Barbarian - Encyclopedia


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BARBARIAN (Gr. 06pf3apos), the name among the early Greeks for all foreigners. The word is probably onomatopoetic, designed to represent the uncouth babbling of which languages other than their own appeared to the Greeks to consist. Even the Romans were included in the term. The word soon assumed an evil meaning, becoming associated with the vices and savage natures of which they believed their enemies to be possessed. The Romans adopted the word for all peoples other than those under Graeco-Roman influence and domination. It has long become synonymous with a general lack of civilization.

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