Jan Bosselaers dochterland at PANDORA.BE
Thu Jan 5 21:20:42 CST 2006

Dear Taxacomers,

I once read that at some moment in time the Swedish were obliged to
choose a family name by the administration. Serious as they are, many of
them chose a latinised name, which was fashionable at the time. This was
especially the case among clergymen, like Linnaeus' father. The Dutch,
by the way, thought the new rules would not last long and behaved quite
differently, a fact which now leaves them with some of the silliest
family names on the planet. Many Swedish still have these somewhat
strange latinised names. For example the well known pop composer Bjorn
Ulvaeus. If he would once be knighted, he will become Bjorn von Ulvé :-)

Best wishes,


> Dear Richard E. Petit, dear colleagues,
> At 14:29 04.01.2006, you wrote:
>> On another server there has been a discussion about whether to credit
>> authorship of a taxon to Linnaeus (if described in the 10th ed.) or
>> to Linné
>> (if described in the 12th ed.).
>> Most malacologists now use Linnaeus regardless of date, a position I
>> have
>> long adopted.  However, I would like to know how his name is handled in
>> other fields.
> As Thomas G. Lammers correctly states, Carl Linnaeus was ennobled (in
> 1761, but antedated 1757) and took the name Carl von Linné. Since/when
> he published in Latin, he latinised his first name to Carolus. How to
> cite him is mostly a matter of taste but could easily grow into a
> heated argument.  At the time he wrote the 10th edition of Systema
> Naturae, his name was clearly Carl Linnaeus. After 1761, i.e. when the
> 12th edition appeared, he called himself Carl von Linné (in Latin
> Carolus a Linné). In order to avoid citing the same person under two
> different names, one can, of course, decide only to use one of the two
> versions exclusively.
> Historically, in Germany the "ennobled" version is in prevalent use,
> maybe because Germans found (find?) it so attractive and important to
> get ennobled. Also in Sweden, at least in Uppsala, the ennobled
> version is used throughout, possibly because the Swedes are so proud
> of Linnaeus in general and perhaps likewise of his ennoblement.
> Nevertheless, I prefer the form "Linnaeus", for two reasons: (1) this
> is his original name, and he wrote the majority of nomenclatural works
> under this name (if we put aside the antedating of his ennoblement),
> and (2) in most parts of the world outside Germany and Sweden and in
> most taxonomic sources - as far as I see - this form is used.
>                                 Best regards
>                                   Michael
> *****************************************************************
> * Prof.Dr. Michael Schmitt (Zoologischer Anzeiger, Editor-in-   *
> * Chief; Bonner zoologische Beitraege, Editor-in-Chief)         *
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Dr. Jan Bosselaers
"Dochterland", R. novarumlaan 2
B-2340 Beerse, Belgium               tel / fax 32-14-615896
home: dochterland at  /  hortipes at
work: jbossela at
web: or

"You know I used to lose my mind, but now I'm old, now I'm free...
I see waves break in foams on my horizons, I'm shining..." The Chemical Brothers

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