All Your Pedants Are Belong to Us

Eugene Volokh poses a trivia question:

Many American cities are named after American political figures (e.g., Washington, Lincoln, and Houston) after Christian religious figures (e.g., San Jose, San Diego, and San Antonio), English political figures (e.g., Baltimore and Raleigh), and other people (e.g., Columbus). But what is the largest American city named, directly or indirectly, after an ancient Roman political leader?

The answer he was looking for–and which I and a dozen-odd commenters guessed instantly–was Cincinnati, Ohio, whose name is derived (it turns out, quite indirectly) from that of Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus. And incredibly pedantic discussion soon breaks out, however, arguing that New Orleans, Philadelphia, and San Antonio are the correct answer.

If you have nothing better to do–and, if you’re still reading, that’s quite possible–I commend it to you.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. grandpa says:

    Without looking at the answer…I closed my eyes for a second and no Ohio… Cincinnati…Cincinnatus! Why did I know this? I think it’s an answer to a crossword question which just stuck. Crossword fanatics understand how our minds become filled with trivia that no one else cares about. Now ask me about some unusual fish species from the upper Amazon that aren’t pirana, or why I’m up at 6:30 am on a Sat. morning…..grandkids have early morning soccer games.

  2. Boyd says:

    The first city to come to mind as a possibility was Augusta, but sadly, a little research proved me wrong. Ah, well…