Brill Encyclopedia of Early Christianity Online

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The Greek and Roman concept of the barbarian (βάρβαρος) designates the foreigner in terms of language and origin, thus also denoting his or her linguistic and cultural otherness. From archaic times to late antiquity, the concept underwent characteristic changes and was eventually also employed by Christian authors in the construction of identities and alterities.

The Greek Concept

The ancient Greek noun βάρβαρος (along with the less frequently attested adjective βάρβαρος, the …

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Wienand, Johannes, “Barbarians”, in: Brill Encyclopedia of Early Christianity Online, General Editor David G. Hunter, Paul J.J. van Geest, Bert Jan Lietaert Peerbolte. Consulted online on 30 September 2023 <>
First published online: 2018

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