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babarians

babarians

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Published by Mohan Perera
babarians
babarians

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Published by: Mohan Perera on Aug 30, 2007
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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09/06/2012

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To the people of ancient Greece and Rome, a Barbarian was anyone who was not of their extraction or culture.Because most of these "strangers" regularly practiced raids upon these civilizations, theterm
 Barbarian
gradually evolved into a perjorative term: a person who was sub-human,uncivilized, and regularly practiced the most vile and inhuman acts imaginable. Nothingcould have been farther from the truth.
 
The Greeks encountered scores of different foreign cultures, including the Egyptians,Persians, Phoenicians, Etruscans, Romans, Carthaginians, Kurdish, Basques, which hadno characteristics in common. It is not the case that Greeks automatically despised allalien cultures. They were aware of the greater antiquity of the much more developedcivilisations of Egypt, the Levant and Mesopotamia, from whom they borrowedextensively. Plato Statesman 262 rejects the Greekbarbarian dichotomy as a logicalabsurdity on just such grounds: dividing the world into Greeks and non-Greeks tells onenothing about the second group. In Homer the term appears only once (Iliad 2.867), in theform 'barbarophonos' ("of incomprehensible speech"), used of the Carians fighting for theTrojans. Notably the Trojans themselves, who despite bearing Hellenized names in theHomeric telling are emphatically not Greek, yet are not called 'barbaroi.' In general theconcept of 'barbaro's does not figure largely in archaic literature (before 5th cenury BC).A change occurred in the connotations of the word after the Greco-Persian Wars in thefirst half of the 5th century BC. Here a hasty coalition of Greeks defeated a vast empire.Indeed in the Greek of this period 'barbarian' is often used expressly to mean Persian. Inthe wake of this victory they began to see themselves as superior militarily and politically. A stereotype developed in which hardy Greeks live as free men in city-stateswhere politics are a communal possession, whereas among the womanish barbarianseveryone beneath the Great King is no better than his slave. This marks the birth of thecultural view termed "orientalism".Overwhelmingly, the slaves of Athens were "barbarian" in origin, drawn especially fromlands around the Black Sea such as Thrace and the Tauric Chersonese (Crimea), whilefrom Asia Minor came above all Lydians, Phrygians and Carians. It is hard not to despisethe people you are keeping as your slaves, even essential: in the intellectual justificationof slavery (Aristotle Politics 1.2-7; 3.14), barbarians are slaves by nature. From this period words like barbarophonos cited above from Homer began to be used not only of the sound of a foreign language but of foreigners speaking Greek improperly. In Greek 
 
the notions of language and reason are easily confused in the word logos, so speaking poorly was easily conflated with being stupid‹an association not of course limited toancient Greeks.Barbarians were a tall, fierce, fair-haired and fair-skinned people, in contrast to their swarthy counterparts from whence they had traveled. They displaced or assimilated theindigenous people of the regions they entered, they never truly settled anywhere, ever-moving as their needs and resources changed. Eventually they did settle and create homesand lifestyles for themselves, yet their culture was never elaborate.Those who they came in contact with considered them uncivilized, and yet werefascinated by their strength, stamina, force of will, charisma, and versatility. They wererespected by those they befriended, and feared by those who opposed them. Even withintheir own society, they fought amongst themselves, seeking supremacy of power andcontrollership of the lands they acquired.In Northern Europe they became known as the Teutons, Norse, Goths, and Celts, andwithin those tribes arose many sub-tribes. Settling deep in the regions of NorthernEurope, they were forgotten by the various civilizations to the South and East such asGreece, Assyria, Persia, and Egypt. It was not until the end of the Bronze age and theonset of the Iron Age that the cultures would re-emerge, clashing with those civilizationsfronting the Mediterranean Sea; Greece, and Rome.Reviled by the Greeks, and both respected and feared by the Romans, these people wouldtime and again engage in battles against those civilizations. Those of Teutony proved to be indomitable, and even the ones conquered by Rome did not remain under Roman rulefor long. Their fierce, warlike nature and coarse behavior earned them the name.
Timeline
167 - Germans invade Italy and Greece.200 - Visigoths and Ostrogoths move to Russia.367 - Picts and Scots invade England.370 - Huns invade Europe.406 - Vandals, Alans and Suevis invade Gaul (France).

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