Erasmus’ and Las Casas’ Conception of Barbarian Peoples
The views of Bartolomé Las Casas and Erasmus concerning the “other” and their conception of peace and war are presented comparatively. The proximity of Las Casas’s mind to that of Erasmus is revealed. It is argued that Las Casas’ conception of barbarians is linked to Erasmus’ worldview. However, a gap exists between the two regarding “barbarians of the third type,” slaves by nature, as defined by Aristotle. Las Casas considers them as too low to ask for God. Contrarily, Erasmus believed that no one was unworthy of that. These barbarians were not Amerindians, as Las Casas clarifies. They may have been black Africans: Las Casas requested to send such slaves to the New World in order to replace enslaved Amerindians or to ease their yoke.