This short account tries to show that the stereotype of the barbarians and an
anti-Eastern discourse was developed in the literate culture of the Greeks in classical
times, based on a genuine fear of the Persians, but also on an increasing smugness.
The attitude towards the East was handed down to the Romans and occasionally
exploited for political, private or satirical purposes by writers throughout antiquity,
and thus prevailed for all those who could read. ‘The light from the Acropolis’ has
never illuminated its Near Eastern neighbours, rather a nefarious shadow was cast on
the East that has proved hard to dispose of.