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In Greek mythology, Koalemos (Ancient Greek: Κοάλεμος) was the personification of stupidity, mentioned once by Aristophanes,[1] and being found also in Parallel Lives by Plutarch.[2] Coalemus is the Latin spelling of the name.

Otherwise, the word κοάλεμος was used in the sense of "stupid person" or also "blockhead".[3]

An ancient false etymology derives κοάλεμος from κοέω (koeō) "perceive" and ἡλεός (ēleos) "distraught, crazed".[4] This etymology is not established, however.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Aristophanes, Knights 221: καὶ ποικίλως πως καὶ σοφῶς ᾐνιγμένος: ἀλλ᾽ ὁπόταν μάρψῃ βυρσαίετος ἀγκυλοχήλης γαμφηλῇσι δράκοντα κοάλεμον αἱματοπώτην.
  2. ^ Plutarch, Life of Cimon 4.3 (trans. Perrin) (Greek historian 1st to 2nd century AD):...καὶ τῷ πάππῳ Κίμωνι προσεοικὼς τὴν φύσιν, ὃν δι᾽ εὐήθειάν φασι Κοάλεμον προσαγορευθῆναι.
  3. ^ Plutarch, Life of Cimon 4.3; Aeschines Socraticus, fr. 16
  4. ^ Scholia on Aristophanes, Knights 198
  5. ^ Chantraine, Pierre. Dictionnaire étymologique de la langue grecque. Histoire des mots. Tome II. Paris, Éditions Klincksiek, 1970. - p. 550, sous κοάλεμος (French); Robert Beekes (2010), "Etymological Dictionary of Greek" (Brill, Boston), p 727: "The word is clearly Pre-Greek because of the variants".