The Barbarian Chronicles

Greek Barbarian

Greek Barbarian
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You're a Greek barbarian? Isn't that an oxymoron?
I get that whenever folks discover that I am a Hellene.
The answer?
Well, yes and no.
It is true that my ancestors considered all foreigners uncouth and labelled them barbarians to mock the bar-barous way they spoke.
It is also true that Greeks who resided too far from the hallowed walls of the dominant city-states were also considered barbarians. Their speech, though Greek, was rough and grating to civilized ears. And their rustic customs and mannerisms were widely ridiculed.
Alexander the Great, who did more to spread Hellenism globally than any other person before or after his time, was considered a Macedonian barbarian by the cultured Athenians.
And Alexander was inspired by an earlier barbarian hero, one who was also Greek.
Hercules, though raised in Thebes during the Heroic Age, a son of Zeus and greatest of the Greek heroes, was considered savage and dangerous, a barbaric outsider by his contemporaries. 
Wearing the pelt of a lion and brandishing a massive club of wild olive, Hercules is still the embodiment of the primordial barbarian hero.


It is known that Alexander consistently sought to surpass Hercules' wide-wanderings and daring deeds. He claimed Hercules as an ancestor. He is often depicted on coins clad in a lion pelt - just like his hero. And just like his hero his divinity was widely recognized during his brief but eventful earthy sojourn.
Though the Greeks considered the Trojans barbarians, it was the Greeks who were in fact Illium's barbarian invaders, as any reader of the Iliad can attest. And Homer did a great job in immortalizing our heroic codes and barbaric behaviors for posterity. Homer's work not only inspired Alexander on his campaigns but was considered sacred scripture by my people for centuries.

The Romans, whom my Hellenic ancestors also dismissed as barbarians, appropriated our Olympian culture, rubbed our faces in it and then declared us the barbarians. Julius Ceasar found his Destiny while contemplating a statue of Alexander in a temple of Hercules. Marc Antony, his Champion, was considered an incarnation of Hercules before he hooked up with Cleopatra.

And let us not forget that the children of Israel considered both the Greeks and Romans to be Edomites, barbaric descendants of Esau the hairy and wild. The Greeks under Alexander were thought to have brought cultural contamination to the Holy Land. Some say that the Philistines and even the unrepentant Tribe of Dan were barbaric Hellenes. 
To many modern Greeks those of us who still heed the call of Olympus and tread the Heroic Path are considered regressive primitives, outsiders, barbarians. 

But enough of history... 'tis also the barbarians of heroic fantasy that are celebrated in the pages of The Barbarian Chronicles.

Robert E. Howard, creator of Conan, wrote The House of Arabu. This short story is a tale of Pyrrhas the Argive, a Greek barbarian, and his adventures in the ancient Near East. This yarn was eventually adapted into a Conan tale by Marvel in issue #38 of the Conan the Barbarian comic.

In Larry Niven's The Magic Goes Away, Orolandes the Greek barbarian is the only survivor of an ill-fated raid on Atlantis. By killing the wizard-priests that protected the land, the Hellenic hordes undid the spells that kept the island above the waters. And Atlantis was swallowed by the waves.

By now I'm sure that you've all caught my drift and that I've proven my point. A Greek, even a modern Greek, can be a barbarian if they so choose. And if a modern Greek can be an archetypal barbarian then verily anyone can be anything they aspire to! That has been my credo and pimary message throughout my career.
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