Age of Empires 2 DE Proposed Civilization Name Change


I believe the Berber civilization is mislabeled. From what I know, who I’ve talked with and what I’ve read, Amazigh or Imazaghen is the proper nomenclature for the Berber people. I am not Amazigh nor am I from the northern region of the African content, yet I do believe using a self-name is important for people. If the developers crowdsourced the title Berber from people of the Amazigh ethnic distinction, please let me know. Thank you.

Below I have sources and more information regarding my posited change and I hope you hear me out or at least consider. I am not trying to play PC police or impose upon a gaming experience that I have loved to death for 20 years–just trying to make that a game based upon civilizations/peoples is as accurate as possible. (Idk if they also considered Mexica vs. Aztecs, but that is different).

Oxford, Berber Etymology: “Berber from Arabic barbar , from Greek barbaros ‘foreigner, (see barbarian).”

Britannica: “Berber”
“Berber, self-name Amazigh, plural Imazighen, any of the descendants of the pre-Arab inhabitants of North Africa. The Berbers live in scattered communities across Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Mali, Niger, and Mauritania. They speak various Amazigh languages belonging to the Afro-Asiatic family related to ancient Egyptian.”


I have found that scholars and non-scholars alike still continue to refer to the indigenous peoples and languages of North Africa as “Berber.” For example, when speaking about my research interests, I say, “I’m studying Tamazight, a dialect of the indigenous language of Morocco,” and people tend to respond with “Oh, you mean Berber” or “Oh, is that Berber?”

Traditionally, the term “Berber” has been used to refer to the indigenous peoples of North Africa. This term, inherently discriminatory, was coined by Arab conquerors and also used by European colonizers. Barbari, in Arabic, means gibberish, babble, etc., and also means barbaric. Before the Arab conquest, barbaroi, or barbarians, was a term given to peoples who did not speak Greek and therefore, their language was unintelligible. Various other terms had also been used to refer to these groups historically such as “Africans,” “Numidians,” and “Moors.” Bruce Maddy-Weitzman discussed this in his [2011 book]"

To combat discrimination and to reclaim their identity, the indigenous peoples use the terms: Amazigh (singular), Imazighen (plural), and Tamazight (feminine) to refer to themselves. Furthermore, some Imazighen use the term Tamazgha to refer to the land stretching from the Canary Islands to the Siwa Oasis in Egypt, the lands inhabited by Imazighen. The term “Amazigh” in the Tamazight language means “the free man” and yet, we still continue to subjugate Imazighen by referring to them by the name of their Arab conquerors. We have an obligation to call Imazighen by the name that they want to be called. In the Tamazight language, one would never ask someone “Are you Berber?” Instead, one would say, “Are you Amazigh/Tamazight?” or “Do you know Tamazight?” This is also the case in Arabic."

More personal info:
I read the cultural insensitivity notice at the start screen of AoE 3 and believe the developers are doing their best to make sure they are accurately reflecting the identities of the people they sell their game from. I love history, I have studied for nearly a decade by now and it makes me happy to play a historical game. That was the thing that initially got me.

I have heard this distinction expressed to me by people of the region and believe it to be true. If you know better or have been a part of conceiving this distinction, please let me know.


These are great points.

Even if the current name doesn’t have derogatory intentions behind it, it would be preferable to use self-identified naming conventions. If we extended the current treatment to the Goths and Celts (…and maybe even a bunch of other civs) we’d have a couple of “Barbarians” buttons on the civilization select screen, wouldn’t we?

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I agree with what’s outlined here. My only concern would be the possibility of community pushback for a change like this. One of the most interesting parts of the game to me has always been seeing how different civilizations and cultures are represented and codified in game. While it’s occasionally generalized or not entirely accurate, either due to mistake or balance, or just having the ‘Indian’ civ, It’s quite a nice surprise whenever I look up a culture based on what I see in game. I probably wouldn’t have learned nearly as much about the Goths for example if I hadn’t been driven to look them up based on what I saw in game.

‘Berber’ feels misleading in light of what you’ve posted, and kind of like a slur or an insult. As well, calling them the Amazigh or Imazaghen would make it much easier to actually learn about them, as well as being far more respectful to the group in question.


While that would be a neat idea, doubt it will be implemented as the civs are named based on eurocentric names, and berber is arguably the westernized culture name. Otherwise we would have to change a lot of civ names like byzantines, vikings, indians, and arguably chinese.
Also Amazigh/Imazaghen usually refers to the natives to north africa and excludes the arabs that came in, which is not what is represented in game (Berber in aoe2 is referencing the north african muslim kingdoms)

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By and large those civilizations aren’t named after a slur (intentional or not ofc), and really after a bit of poking around it’s obvious enough that they are actually mainly presented as Imazighen (even the fandom wiki describes them as such). This seems like a simple case of trying to respect the heritage of a people who still exist.

Not sure why there is a need to cling to total eurocentric naming conventions. Age of Empires 3 didn’t, and that’s just fine :slight_smile:

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That aged well

Anyway, DoI gives precedence for civs being renamed