A barbarian is a human who is perceived to be either uncivilized or primitive. The designation is usually applied as a generalization based on a popular stereotype; barbarians can be members of any nation judged by some to be less civilized or orderly (such as a tribal society) but may also be part of a certain "primitive" cultural group such as the nomads or social class such as the bandits both within and outside one's own nation.
Alternatively, they may instead be admired and romanticised as noble savages. In idiomatic or figurative usage, a "barbarian" may also be an individual reference to a brutal, cruel, warlike, and insensitive person.
The term originates from the Greek barbaros . In Ancient Greece, the Greeks used the term towards those who did not speak Greek and follow classical Greek customs. In Ancient Rome, the Romans used the term towards tribal non-Romans such as the Germanics, Celts, Gauls, Iberians, Thracians, Illyrians, Berbers, and Sarmatians. In the early modern period and sometimes later, the Byzantine Greeks used it for the Turks in a clearly pejorative manner.
A change occurred in the connotations of the word after the Greco-Persian Wars in the first half of the 5th century BC. Here a hasty coalition of Greeks defeated the vast Persian Empire. Indeed, in the Greek of this period 'barbarian' is often used expressly to refer to Persians, who were enemies of the Greeks in this war.
The Romans used the term barbarus for uncivilised people, opposite to Greek or Roman, and in fact, it became a common term to refer to all foreigners among Romans after Augustus age ), including the Germanic peoples, Persians, Gauls, Phoenicians and Carthaginians.