Talk:Ancient Rome

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Former good article nominee Ancient Rome was a History good articles nominee, but did not meet the good article criteria at the time. There are suggestions below for improving the article. Once these issues have been addressed, the article can be renominated. Editors may also seek a reassessment of the decision if they believe there was a mistake.
Article milestones
Date Process Result
November 15, 2006 Good article nominee Not listed
September 25, 2014 Good article nominee Not listed
Article Collaboration and Improvement Drive This article was on the Article Collaboration and Improvement Drive for the week of December 11, 2006.
Current status: Former good article nominee

Reconsider protected status?[edit]

Just because I don't see it having been revisited lately, do folks think the semi-protected status is really needed?

Looks like it has been in place for years based on vandalism that was happening way back then. Perhaps it's time to reopen and see if editors behave?

(Personally, I have no opinion on whether protection is needed. Just wanted to bring it up for anyone who might.) Crcarlin (talk) 20:58, 23 May 2016 (UTC)

The Colosseum article was unprotected last August after being semi-protected for five years. However, it was re-protected after five-and-a-half months. That article had 53 edits in January. Of those, 42 were either vandalism or reverts, 6 edits to do with an inexperienced editor getting reverted after good faith changes, and 2 edits to the categorisation by an experienced editor. As it happens the only substantial and lasting changes to the text were made by an (the remaining three edits that month) adding some pop culture information.
Granted, this article gets about half of the traffic of the article on the Colosseum, but I suspect given the topic and the developed nature of the content we would encounter a similar situation. My feeling is that this article is sufficiently well developed that the barrier is high for people making their first edits, so we're likely to see mostly vandalism. Nev1 (talk) 16:14, 24 June 2016 (UTC)


The sourced reference to Justinian I seems to be inaccurate. "During the 6th century, Justinian I briefly reconquered Northern Africa and Italy. But within a few years of Justinian's death, Byzantine possessions in the West were reduced to southern Italy and Sicily."

Justinian died in 565. His land holdings in Hispania (the province of Spania) survived to 624, 59 years following his death. His land holdings in North Africa (the Exarchate of Africa) survived to 698, 133 years following his death. His land holdings in Italy (the Exarchate of Ravenna, with its capital in Northern Italy) survived to 751, 186 years following his death. Byzantine land holdings in southern Italy were later reorganized into the Catepanate of Italy and survived to 1071, 506 years following the death of Justinian. Byzantine influence in Italy continued with the Italian campaign of reconquest (1155-1158). The Byzantine army departed Italy for the last tine in 1158, 593 years following the death of Justinian.

The description of a quick collapse of the Byzantine control in the West points to this source being unfamiliar with Byzantine history. Unless several centuries count as "a few years". Dimadick (talk) 13:18, 24 June 2016 (UTC)

Fixed. --Tataryn (talk) 22:24, 24 June 2016 (UTC)

Should for the time periods of rome, the byzantine empire be considered?[edit]

Should we add the birth to end times of the byzantine empire along with the kingdom, republic and empire?Virophage (talk) 21:55, 5 July 2016 (UTC)

Yes. The significance of the Western Roman Empire is already overstated, given than it was the poorer and more unstable part of the Roman world. Dimadick (talk) 00:39, 6 July 2016 (UTC)
This article is on ancient Rome and having it be more about the Byzantine Empire, which was non-Latin, Greek-speaking in its culture, and which is well linked-to from here, would be an extension that I think is unnecessary, if not unwise, not least of all because this is already a very long article. Dhtwiki (talk) 10:11, 6 July 2016 (UTC)
The problem is that the distinction between Roman and Byzantine is artificial to begin with and would be incomprehensible to the Byzantines themselves (it was coined by Hieronymus Wolf in 1557, a century following the end of the Empire), the Byzantine Empire continued using Latin as an official language until the reforms of Heraclius in the 7th century (or to quote the relative article "The use of Latin as the language of administration persisted until formally abolished by Heraclius in the 7th century."), and that Vulgar Latin remained a significant minority language in the Byzantine Empire in subsequent centuries. Dimadick (talk) 07:02, 7 July 2016 (UTC)
All articles on related subjects don't need to be about the same thing or have the same perspective. This article's focus is not the Roman Empire, which has its own article, but Ancient Rome - the city of Rome and its influence in antiquity. The Byzantine empire was the continuation of the Roman empire ruled from another capital, but it did not, for the most part, include Rome itself. That's not an artificial distinction. Rome continued to exist after the fall of the western empire. If anything, this article includes a little too much about Byzantine activity in the west not involving Italy, and not enough about the barbarian rulers of Rome and the rise of the Popes in late antiquity. --Nicknack009 (talk) 07:55, 7 July 2016 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Roman civilization begun in the Italian Peninsula but by the time of the Roman Empire it had spread far from its lowly origins. I do not think an emphasis on Italy is reasonable here, as already in the 3rd century its importance to the Empire has significantly diminished. The main events of the Crisis of the Third Century and the Tetrarchy took place all over the areas of the Empire and several of the emperors of the time never set foot in Rome.

You are quire mistaken if you think that the Byzantine Empire always failed to control the city of Rome. Belisarius captured Rome from the Ostrogoths in 536 and defended the city during the Siege of Rome (537–38). With various temporary losses, Rome stayed part of the Empire until the early 750s. We have an article on the Byzantine Papacy (537-752) detailing how the Byzantine authorities appointed Popes, or at least confirmed their elevations. And to quote just a small part of it: "With the exception of Pope Martin I, no pope during this period questioned the authority of the Byzantine monarch to confirm the election of the bishop of Rome before consecration could occur; however, theological conflicts were common between pope and emperor in the areas such as monotheletism and iconoclasm. Greek-speakers from Greece, Syria, and Byzantine Sicily replaced members of the powerful Roman nobles in the papal chair during this period. Rome under the Greek popes constituted a "melting pot" of Western and Eastern Christian traditions, reflected in art as well as liturgy."

The period ended because the Exarchate of Ravenna, the main Byzantine area in the Italian Peninsula, fell in 751, with Ravenna itself captured by the Kingdom of the Lombards. The Popes feared a Lombard invasion of Rome and sought other protectors, with Pope Stephen II managing to secure the protection and alliance of Pepin the Short. Pepin invaded Italy, defeated the Lombards, and granted authority over captured areas to the Popes. The Papal States were established in 754.

The distinction is always artificial because the Byzantines preserved Roman civilization, they did not loose it in the process.

"Rome continued to exist after the fall of the western empire." No dispute there, and the "finality" of the fall of the Western Roman Empire might be overstated. Romans did not cease to exist because a single emperor was deposed.

"not enough about the barbarian rulers of Rome". Possibly a good idea to cover them as well, though these so-called "barbarians" led relatively short-lived regimes. The first of them was Odoacer, who controlled the Italian Peninsula from 476 to his military defeat and murder in 493. He failed to establish a dynasty of his own. His enemy and successor was Theoderic the Great who continued to rule until his death in 526. He established the Ostrogothic Kingdom, but it only survived to 553/554. Most of his successors were involved in fighting the so-called Gothic War (535-554) against the Byzantine Empire. They lost the war and the kingdom was conquered by the Byzantines, but the unintended result of twenty years of war was the devastation and depopulation of the Italian Peninsula. The Lombards invaded Byzantine Italy in 568 and established the Kingdom of the Lombards (568-774). But the Lombards never did manage to conquer the entire Peninsula and failed to establish control over the city of Rome. The Kingdom of the Lombards was conquered by Charlemagne in the 774, and he did manage to establish Frankish rule over most of Northern and Central Italy,though not the Southern part of the Peninsula and Sicily. I am not certain whether you want to also cover the Carolingian Empire in this history of Rome. The entire period from the rise of Odoacer (476) to the conquest of Charlemagne (774) is only 298 years. About the same distance in time between the rise of Augustus (27 BC) and the rise of Aurelian (270).

I am not really certain what you mean by the rise of the Popes in Late Antiquity. Some of the Popes both before and after the fall of the Western Roman Empire were relatively major players in the politics of the Christian world, but almost all of them were still subordinate to emperors and kings. They could be deposed, exiled, and even murdered. The most notable "rebel" Pope in this entire period is Pope Martin I (649-655) who was elected and consecrated without imperial approval and tried to establish a mostly independent regime. He was arrested by the Byzantines in 653 and spend the rest of his life in exile in Chersonesus, a Byzantine colony in Crimea. (Admittedly his supposed collaboration with the Rashidun Caliphate against the Byzantine interests did not help his case.) Dimadick (talk) 20:45, 11 July 2016 (UTC)

The division may be artificial, but it has to be made. Or we'd just have one long article on everything. It is usual to consider the Dominate of Diocletian the beginning of an absolute, Persian-style, non-Roman-style monarchy. The division into east and west might not have been felt at the time but it is now viewed as splitting off the Hellenistic eastern half, which never owed its civilization to Rome as much as western Europe did, and which went its own way culturally, linguistically, etc. Dhtwiki (talk) 06:08, 12 July 2016 (UTC)

Semi-protected edit request on 30 September 2016[edit]

Suggested addition to Historiography, modern: S.P.Q.R. "A History of Ancient Rome" by Mary Beard. Jonamole (talk) 12:44, 30 September 2016 (UTC)

Since the |answered= parameter has been set to "yes", this should have a proper answer. My reason for not including the book is that it's a very recent publication, by an author I don't know. Some of the works in the "In modern times" subsection are undoubted classics but others aren't so well established (IMO) (plus you have Mommsen's well known work in the introductory paragraph, with a couple of other books I'm not familiar with, and not in the list proper). IOW, this is already an uneven and not well justified list. Dhtwiki (talk) 06:38, 12 October 2016 (UTC)

Dating of the Brescia Medallion and its origins[edit]

Moving talk page discussion here:

Walnut77: and why on earth would Ansa, Queen of the Lombards have a medallion made in the 8th century using an Alexandrian Greek dialect of Egypt from the 3rd century? Do you not see how incongruent that is? Besides, Johnbod makes an even better point than I did, by relating how your own source, the Brescia Museum webpage on the medallion, specifically dates this artwork to around the 3rd century AD! Neither Galla Placidia nor Ansa were alive then; the medallion predates them significantly according to your own source (to say nothing of the sheer litany of scholarly sources that have deduced that this gold glass artefact is Roman Egyptian in origin). And if you speak Italian, surely you understand the phrase "pater familias". Why not mention that when citing your source? Are you deliberately misrepresenting your source by omitting these assertions from the Brescia Museum page? All you're doing is repeating the claim that your source specifically calls a "legendary" one (i.e. a popular belief outside the realm of scientific inquiry). Pericles of AthensTalk 18:16, 3 October 2016 (UTC)

Hi PericlesofAthens, like I said, I am only quoting the Museum of Brescia on these "hypotheses". Do you understand the word hypothesis? I didn't mention the part about pater familias because I already mentioned it previously in my response to you, and because in this case I am emphasizing the fact that the words have been interpreted to be the name of the author of the work. This is mentioned in the sources YOU brought up. KEPAMI means potter in Alexandrian Greek, according to your sources let me remind you, how curious. Like you said in one of your responses, you are in no position to critique the art work only to point out sources. Your conclusions as to why it is written in Alexandrian Greek have no significance because you are not a researcher yourself. Like I told Johnbod, if you need clarification, contact the Museum! I am only translating what it says. The caption I wrote says it has been thought to be Ansa, which is exactly what the museum says. You have repeatedly, purposely misquoted the sources you provided saying this and that has been proven when the source is actually presenting theories and hypotheses. Walnut77 (talk) 18:24, 3 October 2016 (UTC)
Everything I have written has reflected the sources I have brought to the discussion, which identify the myth about Galla Placidia as being commonly accepted in the 18th century (excluding the 19th-century idea that it was a forgery), but has been overturned in modern academia due to early 20th-century research and further investigation in the following decades. For some inexplicable reason YOU decided to remove cited material in regards to the Fayum mummy portraits, which two sources (if not three, considering the source Howells 2015 cites in his British Museum publication) have now compared to this medallion. Pericles of AthensTalk 18:30, 3 October 2016 (UTC)
I suggest you leave the caption with the theories clearly explained by the museum, and those critiques you have found, which do not amount to the entire academic world. The information you have provided is not a definitive proof. If it was the museum would have said this has been refuted and proved to be a fayum mummy portrait. As of today, this has not happened. You do not get to decide what is interpreted as what, only to correctly describe what the sources say. Walnut77 (talk) 18:35, 3 October 2016 (UTC)
Walnut77: "...only to correctly describe what the sources say" <- And yet you have failed to do exactly that, haven't you? You have failed to faithfully represent the view of the Brescia Museum that it is dated to the 3rd century AD ("del III secolo d.C."). You have failed to mention that the Brescia Museum page specifically calls the Galla Placidia and Ansa assertions as "legends" (i.e. myths, "che l’interpretazione leggendaria identifica in Galla Placidia ovvero nella regina Ansa"). You have failed to faithfully represent the view of the Brescia Museum page when it tells you, point blank, that the inscription on the medallion is in Greek and that recent scholarship has mused about it being either the name of the artist or the pater familias who is absent in the portrait ("Suggestive le ipotesi formulate attorno all’iscrizione in greco rintracciabile nella decorazione, BOYNNEPI KEPAMI, ritenuta inizialmente la firma dell’autore, ma secondo studi più recenti riconducibile al nome del pater familias del nucleo ritratto"). The claim about Galla Placidia and Ansa most certainly should not be taking up two entire sentences in the image caption, which gives this (old and debunked) theory WP:undue weight even according to your own source! Pericles of AthensTalk 19:41, 3 October 2016 (UTC)
The legendary as in traditional the most well known. You clearly dont speak italian. If it was debunked it would say that exactly. And again ipotesi=hypotheses,refering to the interpretations of the words. Do you only understand something when it suits you? The museum makes no mention of fayum portraits. If you want to debunk theories, study and publish. Otherwisee, stop misrepresenting the works of others.Walnut77 (talk) 20:02, 3 October 2016 (UTC)
For starters it is Howells and Breck who I've cited for the comparison Fayum mummy portraits, not the Brescia Museum page. You should know that, seeing how I've already quoted Howells verbatim on your talk page. If you want to drop the attitude and the condescension, you can also quit insisting that I study and write publications on the matter. The numerous sources I've provided should suffice. I'm well aware of what a hypothesis is and the language in the caption as it stands now perfectly reflects the language of the Brescia Museum page. Pericles of AthensTalk 20:12, 3 October 2016 (UTC)
I see youve added the information do i will not remove it.Walnut77 (talk) 20:19, 3 October 2016 (UTC)
"leggendaria" means EXACTLY the same in Italian as it would in English. Really, this abuse of the source is pathetic. Johnbod (talk) 02:56, 4 October 2016 (UTC)
Johnbod, the use of legendary changes in the context, you would know what it is trying to say if you spoke italian. Even though I seriously want to stop this nasty argument, since these two editors have clearly dedicated themselves to draw their own conclusions from academic theories, I want to point out this article on wikipedia: Mysteries of Isis. In the article you will find this, among many other interesting things: "Even once the mysteries were established, they were not performed everywhere Isis's cult was present. The only known sites for her mystery cult were in Italy, Greece, and Anatolia,[25] although she was worshipped in nearly every province of the Roman Empire.[29] In Egypt itself, only a few texts and images from the Roman period refer to the mysteries of Isis, and it is not certain that they were ever performed there.[30]". As you can see the veneration of Isis was present everywhere in the Roman Empire, and her mystery cult only found in Italy, Greece and Anatolia. these people do not look like the people in the fayum portraits, this could have easily been a family in Greece or Italy. If the Greek inscription is in coptic then Kepami means potter, otherwise no known meaning. This should further show you there is no definitive proof as to whether this family is egyptian at all. This is why wikipedia editors should simply point out sources and describe them correctly. Walnut77 (talk) 18:19, 5 October 2016 (UTC)
Further relevant information: "Isis was one of many non-Greek deities whose cults became part of Greek and Roman religion during the Hellenistic period (323–30 BCE), when Greek people and culture spread to lands across the Mediterranean and most of those same lands were conquered by the Roman Republic. Under the influence of Greco-Roman tradition, some of these cults, including that of Isis, developed their own mystery rites.[20] The mysteries of Isis could have emerged as far back as the early third century BCE, after the Greek Ptolemaic dynasty had taken control of Egypt." Walnut77 (talk) 18:49, 5 October 2016 (UTC)
The inscription was suggested to be in Coptic based on the fact that Kepami is similar to the word "potter" in that dialect, in fact, it is just Greek otherwise. Johnbod, I hope you make the corresponding changes to the Gold glass article. Surprisingly, you were even told that the Isis knot does not necessarily make these Egyptians in the talk page for Mysteries of Isis, I just noticed that. How credible can you be now. Walnut77 (talk) 23:08, 5 October 2016 (UTC)
On the contrary, what that said was "The knotted mantle was an Egyptian style of dress..." but not necessarily anything to do with Isis. But since I have no RS for that I have not changed the sourced text in GG. You have a remarkable talent for misreading. Johnbod (talk) 23:32, 5 October2016 (UTC)
I don't know how this is in anyway contrary, also the person wrote this: "Women in places like Greece were often shown wearing it, but outside Egypt the dress only appears on women with some connection to the Isis cult." I didn't misread anything. Walnut77 (talk) 00:30, 6 October 2016 (UTC)
Johnbod, you clearly hid this information. The fact that she's wearing this garment doesn't lead to the conclusion that she's egyptian, you knew this, and yet you defended PericlesofAthens so adamantly, how strange really. Also based on all this and the fact that the inscription is just in Greek (which is what the Brescia Museum says by the way), you cannot say the medallion is Alexandrian in origin. Make the changes to the Ancient Rome article and the Gold glass article. Thank you. Walnut77 (talk) 17:15, 6 October 2016 (UTC)
It's not me saying it, it's ALL THE SOURCES. They say all, or nearly all, this type are Alexandrian. You seem to be basing your case (whatever that now is) on a short web museum caption in a language you don't seem to understand very well. Johnbod (talk) 17:47, 6 October 2016 (UTC)

I just happened on this discussion, and though it's a bit tangential to the dispute, I feel like I should supply the RS for what I've said about the knot: "Not the Isis-Knot" by Robert S. Bianchi. Bianchi's conclusion seems to be accepted by other scholars working on the Isis cults, as well as in The Beautiful Burial in Roman Egypt by Christina Riggs, pp. 71–75, which adds more details in support of Bianchi's argument. As far as the medallion goes, it seems that the knot means either that the woman is Egyptian, supporting an Egyptian origin for the artifact, or, if the piece comes from elsewhere in the empire, that she is involved with the Isis cult.

As far as the central dispute goes, the gold glass article cites numerous sources that point to Alexandria as the medallion's probable place of origin, and they are more authoritative and (at least in the case of Howells) much more detailed than a museum caption. For example, these sources say that the text's Greek dialect points to Egypt, because it's the dialect of Greek that was spoken in Alexandria. Moreover, Elsner, on page 17, dates the medalllion stylistically to "any point in our period—its transfixing naturalism gestures towards the second century, while its technique is more typical of objects from the fourth." He says earlier on the same page that the sixth and seventh centuries are "well beyond our period", meaning the period discussed in his article, so he must regard the medallion as earlier than the sixth century.

Finally, in Ansa's time knowledge of Greek was dying out in Italy and in Egypt, and the Isis cult was long extinct. The claim that the medallion was made in eighth-century Italy does not seem tenable. A. Parrot (talk) 06:01, 7 October 2016 (UTC)

A. Parrot: Greetings and thanks for pitching in to the discussion. Since many Greeks and Romans living outside of Egypt were cult followers of the Mysteries of Isis, the knot is obviously not a distinguishing feature reserved solely for Egyptians. That being said, Walnut77 has taken this idea and flown off the rails, thinking that Greeks and native Latin-speaking Romans wearing it means that the medallion wasn't necessarily made in Egypt. Except that's not the point of the cited statement in the image caption; it's merely pointing out the obvious, that she's wearing a garment indicating her as a follower of this religious cult. All other evidence, the written language of the medallion, the hairstyles and other clothing styles, all indicate a (Roman-era) Egyptian origin, as laid out very plainly in the sources that I have cited. At this point, Walnut77 is just rehashing the same argument again and again based on his selective interpretation of what the Brescia Museum page says (and even then it mentions the medallion as dating to the 3rd century, which immediately undercuts the Galla Placidia and even more absurd Ansa hypotheses). This website by Jasper Burns (with material extracted from his 1996 article in the Journal of Ancient and Medieval Art and Artifacts) basically lays out the scholarly debate around this artefact. He muses that the jewelry worn by the woman in the Brescia Medallion is similar to that worn by empress Julia Domna in a contemporary 3rd-century painting found in Egypt (Berlin Tondo). However, he is clearly against the idea that the Brescia Medallion depicts an imperial family at all, given "the complete lack of the insignias of office (e.g. laurel wreaths, diadems, scepters, even bordered toga)." His argument seems fairly convincing to me. Pericles of AthensTalk 07:19, 7 October 2016 (UTC)
For that matter, take a look at the List of gold-glass portraits article. Not one of these, from what I can tell, depicts an imperial family. These are just regular well-to-do citizens of the Roman Empire. Is there any evidence that the gold-glass medium was used for imperial portraiture? Obviously minted coins and busts and full-sized statues were the mediums for depicting the most important individuals, emperors and their family members included. I just don't see how gold-glass medallions fit into this category. They strike me as being entirely similar to the round fresco portraits of 1st-century Pompeii (if not the Egyptian Fayum mummy portraits that have been cited). Pericles of AthensTalk 07:26, 7 October 2016 (UTC)

In section 'Trajan'[edit]

"In Dacian War, Apollodorus made a great bridge over the Danube for Trajan." needs definite article. i.e. "In the Dacian war..." (talk) 18:23, 4 October 2016 (UTC)

Done. Thanks. Paul August 18:44, 4 October 2016 (UTC)

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All links work and seem useful. Dhtwiki (talk) 21:48, 12 October 2016 (UTC)

On the incomplete citations[edit]

Should the template at the top of the page be removed now? AndrewOne (talk) 15:32, 6 January 2017 (UTC)

No. Several citations are incomplete. One simply reads "Suetonius". Another reads "Frontinus". The sources for the population read, for instance, "McEvedy and Jones (1978)." without a full citation anywhere on the page (not the name of the work, or the page cited, or anything else). TompaDompa (talk) 15:54, 6 January 2017 (UTC)