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"The second half of the Fifth Century was come, the appalling period when unspeakable troubles afflicted the world. The Barbarians were ravaging Gaul; Rome, paralyzed, sacked by the Visigoths, felt her life frozen within her veins as she saw her outlying limbs, the East and the West, struggling in a sea of blood, growing more and more exhausted from day to day."--À rebours (1884) by Joris-Karl Huysmans

"THE ages, we call barbarous, present us with many a subject of curious speculation. What, for instance, is more remarkable than the Gothic Chivalry? or than the spirit of Romance, which took its rise from that singular institution? Nothing in human nature, my dear friend, is without its reasons. The modes and fashions of different times may appear, at first sight, fantastic and unaccountable. But they, who look nearly into them, discover some latent cause of their production."--Letters on Chivalry and Romance (1762) by Richard Hurd

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The term "barbarian" refers to a person who is perceived to be uncultured. The word is often used either in a general reference to member of a nation or ethnos, typically a tribal society as seen by an urban civilization either viewed as inferior, or admired as a noble savage. In idiomatic or figurative usage, a "barbarian" may also be an individual reference to a brutal, cruel, warlike, insensitive person.

The term originates from the ancient Greek word βάρβαρος (barbaros). Hence the Greek idiom "πᾶς μὴ Ἕλλην βάρβαρος" (pas mē Hellēn barbaros) which literally means "whoever is not Greek is a barbarian". In ancient times, Greeks used it for the people of different cultures but also to deride other Greek tribes and states; in the early modern period and sometimes later, they used it for the Turks, in a clearly pejorative way. Comparable notions are found in non-European civilizations. In the Roman Empire, Romans used the word barbarian for the Germanics, Celts, Carthaginians, Iberians, Thracians, Persians and in some respects the Greeks themselves.


  1. The state of being barbarous; brutality
  2. A barbaric act
  3. crudity
  4. A crude act

See also

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Barbarian" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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