BARBARiansBy Mehmet Kurtkaya
"Barbarians, barbarians, they are coming!"
Surely when the word barbar was first invented, it was not used as above. We know it, we have plenty of written proof.
Ancient Greeks called other people Barbars: Scythians (Turkic people), Persians, Thracians, and even some of the people within the boundaries of Ancient Greece. It meant the Other, the outsider, the stranger. It was also meant to specify primitive peoples, civilizations inferior to their own. Two millennia later its meaning broadened to include savage, violent as well.
There is a universal consensus in the West and unfortunately throughout the world, that the word barbarian/barbarous comes from the word Barbaros in Ancient Greece, which the West considers as its root. The word itself is barbar as the -os part is a common Greek ending just like in English -ian/-ous in barbar-ian and barbar-ous. In Turkish, the word is barbar, in its basic form.
While Western academics are too sure the word barbar is of ancient Greek origin, there is a word which creates a problem for their neatly manufactured concensus: Barbara.
This Sanskrit word, Barbara is found in ancient Indian scripts dated to at least 400BC. And this word, barbara, has the same meaning as the Greek word barbaros. Not only are the two civilizations far apart, but there is nothing to suggest any word loaning.
Barbar is not a simple word to borrow, it is a concept. It is at the center of a civilization as it depicts first and foremost THE OTHER. So this word must either be native to a language or the people who use it as their own must have a lot more than an extensive social connection to the society it received it from.
One cannot imagine a shouting contest between the armies of two warring cities facing each other in the field and shouting from the top of their lungs: "you, barbar!", "no, you barbar!"
So how come this very central word to any civilization is used by two distant civilizations 2500 years ago? Back then, it was quite different from the age of the internet we live in where connections are instant and people mix with people from around the world. Today, words and ideas spread quickly, but this was not the case thousands of years ago.
This is an important question and there is no way to find an answer without first analyzing the word and then going back much further in history, to about 5000 years ago! And this research would take us to Mesopotamia, to Sumer to be exact.
First, the analysis of the word.
Some Western scholars suggest barbar is derived from blabbering bar bar bar, to specify unrecognizable sound/language. It is rather barbaric of them to come up with such outrageous claims, while the most likely reason is emphasis through word duplication like in hot hot summer, or cold cold day.
So the word we should be looking for is "bar".
And going to University of Pennsylvania online English Sumerian dictionary we find it! Bar means "Outside", "Strange" among others, just like in ancient Greece, but at least 2000 years earlier, with the same sound and meaning.
CONFIRMATION OF THE CONCEPTUAL USE OF "BAR" IN SUMERIANSumerian is the first known human language, and as such, it has a small vocabulary compared to today's modern languages. Many words have more than a few meanings. The context within which the word is used is very important to understand the meaning of the word. So I decided to test the use of the word bar in Sumerian language.
Among many other meanings, the Sumerian word UR is used for both humans and dogs. It is nice to learn that Sumerian society used the same word for man's best friend and man himself.
And there is a very interesting feature that Sumerian possess, called agglutination: new words are formed by adding suffixes/prefixes, and at times whole words to a stem. Today the most widely spoken language which has this feature is Turkish, in addition to Japanese, Mongolian, Korean, Hungarian, Finnish, and some lesser known others.
If dog is UR what would they call wolf?
Checking the dictionary, I see the reconfirmation of the meaning of the word BAR: Wolf is listed as URBARA. The ending vowel (a) is a common Sumerian transliteration mistake that has been partly addressed in 1974 by famed Assyryologist Parpola and corrected only in a few words so far, in An(u), Elam(a), Elam(u). The problem is Sumerian is read through Afroasiatic (Semitic) languages although it is not one of them! Like a foreigner speaking English, there are still many sound mistakes that need to be corrected even 150 years after Sumerian was first deciphered.
Hence the correct spelling for wolf in Sumerian is URBAR, adding UR and BAR, dog plus outside/strange (far/wild). This means Sumerians called wolf a wild dog which is exactly what it is!
And not coincidentally, modern DNA analysis shows that all dogs in the world have descended from wolf/grey wolf. This information is unknown to many dog owners today because there is a specific word, wolf instead of wild dog, but in Sumer it was readily present in the word. So the Sumerian word URBAR is beautiful in many ways: UR showing human and dog closeness and URBAR showing wolf is a wild dog (outside dog literally). As a side note, I should add the most ancient Turkic mythology claims Turks have descended from wolf.
The meaning of BAR and its conceptual use in Sumerian society is once more confirmed and this will serve other purposes as well.
For anyone even vaguely familiar with Sumer civilization, the fact that barbar is a Sumer concept and word should not come as a surprise. In fact, it is known for at least the last 100 years that most of what academics in social fields, including those in the disciplines of history, archaeology, ethnology/anthropology thought was of Greek, Egyptian, Babylonian, or Roman origin has turned out to be in fact a Sumerian invention!
So, it should not surprise anyone that the word barbar as the antithesis of civilization was first invented by Sumer Turks, the founders of the very first major civilization on earth, who provided a significant base subsequent major civilizations built upon.
This also explains the use of barbara in ancient Indian texts almost coinciding with their use in Greece. Sumer did not only have extended trade with the Harappan-Indus Valley civilization (today's Pakistan/Northwest India) some 5000 years ago, they may have been part of the founders of the said civilization!
HOW WAS THE WORD BARBAR INTRODUCED INTO GREEK CIVILIZATION?While the question about the origins of the word Barbar is now answered, new questions arise. There is a huge time gap between the last standing Sumer cities being overrun and their civilization usurped by the Babylonians (Afroasiatic/Semitic people) around 1800 BC and Classical Greece flourishing around 800 BC. How could ancient Greeks have known of Sumer? And there is another question to be asked:
Which civilization would borrow its most basic word from another language unless it is either founded or run by it? You are supposed to invent it yourself to name others if you are a higher civilization!
Loaning of the word bar into Ancient Greek language and culture could not have been the reason behind the use of the word barbar, as it would require similar duplication like in Turkish. The word barbar must have been a concept in civilizations starting with Sumer and kept alive until today. The pursuit of the word barbar in ancient and modern languages could reveal some ground breaking truths.
There might be three possibilities how the Sumerian word barbar got into Greece:
Greece had an orientalizing period, during which some say Greeks received the alphabet from the Phoenicians. And Phoenicians may have acquired it from Sumerian, which stayed as a holy and academic language in Mesopotamia, like Latin is today, until 50BC, well after ancient Greeks came into the scene.
They may have gotten it from Sumerian descendants or relatives from Anatolia (Turkey) which is adjacent to both Sumer and Ancient Greece who have founded some of their cities: Gur (Hurrian).
Third possibility: The North of Black Sea-Balkan route: from the Subar Turks located in what is today Russia and North Caucusus.
BARBARIAN, WESTERN USECredited as the first major historian, Herodotus, as well as other Greek authors, had mentioned foreigners as founders of some of the ancient Greek cities. After late 6th century BC, Greeks adopted a new stand against foreigners/others by using the word Barbaroi/Barbaros and by extension, claimed Greek civilization solely their own making.
This is exactly how European authors, starting in the 18th century, saw ancient Greece: as an isolated first world civilization which they claimed to be their own European roots. Very conveniently, Europe had so called Dark Ages after the fall of the West Roman Empire, just like Ancient Greeks!
So in a sense, history more than rhymed. Since mid-19th century those who created the Western Idea used the same tactic as ancient Greeks. They had chosen a root for themselves to base their civilization ending genuine European history research which had started in the 16th century and reached its highest civilizational point by the end of the Enlightenment period, which is also the end of the revolutionary era of 1789-1848.
And declined ever since. Unfortunately, few people are aware of the fact that European civilization is in general decline since the defeat of the people in 1848: the two world wars and the never ending wars post WW2, including the Western Wars in Middle East and North Africa in the 21st century, are definitive proof of that decline.
Let us not forget that those great European scholars and revolutionaries of the Renaissance and Enlightenment eras, Jean Jacques Rousseau, Thomas Jefferson, and others never called themselves Western! The 1789 revolution of France triggered the popular revolution in Haiti against an enslaving French Empire. Back then, the people of France had become an inspiration to people everywhere.
Going back to Ancient Greece, I am not saying that Ancient Greeks solely copied from another civilization, certainly not. They built upon it, they improved it on more ways than one amidst trade, cultural exchange, and wars with parts of Eurasia and the Middle East, but the fact is Ancient Greece was built upon a prior civilization!
History is a continuous flow and not a collection of totally unrelated events and people!
BARBARIAN TURKS: THE HUNSOne of the historians who doesn't play along the Western Party line, Korean Australian Hyun Jin Kim, is known to present in his first book, Ancient Greece as a major part of a civilized Near East including Mesopotamia and Egypt.
His subsequent work, whose parts I was able to browse on the internet and read reviews about, Birth of Europe and Huns seems like a ground breaking study on the so called "Dark Ages of Europe" when Europe was under the realm of Huns, mostly Turkic people with Turkic, Mongolian, and Iranian ruling class. The premise of the book seems to be: if Turks were barbaric, how then were they able to establish states in Europe and contribute to the birth of Europe?
It is also known that Huns (Turks) were revered in their time by the Europeans and only considered barbaric many centuries later when a European idea was manufactured.
Huns were called Xiong-Nu in Chinese annals and were most probably a confederation of Ogur Turkic tribes as well as Mongols, Hungarians, and others extending an imperial stretch from the West of China to Spain, hence spanning most of Eurasia.
This issue, the presence of the Turks in the foundations of Europe, is first discussed in a seminal book on the subject published in 1868 in Paris and then Istanbul, read decades later with great interest by Ataturk: Les Turc anciens et modernes by Mustafa Celaddin Pasha.
He was a Polish Officer who had participated in the failed 1848 popular European revolutions against capitalism and had fled Europe to start a new life in the Ottoman Empire. Mustafa Celaleddin Pasha, maternal grandfather of the famed Turkish poet Nazim Hikmet, compares European place names (toponyms) and people's names (ethnonyms) in Europe with Turkic words and shows the ancient Turkish substratum in Europe. He does similar comparisons with Latin and Turkic. Even if some of his word comparisons obviously fail, there are still many others who are nothing less than groundbreaking. He suggests a Touro-Aryan (Turkic-Indo-European) linguistic root as opposed to Indo-European as the sole component of European languages.
WESTERN SOCIAL STUDIES INCLUDING THE STUDY OF HISTORYLooking at civilizations as isolates, Sumer first and foremost, is not only unrealistic but also misrepresents the results of the compartmentalized, specific expert studies focused on parts of history.
Such is "the poverty of history studies" in the Western world.
And I think that it does not help that the word story is dangerously close to the word hi-story/tall story in major Western languages like English and French ("Ne me raconte pas des histoires"/Don't lie to me).
Wall Street bankers' neocon man, Francis Fukushima (Fukuyama?) made this Western modus operandi public with such outrageous propaganda as declaring the End of History after the fall of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s! This is by no means new even if it was not declared as blatantly as Francis Fukushima did. This attitude goes back to mid 19th century Europe. Apparently such attitudes run deep in the West. Mass media talking heads continuously rewrite history while most Western academics, whether sheeple or willing accomplices, take part in the Western lie.
Still, there is an up-side. Not only are there some honest academics in the West but Western academics help reveal partial truths with their studies just like Wikipedia displays censored partial truths, and as such, both help and provokes further research!
BARBAR IS A TURKISH WORD, FIRST USED FOR OTHERSI am not the first person to state the Sumerian origin of the word. Barbar is mentioned to be a Sumerian word with one line in "last Sumerian Queen" Muazzez ?lmiye Cig's 2013 book "Sumer are a Turkic People" but without any explanation nor highlighting of the importance of it.
The word duplication feature in both Sumerian and Turkish was mentioned in Begmyrat Gerey's, an Azerbaycani Turk living in Germany, important book "5000 yillik Sümer Türk Baglari" 5000 years of Sumer-Turkic relations" only available in Turkish as far as I know. Cig's book is influenced by Gerey's as she states in the preface of her book, but she presents a bigger bibliography, though incomplete, on research of Sumer-Turkish relations.
Turkish is the only language that uses word duplication variations in many number of ways. And an American math professor, Mark Runey has written extensively in the 2000s on Turkish word duplication while comparing Turkish to archaic languages.
Most extensive studies on this issue have been carried out by the late Vecihe Hatiboglu in the 1970s, with a book solely dedicated to the word duplication issue in the Turkish language.
She is the only person until today to have gone in the footsteps of Ataturk who came up with Sun Language Theory in the 1930's. Ataturk mostly built his theory on his fact based assertion that the people who founded the Sumer civilization were Turks from Central Asia. Ataturk also promoted and personally worked on research reports on Turkic-Maya linguistic and cultural relations written by Turkish ambassador to Mexico Tahsin Mayatepek who Ataturk had sent to Mexico specifically for this venture.
While we have seen that the word barbar is definitely a Sumerian word, we have not established it as a Turkish word yet. We'll have to look into the root "bar" in Turkish languages.
Without much research, I have found one with a quick internet research and came up with two other Turkish words where the root "bar" is used: Bar, Barmak, Ba??rmak
- Bar is to arrive, go in Old Turkish (Gobain 1998). A very basic word. In today's Turkish it is var with b/v sound change. Perfect match for the outside/far meaning of the bar in Sumer.
- It is rude to point at someone with your barmak (finger)! Same outside-distance meaning.
- Bagirmak, whose root is bagir is nothing but an extended bar (baar) and means shout. Same outside/distance meaning.
- Bar is a root for another very interesting and conceptually related Turkish word: bar?ş (peace).
Bar is an Old Turkic root and a verb as well, just like almost all other Turkish word stems.
And as a side note I suggest that the word bar could be the basis in English for both the words far and war (in Turkish; as we have seen above, far and peace!). I have not read about him other than a few pages of online text discussing English history, but it seems like the early 20th century English historian Lawrence Waddell is way overlooked in the West!
So the word Barbar was first used by the Turks to depict others and not the other way around! And this fact is the polar opposite of what the West says.
It would also implicate that European civilization was at least in parts founded by ancient Turks, which would explode the minds of some European scholars like it did in the 19th century with Ernest Renan and Joseph Halevy. When Sumerian was first discovered in the 1850s and accepted as Turkic for many years by the most important scholars in the field including those who have deciphered cuneiform for the first time, Hincks, Rawlinson, and Oppert. These European scholars (Renan, Halevy etc) could not accept how such "barbaric" people as Turks would be the founders of the first advanced civilization on earth. And let's not forget that Oppert fought for a long time against Halevy's false propaganda that there was no such language as Sumerian but a secret Babylonian priest communication!
More than 150 years after, Western Hi-Story seems to be the Western norm!