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Subject: Re: 'Barbarian' Celts ...
From: Wallace Haviland <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:CELTIC-L - The Celtic Culture List.
Date:Thu, 17 Feb 1994 11:16:15 EST
Content-Type:text/plain
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-s93000001-m.erskinerichmond-ccsd-200- wrote:
>
> Well, that's an original interpretation of 'barbarian', but
> unfortunately it's incorrect.
>
> Barbarian means 'bearded one'..  The Greeks were a clean-shaven
> society, and considered the 'barb' (beard) a sign of slovenlliness.
>
> Regards,
> Mel
> ---
>
> >
> > I seem to remember reading somewhere along the way the the Brennus referred
> > to may have been a clan God, akin to the Welsh Bran, who therefore appeared
> > as leader of the Celts on two such disparate occasions.  While different
> > tribes had different local Gods, it may be they were lumped together under
> > a name familiar to the Greco-Romans.  Also, it is important to rember that
> > the Greeks especially were biased against anyone whom they did not recognise
> > as cultured (="Greek").  This was defined as those who subscribed to the
> > elaborate code of hospitality which was seen as characteristic of Hellenic
> > peoples.  The Greeks also held as a indication of civilised behaviour the
> > mixing of water and wine (hence the beautiful mixing bowls we have from
> > the period).  "Barbarians" drank wine straight, and therefore were
> > characterised as drunk and disorderly.  Even the term "barbarian" comes
> > from the "bar-bar" sound that foreigners made to Greek ears (in other
> > words, non-Greek speech).
 
        Not so original, actually. This is the etymology I have been given
consistently in my own classics career. Also, check the OED under
"Barbarous." They seem to suggest this origin, as well, and posit a
possible relation between the Greek "Barbaros" and the Latin "Balbus,"
(stuttering).

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