Where Does the Word “Barbarian” Come From?

The word “barbarian” is used to mean uncivilized, uncultured,savage and crude. Nowadays, our perception of a barbarian has been infested by popular culture but civilizations and cultures have often used the word to denote any other cultures that they considered different and in most cases inferior. For example Romans used the word to describe the tribes and civilizations that lived north of the Roman empire.

The word was first used by the ancient Greece to refer to anyone non-Greek, especially for the Persian and the Midians. Later the word was also used to denote those that did not speak Greek or who did not share the values of the Greek culture. To the Greeks the sound of other languages seemed very different and sounded like “foreign” languages sounded as “var-var”. From this stereotype, the word “varvaros” (in Greek ΒΑΡΒΑΡΟΣ) was created and eventually we had “barbarus” in latin.

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