The barbarian term - and the concept of cruelty which is attached to him - have, from time immemorial, have a pejorative connotation. They translate at the same time the contempt for the other, the foreigner and the fear which it inspires. Michel de Montaigne, which lived the “barbarian” time of the wars of religion of the end of the 16th century, expresses this feeling extremely well, when he writes in his Essais : “Each one calls cruelty what is not its use. ” With the wire of the history, the term took on various meanings, which we will try to examine in this article, by initially basing us on the etymology.
EtymologyIn the beginning, the barbarian term - borrowed in 1308 from the Latin barbarus , itself taken with the Greek barbaros (“foreign”) - was a word used by the former Greeks to designate other people not belonging to the Greek civilization, of which they did not manage to include/understand the language. Barbaros has in the beginning, no nuance pejorative, it means “not Greek simply” or more largely any person whose Greeks do not understand the language, somebody who expresses himself by Onomatopée S: bar-bar-bar .
Appearance of the concept in AntiquityClaude Yvon, in Barbarian article the “(philosophy)” of the Encyclopedia of Diderot and of Alembert, points out that “it is the name at least which the Greeks donnoient by contempt with all the nations which do not parloient their language, or which do not parloient it as well as them, to mark the extreme opposition which trouvoit between them and the other nations which had not stripped roughness of the first centuries. ” It thus acted with the departure of a simple linguistic criterion making it possible to distinguish the individuals whose language seemed to them a inintelligible prattle (“Ba Ba Ba”), a kind of onomatopoeia, comparable with the blah in French, evoking the mumbling.
Barbarian was thus that which instead of speaking Greek - to have the Logos - made noise with its mouth. From the point of view of the ancient Greeks, among the barbarians, the Perses constituted an exception: they were considered civilized, though they were subjected to the Tyrannie of a King, and not with the Loi decided jointly by the citizens (Démocratie). On the other hand, the Celtic people , Germanic, Asian Slaves or were regarded as barbarians louts and little, at all, were even civilized.
By extension, this linguistic difference will give a negative vision, scorning, other, from abroad, who will find in the definition transmitted by the Greeks to the Roman world. After the conquest of the Greece, the Romains adopted the Greek term and used it to designate the people which surrounded their own world. Was thus described as barbarian in Rome that which did not belong to the sphere Culture the gréco-Roman, whatever was its level of Civilization. Thus, the Christian first were qualified barbarians by the Greeks and the Romans . The latter considered, in addition, Huns like “animals with two feet”, according to description that made of it the historian Ammien Marcellin, who describes their arrival in Europe, like a “tornado who tumbles down of the mountains”.
Anxious to preserve the Gaulle which it had just conquered of the danger that represented these Germanic people which it had managed to push back beyond the the Rhine and to save cruelty a province in the process of romanisation, César, in a famous digression of the War of Gaules brushes a portrait very little brings these invaders that it even considers it unable to wish “civilization”: physical impudor, rough food, summary religion, worship of violence and the destruction, are the principal features which it lends to these populations that it hopes to maintain outside the Roman surface.
The Romans - subjected from time immemorial to raids on their borders - perceived the barbarians like a threat. After the first alarm with the approach of first century BC (Cimbres, Teutons), they will be subjected five centuries lasting to this barbarian pressure, which will carry finally part of the empire that they had constituted and their civilization. The second wave of what one will call thereafter the cruel invasions takes place at the 3rd century (242, 253, 276), when the Francs and the Alamans devastate Gaulle, the Spain and the Italy of North. Then, at the 4th century, under the pressure of the Huns from Asia, the invasion will become massive. The Romans, in spite of the heat of certain generals like Stilicon (of Germanic origin), will not be able to resist the great invasions and will be carried by the barbarian wave which submerges the Western part of the empire.
Historiography of the Early middle ages
Later, one uses the term of cruel invasions to qualify the shifts in population which occur as from the 4th century until the 6th-7th century through the finishing Roman Empire. These migrations of Germanic people having invaded the empire starting from 406 are regarded as a surge of destroying cruelty on civilization. By extension, the age of the Vikings and its sudden and fatal raids perpetuates the fright which the Huns inspired before, the Goths and others Vandales, whereas in the East of the emerged people of the Steppe S of Asia build wandering empires vis-a-vis the walls of Constantinople and that the Slaves invest Balkans.
In the empire built by Charlemagne, another similar term appeared with the Sarrasin.
One at that time employs an alternative of the term to designate the Mediterranean pirates resulting from Moslem countries: Barbaresque S.
The modern time
See also: Modern history
The technical and conceptual superiority of Europe to leaving the Moyen-âge leads its inhabitants to develop a tinted feeling of Orientalisme with regard to the other people which they discovered, following their remote forwardings. This distinction, marked by a Complex superiority with respect to these unknown people, not knowing their civilization (civilization) perpetuates the cleavage of the civilized and the barbarian through that of the Colonisateur and the Colonisé. The ideology of the Colonialisme developed on this concept of the contribution of civilization with people which until were deprived there by it. Vis-a-vis these unknown tribes of him and coming from the New World, the white man conceives - once the Grandes completed discoveries - a third classification: it is the Mythe of the good savage.
Also, the " term; Barbarie" was used to qualify under the Ancien Mode the area regarded today as the the Maghreb. According to the Encyclopedia of Diderot and D' Alembert, Cruelty was a " great region of Africa, locked up between the Atlantic Ocean, the Mediterranean, the Egypt, the Nigritie and the Guinea " The inhabitants of Cruelty were the Barbaresque ones.
See also: Modern history
Today, this term designates an individual or a social group considered as cruel, “inhuman”, not educated, violent, of manners louts, etc Into famous the Barbarisme in linguistics.
In the context of the Spirit of revenge which appeared in Europe in first half of the 20th century, to return the descendants of the Germanic Peuples of the Early middle ages to a state of cruelty was a practical and simplifying attitude of the Propagande and French Historiographie - also begun again by the Allies during the Second world war - to position by opposition as a defender of civilization. This vision is alas corroborated by the discovery of the camps, cruelty Nazi flashing back on a death of the concepts hégeliens by which the German Idéalisme until had then controlled the Histoire of the ideas. The damage is numerous, the building sites also: the post-war period opens then on a questioning of the Historiographie, putting fine at the simplification according to which the History would evolve/move either in a positive direction and enlightened, or in a negative direction , sinks, by allotting the cause to barbarians designated like as many scapegoats.
Resulting stereotype: in the medieval-fantastic universes or of Heroic fantasy, the barbarians are gifted people often out of loincloths of a great force, a great musculature and not inevitably very intelligent.
I think that there is more cruelty to eat an alive man than to eat it dead, of deschirer by tourmens and géennes, to make a body still full with feeling, it roast by the menu (...) (as we read not only it, but seen fraiche memory, not between old enemies, but between neighbors and fellow-citizens, and, who worse is, under pretext of piety and religion) to roast it and eat after it is trespassed (...) | Michel de Montaigne, the Tests , I, 31
We them can thus call barbarians well, have esgard with the rules of the reason, but not have esgard with us, who exceed them in any kind of cruelty| Michel de Montaigne, the Tests , I, 31
" Civilizations barbares"This assertion shows how the ideological epithet leads to Oxymoron S when it is employed. The mode of writing by the chronic or ecclesiastical stories brought to amalgamate the Huns, the Germains and the Sarrasins (Moors) in this term - negativity impresses - of “ cruel Invasions ” This term thus includes all that could cause wrong to the Occident in general, Christian Occident in particular. As one can read it low, civilizations of the the Far East returned the courtesy to them, which Henri Michaux expressed magistralement by feeling “ a barbarian in Asia ”.
The charts produced in Europe until the 16th century) indicated the the Maghreb under the term of Cruelty, with which are however associated different adjectives: Barbaresque and bores, which indicates the race of horse which in is originating. The name of the people Berbère in the same beginning, which does not imply that it was continuously perceived like barbarian by Europeans.
Retrospectively, one can thus indicate by the term “ barbarian civilization ”:
the Germanic Civilization old civilizations of Northern Europe, before the crossing of the files the Rhine/the Danube at the time of the major phase of the Great invasions:
- the Goths;
- the Vandals;
- the Huns;
- the Visigoths;
- the Ostrogoths;
- the Avars;
- the Lombards;
- Frank ;
the Islamic Civilization at the time of its phase of expansion as from the 8th century.
- the Mediterranean basin medieval:
- ports of the Barbaresque in the Mediterranean (they were also in Sardinia and with Arles)
At the time where they start to trade with the Japan board, with the S, Europeans are regarded by those as Namban , i.e. “Barbarians of the South”.
OthersThe term Barbarie obviously indicates a foreign and unknown area in the name of the species Musk duck. This one is actually originating in South America, and was thus unknown in Europe before the discovery of America.
- late Antiquity
- Civilized | the word being employable only referred to a civilization which employs it to indicate the other, this article is consequently categorized in civilization as an opposite term.
- State of Cruelty.
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