Monday 22 August 2011


Just to keep up a faint miasma of relevance: you should know that Tripoli comes from the Greek Tri-Polis meaning Three Cities.

Once upon a time there was Sabratha, and then forty miles east of that was Oea, and a hundred miles east of that was Leptis Magna. The Romans called this tripolitic region the Regia Tripolitana. The name stuck but gradually it came to refer only to the middle city of Oea, which is the one through which the rebels are now revolting.

And as a bonus fact, the Greek for in the city was eis tan polin, a phrase that slowly got corrupted until it was pronounced Is-Tan-Bul.

The Inky Fool brings you up to the minute reportage


  1. I was told the Istambul story when I was in Greece and didn't believe it. Unfortunately, I have forgotten all the Greek I once knew and can no longer explain why I thought it dubious.

    A possibly more interesting etymological trivium (which I also cannot vouch for) is that Martin Luther King's initials (MLK) form the Semitic root m-l-k for the word "king" (malik), no doubt intended by his pastor father and grandfather.

    I hope that is not utterly fanciful.