You Uncultured Swine

As we all learned in class, the word “Barbarian” comes from the Greek description of those who didn’t speak their language. Since the foreigners would sound like, “Bar, bar, bar…” they decided to classify them as such. However, over the years the meaning slightly changed. When we think of the word now, we classify it as someone who is uncivilized or a savage.

As mentioned in the first book of Herodotus’ Histories, Herodotus refers to the Persians as barbarians because they are strangers to the Greek and contrasted from the way that they looked. “For Asia, with all the various tribes of barbarians that inhabit it, is regarded by the Persians as their own; but Europe and the Greek race they look on as distinct and separate.”(Book 1 chap. 4)

“The barbarian Antifa are genuinely contemptible, and unfortunate innocents, like the martyred Heather Heyer, sometimes find themselves on the same side of the barricades as these thugs.” (Rabinovitz) In the article, Calling Out Leftist Violence: Antifa’s Unchecked Attacks, the Antifa are referred to as barbarians because they ‘violently attacked innocent people.’ The targeted audience would be the public and also the government. There are a number of people outraged about how terribly the Antifa acted and how the police just stood there watching. Everyone wants justice to be served and social order to be maintained if this happens again.

The article, Texas Abortion Restriction Is Temporarily Blocked, discusses the federal judge temporarily blocking a law against second trimester abortion. This is where the whole “morality” debate amongst people come into play. Some agree with this ruling while others, like Ken Paxton, disapprove. “The Texas attorney general, Ken Paxton, criticized the ruling. Marc Rylander, a spokesman for Mr. Paxton’s office, said in a statement that dilation-and-evacuation abortions were ”gruesome and inhumane, which makes it troubling that a District Court would block Texas’ lawful authority to protect the life of unborn children from such a barbaric practice.” (Astor, para. 8) He uses the word ‘barbaric’ as a synonym to ‘unlawful’ or ‘cruel’. This means that those who agree or goes through with this procedure, they too are barbaric. Just like the previous article that I mentioned, the focused article would be towards the public and the government.

Both articles about the abortion and Antifa use the word ‘barbaric’ and ‘barbarians’ to describe cruel and unlawful people. On the other hand, Herodotus uses it to classify a specific group that the Greeks were unfamiliar with. As we could see, the meaning of the word has definitely been altered throughout the years.

Ivory Tyson, Team Artemis

Astor, Maggie. “Texas Abortion Restriction Is Temporarily Blocked.” New York Times, 1 Sept. 2017, p. NA(L). New York State Newspapers, Accessed 10 Sept. 2017.

“Calling Out Leftist Violence: Antifa’s Unchecked Attacks.” New York Post [New York, NY], 4 Sept. 2017, p. 018. New York State Newspapers, Accessed 10 Sept. 2017.

2 thoughts on “You Uncultured Swine

  1. Your piece shows the evolution of language to fit the needs of a more globalist society. As you mentioned in your closing paragraph the Greeks thought of barbarians to be pretty much anyone who wasn’t Greek. But today, the world is much more connected. Societies pride themselves on being inclusive, accepting people of all races and all languages. Barbarian needs to mean something else to us since being from somewhere else is no longer as taboo as it once was.


  2. People label others as ‘barbaric’ because of the choices they make and how different it is to another. Pro-choice people would say it is their body and their right to choose. Pro-life people would say its inhumane and “barbaric.” Its all a matter of perspective.


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