Meaning of Barbarian


The term barbarian comes from the Latin barbarus which, in turn, derives from a Greek word that means “foreigner. ” The person who lived in some of the towns that attacked the Roman Empire from the 5th century on is known as a barbarian.

Barbaro also allows to name anyone or anything that had to do with these populations, which could be divided into those of the Slavic white race, the non-Slavic white race and the yellow race. The Huns, the Germans and the Gauls were some of the main barbarian peoples.

The barbarian invasions were part of a migratory process that developed from the 3rd to the 8th centuries in various European regions. These migrations are pointed out by experts as the link between Ancient History and the period known as the Middle Ages.

At the beginning (Hellenistic period), the term did not have a pejorative sense but only of distinction; later (medieval period), it acquired a negative connotation that made reference to the lack of education and unrefined customs. Thus the concept linked these peoples to attitudes of cruelty, crudeness and violence.

Although the behavior of these peoples can be framed in this description, the rest of the peoples did not act less violently, although it may be more orderly. In any case, all these preconceptions led to the creation of the adjective barbarian to refer to those people who behave vulgarly.

In an almost opposite sense, barbarian is something extraordinary, unusual, positive or very good: “In a barbaric performance, Argentina defeated Brazil three to zero”, “My teacher was barbaric with his explanation of World War II”, “The guy got drunk and made a hell of a mess.

Civilization and barbarism

This title includes the Spanish conquest of indigenous populations and territories, one of the most controversial issues in the history of Latin America. In this piece of history, two opposing figures were established: that of the civilized and that of the barbarian. The first, represented by the conquerors, who had a way of life considered more correct or stylized, and the second, by the natives, who led a more natural life, clinging to a culture based on traditions and a relationship of equality with the rest. of the nature.

Sarmiento, whom many praise, was the promoter of the conquest of the desert, whose objective was to eliminate the indigenous people from their territory to repopulate it with Creole people (born from the cross between Spaniards and natives, belonging to the civilization). This conquest consisted of an unprecedented bloody war, four hundred years after the first arrival of the Spanish in Latin America.

This man claimed that the harsh living conditions in rural areas demanded that the towns had to resemble more animals, creating rustic lifestyles where politics and education had no place. That is why he believed it necessary to conquer those lands, bring the industry and the means of transportation to be able to form a State where all the people would meet together. Unfortunately, this idea of ‚Äč‚Äčunification was not altruistic, but rather sought to eliminate and repopulate, to create an almost monarchical state where freedom was a good and not a right.

The ideas raised by Sarmiento are still valid in our societies, where immigrants are treated differently depending on their country of origin; the term barbarism is so deeply rooted in social life that it leads to placing certain cultures hierarchically above others, without assuming their differences as aspects that can mutually enrich them. So much so that certain people from countries with low purchasing power are seen as inferior beings and condemned to perform work in unfavorable conditions, while others are treated as “gentlemen” just because of the color of their passport.