[[quoteright:350:[[VideoGame/AgeOfConan http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/barbarian-tropes_age-of-conan_9877.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:350:You no longer need to ask what's worse than one angry barbarian.]]

The Barbarian Tribe is usually portrayed as a band of barely-literate, and often chaotic warriors. They have no problem burning villages, [[KickTheDog dog-kicking]], playing polo with severed heads, and [[ArsonMurderAndJaywalking even stealing cable]]. In a work of fiction, they may form the mook army of the DarkLord, EvilPrince, or [[KnightTemplar religious fanatic]].

If the work of fiction wants to portray them positively, they will be composed of {{Proud Warrior Race Guy}}s or {{Noble Savage}}s who are [[NatureHero in touch with the environment]]. A BarbarianHero will originate in one of these tribes.

This is TruthInTelevision to an extent, since one of the main thrusts of history in Eurasia (until the advent of gunpowder weapons) was the periodic invasions of urban areas in China and Europe by [[BornInTheSaddle mounted steppe tribes]]. Many other groups of people, such as the ancient Germanic peoples (this includes Norse raiders), Native American tribes and [[DarkestAfrica tribal Africans]], could also be considered this.

On the other hand, Claude Levi-Strauss said the only real barbarians are the ones who believe in barbarians. The Ancient Greeks, who invented the term, applied it pretty liberally to anyone they didn't like, including peoples who were quite civilized by any reasonable standard (like the [[AncientEgypt Egyptians]] and the Persians) and even other Greeks who didn't live up to Athenian ideals. A modern work that applies CharacterDevelopment to its barbarians may quickly find them to be NotSoDifferent.

See TheHorde for when they are portrayed as AlwaysChaoticEvil. See also HordesFromTheEast and BornInTheSaddle.

The SufficientlyAdvanced often compare those "below" them to this.

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!Examples:

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[[folder:Advertisements]]
* The Visigoths from the Capital One credit card commercials. They shill the credit card by talking about ordinary-sounding purchases that we see are being done in a "barbaric" way. For example, they might talk about using the card to pay at the drive-through when we see them in the drive-through in a war chariot.
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[[folder: Comic Books]]
* ''ComicBook/{{Asterix}}'', PlayedForLaughs. The main characters are all proud barbarians, but instead of being ruthless and dramatic they're mostly weird, self-obsessed, shallow and a bit pathetic. There's also hints that despite their constant resistance of the Romans that they are becoming quite Romanised.
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[[folder:Film]]
* Native Americans in movies about the [[TheWestern Old West]] in America will use this trope. Older movies use the more negative version, while newer movies will use the positive one.
* ''The13thWarrior'' with Antonio Banderas. The barbarian Vikings defend themselves against the even more barbarous [[spoiler:Neanderthal tribe]].
* The Celts who allied themselves to the Sheriff of Nottingham, in ''Film/RobinHoodPrinceOfThieves''.
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[[folder:Literature]]
* The Ye-tai in ''Literature/BelisariusSeries'' serve as this for the Malwa Empire, while the Roman army uses Germanic tribes to bolster their forces.
* In Literature/TheCandlemassRoad, Lady Dacre sees all the Borderers as this when she arrives, but by the end is becoming acclimated to the 'custom of the country.'
* Creator/RobertEHoward's ConanTheBarbarian often leads this. However improbable it is that he is always taken in and rises to the top.
** In "Literature/ThePeopleOfTheBlackCitadel", he has to negiotiate over his captured men.
** In "Literature/TheDevilInIron" he is leading raids on the civilization.
* The ''Literature/{{Dinotopia}}'' books have [[RuleOfCool sentient barbarian dinosaurs]] living in the Rainy Basin.
* The Kadeshi in the FarsalaTrilogy are a pretty straight example of this trope, whereas the Suud are more of a [[SubvertedTrope subversion]].
* From ''TheFirstLaw'', Joe Abercrombie's Northerners. They are like Vikings without boats. Southerners see them as TheHorde, while they see the South as TheEmpire. Northern characters include nuanced and sensitive characters as well as raging psychopaths.
* In the Military SF series ''TheGeneral'' the "Barbarians" are descended from [[TheFederation Federation]] troops stationed in the boonies before the Fall. It is undoubtedly just coincidence that their native language is 'Namerique' and they have a variety of Northern European names.
* The Dunlendings (hill-people who were ejected from their ancestral homeland by the Rohirrim) were portrayed this way in ''Literature/TheLordOfTheRings.'' Middle Earth's backstory also includes the Wainriders and other barbarian groups from the east. The original humans who migrated to join the elves in ''TheSilmarillion'' were a heroic version of this.
* Parodied in the {{Nightside}} novels with the Tribe of Gay Barbarians: urbanized variants with their own reasons for dressing in spikes and leather loincloths.
* The mortok tribe in ''Literature/{{Phenomena}}''. They wear only pelts around their waists, but strangely do they have advanced arm armory, but make weapons out of [[{{squick}} bones]]. They are, atleast some, are literate. They keep elves as their slaves.
* The [[MixAndMatchCritters chimera]] of ''Literature/TheReynardCycle'' are usually depicted as being antagonistic tribal creatures, who [[HordesFromTheEast invade from the East]] every generation or so.
* In ''Literature/TheWheelOfTime'', while almost every race and country sees the others as this, the labels tend to all be correct within their own set of assumptions, but many have very noble or civilized traits as compared to where their comparable society in the real word was at roughly the same level of technology.
* R. Scott Bakker's ''Literature/TheSecondApocalypse'' has the Scylvendi, the "People of War," who live in the steppes and are at constant war with the more sophisticated Nansur and Kianene Empires. During the first Apocalypse, they fought for the [[EdlritchAbomination No-God]], and they continue to worship it as the Dead God. Believing that all other nations bear by blood guilt of deicide, they kill any non-Scylvendi they find. Each Scylvendi warrior scars his arms for each kill, called swazond, on the belief that they have inherited all the unused potential of the life they cut short.
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[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* The Dothraki in ''Series/GameOfThrones'' combine this and [[ProudWarriorRaceGuy the Proud Warrior Race]] trope. The Wildings and the hill tribes count as well.
* ''Hercules: Legendary Journeys'', ''Xena: Warrior Princess'', and ''Beastmaster'' all used this trope extensively. These TV shows were made in Australia or New Zealand, so they may draw upon the same group of writers who particularly like these types of antagonists.
** Beastmaster actually included an INVERSION of the trope during one season, when the "civilized" new military power overshadowed the previous BigBad barbarian tribe, wiping them off the map with ease. They saw the Beastmaster and his allies as this too.
* An episode of ''Series/{{Farscape}}'' had the Venek Hordes, barbarian tribes of [[PettingZooPeople Lion People]].
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[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer}}'' has the Norscans -- essentially a race of hyper-violent Viking berserkers who dwell in the far North of the world and regularly invade and pillage the northern territories of the Empire and Kislev. Devoted worshipers of the Chaos Gods, the Norse are deeply influenced by [[TheCorruption Chaos]] and bear many of the [[RedRightHand gifts]] and [[MarkOfTheBeast Marks of their Gods]]. They are also extremely capable sailors. The Norscans are divided into various tribal confederations that are as often at war within themselves as they are with each other.
** Also the Kurgans, basically the ancient Turks to the Norscans' ancient Scandinavians and highly accomplished horsemen and archers.
* ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}'' has planets designated as 'Feral Worlds', worlds that are in a technological and cultural state lower than the more modern worlds of the Imperium; usually a state reminiscent of the medieval period or earlier. Because Feral Worlds are often inhospitable to human life, the populations are often fierce and tough, and are often used as recruiting grounds for SpaceMarines Chapters and [[BadassArmy Imperial Guard]] regiments. The most famous Feral World is Fenris, home of the Space Wolves Chapter, who recruit from the viking tribes of that world.
** The [[OurOrcsAreDifferent Orks]] have shades of this trope: they scarcely have any technology that's particularly sophisticated (although much of it is still very effective); and hardly have any political structure beyond "Do wot da [[LargeAndInCharge Warboss and da Nobz]] say." It's played straighter by the Feral Orks and the Snakebites Clan who are more tribal in nature, and completely straight with the TabletopGame/{{Warhammer}} Orcs.
** Averted with some Chaos Marines, who may maraud and plunder Imperial worlds, sometimes just at random, yet still maintain a very strict and regimented lifestyle.
* The Aslan in {{Traveller}} are an example of this with overlap into ProudWarriorRace. They are a technologically advanced society that maintains a tribalistic social and political structure.
** The Vargr are a closer analogue to this then the Aslan.
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[[folder:Videogames]]
* In ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaTwilightPrincess'', Bulblins seem to operate in this fashion. They live in a crude encampment in the desert, but venture out into the world for raping and pillaging. They tame wild boars, and are ruled by the gargantuan Lord Bulblin (who, as the biggest of the Bulblins, is also LargeAndInCharge)
* Centaurs in ''VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft'', are based on the Mongols. They call their leaders Khans, wear fur-lined conical helmets, travel in nomadic hordes, and live in tent villages.
* The ''VideoGame/{{Civilization}}'' games have barbarian hordes. In Civ 4, barbarian cities are named after real historical tribes and the second expansion set added an occasional event where numerous barbarian units appear next to a random civilisation. As one might expect, there are no diplomacy options with barbarians (aside from giving in to them when they say, "Give us X amount of gold or else we pillage you") and they will try to conquer or sack any cities they come across.
* ''TotalWar'': All of the games have some sort:
** In ''Rome: Total War'' there are the Gauls, Scythians, Dacians, Germans and Britons (all from the point of view of the player of course) and there was even an expansion called ''Barbarian Invasion'' featuring the Huns, Goths, Vandals and various other Nomadic and Germanic tribes.
** The ''Medieval Total War'' (both I and II) have the invasion of the Mongols in the late 1200's that can easily steamroll civilizations that have not prepared for them in advance. [[TheComputerIsACheatingBastard Of course the only way you know how to prepare for them is if you get steamrolled by them first and then know what to do the second time around.]] Or if you're [[ItWasHisSled up to date on your medieval history]].
** ''Medieval: Total War'' even has a cheat code allowing you to play as barbarians/rebels. The code? ''"[[ConanTheBarbarian conan]]"''.
** In the ''Empire Total War'' game, the minor native civilizations appear as this to your player.
* The FourX strategy game ''Galactic Civilizations II'' has the Drengin Empire. They are Mongols [[RecycledINSPACE in space]], more or less.
* ''VideoGame/KingOfDragonPass'' is basically a fantasy barbarian tribe simulator. Subverted in that, while warlike and, well, barbaric by present-day standards, they have a lot of hidden depths and a culture that places a high emphasis on learning, literacy and commerce. And, ofcourse, they're the good guys (arguably even more so in ''{{Runequest}}'', where they are traditionally put against a civilized, evil [[TheEmpire empire]]).
* Act 5 of ''[[VideoGame/{{Diablo}} Diablo II]]'' had you helping a friendly version. Barbarians were even a choosable class.
** The Barbarians have a great deal more backstory, as ''Videogame/DiabloIII'' exposes; the Barbarians believe themselves to have a god given mission to protect their territory, which houses a way to a plane of hell. This causes frequent clashes with the more civilized people who have no idea what they're guarding, and just see them as aggressive and territorial beyond reason.
* In VideoGame/FalloutNewVegas the Khans are a post-apocolyptic version of a barbarian tribe. Caesar's Legion is a collection of barbarian tribes assimilated into one massive [[TheHorde Horde]] by a highly-educated man with a love of Roman history. Honest Hearts includes the White Legs, a band of savage tribals [[spoiler:trained by [[{{Foil}} Ulysses]]]] who possess military hardware after raiding a weapons cache.
* ''EuropaUniversalis: Rome'' includes barbarian incursions and uprisings as periodic occurrences. Unlike in other games, if they go unchecked for long enough, they'll actually establish a new faction from the victim's conquered territory.
* VideoGame/HeroesOfMightAndMagic has featured a Barbarian faction throughout the series. At least ''some'' of their towns that appeared throughout the campaigns were this trope, though the actual term 'Barbarian tribe' doesn't come up that often.
* The space dragon from ''VideoGame/MasterOfOrion 2'' can be seen as a science fiction equivalent.
* Mentioned in ''VideoGame/TearsToTiara2'', based on the Germanic Tribes bordering AncientRome. They are depicted as NotSoDifferent. Artio is princess of the Suebi.
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[[folder:Webcomics]]
* Tiffany from ''{{Exiern}}'' comes from an almost text book perfect example of one of these tribes. This causes some problems when it comes to her attitude to women and [[GenderBender being turned into one]].
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[[folder:Web Original]]
* In ''Roleplay/TheGamersAlliance'', the Khitans (horse riders of the grass plains) and the Sarquil (warriors of the desert) were this trope until the Cataclysm when they had to adapt their way of life to survive. The Khitans still keep their nomadic life for the most part and raise horses on the plains, but their Khan has built the large camp Kara Khitai where more and more Khitans are moving into so that they can better protect themselves from outer threats if an invasion takes place in their homeland. The various squabbling Sarquil tribes, however, have been forcibly united by the Sultana of Vanna over the years into what has become known as the Sultanate of Karaganda.
* The Selahren in Wiki/TheWorldbuildProject are an islandful of barbarian tribes.
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[[folder: Western Animation ]]
* The Vikings in ''WesternAnimation/{{Gargoyles}}'' were generally portrayed in this manner.
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