Barbarians


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Barbarians

 

(Greek barbaroi, Latin barbari), an onomatopoeic word used by the ancient Greeks and later by the Romans to designate all strangers who spoke in languages incomprehensible to them and who were alien to their culture. At the beginning of the Common Era, the name “barbarians” was applied with particular frequency to the Germanic peoples. (In modern history, the invasions by Germanic and other tribes during the first centuries A.D. have come to be called the barbarian conquests; the kingdoms founded by the barbarians on the territory of the Roman Empire are known as the barbarian kingdoms, and the written record of the common law of the Germanic tribes is known as barbarian law.) The barbarian conquests played a major role in the elimination of the slave-owning system and in the formation of feudal relations in the Roman Empire.

In the figurative sense, the term “barbarians” designates ignorant, crude, cruel people, destroyers of cultural values.

References in classic literature ?
Assuredly, it is a construction which increases and piles up in endless spirals; there also are confusion of tongues, incessant activity, indefatigable labor, eager competition of all humanity, refuge promised to intelligence, a new Flood against an overflow of barbarians.
But those were not more noble than the others, hardy barbarians, forests, and morasses.
Brave young signor," cried the tall man, throwing his arms round Alleyne, "how can we thank you enough for taking our parts against those horrible drunken barbarians.
After the incident of the discussion of barbarians I thought that Victory's manner toward me changed perceptibly.
They were barbarians, living partly from piratical expeditions against the northern and eastern coasts of Europe, partly from their flocks and herds, and partly from a rude sort of agriculture.
Certainly, he said; they will in this way be united against the barbarians and will keep their hands off one another.
As this glad ship of good luck bore down upon the moody Pequod, the barbarian sound of enormous drums came from her forecastle; and drawing still nearer, a crowd of her men were seen standing round her huge try-pots, which, covered with the parchment-like poke or stomach skin of the black fish, gave forth a loud roar to every stroke of the clenched hands of the crew.
As it advanced, the mender of roads would discern without surprise, that it was a shaggy-haired man, of almost barbarian aspect, tall, in wooden shoes that were clumsy even to the eyes of a mender of roads, grim, rough, swart, steeped in the mud and dust of many highways, dank with the marshy moisture of many low grounds, sprinkled with the thorns and leaves and moss of many byways through woods.
The bourgeoisie, by the rapid improvement of all instruments of production, by the immensely facilitated means of communication, draws all, even the most barbarian, nations into civilisation.
It was revealed to him that he had been a barbarian, a beast.
Let us make a foray upon the dominions of that noisy barbarian, a great raid from Finisterre to Hatteras, catching his fishermen unawares, baffling the fleets that trust to his power, and shooting sly arrows into the livers of men who court his good graces.
What really saved you was the fact that you proclaimed yourself a heretic and a barbarian," remarked the Frenchman with a smile.