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Barbarian, Barbarous

BARBARIAN, BARBAROUS bär bâr’ ĭən, bär’-bə rəs (βάρβαρος, G975, a foreigner, alien; speaking a foreign, unintelligible language; a person who is not a Greek). When the psalmist described the Exodus as the house of Jacob coming forth “from a people of strange language” (Ps 114:1), one has the kind of setting which defines the use of the word “barbarian.” In the same passage in the LXX, “a people of strange language” are called “barbarians.” This phrase is a sufficient definition of “barbarian,” but unfortunately, feelings of superiority, contempt, or downright animosity, came to be associated with the use of the word “barbarian.” Undoubtedly both the Hebrews and the Egyptians used the word when referring to each other. In its Gr. origins the word first referred to the stammering attempts of someone to imitate the sounds of an alien language. No emotive overtones accompanied the word. With the defeat of the Persians, and the spread of the Gr. culture throughout the Near E, the tendency