Talk:Sophocles

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old discussion[edit]

the ancient Life of Sophocles [...] says the boys were naked and shiny with oil sophocles the man

Somebody apparently disapproved of this and deleted the word naked from the article. I am re-inserting the word (with link).

Sebastjan [S's lk fixed by Jerzy(t) 19:04, 2004 Dec 4 (UTC)]

Plagiarism[edit]

The entire introduction (2 paragraphs) is copied word for word from http://www.biblio.com/authors/598/_Sophocles_Biography.html . I don't have time to fix this, but I'd appreiciate if someone took the initiative. Bifgis 02:45, 7 November 2006 (UTC)

Name[edit]

I've given a brief breakdown of Sophocles' name. I'm pretty sure it's accurate. However, if it is inaccurate, please remove it. -Yazeed

Removed Notes[edit]

Footnotes are not standard in WP, and not needed here. (& BTW, if there are places where they are needed, this is hypertext and they should exploit links.) The text has been fixed w/o footnotes, but the following info is retained here for use in further research:

With regard to his DoB:

1. The Life of Sophocles gives the date 495, while the Suda gives 488.

Re

He wrote 123 plays and had 24 victories2 in the dramatic competitions in the Festival of Dionysus, more than any other.
2. Some sources say 20, while others say 19.

--Jerzy(t) 19:04, 2004 Dec 4 (UTC)

The use of footnotes and reference is growing more standard. Please don't remove them. See Wikipedia:Cite Sources Rmhermen 03:47, Apr 20, 2005 (UTC)

Removed "Biography"[edit]

The removed external link to the male homosexual site and its material used in the article

  • was not a biography, but only discussed allegations about Sophocles' sex life
  • the website demonstrates grounds of being unreliable
    • it didn't make use of proper citations so the information can be checked
    • it mis-cited Plato as if he were the primary source of his alleged opinions about Sophocles
  • the source that the website did cite was unreliable
    • it took the form of after-dinner gossip
    • it was written 7 centuries after Sophocles after contemporary sources.
Information about Sophocles is fair game for the article, and the accounts were presented as just that, accounts. Considering that none of the other information in this article is properly sourced, it is not clear on what grounds you chose to delete the material you removed. I will look up the sources so as to have a more solid grounding in the scholarship and then will repost. I will not suggest to you that you also look up the sources for any other material you may want to keep in the article. The fact is that if you have chosen Sophocles as the man to defend against accusations of sodomy you have probably picked a lost cause. Claudius may be a better bet. Haiduc 23:40, 1 Apr 2005 (UTC)

BC[edit]

This article had BC/AD dates until 2 days ago. No information was added. I believe that this should be reverted to the version of December 5th...but am waiting for others to vote. Chooserr

I support this proposed revert JG of Borg 00:56, 9 December 2005 (UTC)
BC/AD is the common usage in English. Dominick (TALK) 01:45, 9 December 2005 (UTC)

BCE is just as plausible as BC/AD, and in this case it's the only appropriate dating system. I am that "loser", but I am not doing it to please myself. I am doing it to defend encyclopedic standards from pov pushers like you. Aecis praatpaal 22:54, 16 December 2005 (UTC)

23:00, 16 December 2005 (UTC)
Is this the Encyclopedia Britannica? No, this is wikipedia. So Britannica is irrelevant here. Yes, the rules allow for the dating system to remain the system. But they also allow for the dating system to be edited. And in this case, they need to be edited. Aecis praatpaal 23:02, 16 December 2005 (UTC)
Aecis, I would normally agree with you about BCE/CE being more appropriate than BC/AD for many articles, but revert warring is a terrible way to go about it (Don't forget WP:3RR). I can't support changing the date system on an article, once it's consistent, because this inevitably leads to edit wars, which help no one, and you should know that. As long as both sides continue to stoop to such tactics, this will continue to be an unpleasant stalemate. What we need is disciple from both sides about leaving date conventions the heck alone, once they're consistent in an article (which is still a stalemate, but a less combative one). All IMO, of course. -GTBacchus(talk) 23:52, 16 December 2005 (UTC)
That rule does not exist. Perhaps it should, and some of us are talking about adding such a "rule" to MoS, but at present it is incorrect to quote a non-existent policy as the reason for your reverts. I don't care what format any article is in, and I have no problem with Christianity. I just have a problem with edit wars. I can't believe I'm witnessing people actually go through the equivalent of a school-yard "is not!" - "is so!" - "is not!" - "is so!" argument. What do you think you're going to do, outlive the other side? Be so stubborn everyone else just goes away? When two people revert each other's edits more than once, they both lose the ability to claim that they're working for consensus, or displaying maturity. The appropriate action is for everyone on both sides to stop editing date formats, get over to Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style (dates and numbers), and help hammer out a good rule like Pitchka is assuming already exists. There are some details that will need to be worked out, and you can do much more good for the Wikipedia by helping to work those out than by changing articles, even if they're currently wrong. -GTBacchus(talk) 05:23, 18 December 2005 (UTC)

The basic position, as outline by the ArbCom in their ruling about this issue, is that date formats should not be changed once they are clearly established. This should be returned to BC/AD, if that is how it was originally set up. Also, if BC is ever appropriate (and current policy says it is), it seems to me that classical subjects are the ones it is most clearly appropriate for, since the usual argument against BC is that it is insulting to other religious traditions. Since nobody still believes in the religion of ancient Greece, this doesn't apply here. john k 05:34, 18 December 2005 (UTC)

  • There was no conflict at all until chooserr dropped out of the blue and arbitrarily changd all the dates to BC, this has nothing to do with content, and he seems to select his targets at random, I wouldn't be surprised if he's just googling BCE and wiki, and edit warring at the first article that just happens to show up, he was blocked for this stupidity, many times--Aolanaonwaswronglyaccused 06:00, 18 December 2005 (UTC)
    • I should also point out that his reverts almost always wipe out days worth of edits, so entire lines of content tend to disappear in between each, I should also point out that he was making the same pointless reverts with regards to miles vs kilometers, which wouldn't be so bad, if he at least knew how to convert between miles and kilometers--Aolanaonwaswronglyaccused 06:04, 18 December 2005 (UTC)
Do you (john k, or anyone) have a link for that ArbCom decision? Maybe I'll find it myself before you reply. -GTBacchus(talk) 06:26, 18 December 2005 (UTC)
  • This article seems to have consistantly used BCE/CE since around 2002, according to the edit history, also according to the edit history every few months a random troll comes along and insists that it was always written in BC, reverts several times, get's blocked, rinse, and repeat, and up until 'dwain' and 'chooserr' it was always the same person doing this--Aolanaonwaswronglyaccused 07:27, 18 December 2005 (UTC)
  • What's slightly disturbing, is that someone could actually carry out a 2 and a half year long edit war over something this pointless--Aolanaonwaswronglyaccused 07:28, 18 December 2005 (UTC)
In fact, it seems that chooserr didn't even exist until Jguk was blocked from making BC/BCE reverts, and on that note, I bid you a 'I really don't care about this issue at all', and goodnight--Aolanaonwaswronglyaccused 07:40, 18 December 2005 (UTC)
You might want to re-check those facts, Aolanaonwaswronglyaccused. According to the edit history, this article was begun in 2002 with "BC", not "BCE". "BCE" was introduced here in October, 2004. So, your summary above is false. Were you looking at some other article's history, perhaps? No, your link points to the diff where policy was correctly implemented, as the previous edit to that one was the very first to introduce BCE; you must be misrepresenting it accidentally. Please be more careful. On a different note, thank you for finding a link to that ArbCom decision - good reading! -GTBacchus(talk) 07:48, 18 December 2005 (UTC)
Fair enough, it's not like I read every edit between 2002 and 2005, I skimmed, but to be fair, it 'begun' as a one line stub, it's a bit of a stretch to describe that as an article--Aolanaonwaswronglyaccused 07:57, 18 December 2005 (UTC)
Yeah, it began, or was begun, whichever you prefer, in BC format, and stayed faithful to that format for every single edit for thirty-two months. Like you said, good night. We'll get this sorted out. I'm not reverting any date formats until the MoS is changed; I propose that other editors involved in this dispute do the same, as a gesture of good faith. -GTBacchus(talk) 08:15, 18 December 2005 (UTC)
The only revision I made was to remove the trainwreck of a revert done by a user evading a 36 hour block, this was not content related--Aolanaonwaswronglyaccused 11:21, 18 December 2005 (UTC)
  • Speaking of which, does somebody mind re-blocking him for a few hours, since he violated his 36 block a half a dozen times--Aolanonawanabe 17:32, 18 December 2005 (UTC)

Looking at the history, the article seems to have been at "BC" until User:Neutrality changed it to "BCE" on 22 October 2004. There was a lengthy period of squabbling until, apparently, 15 November 2004, when it once again settled down into "BC". It remained at "BC" for over a year, until 6 December 2005, when Anon user 65.93.106.44 changed it again to BCE. john k 17:33, 18 December 2005 (UTC)

  • I've served my block, and am contributing. If you weren't so damn insistent about changing an article which was consistent under BC/Ad dates until just a few days ago then there wouldn't be a problem. Chooserr 17:34, 18 December 2005 (UTC)
  • Editing under an anon ip is not serving your block--Aolanonawanabe 17:38, 18 December 2005 (UTC)
Vaticastar.png
  • I didn't edit the whole time I was blocked. If I were able to edit which do you think would be more Important to me. You vandalising the Image:Vaticastar.png, replacing it with a picture of human fetal tissue, or this fucking dating system? Chooserr 17:45, 18 December 2005 (UTC)
  • Replacing one unsourced image with another is not vandalism--Aolanonawanabe 17:46, 18 December 2005 (UTC)
  • I made it. It doesn't need any source by my computer. Chooserr 17:48, 18 December 2005 (UTC)
Aolanaonwaswronglyaccused...um...I find it astonishing that a user account which began editing, um, yesterday, and who seems to know so much about wikipedia policies, would be so eager to accuse other people of being sockpuppets...Let he who is without sin... john k 17:55, 18 December 2005 (UTC)
I was never blocked for anything, and I'm not exactly hiding my old account, I got frustrated with this chooserr nonsense, and retired my user name, unfortunatly the bit about randomly changing my password was true, that's easy enough to verify--Aolanonawanabe 17:59, 18 December 2005 (UTC)
What was your old username? john k 18:11, 18 December 2005 (UTC)
{{User:Aolanonawanabe/goodbye_folks}}--Aolanonawanabe 18:12, 18 December 2005 (UTC)
Got it. Sorry to have (kind of) accused you of being a sockpuppet. At any rate, we should all be careful of making unsupported allegations of sockpuppetry. And changing Chooserr's image wasn't very nice. john k 18:14, 18 December 2005 (UTC)
I hate to seem pedantic, but... with all this talk of BC vs BCE, nobody has yet spotted the fact that the article claims 487BC is before 490BC. If I knew the actual facts I'd correct it myself, but, since I don't... Anyone? jkg (talk) 23:24, 11 September 2008 (UTC)
Exactly! "His birth took place a few years before the Battle of Marathon in 490 BCE: the exact year is unclear, although 487/6 is perhaps most likely." If 486 or 487 are most likely, then he was born a few years AFTER the Battle of Marathon. Altgeld (talk) 22:02, 22 September 2008 (UTC)
Okay. Looks like a typo which I will change. E F Watling's introduction to the Penguin edition of Electra and other plays gives 496. A. H. Sommerstein's introduction to the first volume of the framents for Airs & Philips gives "in ro close to 496" wih footnotes indicating that The Life of Sophocles gives 495/4, Diodorus Siculus says S was 90 whe he died in 406/5 and that the Marmor Parium says S was 28 when he won his first victory in 469/8. --Peter cohen (talk) 16:44, 23 September 2008 (UTC)

hun??[edit]

all the brackets take away from the article IMHO making it harder to read. It chops it up into little sections so it doesn't flow naturally. Is this the kind of article we want on wikipedia? The information might be necessary, but isn't there another way we can write it out? Chooserr 06:55, 25 January 2006 (UTC)

Sophocles and the pederastic tradition[edit]

At this point this article does not present any of the information relating to Sophocles' attraction to youths. I have reworked the paragraph I had offered here a while ago, in the hope of satisfying the requirements of good editorial practice. I append it below (with the cites exposed) for your comments, before inserting it into the article. Several ancient writers have commented on Sophocles' fame as a lover of youths. Athenaeus reported that Sophocles loved boys like Euripides loved women.(ref>Athenaeus: The Deipnosophists, Book XIII (603)(/ref> He relates an anecdote involving Sophocles seducing a serving boy at a symposium, as well as another, ascribed to Hieronymus of Rhodes (Historical Notes) in which Sophocles is tricked by a hustler.(ref>ibid. (604E)</ref) Plutarch, in his "Life of Pericles" mentions an incident, during a naval expedition, in which Sophocles praised the beauty of a young recruit. Pericles's rebuked him by warning that a general must keep not only his hands clean, but also his eyes.<ref)Plutarch, The Lives, "Life of Pericles" 8.5</ref) Haiduc 01:53, 21 August 2006 (UTC)

attic bee[edit]

There's a redirect here from Attic bee, but no explanation. Just Googled it, but it'd be better if someone with a clue added the information. 87.113.72.250 23:49, 9 October 2006 (UTC)

See here: [1]--213.213.135.228 (talk) 19:49, 26 April 2010 (UTC)

Obvious Nonsense[edit]

Just a question about the following lines: "He was my babydaddy. he grew wings and flew at night. he also consealed that he was really a woman named Donna. Recents studies show that he loved little boys as much as most men love girls." I am assuming that this is not true and just thought it should be brought to peoples attention I have looked back at previous versions and cant actually find something that sounds feasably true so wondered if people could offer suggestions of what I should change it too or for someone else to change it themselves.

Thanks

--I think this was edited out inappropriately. Do you have evidence for why it should not be true, or are you *just* assuming? — Preceding unsigned comment added by 136.167.40.232 (talk) 20:40, 7 November 2011 (UTC)

Citation mixing[edit]

There's an odd combination of parenthetical referencing and footnote referencing. Seeing as how the footnote referencing was here first, I'd reccommend a return to that method, but I'd really just like to see one consistent style, parenthetical or otherwise. If whoever is most involved in this article would care to do so, I'd be quite thankful. Thanks for your time, Geuiwogbil 02:31, 22 January 2007 (UTC)

Some problems with the article[edit]

  • in a post above there's a complaint about plagiarism. The article text has been altered enough that I suppose there's no copyright violation, but it is still obvious that the WP text depends on another website. The first three paragraphs need to be completely rewritten; I don't have time to do that right now, but I will try to do so soon.
  • Sophocles was a priest of the hero Halon, and was involved in welcoming the cult of Asclepius to Athens (well, that's what Plutarch says, anyway). He was also given hero cult after his death, under the name Dexion. All of this is worth mentioning, and I will add it when I can.
  • I can't stand the notion of a "Theban cycle" or "Theban trilogy" (see also Three Theban plays). Here I'll quote the OCD: "the plays are sometimes called the 'Theban plays' or even the 'Theban trilogy'; both titles mislead, the second grossly: if the traditional chronology has any basis in fact the plays were written in the order: Antigone, Oedipus Tyrannus, Oedipus at Colonos and may well have been separated by decades." Unfortunately, there are plenty of classicists & publishers who are happy to group these plays together, but maybe we can at least set out a chronology and avoid implying that Soph. ever intended them to go together as parts 1, 2, and 3. --Akhilleus (talk) 05:35, 19 February 2007 (UTC)

Good article review[edit]

GA review (see here for criteria)
  1. It is reasonably well written.
    a (prose): b (MoS):
  2. It is factually accurate and verifiable.
    a (references): b (citations to reliable sources): c (OR):
  3. It is broad in its coverage.
    a (major aspects): b (focused):
  4. It follows the neutral point of view policy.
    a (fair representation): b (all significant views):
  5. It is stable.
  6. It contains images, where possible, to illustrate the topic.
    a (tagged and captioned): b lack of images (does not in itself exclude GA): c (non-free images have fair use rationales): [[File:|16px|alt=|link=]]
  7. Overall:
    a Pass/Fail: [[File:|16px|alt=|link=]]

Good article nomination on hold.

  • Inline citations: Clean up the foot notes. There is one that just says "Lloyd-Jones" with no title, page number, or anything else.
  • Stability: It seems to still be settling in, largely becuase there are still unsourced statements with fact tags. Cite everything, and it should pass.

--Selket Talk 23:25, 19 February 2007 (UTC)

Template added[edit]

I'm adding the navigation template for Sophocles plays for easy linking to the individual articles.

DionysosProteus 17:52, 19 August 2007 (UTC)

Did some editing...[edit]

The line that Sophocles "used female characters" is meaningless. So did Aeschylus. Perhaps the writer meant that women were main characters in some of Sophocles' plays; but, again, so did Aeschylus. The chorus of Danaids are the protagonist of the Suppliants; Despite its title, Clytemnestra is the main character of Agamemnon. Aeschylus' lost Niobe surely featured her as the protagonist.

Changed "Tyrannos" to "Tyrannus" to match Oedipus. I know its a Greek word, but it should be Latinized just like Oidipous---> Oedipus.

The date of Oedipus the King is uncertain. I changed the text to reflect that uncertainty.Ifnkovhg 03:58, 18 September 2007 (UTC)

I too was surprised by the mention of women characters. I would suggest that mayve the title with the Greek word should not be latinised. After all, we already have Oedipus Rex as the Latin name. However a lot of the other names are Latinised too i.e. "Troilus" is listed not "Troilos".
Do we want to give recommended sources for the fragments? There is a link to the project under Sommerstein and to an advert for a book of articles he edited. The first volume of his edition of the fragments themselves is now out. (I'm currently using it to add a few more details to Troilus.) He has roughly a page per surviving word on the Troilos. This mean there is much more information on the plays covered than in the Loeb edition.--Peter cohen 11:05, 18 September 2007 (UTC)

Further Reading-Ramfos[edit]

Hello. I am suggesting the following book as Further Reading on the Sophocles page: Ramfos, Stelios. Fate and Ambiguity in Oedipus the King. Boston: Somerset Hall Press, 2006. ISBN 0972466193 Disclosure: I am the publisher of this book. To avoid overstepping conflict of interest guidelines, I am bringing this up on the talk page. I believe this book adds to the scholarly discussion of this topic. Stelios Ramfos is a prominent modern Greek philosopher. More info about this book and other books by Ramfos is available on Amazon.com. Look up Stelios Ramofs (alternative spelling Ramphos). I'll avoid further marketing language here. ;) I made a similar suggestion on the Oedipus the King talk page. Thank you for your consideration. Summer612 (talk) 18:10, 25 November 2007 (UTC)

A discrepancy[edit]

Sophocles competed in around thirty drama competitions; he won perhaps twenty four and never received lower than second place. Aeschylus won fourteen competitions and was defeated by Sophocles at times. Euripides won only four competitions (Encyclopaedia Britannica, Inc.).

If he entered 30 competitions, he could not have been defeated 14 times by Aeschylus and 4 times by Euripedes. I suggest inserting 50 copetitions, the amount of time he was an active playright. Although it could also mean that Aeschylus and Euripides didnt' overlap and showed that he won 24, the others won that many over their lifetime. So because of this, I am asking someone else to look at this. Yialanliu (talk) 01:13, 8 April 2008 (UTC)

Aeschylus became active as a playwright earlier than Sophocles, so could have won several competitions before S entered any. However I do think it is worth checkign the sourcing of this fact, if only to get proper ref details. I shall, at least, move the mention of Britannica to the footnotes.--Peter cohen (talk) 09:51, 8 April 2008 (UTC)
The Wikipedia article on Aeschylus says this: "The Alexandrian Life of Aeschylus indicates that the playwright took the first prize at the City Dionysia thirteen times. This compares favorably with Sophocles' reported eighteen victories (with a substantially larger catalogue, at an estimated 120 plays), and dwarfs the five victories of Euripides (who featured a catalogue of roughly 90 plays)." Altgeld (talk) 22:21, 22 September 2008 (UTC)

Date of first competition? Plus a minor addition[edit]

The first paragraph of the "Life" section first indicates 468 (which is what I was taught in grad school), but later says that the likely date is 470. It's sourced to Sommerstein (who knows his stuff), so I'll trust the editor. Still, I think it might be useful to put the two dates closer together in the graph and explain briefly why 470 has supplanted 468 as the opinio communis.

P.S. I added a bit about the stories concerning the playwright's death. I didn't source them as I don't have the sources at hand. A little help? Ifnkovhg (talk) 19:42, 25 May 2009 (UTC)

Nevermind. Found some. Ifnkovhg (talk) 05:43, 29 May 2009 (UTC)

I've reworded things slightly to try to address the confusion on dates you mention. Last July User:Helione inserted material decribing the "unusual circumstances" of the victory in between the two dates. Whilst the contributions suggest that this editor knows what they're talking about, unfortunately they did not reference things and it reads as if the Sommerstein introduction to the fragments is the source for the new information. However, I've checked my copy of Sommerstein and he doesn't mention that story. Do you have a source that does?

The death stories look fine.--Peter cohen (talk) 11:56, 29 May 2009 (UTC)

GA Reassessment[edit]

This discussion is transcluded from Talk:Sophocles/GA1. The edit link for this section can be used to add comments to the reassessment.

Notified: Mocko13 (talk · contribs), EALacey (talk · contribs), Antandrus (talk · contribs), DionysosProteus (talk · contribs), FayssalF (talk · contribs), John Kenney (talk · contribs), Wikipedia:WikiProject Theatre, Wikipedia:WikiProject Greece, Wikipedia:WikiProject Biography, and Wikipedia:WikiProject Classical Greece and Rome

This discussion was closed as a Keep at GA.--TonyTheTiger (t/c/bio/WP:CHICAGO/WP:LOTM) 22:22, 11 June 2009 (UTC)
As part of the GA Sweeps, I am placing this article on hold. It is a very high quality article that does not meet the current standard of citation. It often has entire paragraphs without any citation and at times even entire sections have no references. This is inexcusable for a WP:GA. I hope this can be corrected in a week or so.--TonyTheTiger (t/c/bio/WP:CHICAGO/WP:LOTM) 23:38, 3 June 2009 (UTC)
Nearly all the unreferenced paragraphs concern plot summaries. Do we really need to reference those? There is some other material concerning the dating and relationship of the Theban plays, and I agree we need references for that.--Peter cohen (talk) 21:51, 4 June 2009 (UTC)
In my opinion, plot summaries should be something that could be attributed to experts on classical literature. Why not find such references.--TonyTheTiger (t/c/bio/WP:CHICAGO/WP:LOTM) 23:03, 4 June 2009 (UTC)
That seems bizarre to me. Why do we need to attribute a plot summary of Oedipus Tyrannos to anyone but Sophocles? --Akhilleus (talk) 03:17, 5 June 2009 (UTC)
This is not my area of expertise, but it seems to me that if I wanted to reference a summary of a book, I would reference an expert who summarized it. Isn't there some leading summary of classical mythology. Didn't Edith Hamilton summarize most of this stuff. That name still sticks out from classes at Princeton 25 years ago. If I wanted to summarize Romeo and Juliet, I would quote my Complete Signet Classic Shakespeare, not the original. The Signet has a two or three page summary of the play that the reader could verify the WP summary. We want to point the reader to a source that makes the point made in this article. We don't want them to have to read the whole work to verify the point. This is what WP:V is all about. Is it a problem to find someone like Hamilton, who might synopsize a play in a few pages.--TonyTheTiger (t/c/bio/WP:CHICAGO/WP:LOTM) 04:10, 5 June 2009 (UTC)
Sophocles isn't myth. It's drama. So we don't want Edith Hamilton, that's for sure. I find the idea that WP readers need a citation to a secondary source to verify details of the plot summary rather odd, and I doubt that there is any requirement that we have citations for plot summaries. For instance, see Wikipedia:Summary and the comments at Wikipedia_talk:How_to_write_a_plot_summary#Citations. --Akhilleus (talk) 04:20, 5 June 2009 (UTC)
Well then use a primary source as necessary. P.S. sorry I mixed up my classes. It was 25 years ago.--TonyTheTiger (t/c/bio/WP:CHICAGO/WP:LOTM) 06:59, 5 June 2009 (UTC)
recent efforts have neglected even primary source citations. My concerns have largely gone unaddressed.--TonyTheTiger (t/c/bio/WP:CHICAGO/WP:LOTM) 01:39, 11 June 2009 (UTC)

Honestly, I don't care whether this article is listed as a good article or not. I think the GA process is ridiculous, and this review indicates one of its chief failings: the article is being evaluated on things like density of citation, rather than whether it adequately covers what an article on Sophocles ought to. Any article on Sophocles ought to at least have a short discussion of the Philoctetes and Electra, for instance.

However, if we are to address Tony's concerns, we need some information about what they actually are. Right now, they seem to amount to "there aren't enough citations", which is no help in determining what information needs citing. Some specifics would help. --Akhilleus (talk) 01:53, 11 June 2009 (UTC)

I am very much a generalist when it comes to Sweeps. As you can tell from my confusion about greek mythology and greek tragedy, this is not my area of expertise and not something I have even studied in the last 25 years or so. I don't think it is my place to run through the article and put {{fact}} tags on every thing I think the reader should be able to attribute to a source. What I am saying, is that I can do a quick scan and see that there are a lot of claims that are unsourced. I just tagged a short paragraph in the "The Theban plays" section for you. Each sentence in that paragraph pretty much needs a source. Of course, it would be likely that they would have a common source because its coverage of a related topic. I would expect the reader to be able to look at all of those interesting facts and say yes WP told me a WP:RS where I can WP:V them. This is my basic problem. If you don't care about GA status as it sounds then I will just delist it.--TonyTheTiger (t/c/bio/WP:CHICAGO/WP:LOTM) 04:31, 11 June 2009 (UTC)
Given you inability to guide us and articulate exactly what citations are missing, then surely listing at WP:GAR and seeking consensus there and possible input from someone better able to explain what needs doing will be a better step than delisting. We've shown willingness to look at issues and some changes to the article have happened already. I can tell you now that I'll be going to GAR if you simply delist having given us so inadequate guidance.--Peter cohen (talk) 10:23, 11 June 2009 (UTC)

Tony has posted a comment on my talk page asking me to comment here. I have little interest in the GA process, but I am interested in improving the article and I am willing to participate here on that basis. I've taken a look at Tony's citation requests, and although I find some of these a bit silly, I've tried to address them with this edit. I say a bit silly, since the paragraph in question operates as a kind of introduction to the section, and so like the lede of an article, sources for many of the assertions there can be found farther down in the same section. So it seems a bit overboard to repetively cite the same sources. I will not object if another editor thinks some of these ought to be removed.

I have never heard of the mid text lead structure. I do not now if it is acceptable. Usually, facts are cited on their first instance in the text or in the main body of the text. This paragraph is in the main body.--TonyTheTiger (t/c/bio/WP:CHICAGO/WP:LOTM) 15:39, 11 June 2009 (UTC)

Since I'm here, I also feel compelled to comment on a different matter. Tony, I don't think that threats of the sort If you don't care about GA status as it sounds then I will just delist it are helpful. They make you seem petty and spiteful. Obviously, that Akhilleus seems not to care about GA status, has no bearing on whether this is a good article or not.

Paul August 13:17, 11 June 2009 (UTC)

I think the claim that [Oedipus the King, Antigone, and Oedipus at Colonus] concern the fate of Thebes during and after the reign of King Oedipus requires a source is a misunderstanding of our citation policies. The source (and in essence the only source) for such a sentence is the plays themselves, and they do not need to be repeated in a footnote. Primary sources can and should be used for points, like one-sentence plot summaries, which are obvious to inspection. (I might recast the sentence slightly, but it is not wrong, nor does it require annotation, as it stands.) Septentrionalis PMAnderson 13:28, 11 June 2009 (UTC)

Back to the main matter, I forgot to say above that, Tony, if you can please specify which other statements you think need sources, I will try to address those. Thanks Paul August 13:21, 11 June 2009 (UTC)

Can you merge your citations with the <ref name=> structure so it does not look like you are sending the reader to a whole bunch of different sources.--TonyTheTiger (t/c/bio/WP:CHICAGO/WP:LOTM) 15:39, 11 June 2009 (UTC)
We could do that, however sending the reader to same source over and over again seems more problematic to me. Is that really what you think is best for the article? Paul August 16:30, 11 June 2009 (UTC)
It also prevents the notes serving (as they should) as commentary. The ref-name structure exists for articles which cite exactly the same page in exactly the same way repeatedly. That's fine for (for example) articles on a game which have as a major source the publisher's web page; it's make-work here. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 17:57, 11 June 2009 (UTC)

The editors of this article are being silly, IMO. The request is very simple. Each paragraph has at least a main topic and possibly several interesting facts. The reader needs to be able to verify these facts in reliable sources. Look at each paragraph from the perspective of a reader who may have a need to confirm the facts and topics. Suppose for example a parent is attemtping to review his/her children's homework. (Some parents do this sort of thing). Let's say the parent has not studied this stuff for 25 years. Provide that reader with a way to WP:ATT all the claims and topics. I should not have to go through each line of the article and tag it for you to understand this concept. It is a request of needless work by me who is less familiar with the topic than the numerous active editors. You should be able to see from the example I gave what I hope for.--TonyTheTiger (t/c/bio/WP:CHICAGO/WP:LOTM) 15:45, 11 June 2009 (UTC)

I think this edit is silly, and I find your manner in the comment above insulting. Leaving aside the personal stuff, do you really think it helps the article to have eight successive sentences all cited to the same source? Because that's essentially what you're asking for.
It is not at all what I am asking for. I have pointed out content in need of citation. Obviously, if successive sentences are source to the same citation the proper thing to do is to place the citation at the end of that body of content. It is standard procedure. I do not know what your sources will be so I pointed out all the claims in need of citation. Please use common sense if successive points are source to the same reference.--TonyTheTiger (t/c/bio/WP:CHICAGO/WP:LOTM) 16:55, 11 June 2009 (UTC)
As for those of us who are familiar with the subject, perhaps we realize that statements such as "The Theban plays consist of three plays: Antigone, Oedipus the King (also called Oedipus Tyrannus or Oedipus Rex), and Oedipus at Colonus" fall into the domain of common knowledge, and would not have to be cited in a college research paper. (For more on this point, see the following pages at Duke University and Princeton University. Those are just the ones that popped up in the first few Google results.)
I think you are confusing common knowledge among subject experts with common knowledge. What percent of wikipedia readers know the fact that you claim is common knowledge. The point is not to prepare an article that is useful to the subject matter experts, but rather for the common WP reader.--TonyTheTiger (t/c/bio/WP:CHICAGO/WP:LOTM) 16:55, 11 June 2009 (UTC)


As I said, I don't care whether this article carries the GA decal or not, because I think the GA process doesn't have anything to do with whether the article is actually good. In fact, I think that the article has become worse because of this process: it now carries a bunch of unnecessary and unhelpful citations. --Akhilleus (talk) 15:56, 11 June 2009 (UTC)
What is unnecessary to the subject matter expert is not unnecessary to the common reader.--TonyTheTiger (t/c/bio/WP:CHICAGO/WP:LOTM) 16:55, 11 June 2009 (UTC)

Tony the problem I have with your unwillingness to state explicitly what needs sourcing, is that the article seems fairly well sourced to me, as it is. I know of no assertion of fact in the article which cannot be found in the sources cited. Of course there may be some things I've overlooked, but unless you are willing to point them out, there's not much more I can do. So I think the article already provides for the verifiability you desire — you disagree. Ok, then name names. Unless you are willing to talk in specifics I don't think we are going to get anywhere.

For example let's consider the plot summaries discussed above. You seem to think they need citations. I would ask why? Wouldn't it be clear to the reader that these can be verified by consulting the plays (for which a source is already given)? Do you really think it would benefit the article to, say in the case of the Theban plays, include yet more citations to Sophocles I: Oedipus the King, Oedipus at Colonus, Antigone. 2nd ed. Grene, David and Lattimore, Richard, eds. Chicago: University of Chicago, 1991? Do you really think this will make it easier for the parent helping with homework?

Note: I've removed a couple of consecutive identical cites from the paragraph that Tony "fact" tagged.

Paul August 17:43, 11 June 2009 (UTC)

Sept asked me to have a look here, and I'm not sure if he'll think much of my input, but here goes: even though in theory a home-brewed "plot summary" doesn't sound like original research to many people, it is considered OR more often than not, and since the words written about Sophocles have to exceed the words written by Sophocles by a factor of at least 10000, I'd argue that if any article should have citations on plot summaries in order to accurately represent what the world says about the subject, it would be this one. On the other hand, there's always the "textbook exception" to requests for inline citations: if most people taking a first or second college course on the subject would be likely to see the material in their basic textbook, and if frequent citation of basic, well-known facts is getting burdensome, then it's overkill to require cites for every paragraph; just make it clear that this is what's happening and cite the textbook once. - Dank (push to talk) 18:22, 11 June 2009 (UTC)
I said this above, but it really belongs here: My argument that such a note is unnecessary is not that it is common knowledge (although it is). It's that the source of the passage (to wit, the plays) is included in the text of the passage; Tony's proposed footnote adds nothing. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 18:30, 11 June 2009 (UTC)
We clearly differ on what we believe the average person knows or feels he should know. The average person probably should know that the U.S. government has an executive, legislative and a judicial branch, or that the Holy Trinity is the father, the son and the holy ghost. However, the average person does not know the three Theban plays. If you stopped at your average bus stop with a half dozen people waiting for the bus and said $100 to the person who can tell me the three components of the Holy Trinity or the U.S. government, you would probably be out $100. If you stopped at your average bus stop and asked the three Theban plays your money would probably not be at risk. My bus stop is a bus stop for the University of Chicago students as well and I would even be fairly safe making the bet at my own local bus stop with some highly intelligent and educated people.
Now, the uncited text boils down to the majority of two sections of plot summaries: Sophocles#Subjects and Sophocles#Other_plays. I clearly am dealing with a group of pretty dedicated editors who seem to be willing to consider the issues. I would like to see some secondary source that summarizes each plot. Yes the primary source has a plot. Yes the reader could read the whole play and probably agree with what is currently on WP. Yes most experts on the subject agree that these are in fact the summaries. What I was hoping for was some scholarly summary where a modern day Dr. Joseph P. Expert says "Yada yada yada is the story of X". WP is trying to move from the days where people write stuff and nobody knows if it is true. The text is not contentious in the sense that experts disagree. I would really like to see one citation per paragraph in these sections. There are many subjects where facts that everyone knows to be true are more properly depicted on WP with a citation. I could take a statement like "Barack Obama nominated Eric Holder to be Attorney General" or "Barack Obama nominated Sonia Sotomayor to be Supreme Court Justice" or a statement like "Eli Manning was Super Bowl XLII MVP" and say they don't need citations because everyone knows that they are true. However, a well-crafted 2009 WP:GA would cite each of those statements to a WP:RS regardless of how obvious they are. I think each plot summary should have at least one citation for this reason.--TonyTheTiger (t/c/bio/WP:CHICAGO/WP:LOTM) 19:40, 11 June 2009 (UTC)
No, we differ on whether the average person is capable of reading. Tony insists that if Wikipedia contains a passage which says that Oedipus Rex says X, we must have a footnote directing them to the play. I object; anybody who is incapable of following the text will not be helped by the footnote either. I do believe the "common knowledge" exception applies; but I have been careful not to appeal to it. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 19:53, 11 June 2009 (UTC)
It seems that Tony is in fact asking for even more than that. He seems to be asking for us to cite a secondary source which says that Oedipus Rex says X. Although he had seemed to concede the point earlier with his Well then use a primary source as necessary. Am I understanding you correctly Tony?
Yes people who are interested in reading a whole play would likely concur with each play summary. Yes, I am vacillating on the need to cite secondary source. However, since there is objection to citing primary sources, I have gone back to requesting secondary sources. In an article about an episode of a given TV series or about a fictional character from a television series, it is common to cite the primary source. However, in this case, I do believe secondary sources abound on the subject. Why not cite them. Saying all readers of WP would know how to verify this unattributed claim of what the plot is seems to be a bit of a stretch in terms of adaquate sourcing. Please find some source preferably secondary, but at worst primary so that each plot summary is sourced somehow.--TonyTheTiger (t/c/bio/WP:CHICAGO/WP:LOTM) 20:46, 11 June 2009 (UTC)
Because it is a waste of our readers' time; as this process is a waste of our time. Any reader who doubts that Oedipus Rex is set at Thebes should look at the play; all the translations I know of say that Thebes is the location in the first few words, Greek texts will say so in the argument. If this continues, I will propose Mediation. GA should not be used to harm the encyclopedia. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 20:59, 11 June 2009 (UTC)
That is your misunderstanding. A citation is not a waste of readers time. Let's say 80A% of the readers read a statement "Oedipus Rex is set at Thebes" as a given fact and 20% aren't sure if this is a correct. The 80% will skip the citation and the 20% will be greatly aided.--TonyTheTiger (t/c/bio/WP:CHICAGO/WP:LOTM) 21:30, 11 June 2009 (UTC)
I'm sorry Tony, but I don't understand you. No primary source needs to be found — the primary sources are the plays themselves! And they are already cited in the text. Are you saying you want to see in the article something like: "In Sophocles' Oedipus Rex, thus and so happens (source: Sophocles, Oedipus Rex)"? That makes no sense. Paul August 21:14, 11 June 2009 (UTC)
My point is that often primary sources are acceptable when secondary sources are not available. In this case, I believe each of Sophocles' plays has significant scholarly commentary available for proper sourcing.--TonyTheTiger (t/c/bio/WP:CHICAGO/WP:LOTM) 21:32, 11 June 2009 (UTC)
Then you are now backing off your statement just above: "Please find some source preferably secondary, but at worst primary so that each plot summary is sourced somehow."? Paul August 21:57, 11 June 2009 (UTC)
I'm sorry Tony, but I feel that you are showing a basic misunderstanding of the GA criteria. Here is what is said about referencing.

b) it provides in-line citations from reliable sources for direct quotations, statistics, published opinion, counter-intuitive or controversial statements that are challenged or likely to be challenged, and contentious material relating to living persons;

How is it surprising that a play "Oedipus the King" about the mythical king of Thebes is set in Thebes? Is it a published opinion? Counter-intuitive or controversial? Maybe it's a statistic. Please go and read the criteria and then come back with requirements that are in line with them. Otherwise you are holding the GA process up to ridicule.--Peter cohen (talk) 22:13, 11 June 2009 (UTC)
(ec, sorry) We have a general problem with overcitation. I've seen articles with many hundreds of citations, often of the most trivial and obvious matters. The GA criteria actually get it right -- which surprised me, frankly, since a common trend I see is a demand for citation not just of "published opinion, counter-intuitive or controversial statements" but of very basic facts, that can be established by simple observation. Be careful, everyone: a "fundamentalist" attitude on things like "no original research" can completely shut down one's ability to write good prose. Creating a plot summary, or noting that Oedipus Tyrannus is indeed set in Thebes, needs no citation; part of "assuming good faith" is presuming that our editors aren't making this stuff up. I am reminded of a now-departed editor who passionately insisted that stating that Beethoven's Fifth Symphony was in C minor was original research, since they key was not in the title, and determining it required looking at the score (or citing someone else who had, for example, put the key on a CD case). Citation is fine -- but too much can be silly and can make an article hard to read. Antandrus (talk) 22:25, 11 June 2009 (UTC)
O.K. that settles it for me. I will close this as a keep. I apologize for my misunderstanding.--TonyTheTiger (t/c/bio/WP:CHICAGO/WP:LOTM) 22:19, 11 June 2009 (UTC)
I accept Tony's apology, and have quoted these last two comments, slightly trimmed, at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Good articles/Project quality task force/Sweeps in case the misunderstanding is shared by others. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 22:39, 11 June 2009 (UTC)

Sophocles GAR discussion[edit]

The following discussion copied from Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Classical Greece and Rome#Sophocles GAR notice. Paul August 14:11, 8 June 2009 (UTC)

Sophocles has been nominated for a good article reassessment. Please leave your comments and help us to return the article to good article quality. If concerns are not addressed during the review period, the good article status will be removed from the article. Reviewers' concerns are here.--TonyTheTiger (t/c/bio/WP:CHICAGO/WP:LOTM) 23:43, 3 June 2009 (UTC)

This seems to chiefly concern some details about the Theban plays. I suspect that an introduction to a translation would contain the necessary information. Unfortunately I don't have a copy of those plays. Anyone able to help?--Peter cohen (talk) 22:13, 4 June 2009 (UTC)
I have copies of these plays, what specifically do you need sourced? Paul August 22:57, 4 June 2009 (UTC)
Thanks for the offer. The following is unsourced:
The Theban plays consist of three plays: Antigone, Oedipus the King (also called Oedipus Tyrannus or Oedipus Rex), and Oedipus at Colonus. All three plays concern the fate of Thebes during Greece's Mycenaean pre-history, during and after the reign of King Oedipus. They have often been published under a single cover. Sophocles, however, wrote the three plays for separate festival competitions, possibly over a duration of forty years or more. He also wrote other Theban plays, such as The Progeny, of which only fragments have survived. Not only are the Theban plays not a true trilogy (three plays presented as a continuous narrative) but they are not even an intentional series and contain some inconsistencies between them.
The "forty years or more" is contradicted in the following section, of which the middle para is unsourced.
The plays were written across thirty-six years of Sophocles' career and were not composed in chronological order, but instead were written in the order Antigone, Oedipus the King, and Oedipus at Colonus.[18]
As a result, there are some inconsistencies. Notably, Creon is the undisputed king at the end of Oedipus the King and, in consultation with Apollo, single-handedly makes the decision to expel Oedipus from Thebes. Creon is also instructed to look after Oedipus' daughters Antigone and Ismene at the end of Oedipus the King. By contrast, in the other plays there is some struggle with Oedipus' sons Eteocles and Polynices in regards to the succession.
In Oedipus at Colonus, Sophocles attempts to work these inconsistencies into a coherent whole: Ismene explains that, in light of their tainted family lineage, her brothers were at first willing to cede the throne to Creon. Nevertheless, they eventually decided to take charge of the monarchy, with each brother disputing the other's right to succeed. In addition to being in a clearly more powerful position in Oedipus at Colonus, Eteocles and Polynices are also culpable: they condemn their father to exile, which is one of his bitterest charges against them.[18]
BTW Source 18 is Sophocles. Sophocles I: Oedipus the King, Oedipus at Colonus, Antigone. 2nd ed. Grene, David and Lattimore, Richard, eds. Chicago: University of Chicago, 1991. --Peter cohen (talk) 08:41, 5 June 2009 (UTC)
I have Grene and Lattimore's Sophocles I. As to the dating of the plays, the first paragraph of the "Introduction" on page 1, says:
"The series of plays, Oedipus the King, Oedipus at Colonus, and Antigone, was written over a wide interval of years. The dating is only approximate, for reliable evidence is lacking; but the Antigone was produced in 441 B.C. when Sophocles was probably fifty-four, and Oedipus the King some fourteen or fifteen years later. Oedipus at Colonus was apparently produced the year after its author's death at the age of ninety in 405 B.C."
So this supports the "thirty-six years" from our article.
The paragraph on "inconsistencies" and the following, is also adequately supported by Grene, p. 1–2, which says, commenting on the order of composition, that:
"In view of this and the long interval between the composition of the individual plays, we would expect some inconsistencies between the three versions. And there are fairly serious inconsistencies—in facts, for instance. At the conclusion of Oedipus the King, Creon is in undisputed authority after the removal of Oedipus. Though he appeals to him to look after his daughters, Oedipus refrains from asking Creon to do anything for his sons, who he says, will be all right on their own (OK 1460). It is Creon who will succeed Oedipus in Thebes, and there is no question of any legitimate claim of Oedipus' descendants (OK 1418). But in Antigone, Creon tells the chorus that he has favorably observed their loyalty first to Oedipus and then to his sons, and so has hope of their devotion to himself. In Oedipus at Colonus—the last of the three plays he wrote—Sophocles makes one of his few clumsy efforts to patch the discrepancies together. In Oedipus at Colonus (II. 367 ff.), Ismene says that at first the two sons were willing to leave the throne to Creon in view of their fatal family heritage, but after a while they decided to take over the monarchy and the quarrel was only between themselves as to who should succeed. At this point Creon has vanished out of the picture altogether! Again, the responsibility for the decision to expel Oedipus from Thebes and keep him out rests, in Oedipus the King, entirely with Creon, who announces that he will consult with Apollo in the matter. In Oedipus at Colonus his sons' guilt in condemning their father to exile is one of the bitterest counts in Oedipus' indictment of them (OC 1360 ff.).
So, in my view, the three paragraphs of section "Composition and Inconsistencies" quoted above are adequately sourced. Based solely on Green — I don't know what other sources have to say — I would change "possibly over a duration of forty years or more" to something like "many years apart", or "over the span of more than three decades".
Paul August 18:14, 5 June 2009 (UTC)
"Many years apart" is probably best, given the imprecision of the dates for each of the plays. --Akhilleus (talk) 19:08, 5 June 2009 (UTC)
I've made this change. Paul August 13:48, 8 June 2009 (UTC)
End of copied text. Paul August 14:11, 8 June 2009 (UTC)
  • Mycenaean prehistory should probably go; the assertion that Oedipus has anything like a date or archaeological context is misleading. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 19:36, 9 June 2009 (UTC)
Agree. Will remove. Paul August 19:59, 9 June 2009 (UTC)
  • Was it firmly decided long ago that stories about Sophocles' sexual appetites have no place in this article? There are a number of them, and I always found it interesting that Aeschylus and Euripides didn't attract these kinds of stories. Ifnkovhg (talk) 00:36, 11 June 2009 (UTC)
    • Doubtless Plato's influence; although Euripides is mentioned in one of the stories cited. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 14:39, 11 June 2009 (UTC)
Even if that was decided at some point, we can revisit it now. I think it's fine to include them, as long as we include modern opinions about their reliability. --Akhilleus (talk) 01:49, 11 June 2009 (UTC)
Done. I was thorough, but tasteful ; ) Ifnkovhg (talk) 05:06, 11 June 2009 (UTC)

Request for source[edit]

I've asked above but I'll ask again while there are several people here. The following was added last year by an editor who has become inactive.

The victory came under unusual circumstances. At the time, the remains of the hero Theseus were being removed by Cimon from the isle of Scyros to Athens. Instead of following the custom of choosing judges by lot, the archon asked Cimon and the other strategoi present to decide the victor of the contest. Aeschylus soon left for Sicily following this loss to Sophocles.

This is unsourced and the following sentence is sourced to a text that does not contain this information. The article on Aeschylus is a lot less certain about the date of his trips to Greece and the unquestioned reference to the remains of Theseus makes me think that this is an ancient invention and possibly untrue. --Peter cohen (talk) 23:51, 11 June 2009 (UTC)

This stuff definitely needs citation. Theseus' bones are usually thought to have been transferred to Athens in 476/5 but a case can be made for other dates. Cimon and the other generals served as judges for the City Dionysia in 468. I doubt that Aeschylus' trip can be securely connected to his loss in 468, but there might be an ancient source that claims this. I don't have sources for any of this at hand, though--I'll try to find some and report back later. --Akhilleus (talk) 00:03, 12 June 2009 (UTC)
I added the source. It's from Plutarch's Life of Cimon. Ifnkovhg (talk) 01:59, 12 June 2009 (UTC)
P.S. I wanted to include the factoid that while Aeschylus apparently never defeated Sophocles, his nephew Philocles won the first prize over Soph.'s OT. Does it warrant mention? Is it belong with Aeschylus or Sophocles? Thanks. Ifnkovhg (talk) 02:04, 12 June 2009 (UTC)
Thanks. Also thanks for helping me win a bet with myself. I was all ready to accuse Plutarch of this but, as I had no evidence, thought I had better not.--Peter cohen (talk) 10:58, 12 June 2009 (UTC)

Thanks for the quick work, Ifnkovhg. From looking at the Life of Kimon it doesn't look like the return of Theseus' bones is strongly connected to Sophocles, so perhaps that sentence should be taken out. --Akhilleus (talk) 16:23, 12 June 2009 (UTC)

Samos?[edit]

How can he have gone to Samos in 441/0, following the production of the play Antigone, when your article on Antigone states that the play was performed in 422 or later? Something's wrong with one of your chronologies. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 87.8.58.57 (talk) 19:52, 4 December 2011 (UTC)