June 05, 2003
Historical Riddle

Question: Who said "Love me, love my dog" (Qui me amat, amet et canem meum)?

Hint: He was a saint.

Click on 'MORE...' to see the answer.

Answer: St. Bernard, of course, specifically St. Bernard of Clairvaux.

In looking for the Latin on the web, I found out a few things I didn't know:

  1. I had thought that St. Bernard was history's greatest Luxemburger, since Clairvaux is the town at the northern tip of the country where the first shots of the Battle of the Bulge were fired. But it turns out he was abbot at an entirely different Clairvaux in France.
  2. I also always assumed that the St. Bernard breed was named after Bernard of Clairvaux, what with the famous quotation and all. (And some may find them a little harder to love than smaller breeds.) However, they were developed in the neighborhood of the hospice of St. Bernard near what is now the St. Bernard Pass connecting Italy and Switzerland, and the names of hospice, pass, and dog apparently all go back to a completely different saint, Bernard of Menthon, who founded the hospice.

Too bad I checked the facts: now I'm ineligible to write for The New York Times or the Guardian.

Posted by Dr. Weevil at June 05, 2003 11:06 PM