Barbarian, tartar and savage are terms used to refer to a person who is perceived to be uncivilized. The word is often used either in a general reference to a 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" which literally means "whoever is not Greek is a Barbarian". In ancient times, Greeks used it for the people of the Persian Empire; 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 Germans, Celts, Iberians, Thracians, and Persians.
Famous quotes containing the word barbarian:
“For the bright side of the painting I had a limited sympathy. My visions were of shipwreck and famine; of death or captivity among barbarian hordes; of a lifetime dragged out in sorrow and tears, upon some gray and desolate rock, in an ocean unapproachable and unknown.”
—Edgar Allan Poe (18091849)
“But we still remember ... above all, the cool, free aspect of the wild apple trees, generously proffering their fruit to us, though still green and crude,the hard, round, glossy fruit, which, if not ripe, still was not poison, but New English too, brought hither, its ancestors, by ours once. These gentler trees imparted a half-civilized and twilight aspect to the otherwise barbarian land.”
—Henry David Thoreau (18171862)