What is the etymology of name Mavronis (Μαυρώνης)?

It’s an old surname: a scribe Niketas Mavronis is recorded in 1285: Σημειώματα-Κώδικες – View Simeioma

The stem is pretty clearly μαύρος “black, swarthy”; the -vr- is something of a giveaway, and the name doesn’t particularly look Slavonic or Aromanian. (1285 is too early for Arvanite or Turkish.) The -ώνης could mean the surname is derived from μαυρώνω “to blacken”, but that looks forced.

Most plausibly, -ώνης is some sort of diminutive or name suffix. This site ΤΑ ΕΛΛΗΝΙΚΑ ΕΠΩΝΥΜΑ‏ μια μελέτη και η Ιστορία τους. explains the suffix of Κοτσώνης Kotsonis as a diminutive of Kotsos < Kostas, adducing the colloquial diminutive (neuter) κλεφτρόνι “little thief”, and the surnames Γεωργιώνης, Γιαννακαρώνης, Διακώνης, Δροσώνης (from George, Big Little John, Deacon, Fresh [proper name]).

What do you think of the Census fail In Australia?

Hilarity abounds about #censusfail, the crash of the online census on August 9 2016: Census in Australia. And I will admit that, like millions of Australians that were under the impression we had to complete the census on that night (so the whole country hit the same server at 8 PM), I had a lot of merriment following the #censusfail hashtag on Twitter in between hitting Refresh (and the occasional ping).

But as a kinda public servant, I’m saddened. I’m saddened that the public’s trust in the Australian Bureau of Statistics has been trashed. I’m saddened that the data quality of the 2016 census will take a severe beating. I’m saddened that the census has ended up politicised.

Many people (particularly my fellow public servants) have been blaming the government for this, for stripping the ABS of funding. And yes, the rush to doing the census online was motivated by cost-cutting rather than efficiency. But the hubris and miscommunications out of the ABS, about the ability of their systems to deal with the load, aren’t the government’s fault. And no, I don’t buy it that hackerz brought the site down, rather than having five million citizens log in at once. Few Australians do.


“1 Million Forms Per Hour”: the amount of traffic the ABS stress-tested for. Double their expected volume. A fifth of the volume expected by anybody else.

I hate to agree with anything Newscorp publishes, but this nails it: http://www.news.com.au/technolog…

AUSTRALIA just lost something rare. The Census was one of the national institutions we truly trusted. Now that trust is gone.

What can be done to make Quora better (2016)?

Quora Inc stepping out of the echo chamber of wherever it’s getting its feedback from (not www.facebook. com/groups/quoratopwriters “Quora Top Writers”, and I doubt it’s even www.facebook. com/groups/quorawriters/ “Quora Writers Feedback”),

and instead, looking at answers on Quora, to questions like this.

Or this: What are the things on Quora that annoy you?

Or this: How could Quora be improved? If you were running the product/technology team at Quora, what would you do to improve the service?

Or this: What features would make Quora better?

Or this: What currently annoys you about Quora (2016)?

Or this: Rage against Quora

Since everyone under the age of 50 has to take an English test to become a US citizen, should there be a press “2” for Spanish option?

The question presupposes that only citizens are entitled to use any service provider in the US with a customer phone line.

To the best of my recollection, I was able to get PacBell while living in the States, without taking out citizenship.

Is “κάπου και που” in Greek about time or about place?

I’ll start by saying that the expression (lit. “somewhere and where”) is unfamiliar to me. Which makes me curious when it became common.

The related question, αραιά και που “sparsely and [some]where” refers to time: “occasionally, now and again”, rather than “in scattered locations, here and there”. The metaphorical use of spatial for temporal expressions is a linguistic commonplace.

The examples Google gives me of κάπου και που, on the other hand, are locative, temporal, or ambiguous:

  • Τέσσερα χρόνια μετά, διαπιστώνουμε κάπου και που ότι φυτρώνουν “Κιμωλίες” σε όλη την Ελλάδα. Four years on, were see that “Chalk” sites are springing up here and there/(now and again) throughout Greece.
  • Σε όλα τα ραντεβού πληρώνουμε, και κάπου και που μας κάνουνε κανένα τραπέζι ή κανένα μικρό δώρο. We pay at all our meetings, and (here and there)/now and again they take us out to dinner or give us a small gift.
  • Συνέχισε με την επίσης κωμική τηλεοπτική επιτυχία “Dharma και Greg” και κάπου και που εμφανίζεται σε μικρούς ρόλους. She went on to the other successful comedy Dharma and Greg, and she appears here and there/now and again in minor roles.
  • Μιλήσαμε για τις Λάκκες που κάπου και που έβλεπες σπίτια και πιο πολύ καλύβες We spoke about Lakkes, where here and there you would see houses, but mostly you’d see huts.
  • ενώ παλεύει ακόμα με τις προσωπικές της εξαρτήσεις και κάπου και που κάνει και καμία τηλεοπτική εμφάνιση [Heather Locklear] is still struggling with personal addictions, and now and again makes the odd appearance on TV

So the impression I get is that it’s about both time and place. But because the expression is unfamiliar to me, I hereby request answers from people living in Greece.

EDIT: from comments

The που in που και που, αραιά και που, and presumably κάπου και που is the stressed interrogative locative, πού “where?” So something like “I see him—sparsely; and where?”, “I see him—where?, and where?”, “I see him—somewhere; and where?” All, I presume, as a rhetorical question, something like “I see him; God knows where.”

Compare the use of the stressed interrogative πώς “how?” in κάνει πώς και πώς να τον δει “he acts “how? and how?” to see him” = “he is very eager to see him” It’s something like, he’s asking out loud, giddy with excitement “how [will it happen]? how [will I act]?”

If everybody on Quora decides not to upvote any answer, would you still answer the questions?

Depends. Do we get to keep comments?

If we do, I’m fine. And expect to see a lot more comments consisting of “this” and “+1”. Comments are more substantive feedback anyway.

If not, then, as I’ve said here before: if I wanted to speak in an anechoic chamber, I’d still be writing academic papers.

How many times was the City, I Polis, taken: two or three?

… I come into this knowing only an outline of Byzantine History, and Wikipedia. But, to focus on what the question details say:

  • Constantinople fell to the Crusaders in 1203/1204, to the Niceans in 1261, and to the Ottomans in 1453.
  • The Siege of Constantinople (717–718) by the Arabs was unsuccessful.
  • The Siege of Constantinople was planned to take advantage of the Twenty Years’ Anarchy, when one Byzantine Emperor was deposing another.
  • Leo III the Isaurian seized power five months before the siege began, in March 717.
  • Leo III also introduced Byzantine Iconoclasm as official policy (nine years later), which threw the Empire into religious strife for the next century.

I think what you’re asking, Dimitris (and it is usually hard to make out) is whether Leo III’s ascent to the throne was a kind of “taking over” of Constantinople, like 1204, 1261, and 1453?

Iconoclasm, Wikipedia says, was a long time coming: it wasn’t an idea that just popped into Leo III’s head in 726. (The Byzantine historians say that it did, in response to a tsunami he read as divine disapproval of icons. But our historians know that’s not how history works.) So there were rabble outside Constantinople’s city walls that wanted an iconoclast in the palace. And most of them would have been on the borders with the Caliphate, since iconoclasm may have been inspired by the aniconic preference of Islam.

But Leo III took over in 717 as just another usurper. He didn’t take over with a ten-year plan to reform Orthodoxy. If I had a denarius for every time a usurper took power in Constantinople (let alone Rome), I would have a whole bunch of denarii. The fact that Leo III had iconoclast supporters doesn’t mean Constantinople fell to the iconoclasts, any more than Julian’s ascent meant that Constantinople fell to the pagans. They were just another faction internal to Byzantium.

Do academic professors participate as equal respondents in Quora or, for example, do they call your ideas “popular etymology” & refuse to discuss it?

Quora wants academics to promote their bios, in order to enhance the credibility of their answers, and thence of Quora answers as a whole. So while they can participate as just another user, the intent is that not all answers are equal.

When it comes to popular opinion, of course, all answers are equal, because kitty cats get more upvotes than three page screeds.

By the same token, no question is owed an answer by anyone, whether the question is posed by “an original researcher” or a layperson or a crackpot. Anyone is allowed to dismiss questions for whatever reason, and an academic is allowed to dismiss questions which the discipline as a whole would dismiss as crackpot. (That, after all, was the real motivation behind the “original research” requirement in Wikipedia.) That’s not an equity matter, that’s a matter of people being free to choose how to engage with questions.

You can object that this is groupthink and inflexibility. But just at Wikipedia, this is not the forum where you get to persuade an entire discipline that they’ve got etymology all wrong.

Are Spartans ancient Greek people?

Yes: Sparta was an Ancient Greek city, and the inhabitants of Sparta spoke a dialect of Greek and participated in the Olympic games. So Spartans were ancient Greek people, in the same way Persepolitans were ancient Iranian people. The more usual ancient designation of those people, though, was Laconians or Lacedaemonians, referring to the region that Sparta controlled. (Hence Laconic wit, referring to the stereotypical terseness of Spartans.)

Sparta was a prominent city-state in ancient Greece. In antiquity the city-state was known as Lacedaemon, while the name Sparta referred to its main settlement on the banks of the Eurotas River in Laconia, in south-eastern Peloponnese.

The town of Sparta (modern) was rebuilt in 1834, and “Spartan” is a surname that Greeks have adopted. (cc Kelley Spartiatis). So Spartans are also Modern Greek people.