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In Brotherhood (canon), Hohenheim was originally just known as "23" or "Slave No. 23" but yet after Xerxes his name became Van Hohenheim.

I'm wondering if there is an in-universe canon explanation of how/when Van Hohenheim changed his name from 23/Slave No. 23 and where he got the name from (I'm not talking about the origin of his name from the writers perspective)

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    Given that Xerxes disappeared after the nationwide transmutation, perhaps Hohenheim just saw it as more fit to go by Van Hohenheim (which is more of a "name" that "slave no. 23") afterwards? Which seems a little weird though given that he gets his name from Father, who essentially becomes his enemy, and given that we see him mention other slaves of Xerxes having "real" names near the end of the manga/Brotherhood. – Maroon Oct 27 '14 at 7:20
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I do not know if this was covered in Brotherhood, but in the manga the name Van Hohenheim was given to slave 23 by

the homunculus Dwarf in the Flask (that later become known as Father) when they first met. Also, the naming didn't have any grand significance. The Dwarf in the Flask just didn't want to keep calling him by a number, so it gifted him a name as thanks for being part of his birth. (His blood was used to bring it to life.)

This happened in episode 40, or chapter 74 in the manga.

Fun fact, Hohenheim was first going to be called Theophrastus Bombastus Van Hohenheim, but the name was too long for him to remember, so a shorter version was chosen.

As I understand it (and as confirmed by the comments), Brotherhood did not change or omit this part compared to the manga.

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    Good answer! And yes, it is covered in Brotherhood. – Madara Uchiha Oct 27 '14 at 8:09

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