If it was only the b/v difference, it wouldn’t even need a transcription error – already since the Early Middle Ages the ancient Greek beta transformed into the medieval Greek vita, with Latin preserving the beta forms. Hence, f.e., we have barbarians in English, but varvari in Slavic and Greek (varvaroi). So it could simply be the case of the Greeks transforming the B into a V (Serbia->Servia, and from Greece it spreads to the West), similarly to how Bulgar has transformed in Greek into Voulgaros (in that relation, @ Bonsek’s old comment above – vulgar and bugger fit better, especially since there really is a connection with the latter).


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