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27.11.06

Interesting fact of the day: Plato was not Plato's real name. Plato was a nickname. You know, like "Sting" or "Lenin" or "Fat Boy" or "Oy, you!" It means flat, wide or broad. If you look at his nose, you can see why. His real name is believed to have been Aristocles. Not Aristotle. Aristocles.

6 Comments:

Anonymous S said...

Never use Wikipedia to check up on stuff while writing a thesis!

BTW, did you know that the Norwegian (and Danish, I suppose) name for 'bear', i.e. 'bjørn' is a nickname too? Apparently, it meant bad luck to name it by its real name, which was promptly forgotten, whereas the nickname stuck. I dunno 'bout 'bear', though. Might be the same thing.

November 27, 2006 11:44 am  
Anonymous S said...

'to call it by its real name', I meant.
Cue: annoying song by DSound getting on my brain. Argh!

November 27, 2006 11:46 am  
Blogger MGL said...

Actually, I didn't need Wikipedia. I heard it on QI (it was on TV, so it must be true, right?). Wikipedia was just corroborating evidence. And btw, I wrote an article about Wikipedia and truthiness in Prosopopeia #1-2 2004. Maybe I should publish it here someday.

I've actually heard the thing about the bear before, but I thought it was an American Indian tradition not to name the bear. I seem to recall someone calling him all sorts of names: the old man in the forest, the king of the woods etc. Maybe that's why for a brief time it was illegal (or anyway proposed to be illegal) in Norway to name your child Bjørn or Ulv or other animal names.

November 27, 2006 12:43 pm  
Anonymous kjetil said...

And if you had checked Wikipedia, you would have seen that Diogenes Laertius claimed Plato got his name from his wrestling coach, because of his stout figure. Maybe his nose was the result of his martial arts activities?

November 27, 2006 1:18 pm  
Anonymous S said...

So much for being cheeky.
As for american indians: I know some of them called the-animal-that-cannot-be-named 'anouk' (which reminds me of another horrible singer). 'Bear', however, was probably not a problem, since it's an English word. I think this just proves that superstisions are universal. Or 'proves', anyway.

I'm looking forward to seing Plato the Movie. With Stephen Segal in the title role.

November 27, 2006 1:37 pm  
Blogger MGL said...

Phaedrus, Part II: I Still Can't Remember What You Did Last Summer.

November 27, 2006 1:44 pm  

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