Template talk:Trojan War

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The following discussion pertaining to the creation of this template was copied and pasted from Talk:Trojan War. It has not been edited or changed in any way. (One section not pertaining to this template was deleted.)

The template was developed in response to a previous debate (not copied over to this page) about using the standard "military conflict" infobox for historical battles. A number of editors felt that using the same box for a mythological conflict implied a misleading level of historicity for the Trojan War. Others felt that an infobox was beneficial to the article, and that the box's potential to mislead was exaggerated. The issue is complicated by (a) archaeology indicating warfare at Troy, and (b) the belief in antiquity that the Trojan War had occurred and marked the beginning of the historical era. This template was created as a compromise, and for use also on related pages, after the long process of consensus-building recorded below.

Before making significant changes to the template, it might be helpful to discuss them here first, and also to post a note at Talk:Trojan War that such a discussion is going on. Thanks. Cynwolfe (talk) 17:52, 14 June 2010 (UTC)

Trojan War navigational template[edit]

Trojan War

The Fall of Troy by Johann Georg Trautmann (1713–1769)
The Burning of Troy (ca. 1759–62)
by Johann Georg Trautmann

The war

Setting: Troy (modern Hisarlik, Turkey)
Period: Bronze Age
Traditional dating: XXXXXXXXXX
Outcome: Greek victory, destruction of Troy
See also: Historicity of the Iliad

Literary sources

Iliad · Epic Cycle · Aeneid, Book 2 ·
Iphigenia in Aulis · Philoctetes ·
Ajax · The Trojan Women

Episodes

Wedding of Peleus and Thetis ·
Judgement of Paris · Seduction of Helen ·
Trojan Horse · The Returns ·
Wanderings of Odysseus ·
Aeneas and the Founding of Rome

Greeks and allies

Agamemnon · Achilles · Helen · Menelaus · Nestor · Odysseus · Patroclus · Thersites · Achaeans · Myrmidons

Trojans and allies

King Priam · Queen Hecuba · Hector · Paris · Cassandra · Andromache · Aeneas · Memnon  · Penthesilea

Related topics

Homeric question · Archaeology of Troy · Mycenae · Bronze Age warfare ·
Trojan War in art and literature


As I sat down to draw up my ideal infobox for the Trojan War, it occurred to me that what's really needed is a Trojan War navigational template that pulls together the whole series of articles that relate to this main topic. I don't know whether anyone will like this idea, but could you hold off beating me senseless until you see my draft? It will arrive sometime in the next two to four hours. I hope. Cynwolfe (talk)

But I also like Peter Cohen's line of thought above. Cynwolfe (talk) 21:36, 8 June 2010 (UTC)
OK, please keep in mind that this is dashed off — for my convenience, I just grabbed a template I'd been using recently and changed the words and image. This is intended only as a starting point for discussion. It does not represent what I think are final and best thoughts or a preferred format. Not sure what to call the Divine machinery section. Also please note that the substitution of "Major figures" for "Commanders" allows the very important female characters to be included — a major omission in the military conflict infobox, since the Iliad pays a lot of attention to women, considering it's a war story. This template could be used on many other relevant articles, too. Cynwolfe (talk) 22:17, 8 June 2010 (UTC)
That looks quite nice, Cynwolfe. P Aculeius (talk) 22:21, 8 June 2010 (UTC)

All right no. This has gotten way off topic. We were arguing for the addition of an infobox, not a navigational template.

Now, I have an idea. Perhaps we could include both an infobox and a navigational template. That way we could incorporate both our ideas and thus come with a perfect resolution. The infobox provides the user with the time, place, sides, major generals, etc.... while the navigational template provides all the other information that the infobox cannot provide. That way the reader can read both and see that the event was not completely real, but at the same time, not completely false. Sound good?Valkyrie Red (talk) 22:31, 8 June 2010 (UTC)

I don't suppose you have any constructive comments to make? Like why you think this wouldn't be useful? I think the objections to the military conflict box have been made clear. Peter Cohen proposes an infobox for mythological conflicts, which I think is also a fine idea. But your emotional attachment to treating the Trojan War in the same manner as, say, the American Civil War is a little hard for me to understand. Cynwolfe (talk) 22:54, 8 June 2010 (UTC)
Valkyrie Red, I have to say I'm also baffled by your insistence that there's a problem with this topic whose solution must be a military infobox. Cynwolfe's navigational template's a truly useful product and she should be congratulated for providing it. The template does what it's supposed to do, and more - it even provides a overview of background, context and subtopics. The same format could be used for other mythological-historic conflicts. It's 100% itself and that's worth a tequila at least. Haploidavey (talk) 23:34, 8 June 2010 (UTC)

I'm going to drink some ouzo in honor of Cynwolfe. I think this template is very useful, and much more helpful to a reader than an infobox. Among other benefits, the template will lead the reader directly to other relevant articles. As soon as we sort out the "divine machinery" section I'd be in favor of adding this. --Akhilleus (talk) 00:07, 9 June 2010 (UTC)

Should point out (being carefully not to spill either the tequila in my left hand or the ouzo in my right) that I did indeed forget to put in a section about the site and date/period. At the moment I'm not sure how to handle it. The idea behind "Episodes" was to emphasize other articles, but a couple are internal links to sections. I didn't include the episodes pertaining to Iphigenia, Philoctetes, and Ajax because they have their own tragedies to link to immediately preceding. And where should Archaeology of Troy link?
The 'divine machinery' ('religious background' seems wrong; 'divine aid' not right either) is perhaps one of the few things that the article in my view underplays (the section on Zeus's plan is a bit unclear); every single one of the literary sources emphasizes the role of various divinities, and divine intervention is one of the fundamental characteristics of ancient epic. Also, the title of the painting isn't showing up. And the characters are all just dashed off, and there may be other good or better "Related topics," so please edit. Cynwolfe (talk) 00:38, 9 June 2010 (UTC)
It needs a little tweaking, but it's a good idea. I had been looking at the mythology templates this am and wondering about them. Dougweller (talk) 01:01, 9 June 2010 (UTC)

Look guys, I'm not saying that there's anything wrong with this template. In fact I love it. But it doesn't provide the reader with everything. Where's the time and where's the place? Where's the strength of each side. All I'm saying is that while this template is great, it doesn't tell some of the important facts of the war. I don't care where you choose to place the infobox, but please, at least include it somewhere in the article. Please.--Valkyrie Red (talk) 02:41, 9 June 2010 (UTC)

I sympathize with you, Valkyrie, as I personally agree that an infobox like the one above should be acceptable and would help beginners grasp the subject better. Unlike some of those here, I don't think there's a serious risk of people being misled about the historicity of the war because of an infobox. But unless some people here are willing to change their minds, which seems highly unlikely, there just isn't enough support for restoring the infobox. As I wrote elsewhere, it takes two sides to reach a compromise, and we just don't have that here. P Aculeius (talk) 02:56, 9 June 2010 (UTC)

I've changed Archaeology of Troy to Troy VII. It really ought to be Troy VIIa, but that just redirects to Troy VII. Problem is, that link will be unclear to readers with no background in this subject. There should probably be a link to historicity of the Iliad somewhere.

I'm still thinking about what to title the "divine machinery" section. If it's just a list of deities, maybe "gods". But there are a lot of gods involved in this. Should we list Scamander, for instance? And should this be exclusively a list of deities? --Akhilleus (talk) 04:15, 9 June 2010 (UTC)

What's wrong with my compromise? Why can't both the infobox and the template be in the article?Valkyrie Red (talk) 14:31, 9 June 2010 (UTC)

1) because you haven't convinced a number of editors that we need an infobox at all.
2) because having an infobox and a navigational template would make for too much visual clutter. (This of course depends on all sorts of variables like screen size and personal preference, but we should strive to make the article readable and usable on all sizes of screens. Try looking at an article with lots of templates and and infobox on a small screen like a netbook—the images and templates can sometimes crowd out the text.) --Akhilleus (talk) 14:50, 9 June 2010 (UTC)
Again, I find myself agreeing with User:Akhilleus: User:Cynwolfe's navbox is impressive and it avoids the problems with the old "warbox"; there certainly isn't space for both. Furthermore, there aren't any daggers to stumble over, the issue that started all of this off a month ago! --Old Moonraker (talk) 15:12, 9 June 2010 (UTC)
I think we can add some info along the lines Valkyrie Red wants: I was called away to other things and didn't have time to think through the presentation. About Archaeology of Troy, thanks for giving the best link; how about we pipe it to Troy VII? That avoids the problem of the user needing prior knowledge. I also added Historicity of the Iliad. I promise, VR, to come up with a way to incorporate at least some of your desired items, if not all; I think they should be listed under a single bar, but since they're individual items, I hadn't thought through the formatting. Also, this is a slimmer template and the photo's awfully small; should it be made wider? And could everyone please look over the major characters to see whether others should be included? The label could be changed, for instance, to "Greeks and allies" and "Trojans and allies" if there are characters to be added who wouldn't be either. (I just added Thersites as the only non-aristocratic character, which always interests me, but he can go away. This was all top of the head.) Cynwolfe (talk) 15:45, 9 June 2010 (UTC)

This is great! Thanks for putting in the time Cynwolfe. If we could incorporate some of Valkyrie Red's ideas, that would be ideal, but I support this box either way. --Edward130603 (talk) 15:58, 9 June 2010 (UTC)

I absolutely do think we can incorporate more of VR's material. I'm going to pose a couple of questions under subheads following, so the threads can be disentangled. Cynwolfe (talk) 16:24, 9 June 2010 (UTC)

Episodes[edit]

I was slightly surprised there was no article Wedding of Peleus and Thetis. This is something I may get to myself one day, because it's a subject of much art and also of one of Catullus's long poems. For now it links internally to the article. It could also go "Wedding of Peleus and Thetis." As noted above, if a major episode is plainly represented by one of the literary sources preceding, I omitted it as redundant. Cynwolfe (talk) 16:24, 9 June 2010 (UTC)

Characters[edit]

These topic labels can be changed to "Greeks and their allies" and "Trojans and their allies." This would also allow for adding contingents such as Myrmidons (whatever people think best). Philoctetes could be deleted because he's represented under "literary sources" by the tragedy. Cynwolfe (talk) 16:24, 9 June 2010 (UTC)

Can't go live with the template in this state; please comment on the following questions (leave yeas and nays or comments immediately following each point):

  • Should the labels read "Greek and their allies" and "Trojans and their allies" instead of "characters"?
    • I'd go with "Greeks and allies" and "Trojans and allies". --Akhilleus (talk) 17:55, 10 June 2010 (UTC)
  • Should contingents, allied groups, whatever (I gave the example of the famous "Myrmidons"), be listed here in addition to individuals?
    • I don't think so, because the list needs to be reasonably short, and individuals are more important than groups. --Akhilleus (talk) 17:55, 10 June 2010 (UTC)
    • I think the list should include important allied groups such as the Myrmidons and Amazons. Haploidavey (talk) 18:21, 10 June 2010 (UTC)
At the moment, I'm inclined to show some groups, also because of Achaeans (Homer). For the sake of discussion, let me put a couple in to see what it looks like. Cynwolfe (talk) 19:38, 10 June 2010 (UTC)
  • What individuals should be added or deleted from the current list in the template?
    • Add Ajax, subtract Thersites, maybe subtract Philoctetes. The list is pretty Homer-centric, which is natural, but figures like Memnon seem to have been important in non-Homeric traditions about the Trojan War; so also Antilochus. --Akhilleus (talk) 17:55, 10 June 2010 (UTC)
I'm inclined to leave in Thersites, because I've never taught or heard the Iliad taught without a discussion of his role, even in a general Greek civ class, because it allows an examination of Greek attitudes toward class and such. I've added Patroclus, because the story is rarely told without him, and because of the importance in recent years of the whole "what's their relationship" question. The article for Antilochus is pretty short, and I'm not aware of his appearing in pop culture, so I'm not sure whether it's the job of the template to make up for that. Again, these are questions, not arguments against. But dear gods, we surely do need the Amazon queen. Cynwolfe (talk) 19:38, 10 June 2010 (UTC)
I'd definitely add Ajax and Diomedes, since both of them were pivotal figures on the Greek side, and both were also kings leading their own contingents. P Aculeius (talk) 23:12, 10 June 2010 (UTC)
Ok, I see the point of leaving in Thersites, and Ajax, Diomedes, and Patroclus should be there. Antilochus and Memnon are probably not useful links for the general reader—I've just read too much about Greek mythology, I think. Amazons might be a better link than Penthesilea, but one of them should be in there. --Akhilleus (talk) 00:38, 11 June 2010 (UTC)

Also, some episodes are missing from the list: gathering at Aulis, attack on Teuthrania/Telephus (there's another one who could be listed as a character, but for which side?), death of Palamedes, Judgment of Arms. I'm not sure how to decide which ones to put in and which to leave out. --Akhilleus (talk) 17:55, 10 June 2010 (UTC)

Some episodes are left out if the titles under "Literary sources" point to them: Ajax for me substitutes for the Judgment of Arms, as does Iphigenia at Aulis for the Aulis episode. Also, I tried to emphasize episodes that had their own articles, since there didn't seem much to gain from multiple internal links to this article (ditto if the template were used on another page — the links would just keep taking you to sections of the same article). I find the "Trojan War" article as a whole to be a little overly detailed for a topic of such generalist interest. I think we've lost sight of the 14-year-old who is as likely to be coming here as anyone. The "storytelling" gets pretty bogged down at times. So a long-term solution might be to lighten up a bit with this article, and amplify some sections to a more specialized degree in independent articles, which would find a place on the template.
I agree, though, that there's quite a narrative gap in the template between "Seduction of Helen" and "Trojan Horse." Whether an episode is major or minor is debatable and highly impressionistic, but it seemed likely to me that users wouldn't be coming to "Trojan War" with the death of Palamedes or the attack on Teuthrania in mind; they would be more likely either to learn about these reading the article, or to have searched "Palamedes" or "Teuthrania" in the first place. On the other hand, it could be nice for a reader to discover something new in the box. I present my reasoning only as a basis for discussion, and not because I'm wedded to the conclusions. Just trying to keep the box from getting too long. The "Episodes" label could be changed to "Major episodes" to indicate that it isn't meant to be exhaustive. Cynwolfe (talk) 19:17, 10 June 2010 (UTC)
I think you make a very good point about the article being too detailed. We should probably start a different discussion section so we can figure out what to do about that. --Akhilleus (talk) 00:38, 11 June 2010 (UTC)

Setting and dates[edit]

Please leave the nuts of info you want included here. Cynwolfe (talk) 16:24, 9 June 2010 (UTC)

This may go against the grain of opinion, but I think it would be best to give the most familiar dating, that of Eratosthenes, rather than leave it blank, vague, or provide a range of alternatives. Qualified as "circa 1194-1184 B.C." it would still allow for uncertainty, but it's much better than "13th-12th Century B.C.," which extends the range to some two hundred years, far more than the actual range of estimates. You could link this approximate date to the discussion of the chronology in the body of the article.
Eratosthenes' estimate seems to fall smack in the middle of the range suggested by other authors, and was by far the most influential on later writers (much like the Varronian era for the foundation of Rome). Plus, Eratosthenes was an expert in the field of chronology, and the archaeological record appears to show that Troy was burned at approximately this time (I believe the estimate in Troy VII is rounded up to 1190 B.C., which is actually within Eratosthenes' estimate). I think these reasons support using the traditional dates as a rough estimate. P Aculeius (talk) 19:11, 9 June 2010 (UTC)
OK, people, this seems like a pretty big point of potential contention. Let's get some other views, or yeas and nays. Cynwolfe (talk) 17:44, 10 June 2010 (UTC)
Predictably, I'd be happier if the setting, date, outcome, etc. were left out. If they stay in, give Eratosthenes' date, described as "traditional dating". --Akhilleus (talk) 17:47, 10 June 2010 (UTC)
Your adverb makes me smile. I moved "Historicity of the Iliad" to that section just for you. Cynwolfe (talk) 19:38, 10 June 2010 (UTC)
A reasonable compromise might be "Circa 1194-1184 BC" in the box, with a footnote offering this as consistent with Eratosthenes' generally accepted "traditional dating". Haploidavey (talk) 18:00, 10 June 2010 (UTC)
Footnotes in navigational templates are troublesome—this template is meant to appear in several articles, yes? And the footnote will appear at the bottom of the box, rather than along with the article's footnotes. Can't the box just say "Traditional dating: circa 1194-1184 BC"? --Akhilleus (talk) 18:20, 10 June 2010 (UTC)
You're right - I hadn't thought that through - your suggestion seems fine. Haploidavey (talk) 18:24, 10 June 2010 (UTC)
I myself would be happier with "mid-13th/mid-12th century BC," but perhaps that is so vague as to be useless. Cynwolfe (talk) 19:38, 10 June 2010 (UTC)
It's not necessary to place a footnote in the template. Just use a piped link to the subsection of this article concerning chronology and dating: circa 1194-1184 B.C. would be [[Trojan War#Dates of the Trojan War|''circa'' 1194-1184 B.C.]]. That should work no matter what other articles the template is used in. P Aculeius (talk) 22:45, 10 June 2010 (UTC)

'Divine machinery'[edit]

In answer to the question of Akhilleus, this section may end up not working, but I'd like to give it a try during the development process because I think it's both important and of immediate use to students. We wouldn't have to include all the deities involved any more than we have to list the characters exhaustively. Just Olympians, maybe. I haven't yet reviewed the subject. Poseidon is something of a flipflopper, though. Cynwolfe (talk) 16:24, 9 June 2010 (UTC)

Akhilleus is right; I can't make this work, and I don't want the template to grow too long. I deleted the section. Cynwolfe (talk) 17:49, 9 June 2010 (UTC)

Image[edit]

Trojan War

Mykonos Vase
Earliest known depiction of the Trojan Horse
(Mykonos vase, 670 BC)

The war

Setting: Troy (modern Hisarlik, Turkey)
Period: Bronze Age
Traditional dating: XXXXXXXXXX
Outcome: Greek victory, destruction of Troy
See also: Historicity of the Iliad

Literary sources

Iliad · Epic Cycle · Aeneid, Book 2 ·
Iphigenia in Aulis · Philoctetes ·
Ajax · The Trojan Women

Episodes

Wedding of Peleus and Thetis ·
Judgement of Paris · Seduction of Helen ·
Trojan Horse · The Returns ·
Wanderings of Odysseus ·
Aeneas and the Founding of Rome

Greeks and allies

Agamemnon · Achilles · Helen · Menelaus · Nestor · Odysseus · Patroclus · Thersites · Achaeans · Myrmidons

Trojans and allies

King Priam · Queen Hecuba · Hector · Paris · Cassandra · Andromache · Aeneas · Memnon  · Penthesilea

Related topics

Homeric question · Archaeology of Troy · Mycenae · Bronze Age warfare ·
Trojan War in art and literature

Trautmann's painting is surprisingly obscure. I can't find a date for it (or not instantly). Could someone with better German give it a go? Otherwise I'll settle for "Mid-18th century". Cynwolfe (talk) 16:33, 9 June 2010 (UTC)

My German's non existent but this Heidelberg University pdf [1] includes a detailed entry for the Troja painting, including dates... any obliging German-speakers out there? Haploidavey (talk) 18:19, 9 June 2010 (UTC)
Excellent, thanks, the German title with the image file is different; "um 1759/1762" is just fine. Cynwolfe (talk) 18:23, 9 June 2010 (UTC)
Also, the title seemed translated incorrectly. Cynwolfe (talk) 18:27, 9 June 2010 (UTC)
I agree with the suggestion that the picture should be bigger. It's already hard to make out the details. I like the picture, but perhaps it could go later in the article, and something that wouldn't suffer as much from all the tiny details could be substituted. P Aculeius (talk) 18:59, 9 June 2010 (UTC)
Well assuming the painting described on page 319 and titled "Der Brand Trojas" (The Fire of Troy) is the painting in question then the date given for that is "um 1759/1762" (around 1759/1762"). Paul August 20:03, 9 June 2010 (UTC)
Now I'm not sure these are the same paintings, our description here gives dimensions of 54,5 x 68 cm, whereas the dimensions given for "Der Brand Trojas" are given as 250 x 150 cm. Paul August 20:18, 9 June 2010 (UTC)
Interesting. Very little about Trautmann seems available online. My first instinct is to distrust the dimensions we give, since 68 cm (not much more than two feet!) seems awfully small for a painting with this type of subject matter, which relies moreover on discerning shadowy little figures in the foreground. Neither form of the title comes up with much frequency (see here and here), and WP use contaminates the latter results. I think it's the same painting as described on p. 319 of the pdf, though: " Im Vordergrund erscheint schließlich, größer als alle übrigen Figuren Aeneas, der seinen Vater Anchises auf dem Rücken aus der brennenden Stadt trägt. Der Gruppe folgt Ascanius" (I have to zoom in on our version to see them in the bottom lefthand corner).
P Ac asks whether there's a better image; I didn't want to be a classics geek and suggest that a Greek image should be used. Commons was disappointing in its offerings at any rate. Cynwolfe (talk) 20:45, 9 June 2010 (UTC)
And actually I rather like this dramatic painting as an illustration of the fall. Has the slight increase in size helped any? I tried it larger (at 300px), but didn't like how the text worked at that width. The horse shows, so people who are drawn into it can click and zoom. Cynwolfe (talk) 21:30, 9 June 2010 (UTC)
Don't get me wrong, I like the painting. I just think that it might be better later in the article, where it could be bigger, and the details more easily made out. If the purpose of the template is to draw the reader in (particularly those who don't know much about the subject), perhaps it should have something simpler, brighter, and less subtle. I was thinking perhaps a depiction of the Trojan Horse, although whether a suitable image can be found out of copyright is another matter.
I tried Googling "Trojan Horse" and "Wooden Horse of Troy" but most of the images are really horrible. Most of them appear to be photographs of two famous models; one looks like it started out as Noah's Ark, to which legs and a horse's head have been added, and the other one appears to be a movie prop built from old railroad ties, with a rather reptilian appearance. So maybe there aren't any really nice images in the public domain... maybe some other image? P Aculeius (talk) 04:37, 10 June 2010 (UTC)
  • If nothing better comes up, I'm fine with staying with this image. Cynwolfe (talk) 17:44, 10 June 2010 (UTC)
How about the Mykonos vase? There are examples on flickr, if you ask nicely someone is sure to copy it to commons. As a bonus the WP article Mykonos vase could use the illustration. Twospoonfuls (ειπέ) 18:19, 10 June 2010 (UTC)
Hmm. Turns out there's one example, [2]. Still I believe it is the first representation of the horse in art. Twospoonfuls (ειπέ) 18:30, 10 June 2010 (UTC)
Would be quite nice if we could use this. Cynwolfe (talk) 18:52, 10 June 2010 (UTC)
Ah, here's a slightly clearer one [3]. Twospoonfuls (ειπέ) 18:55, 10 June 2010 (UTC)
File:Mykonos vase.jpg image now uploaded.--Old Moonraker (talk) 22:16, 10 June 2010 (UTC)
Monochrome version also available. Might suit our purpose better as it's less about the vase, more about the horse. --Old Moonraker (talk) 22:53, 10 June 2010 (UTC)
It's a nice picture, but my point was for the image to be simple and visually striking even when scaled down dramatically. It's hard to see a lot of detail in this picture when it's scaled down, and while many of us find it fascinating in itself, I don't think it'll draw in the person who doesn't really know a lot about the topic. I think that the original painting does a better job of that.
Here are a few other images in Wikipedia Commons that might be considered as alternatives: P Aculeius (talk) 01:15, 11 June 2010 (UTC)

"The Death of Priam" is the only one of these I think could work, because it announces "Greek warrior killing somebody" without the viewer having to know anything about it. But it also has lighting problems that cause whited-out portions. Below I plopped in a good-quality pottery image to show what such a thing might look like, but the subject matter, while relevant, isn't ideal to shout "Trojan War!" My personal favorite in terms of subject matter and educational value is the Mykonos Vase (thanks Old Moonraker), but graphically it isn't as strong because of the image quality. Cynwolfe (talk) 04:51, 11 June 2010 (UTC)

Suggesting for consideration Achilles bandaging Patroclus kylix decoration. It's contemporary with the myth, it represents a specific incident contributory to the end of of the siege, visually it's easy to comprehend and, in the context of war, it's a little unexpected.--Old Moonraker (talk) 13:36, 11 June 2010 (UTC)

Related topics[edit]

  • Bronze Age warfare. There is no such article, as you can see, though given the number of TV programs I run into on the topic there should be. I posted a note on the talk page of the Classical warfare task force pointing this out. I had linked the section to Prehistoric warfare#Bronze Age (a mere two paragraphs) but have changed it to the longer Mycenaean Greece#Arms, which, however, fails to cover anything about chariotry or battle order. Since there was a great deal of concern that this be given coverage as a topic of military history, I wonder whether anyone knows of a better link? Cynwolfe (talk) 18:47, 9 June 2010 (UTC)

Template? Everybody still awake?[edit]

Input still sought on the template, which is still just hanging out here on the talk page. I didn't do this just for the ouzo. Please comment above under the relevant sections, so we can finish this up and move on. If there's no further input within a day or two, I'm just going to do the best I can, and go live with it. And of course it can be edited after that, but at present the template still has place-holders. Note especially questions about the DATE and characters listed.Cynwolfe (talk) 17:44, 10 June 2010 (UTC)

I'd thought we should be getting input from Valkyrie Red, but it appears he's been blocked. For a month. For treating article development as if it's a war to be won. We could still use input from those who wanted to make sure some of the info was included that's now in the top section of the template. Cynwolfe (talk) 20:39, 10 June 2010 (UTC)
It's going to be at least a week before I can do that. Sorry. Dougweller (talk) 22:25, 10 June 2010 (UTC)
We'll probably have it on the page by then, but your input will still be valuable. Cynwolfe (talk) 04:51, 11 June 2010 (UTC)

Most recent template draft[edit]

Trojan War

Akhilleus Patroklos Antikensammlung Berlin F2278.jpg
Achilles tending the wounded Patroclus
(Attic red-figure kylix, ca. 500 BC)

The war

Setting: Troy (modern Hisarlik, Turkey)
Period: Bronze Age
Traditional dating: ca. 1194–1184 BC
Outcome: Greek victory, destruction of Troy
See also: Historicity of the Iliad

Literary sources

Iliad · Epic Cycle · Aeneid, Book 2 ·
Iphigenia in Aulis · Philoctetes ·
Ajax · The Trojan Women · Posthomerica
See also: Trojan War in art and literature

Episodes

Wedding of Peleus and Thetis ·
Judgement of Paris · Seduction of Helen ·
Trojan Horse · The Returns ·
Wanderings of Odysseus ·
Aeneas and the Founding of Rome

Greeks and allies

Agamemnon · Achilles · Helen · Menelaus · Nestor · Odysseus · Ajax · Diomedes · Patroclus · Thersites · Achaeans · Myrmidons
See also: Catalogue of Ships

Trojans and allies

King Priam · Queen Hecuba · Hector · Paris · Cassandra · Andromache · Aeneas · Memnon  · Troilus · Penthesilea and the Amazons
See also: Trojan Battle Order

Related topics

Homeric question · Archaeology of Troy · Mycenae · Bronze Age warfare ·


This image, though relevant, is not ideal in terms of subject matter (it doesn't shout "Trojan War!"). Purely on the basis of graphics, however, it shows what sort of thing might look good. See above for a draft with the Mykonos Vase; I would love to use that one because it's unique and educational, but have reservations about image quality for a template. Ought to be in the article, though. See this user page for two draft templates using images from Roman sarcophagi; good quality images, but not quite right, somehow. And I must apologize: When it came down to it, I simply couldn't bring myself to specify the ten-year period 1194-1184 B.C., because I've known too many classics profs who teach it as ca. 1250 BC; however, P Aculeius has solved the footnote problem as far as I'm concerned. Any template corrections, comments, additions, subtractions, should probably go in this section now. Cynwolfe (talk) 04:51, 11 June 2010 (UTC)

I think this is excellent, although I agree that the image may not shout "Trojan War!" as well as the original picture. I think at this size maybe the original painting would work as well, even if it's not ideal. But I'd like to see how it would look with the picture of Ajax the lesser dragging Cassandra from the Palladium. That showed soldiers armed with spears and civilians, so it might just shout "Trojan War!" or at least "blah blah war!"
I don't know if I'll be in the minority on this, and I know you don't really want to do it this way, but I really dislike the date range, "Traditional dating: as early as 1334 to as late as 1135 BC". Most of the dates converge within 20-30 years of Eratosthenes, and his chronology was the most widely accepted throughout ancient history (and until modern times). Plus he seems to have had greater expertise in chronology than others who asserted different dates, and we do know that Troy VII burned just about this time. So I still want to be specific and give "Traditional dating: circa 1194-1184 B.C." But obviously it would be better if everybody weighed in on this. P Aculeius (talk) 12:22, 11 June 2010 (UTC)
I like the clarity of the image: but I'd argue against the use of images that imply particular characters as preeminent. If you know who Hephaistos, Achilles and Thetis were, they sort of mutter "Trojan War, maybe?". I agree that the Trautmann painting's not ideal but it does offer a usefully generalised, densely populated and dramatic context - enlargement might help. There's a Tiepolo painting but the available uploads are a bit wishy-washy and... um, wooden-horsey.
On the dates business. I'm a habitual skeptic but open to persuasion; this is not a subject I've read in any depth. I favour a cautious, broad reconciliation of traditional accounts with modern archaeology; that seems to chime with Cynwolfe's position. Haploidavey (talk) 13:21, 11 June 2010 (UTC)
I like this image better than the Trautmann or the Mykonos vase.
I would rather see "Traditional dating: circa 1194-1184 B.C." than the current text. I know that other dates are possible, and frankly I think it's ridiculous to assign a date to the Trojan War beyond "late Bronze Age", because a specific date range implicitly settles a bunch of unanswerable questions (such as was there a single war or have many historical conflicts been collapsed into a single war). But, those who give a date usually settle on Eratosthenes' date. --Akhilleus (talk) 13:25, 11 June 2010 (UTC)
In the section above this one, Old Moonraker has linked to Achilles bandaging Patroclus (from a kylix). This splendid, tender and dramatic image knocks all my objections above into a cocked hat. I'm all for it. Haploidavey (talk) 14:06, 11 June 2010 (UTC)
I didn't try this one for the numbskull reason that it was already used on the page, but there's no reason it couldn't be replaced in the body of the article. About the Cassandra one, let me just be honest and say that I'm not going to illustrate every article about the Trojan War with a naked woman among clothed men in a scene reeking of sexual threat. I'm just … not. I would become obstinate. The Achilles-as-healer image works graphically (I particularly like the Ukiyo-e foot, or that's what it reminds me of), is in keeping with the mood of the Iliad, at least, and could represent any pair of brothers-in-arms, which goes along with what Haploidavey says. And if Akhilleus is OK with giving a specific ten-year date range, who am I to object? Cynwolfe (talk) 15:29, 11 June 2010 (UTC)
Sorry, Cynwolfe, I wasn't thinking of that when I suggested the image. I was thinking of it because it was colorful, period, and portrayed armed men attacking civilians (I believe that's meant to be Priam in the center). The implications of the nudity didn't strike me as any more problematic than the display of male genitals in much of the pottery/statuary. But I'll be guided by your judgment.
One small detail that concerns me is the formatting of names: it says "Agamemnon, Menelaus," etc. but "King Priam, Queen Hecuba." Is there any reason to list their titles, when other kings in the list of characters aren't similarly identified? I know that the article on Priam is so named, although Hecuba's is not. But that's a separate issue (and I think it probably should be renamed for consistency, unless we want to retitle all articles about kings and queens, and I don't think we do!). P Aculeius (talk) 17:20, 11 June 2010 (UTC)
No, I know you didn't mean to assert anything about the content, P Ac. It's just that I always forget how images from antiquity are read by those who don't live among them constantly. (My daughter's friends think it's weird that there are books all over our house with naked people on them, even though I keep the "Sex in Ancient Greece" playing cards in a drawer. I highly recommend the latter as a souvenir from the Parthenon gift shop.) The Trojan War is an article of general interest (top 5,000 WP articles, 103,345 hits in May) likely to be visited by young readers, who see enough images like that in Lady GaGa videos. Sorry to go femipuritan. Cynwolfe (talk) 17:37, 11 June 2010 (UTC)
Old Moonraker's reasons for the image selection, which was his suggestion, are given in the previous section and are very cogent. Cynwolfe (talk) 15:32, 11 June 2010 (UTC)
Some issues for consideration:
  • Why include the Trojan Women and not Hecuba among the sources? What about Quintus' Posthomerica?
  • Why are Aeneas's and Odysseus's wanderings part of the war but not the assasination of Agammenon and its sequelae?
  • Do we want to link major literature about the war? Things like the Chaucer or Shakespeare Troiluses? And, talking about Troilus, he is not a major element in the surviving literature from before the Roman Empire, but among Latin-using authors in the period of over a millenium dating between Dares and Shakespeare he would have been regarded as one of the most important characters in the tale. So do we keep to contemporary Western ideas of the major characters based upon the surviving literature of archaic and classical Greece or do we acknowledge the varying emphases in retellings and characters well-attested in pottery and other artifactual sources?--Peter cohen (talk) 15:56, 11 June 2010 (UTC)

All good questions, and if they lead to "and so a template is uselessly reductive; let's not use it" I'm going to go cry in my tent. In general, I'd say that the template can't get too long; although length is not a problem in this very long article, if used in short articles a long template can get in the way of using other images, or exceed the length of the text. I don't think a template like this can be exhaustive, but yes, you'll recall that I generated this off the top of my head for discussion, and what constitutes "major" and "minor" in terms of inclusion will always be impressionistic. The "Episodes" section emphasizes episodes that have independent articles, for instance. What I aimed for was representing the maximum number of figures and topics in the minimum amount of space; therefore, since the play Philoctetes gets a link under "Literary sources," he's omitted in the list of characters. Ditto Hecuba/Hecuba in reverse; also, though again this can only be my impression, The Trojan Women gets produced regularly by both university and professional theaters. I started to add the Oresteia, but only the Agamemnon seems pertinent, and Agamemnon belonged in the list of figures (also, "The Returns," though that's an article that could use some work, is an umbrella topic that would account for his reception). I considered adding Clytemnestra to the list of Greeks, but in most versions she wasn't on site for the war. (Incidentally, till last night Helen was listed as Trojan in the template "Characters in the Iliad," which would seem to miss the point of the war.) The box is called "Trojan War," and not the Trojan cycle or saga, which gave me pause at some points. I will add Troilus and the posthomerica. Views on adding the Oresteia? That article doesn't mention Troy in the lead section. Again, the idea is that if hypothetically someone clicks on every link, they'd get a full range of information, but I tried to avoid too much overlap of material. Cynwolfe (talk) 16:54, 11 June 2010 (UTC)

Thanks for the reply and consideration.--Peter cohen (talk) 17:49, 11 June 2010 (UTC)

Any other topics for the last section of the template, "Related topics"? Cynwolfe (talk) 16:54, 11 June 2010 (UTC)

Art objects are difficult to account for in a template unless each has its own article; do you have any particular work in mind, Peter? "Trojan War in art and literature" (which needs some concerted effort) could be moved from "Related topics" to the "Literary sources" section. I would also suggest that article as a way to account for your point about the survival of the Trojan War post-antiquity; the article Trojan War does seem to me to be well-focused on the construction of the myth in antiquity, and the "art and lit" article could dwell on sources that survive incidentally and on the later Western literary tradition (I didn't know there was a non-Western tradition of depicting the Trojan War, but would certainly be interested in seeing that in the art&lit article). Trojan War in art and literature beckons, Peter; check it out. It needs you. Cynwolfe (talk) 16:54, 11 June 2010 (UTC)

I have added some material to that list in the past. And if you look at Troilus, for example the table of medieval sources, you'll see that I've organised some material. I'd be up for working with someone on improving the article, providing a proper lead, discussion around the lists, though my knowledge of medieval and later art is sketchy. (I also do need to take Troilus for Peer review with the intention of going for FA some time.)--Peter cohen (talk) 17:49, 11 June 2010 (UTC)
That is absolutely what Trojan War in art and literature needs, agreed. (Hadn't checked the edit history.) Not just a list (which might even end up being a separate list article), but a look at the tradition and how it played out in later writers and artists. I'd say antiquity would only be the first background section after the intro. You should just go with it and not worry about what you perceive as your deficiencies and let others fill in as they may. More narrative text would be useful even if the proportions (of period or genre) are off at first.
In regard to "King Priam" and "Queen Hecuba" (inquiry above), the use of the titles is a nod to those least familiar with the topic. Just a way to help distinguish among the many characters' names, which newcomers to the story find daunting. Applying titles to the Greeks would be otiose, since all the commanders were in some sense petty kings and it doesn't distinguish among them. As I said above (and Akhilleus concurred), in future this article should be looked at in terms of clarity and focus, with its interest and usefulness to the general reader in mind. The lead section, for instance, goes into too much distracting detail on events leading up to the war; I'm not sure, in fact, that the second paragraph needs to be there. That's a discussion for another time, but just to say that we editors can get wrapped up in making fine distinctions and lose sight of who's most likely to read an article on "Trojan War," what they'll be looking for, and what help they need to grasp the topic most efficiently. (I say that as someone who is far more likely to write about the recherché Lusus Troiae than the Trojan War, to recognize my own vices.) Are we close to going live with this? Of course it can always be edited later for details. Cynwolfe (talk) 19:06, 11 June 2010 (UTC)
As regards the date, "Late Bronze age" makes the most sense to me. Again I would ask the question are we referring to the age for the setting of the story? Or the date or dates for the possible historical events(s) upon which the story may be based? Paul August 20:43, 11 June 2010 (UTC)
Paul, are you saying you would combine the two elements into one? No dates, and simply say "Period: Late Bronze Age"? Cynwolfe (talk) 22:09, 11 June 2010 (UTC)
Essentially. It might be a way of avoiding needing to answer the question I asked. Paul August 23:18, 11 June 2010 (UTC)
I'm OK with that. But maybe I'm just impatient to be done with it. Cynwolfe (talk) 23:45, 11 June 2010 (UTC)

Boldly going with template[edit]

Since discussion has died down, I'm going to go ahead and create the template. (I kinda need to get this off my plate and move on.) I'll also put it on pages where I think it's relevant. I'll mostly be placing it on text-heavy topics pages such as "Historicity of the Iliad" that lack much other graphic material. I'll probably place it with the articles of individual figures only if the page has minimal illustration, if the addition of the template won't create clutter, or if the primary interest of the figure is his role in the Trojan War.

I'm sympathetic to Paul August's point about dating above, and I myself would probably omit the date altogether and go with Paul's "Late Bronze Age." However, I'm not sure that would reflect consensus. And of course the template can always be edited later. 23:05, 12 June 2010 (UTC)

Evidently I forgot to sign this. Anyway, the template's up and running, and placed on several pages. One concern I have is that the size of the image can be overwhelming on smaller pages. At any rate, it's there to edit. Cynwolfe (talk) 23:47, 13 June 2010 (UTC)
Final step: I'm going to copy the discussion that pertains to the creation of the Trojan War template to the template's talk page. Further discussion about the template itself could then be conducted there. Cynwolfe (talk) 17:52, 14 June 2010 (UTC)

Forcing BC/AD[edit]

This template, which might use a convention BC[E] instead, is being applied as a Trojan horse to force the BC/AD convention upon a Wikipedia text to which the template is is being applied: see Talk:Epic Cycle. I'm sure this is not the even subliminal intention of anyone here, and that the issue can be addressed with dispatch. I recommend "Traditional dating: ca. 1194–1184 BC[E]".--Wetman (talk) 13:23, 16 August 2010 (UTC)

Hahaha, you're soooo funny, calling it a "Trojan Horse". You're only suggesting this so that you can use the same logic to impose CE/BCE. (Huey45 (talk) 13:38, 16 August 2010 (UTC))
Um, no. Wetman's suggestion addresses the problem that this template appears in many articles, some of which have used the CE/BCE system since their beginning, others of which used AD/BC. It's a reasonable solution, and implementing it will allow users like User:Huey45 to stop edit-warring on dating systems and hopefully use their energies to do something that improves the encyclopedia, rather than using up the time of other volunteers. --Akhilleus (talk) 14:04, 16 August 2010 (UTC)
Yes, Wetman's proposal seems entirely reasonable. It "imposes" nothing. Haploidavey (talk) 14:21, 16 August 2010 (UTC)
Wetman's suggestion seems like a good solution to the problem. Paul August 14:32, 16 August 2010 (UTC)
(Third attempt at posting …) I'm sooooo funny tooooo, because as far as I know, in the epic discussion over this template, this re-cycled issue never once came up. (Huey45, what's with the attitude?) The template originated in conjunction with Trojan War and therefore reflected the usage consensus for its parent article. Our joy at arriving at a navigation template that could be used for several related articles, alas, has now been duly doused by the addition of another angel to dance on the head of its pin.
My personal preference is to use BC/AD for the simple reason that it's less susceptible to typos in articles that cover a broad range of time and that switch back and forth between the two eras. I won't horsewhip anyone who prefers BCE/CE, but in the past I have failed to see how it addresses the problem of Christian-centric dating, Christian-centrism being something I am keenly passionate about balancing in articles pertaining to ancient culture. Is Wetman suggesting that the template actually employ the typographical device BC[E]? How, um, inelegant. This would represent Before Christ[ian Era]? This device is used elsewhere? I suppose that's feasible, if this is indeed the will of the council. Cynwolfe (talk) 14:36, 16 August 2010 (UTC)
Actually my personal preference is for BC/AD as well, (but that's irrelevant). Would using "BC/BCE" seem better? Or perhaps adding an "era" parameter to specify which date convention should be displayed? Paul August 14:48, 16 August 2010 (UTC)
Wetman's solution is growing on me, and I'm happy to make the template change based on whatever seems best. Cynwolfe (talk) 14:51, 16 August 2010 (UTC)
I agree it ain't a purty mix. Still, whatever keeps the era-orclings out of Troy. I mean the Greeks out of Rivendell. Haploidavey (talk) 14:57, 16 August 2010 (UTC)
My preferred solution would be to make no change, and for editors like Huey45 to stop wasting time on trivialities. But that's an impossible dream, so let's just do what Wetman suggests. --Akhilleus (talk) 15:12, 16 August 2010 (UTC)
Agree. Note there are two uses of "BC" in the template. Paul August 15:40, 16 August 2010 (UTC)
My usage of Trojan horse was a specific reference to Trojan horse (computing) and might be relevant: no one wants to force either convention on the text of Wikipedia articles, by applying the template as a Trojan horse, and forcing compliance of existing text with it: see Talk:Epic Cycle. (We can ignore the jeers of User:Huey45, a troublesome user probably on his way out.) -Wetman (talk) 15:20, 16 August 2010 (UTC)
It shall be done, my liege. Cynwolfe (talk) 17:57, 16 August 2010 (UTC)
Actually, I ended up going with Paul's virgulated suggestion because … I don't know why. It suggested alternative usage, while the brackets in BC[E] seemed epigraphical, or something. If anyone wants to change to the bracketed alternative, you can see how you think it looks. Didn't look right to me. This is of course merely impressionistic. Cynwolfe (talk) 18:06, 16 August 2010 (UTC)
I don't see why it should be changed to something as ungainly as "BC[E]", since with or without an "E" it's really just as "Christian-centric." I realize that we want the article to be as inclusive as possible, but we're also writing in English, and in English "B.C." and "A.D." are traditional and unambiguous, whereas many people are still unused to or confused by "BCE" and "CE". Obviously those two are also more easily confused. So unless we're willing to adopt the Varronian era of Rome, and call 753 B.C. year one (that'd be my vote!), I think we should leave the date formatting in "B.C." and "A.D." — and even if we did want to change to "BCE" and "CE" with no substantive change in meaning... it would be ridiculous to make people write "BC[E]", That proposal simply makes no sense to me. P Aculeius (talk) 19:36, 16 August 2010 (UTC)
We are only talking about changes (now already made) to the template, not changes to any article. The changes to the template are so that the template can be used in articles which use either of the BC/AD, BCE/CE date era conventions without introducing an inconsistency between the template and the existing article. Paul August 20:25, 16 August 2010 (UTC)
As a side note, the "Christian-centric" thing is my concern elsewhere, but not here, since both dating conventions stand in relation to Christianity. It wasn't the intention to impose conformity of dating convention on articles that might appear in or with the template. Only people who care about this convention are likely even to notice if article text differs from the template. I don't know how to resolve this without resorting to some sort of unattractive notational redundancy in the template. Some people resist infoboxes and such on principle. IRL, it was drilled into my text-oriented head not to present gray swathes of words without something to break it up visually. Therefore I like pretty pictures and color blocks and subheads. In general I favor stylistic promiscuity on WP. Cynwolfe (talk) 19:57, 16 August 2010 (UTC)
The BC/BCE version seems fine. I only suggested BC[E] because it took up less space. A thank you goes to all who contributed to settling this.--Wetman (talk) 21:09, 16 August 2010 (UTC)

Trojan War

Akhilleus Patroklos Antikensammlung Berlin F2278.jpg
Achilles tending the wounded Patroclus
(Attic red-figure kylix, ca. 500 BCE)

The war

Setting: Troy (modern Hisarlik, Turkey)
Period: Bronze Age
Traditional dating: ca. 1194–1184 BCE
Outcome: Greek victory, destruction of Troy
See also: Historicity of the Iliad

Literary sources

Iliad · Epic Cycle · Aeneid, Book 2 ·
Iphigenia in Aulis · Philoctetes ·
Ajax · The Trojan Women · Posthomerica
See also: Trojan War in art and literature

Episodes

Wedding of Peleus and Thetis ·
Judgement of Paris · Seduction of Helen ·
Trojan Horse · The Returns ·
Wanderings of Odysseus ·
Aeneas and the Founding of Rome

Greeks and allies

Agamemnon · Achilles · Helen · Menelaus · Nestor · Odysseus · Ajax · Diomedes · Patroclus · Thersites · Achaeans · Myrmidons
See also: Catalogue of Ships

Trojans and allies

King Priam · Queen Hecuba · Hector · Paris · Cassandra · Andromache · Aeneas · Memnon  · Troilus · Penthesilea and the Amazons
See also: Trojan Battle Order

Related topics

Homeric question · Archaeology of Troy · Mycenae · Bronze Age warfare

Trojan War

Akhilleus Patroklos Antikensammlung Berlin F2278.jpg
Achilles tending the wounded Patroclus
(Attic red-figure kylix, ca. 500 BC)

The war

Setting: Troy (modern Hisarlik, Turkey)
Period: Bronze Age
Traditional dating: ca. 1194–1184 BC
Outcome: Greek victory, destruction of Troy
See also: Historicity of the Iliad

Literary sources

Iliad · Epic Cycle · Aeneid, Book 2 ·
Iphigenia in Aulis · Philoctetes ·
Ajax · The Trojan Women · Posthomerica
See also: Trojan War in art and literature

Episodes

Wedding of Peleus and Thetis ·
Judgement of Paris · Seduction of Helen ·
Trojan Horse · The Returns ·
Wanderings of Odysseus ·
Aeneas and the Founding of Rome

Greeks and allies

Agamemnon · Achilles · Helen · Menelaus · Nestor · Odysseus · Ajax · Diomedes · Patroclus · Thersites · Achaeans · Myrmidons
See also: Catalogue of Ships

Trojans and allies

King Priam · Queen Hecuba · Hector · Paris · Cassandra · Andromache · Aeneas · Memnon  · Troilus · Penthesilea and the Amazons
See also: Trojan Battle Order

Related topics

Homeric question · Archaeology of Troy · Mycenae · Bronze Age warfare

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Why not add an optional parameter that will allow the editors of an article to choose which option they would prefer? I have constructed a version of the template that will provide such an option in one of my sandboxes. If the current template were to be replaced with this version, then the template call {{Trojan War|dateformat=bc}} {{Trojan War|era=BCE}} would give the first of the three two infoboxes at the left, the call {{Trojan War|dateformat=bce}} would give the second, and the call {{Trojan War}}, without any parameter, would give the second third (i.e. the current previous version) as default.
David Wilson (talk · cont) 04:30, 17 August 2010 (UTC)

David J Wilson, you are a gem. I'm not WP-tech adept enough to have conceived of this. After some others who've been involved in the template weigh in, I would love for you to implement this. Cynwolfe (talk) 13:31, 17 August 2010 (UTC)
Well yes, that was what I was trying to suggest above as a possible solution, when I wrote: Or perhaps adding an "era" parameter to specify which date convention should be displayed?" However I'm not sure that this is really needed though. Paul August 13:37, 17 August 2010 (UTC)
Except I wonder whether the default shouldn't just be "BC," because that's what it is in the original article, and if the alternatives are given, users may not look closely enough at the template to realize they have the option to change it. Cynwolfe (talk) 13:33, 17 August 2010 (UTC)
I read right over Paul's earlier reference to an era parameter. Sorry. What I'm imagining now is a default of "BC," in keeping with the parent article, but if someone notices that the template doesn't conform to the convention used in the article, as happened here, the parameter allows a change to BCE. Cynwolfe (talk) 13:49, 17 August 2010 (UTC)
This solution seems a bit baroque to me—templates are hard enough to use for the average editor, the parameter adds another bit of complexity. On the other hand, it made me wonder—what if the era parameter were built into the wikimedia code, so that users could simply set a preference for the system they prefer—be it BC/AD, BCE/CE, Hebrew, Islamic, whatever? Each user sees the dating system s/he prefers, the articles have no default system, and people stop edit warring over dates.
I'm sure this has already been proposed somewhere, and there's a good technical reason why it hasn't happened. Still, I'd love to see less date-related edit warring... --Akhilleus (talk) 15:16, 17 August 2010 (UTC)
Yes, I tend to go with the flow on dating. In this case, however, this is not an infobox to which editors would regularly be adding info. It's a nav template that doesn't need to change from page to page, and there would be a default date, so anyone who simply wanted to add the template to a page could just plop it down. Only those highly motivated by dating convention concerns would need to do anything; the default parameter would cause (if my preference were implemented) "BC" to show up automatically. Don't know how many more pages would ever use this template; if we consent to David adding the parameter, I would be willing to go through all the articles that use it, and adjust the template according to the dating convention for that page. Cynwolfe (talk) 15:33, 17 August 2010 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Apologies to Paul. I too didn't see that he had already made this suggestion earlier. If Paul's suggestion is to be adopted there are a few implementation issues that need to be decided on:

  • Parameter name. I think Paul's suggestion of "era" is much better than "dateformat", which I used. I doubt if there's anything else that would be far superior, so I suggest that we simply go with "era".
  • Switch or variable. As I originally implemented it, the parameter was a switch which could only be used to select one of "BC", "BCE" or the default "BC/BCE". A simpler, and probably preferable, way of implementing it is to make it a variable whose value can be chosen by the user. Thus "era=BC" would get "BC" in the nav box, "era=BCE" would get "BCE", era="AUC" would get "AUC" and so on (not that anyone should ever want to choose anything other than the original three options).
[On second thoughts, there are other options, "B.C." and "B.C.E.", which some editors might prefer. Making the parameter a variable that can take any value—as has now been implemented—has the advantage that editors can choose either of those alternatives too, if that's what they want.]
  • Default value. As a general rule one should be very reluctant to change the default behaviour or appearance of a template once it has been transcluded into several articles. This should only be done if one can be reasonably certain that the vast majority of the editors of the articles where the template is being used would approve of the change. In this case the template had been using "BC" for several months until Cynwolfe changed that to "BC/BCE" on August 16th in response to this thread. Thus, there would seem to me to be a strong case for making the default "BC", as preferred by Cynwolfe herself—as long as the change is implemented fairly quickly. With the optional parameter implemented Wetman's original objection would no longer apply, because editors of articles where "BCE" has been used in preference to "BC" can get "BCE" into their nav boxes by using the parameter.

I have now modified my version of the template to incorporate these suggestions, so if everyone is happy with it as it stands it could now be implemented by simply copying and pasting it into the Template page.

I should also add that I have taken the liberty of replacing the use of the first positional paramenter (which could be used to modify the width of the box) with a named parameter "width". I have done this because the use a mixture of positional and named parameters could be confusing to the user. None of the articles which currently have the template transcluded into them use this parameter anyway, so the change will not affect any of them.
David Wilson (talk · cont) 07:07, 18 August 2010 (UTC)

David, Thanks for going ahead with this. I do prefer (strongly) that the default be BC, and not the alternate dates with the virgule. If we give users the option of changing to BCE, there's no need to have this compromise bit of orthography (which is only notational). What's anyone else think? Cynwolfe (talk) 11:30, 18 August 2010 (UTC)
As most of the articles linking this template use BC, that seems an appropriate default. I've no personal preferences. Some twerp is bound to object to a BC/BCE template in articles that use one or the other, but not both. An explanatory note chez template might help. Thanks to David for developing this. Haploidavey (talk) 14:55, 18 August 2010 (UTC)
Using BC as the default turned out to have another advantage: only two of the eleven articles which use the template also use the CE/BCE convention, so the template call only needed to be modified in those two articles (which I have now done). There Is one article, Trojan Battle Order, which doesn't seem to have any dates in it at all, so I couldn't tell which of the date conventions the editors of that article would prefer.
Editor Future Perfect at Sunrise had originally implemented the parameter with a default of "BC/BCE" but in view of the above discussion I have now changed it to default to "BC". Changing it back to "BC/BCE" will require editing the other 9 articles that use the template to get them to have "BC" rather than "BC/BCE" in their nav boxes. I suggest that anyone who wants to return the default to "BC/BCE" should also accept the responsibility for making the necessary changes to the 9 affected articles.
I didn't implement the use of a "width" parameter in place of the first positional parameter as I suggested above. Although I think this would be a good idea I can 't see that there's any great urgency in getting it done. If no one raises any serious objections I'll do it in a couple of days.
David Wilson (talk · cont) 13:05, 18 August 2010 (UTC)
A default of BC, ids fine with me. Paul August 15:23, 18 August 2010 (UTC)