The word “barbarian” brings with it imagery of huge, muscular, violent men with filthy long hair, wielding axes and long swords and being rowdy. These days, people have good use for barbarian names in fantasy role playing games online. Others just want the coolest username for their social networking sites and famous barbarians are as good a choice as any. Someone in search for tough and absolutely frightful barbarian names ought to consider the following popular names: “Fundor,” “Alaric,” “Vortigern,” “Gorbuck,” “Gunthur,” and the timeless default option, “Carolus Magnus”, definitely much tougher sounding than “Charlemagne.” But for those who want a more in-depth exploration of what’s behind names, then here are a few tidbits of information.
Where did the word “barbarian” come from?
The word “barbarian” originated from the Medieval Latin, “barbarinus.” “Barbarian” eventually became a term that became associated with strangers who speak an unintelligible language and in bygone days launched raids into civilized societies (at least, they thought they were the civilized ones). The Greeks labeled these foreigners vile and inhuman. They used the collective term “barbarian” or the equivalent in their language to encompass the Persians, Carthaginians, Etruscans, Egyptians, Phoenicians, Romans, Basques, and Kurdish, who they probably did not realize were equally civilized, with cultures that are as rich and as complex as their own.
Legendary barbarian names
People don’t really need to invent a solid, hard-as-nails name when the names of famous barbarians are there for the taking. Take for example, “Attila.” Makes your blood curdle just hearing it, right? The name “Attila” elicits that kind of unconscious response because of history lessons that everyone gets in school. Attila ruled a kingdom that stretched from Europe to modern-day Asia and he was so fearsome that the whole Roman Empire was in terror of him. Details about the leader of the Huns who lived in the 5th century are all fuzzy, but images rife with blood and gore stuck, as well rumors of his supposed cannibalism. The same imagery is associated with “Genghis Khan,” and “Kublai Khan,” both mighty and violent Mongol leaders in their day.
“Alaric” is a name that came from a figure in history as well. Alaric the Goth had the distinction as the first barbarian to capture Rome and led the vicious ransacking of Roman citizens as well as their architecture. Before Charlemagne (Carolus Magnus) became the Holy Roman Emperor, he conquered much of Europe as the last Frankish Barbarian kings. Clovis, another Frankish barbarian was known for being especially hot-headed and violent in nature, even vengeful.
Barbarians from comic books and comic strips
There are other options for people who are looking for sinewy, stalwart and savage warrior names but without actual blood and gore attached to them. Comic books and comic strips could provide great alternatives. “Hagar” is not the only comic strip barbarian out there. “Cerebus” is a barbarian mercenary created by “Dave Sim. “Wulf” is a tougher name, though some of his more recent exploits and adventures are not so tough (such as trying to make a CD work). “Kull” of Atlantis is another tough one, and the fact that he lives underwater makes him extra brawny. “Kull” is a creation of Robert E. Howard who also created the most famous comic book barbarian of all time—Conan.
Conan the Barbarian, from the fictional world of Cimmeria, has so many followers he might as well be as real at Attila the Hun and Genghis Khan. The name Hermann may not sound very barbarian, but a Hermann (Arminius) who served under a General Varus planned and executed a secret plot to trap Roman armies in the Roman forest. Most of them died by his sword.