Is there a historical term a "barbarian" might use for "civilized" people/"city folk"?

First, I’m well aware that the term “barbarian” is relative, that it or an equivalent is often used towards any “foreigner,” and that plenty of “barbarian” peoples were no slouches in building cities and urban societies, and didn’t just sail/ride around all day decapitating people.

But still…is there anything approaching an actual historical term that a stereotypical “barbarian” might use for civilized “city folk”? Especially if in the derogative?

The closest I can think of is Skraeling—the Old Norse term used for the indigenous peoples of the New World and Greenland, and meaning basically…well, “barbarian” or “savage.” Not unexpected, as noted in the paragraph above, but not what I’m looking for.

Hey, like I said, it’s probably a stupid question. But it’s an unfamiliar enough subject for me that I had to at LEAST double check, to be sure.

So…can anyone help?

I would guess it depends on the barbarians: people like the Mongols would hold “Farmers” in contempt. People like the Arabs would have a thing about “Infidels.” People like the Vandals would target “Moneybags.”

In a reverse situation, the Romans referred to Germans as “Beer-drinkers” and “Butter-eaters.”

I assume you know the origin of the word “barbarian”? It came from the Greeks mimicking languages they didn’t understand: “Ba-ba-ba-ba-ba!” If you didn’t speak Greek, you were indeed a barbarian.

As I recall, “Skraeling” referred to the Native Americans’ appearance more than anything else, but I could be wrong. The Scandinavians were put off by their dark coloring.

Except not all Arabs are Moslem and not all “infidels” are civilized.

This is true. However, the Muslims who conquered much of the old Roman world in the seventh and eighth centuries were, I believe, largely from the Arabian Peninsula, as was Mohammed himself. (They were, of course, joined by vast numbers of converts along the way, but that’s another story.)

Whether or not “Infidels” are what we would call “civilized” is hardly relevant here, I think.

Don’t nearly *all *self/them names in linguistic history boil down to “Us, the [Chosen|Worthy|Noble|Civilized] People” and “Those [Savages|Barbarians|Cretins] Over There”?

The inner city barbarians around these parts call them suckers, marks, meal tickets, white boys, idiots, and my homie (to someone who obviously isn’t).

The circus term “rube” pretty much implies the same thing. People who are outsiders therefore they’re marks or suckers.
It’s also important to note that many derogatory terms focus on appearance rather than civilized versus uncivilized.

Considering the specific question being asked is: But still…is there anything approaching an actual historical term that a stereotypical “barbarian” might use for civilized “city folk”? I would say it most certainly is relevant (emphasis added).

What we would call “civilized” is not necessarily how others might perceive it. While the word originally arose to distinguish those who lived in cities and those who did not (nomads), I wouldn’t say that city life automatically confers what we would refer to as “civilized” behavior.

Various places I’ve read that the Masai refer to Europeans as “those who trap their farts.”

I grew up in Vermont, at the time we called them “Flatlanders”

So why is “Hey, Rube!” a call for help from one’s fellow carnies?

Does it expand to “Hey, there’s a rube giving me shit, come help”?

I have no idea what you’re talking about. I stand by my original correction of your factually inaccurate post in GQ:

Not all Arabs are Moslem. Not all infidels are civilized.

It means come help me up the level of the con on this guy. They can then play good carnie / bad carnie on the Rube.

Some form of the word or a local term for “Roman” persisted among many cultures long after the Western Roman Empire went away to refer to Europeans that they encountered who were still more or less civilized.

Many words are derived from Proto-Germanic walhaz which refered to foreigner in general, but increasingly came to be applied to Romance speaking peoples.

During the Crusade era, Muslims used various terms: Rhomaios and Rûmi for Byzantine Romans. They and others in the region used terms based on Latins or Franks for Westerners (whether Frankish or not). Latins more generally denoted the civilized sorts vs. Franks formerly denoting the military types. (Franks in some form has persisted even today to mean Western Europeans.)

No doubts Vandals, Huns, Magyars, etc. had similar terms for the settled people of the former Western Roman Empire they were taking over.

Some things never change. Prost. :smiley:

In what way does the Norse term Skræling come anywhere near the term you describe. I don’t mean to claim the Norse were better than the hunter-gatherer indigenous people they encountered in any objective way, but although Vikings may be your stereotypical barbarians, if you want a barbarian-“city folk” contrast, hunter-gatherers seem an exceptionally poor choice for “city folk”.

In general yes, but those over there aren’t always savages; witness the Australians’ disdain for “poncy Brits”. That’s as close as I can think of to anything at all that matches what the OP is looking for, and it’s way too specific to really answer his question.

We have the word barbarian because it has survived from the Greek, along with a lot of other Greek words. We probably don’t have very many words, at least in English, surviving from the language of the wild tribes of Thrace, for example. So while they may have had a word like the OP is looking for, we likely don’t know what it might have been.

I should have expanded a little; I’m sure that there is a commonality among the names “barbarians” call more settled/civilized tribes… probably some variation of “those poofs who poop in pots.” :smiley:

City slicker? Dude? BackEaster? F’ing Greenies (Colorado urbanites)?