin's sight and escape. Though hindered briefly at first, Ezio was able to hunt down and assassinate Mirela after a lengthy chase through the city, poisoning her whilst his apprentice held her arms still.
For 150 Akçe, Ezio could hire a group of four Romani, who could assist him similarly to courtesans. He would find these groups randomly throughout the streets of Constantinople, where they would be available. When not with him, they acted as street performers who were able to dance and play music, breathe fire, and provide other sources of entertainment.
However, the Romani could not perform any methods of freerunning, and were unarmed. Whenever combat arose, they would quickly flee from the area, which meant that they were unable to assist Ezio if he engaged in a fight, though they could distract guards. However, they would fight against civilians, should Ezio steal from them and get caught.
When distracting a guard, a Romani would often flirt with them and make gestures with her hands and clothing. This would also attract nearby guards' attention and cause them to abandon their posts, in order to approach the Romani. They were also able to remain with Ezio and help him blend in with the local crowd, making them useful whenever Ezio needed to access a restricted area.
- The Romani replaced courtesans in Assassin's Creed: Revelations, as prostitution was not accepted in Ottoman society.
- Likewise, through the completion of guild challenges, the Romani gained the ability poison guards as courtesans could.
- Although they were called so in the game, the word "Romani" didn't exist before the 20th century.
- Despite appearing in the game, Roma wagons, common as of the 19th century, are an anachronism in the game.
- Though more or less free in Ottoman society, contemporary Romani living in Hungary, Moldovia and even in the sometime Ottoman vassal principality of Wallachia, were hereditary slaves of the church and the nobility until the emancipation of the Roma in the mid-19th century.
- Romani, along with other ethnically-related nomadic societies such as the Lom in the Caucasus and the Dom in the Middle East and North Africa, originate from the region of Rajasthan in north-western India. The ancestors of the Romani are considered to have first left the region during the 11th century. Their first appearance in western sources was in the Byzantine Empire. Christian pilgrims stopping in the Venetian colony of Modon in Greece reportedly met and traded with a foreign people living in encampments outside the city, whom they believed to be "Egyptians".