Yes, I was surprised from your description that you were able to hold off the barbarians. Did you just let them pillage your improvements? (I don't see how you could move out of your cities to fight them.) Maybe you have enough more experience with me in the game that you know how to park your archers where the barbs will stupidly attack them. My problem with this is that if you don't get it 100% right, if they do what you don't expect, it can be a total disaster.