Talk:Dogs of Roman Britain

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Do pictures exist? Drutt 01:13, 18 March 2007 (UTC)

I think you meant to say do any images exist of these dogs since pictures (photographs) weren't around when the breed still existed. I should think that somewhere there must be an artistic depiction of the dogs. I'll see what I can find. In the meantime, anyone else who might know of an existing image of the dog, please feel free to add it to the article - it would be a great improvement.LiPollis (talk) 14:31, 21 May 2008 (UTC)

Gratius Falsius[edit]

"Gratius Falsius" is a well known in-joke amongst classicists (his name is latin for "gratuitous hoax"). If he's "an ancient Roman author and historian writing in the year 8 AD", surely there'd be some mention of this author on the internet aside from this travesty of broken English you've dug up: "Fleig stated that Roman author Gratius Falsius from the year 8 A.D. written of big exhibition fights in the Roman amphitheatre between the pugnaces from Epirus and the pugnaces from Brittain and it turn out that these wide mouth dogs from Brittain were far superior to the Greek Molossus." I don't know if this site is the perpetrator or a victim of this hoax, but all roads seem to lead to the mysterious "Fleig" (also cited on the Wiki page as the author of "Fighting Dog Breeds"). Perhaps this man - writing a book about dogs, not about Roman historians, after all - naively fell for a classicist's joke while researching whether any Roman historians had written about the pugnaces.--Yolgnu (talk) 15:12, 5 June 2009 (UTC)

Hi, let's work constructively together to debunk this assertion and make a better article. Can you provide citations confirming your statements? Thanks Green Squares (talk) 15:49, 5 June 2009 (UTC)
I have waited 24-hours and noticed Yolgnu has edited other articles, but has not provided any citations for his/her assertion about "Gratius Falsius" not being a real person. The portion that Yolgnu deleted is cited information and I am going to put it back. Green Squares (talk) 10:42, 6 June 2009 (UTC)
This seems like such obvious nonsense that I have removed it. The burden of evidence falls upon those who wish to add or retain information (see WP:V and WP:RS, not those who challenge it. To return the quote, the person returning it must provide a citation to a reliable published source. Blueboar (talk) 15:24, 6 June 2009 (UTC)
Hello Blueboar, I provided two citations to support the entry. Would you please provide two citations that confirms your verbal assertion "This seems like such obvious nonsense that I have removed it." Thank you. Green Squares (talk) 16:41, 6 June 2009 (UTC)
This hoax is so obvious that someone who insists on treating it as real has no business editing an encyclopedia – at least in the absence of a very good excuse such as being from a non-Western background (no, Canada doesn't count). Please stop the disruption. --Hans Adler (talk) 17:29, 6 June 2009 (UTC)
If it is a hoax, then simply provide your supporting citations. The author of the citation, Dieter Fleig, has written many books on dogs, I trust his research. Dieter Fleig Books Green Squares (talk) 17:43, 6 June 2009 (UTC)
He writes books about dogs, that's his expertise, not Roman history. His publisher also makes chew toys. There is no way that this book meets our requirements at WP:RS, and you can't expect to find a source saying that an imaginary person never existed. You are being asked nicely to drop this. Dougweller (talk) 17:46, 6 June 2009 (UTC)
He is an author on the history of dog breeds, which would entail researching history in various ancient cultures to find information. So why would that not make him a reliable source? Green Squares (talk) 18:28, 6 June 2009 (UTC)
It's unreasonable to ask for proof that an outrageous claim is false. How can I prove that there was never an African king whose civil name was "Donald Duck"? How can I prove that there was no Roman historian called "Gratius Falsius" (note falsius = false) who is known to have written in one particular year (8 AD), not century, and whose name is completely unknown to Google Books and Google Scholar? (It is well known to Google, due to the large number of Wikipedia mirrors.) The relevant policy here is WP:REDFLAG. --Hans Adler (talk) 17:55, 6 June 2009 (UTC)
HI Hans Adler, I believe the entry and the citation do not meet any of the WP:REDFLAG criteria. Green Squares (talk) 18:31, 6 June 2009 (UTC)
In the interest of fairness, I will note that having checked the index of Fleig's book at Amazon, it does indeed contain reference to "Falsius, Gratius". So, I think we can say that this is not a deliberate hoax on the part of a Wikipedian. However, I still find it highly suspicious and surprising that a writer of books on dogs would know of an ancient Roman source of which no other scholar seems to be aware... even the Oxford Classical Dictionary has no reference to it (and the OCD is very comprehensive, even to the point of listing Classical authors only known from tiny excerpts). That is where the REDFLAG comes in... it is surprising information that runs contrary to mainstream sources. I still suspect that this is a hoax on someone's part... but not necessarily even originated by Fleig. It may even be a hoax that dates back to antiquity (although I doubt it... the "humor" seems to be more modern). Worth looking into in more depth. Blueboar (talk) 20:53, 6 June 2009 (UTC)


Let me start with the PS: As you will see, this post evolved quite a bit as I was writing it.


  • surprising or apparently important claims not covered by mainstream sources

The information is surprising and important: Surprising because usually we don't have much more than the century in which someone wrote 2000 years ago; also because Gratius (= gratuitous?) certainly wasn't a very common first name and Falsius is obviously from falsus = false, deceptive. Important because every writer from that era that we still know about is automatically important. Not covered by mainstream sources: A book on dogs is not a mainstream source for the existence of a Roman writer 2000 years ago. Apart from that, WP:The rules are principles and WP:Use common sense. However, I have done another, more thorough search and traced this purported author back to the following book:

Brian Seymour Vesey-FitzGerald, The domestic dog: an introduction to its history, Routledge and Paul, 1957.

In my Google Books search it appears with the excerpt "... dogs immediately for what they were, and gave them the name Pugnaces molossi. ... before AD 8), records that the fierce molossian dogs of Epirus, ...". My search for "Falsius" or "Falsus" in this book did not produce any hits; only "Gratius" appears. Then I traced it further back:

R. Leighton assisted by eminent authorities, [1] The new book of the dog, 1907. This book also does not contain the word "Falsius" or "Falsus".

Then I came further and further back and, lo and behold:

Gratius Faliscus, Cynegeticon et M Aurelii Olympii Nemesmiani Cynegeticon. Cum notis selectis Titii, Barthii, Ulitii, Johnsonii et Petri Burmanni integris.

So you can buy a 1775 edition of this hunting poem for 220 Swiss Francs! It turns out that both parts of the name were wrong, probably due to people copying carelessly from each other: Faliscus -> Falliscus -> Falsius and Grattius -> Gratius.

The final reference is: Cynegetica by Grattius. --Hans Adler (talk) 21:59, 6 June 2009 (UTC)

Well... this changes everything, Grattius Faliscus is a known Roman Poet (In fact, we have a Wikipedia aricle on him: Grattius). Suggest the material deleted be reinstated, with propper citation to the correct name. Blueboar (talk) 22:36, 6 June 2009 (UTC)
Hi Blueboar, Wikipedia is very like ancient Rome, it is a mob and the mob rules. The editors comment and change articles even, when they know nothing about the topic. They state "I have never heard this before, so it must be a hoax". Even when citations are provided by distinguished authors, they still yell "HOAX". I cite this talk page as an example of that. This is one of the biggest weaknesses of Wiki. And yet, I was mocked, attacked, shunned by the Wiki-masses and yet not one apology was uttered, not even the administrator...shame, shame, shame. Green Squares (talk) 22:49, 6 June 2009 (UTC)
Well, the information was partially wrong: The author wasn't "Gratius Falsus" but Grattius Faliscus, and since the name of the poem wasn't mentioned this was very hard to research. I am not impressed by your source getting both parts of the name wrong and making it sound like a hoax. I still maintain that in the original form it was correct to reject this information as a hoax, and that it would have been your job to spend the approx. 2 hours of research for getting a credible reference. --Hans Adler (talk) 23:45, 6 June 2009 (UTC)
Also... it was the fact that people cried "Hoax" which lead to the discovery of the real error in the article, and allowed us to fix it.
Which leads me to a request. I have re-added the citation requests on Strabo and Arrian. Please don't cite the dog book again. Given that the author did not check his facts on Grattius, I don't completely trust him to do so on Strabo and Arrian. That said... please understand that I am not really challenging the information in the article. I am not arguing that Strabo and Arrian didn't discuss dogs... I am asking for someone to find where they did. No rush on this. Thanks. Blueboar (talk) 00:07, 7 June 2009 (UTC)
The moralizing is unnecessary. "Gratius" was also identified as a Roman historian, when he's nothing of the sort (his quote is in verse). There's also no evidence for him writing in 8 AD (or any of the others writing at a specific date) - in fact, I think we should do away with "Fighting Dog Breeds" as a source. I can source Grattius (with a better translation), Strabo, Claudian and Nemesianus. Oppian and Arrian still need citations. "Fighting Dog Breeds" also discusses the Procurator Cynegii. I actually do have a citation for this being a hoax[2]: "The "Procurator Cynegii" has constantly been advanced in a careless off-hand manner by writers treading on the footsteps of each other, both having lading claim to the same fallacy..." Poor Mr. Fleig - a writer on dogs, not Roman history - has once again fallen victim.--Yolgnu (talk) 03:57, 7 June 2009 (UTC)
All of you were wrong and you are all allowing your vanity to over ride your humility. Dieter Flieg has authored numerous books on the subject of dog histories and his books are considered a Wikipedia:Reliable Source. Thank you. Green Squares (talk) 12:25, 7 June 2009 (UTC)
Here is the first sentence of the passage for whose inclusion you edit-warred:
Gratius Falsius an ancient Roman author and historian wrote in the year 8 AD of a large exhibition of dog fights in the ancient Roman amphitheatres between the Pugnaces Britanniae from Britannia and the Molossus from Epirus.
The source was unreliable for a statement about antiquity. The sentence had the following errors:
  • "Gratius Falsius" is not the name of the author.
  • The author was a poet, not a historian.
  • It's not certain that he wrote in the year 8 AD (I also saw c.200 AD mentioned elsewhere, and the reliable sources all qualify the 8 AD).
I am sure all these details don't make a difference for you. Neither did they to Dieter Fleig, or he would have been more careful. They do, however, make a difference for quite a few of Wikipedia's readers who might find this article with a Google search more related to Roman history than to dogs. You don't have a license to write bullshit in an article merely to make it sound more authoritative.
The information was so obfuscated in the source you presented that it was very hard to find what the telephone game had started with. At the time when it was only clear that your source was wrong, but not where better sources could be found, the only correct course of action was to remove the obviously faulty information. If you doubt this, ask at a noticeboard. Or just stop beating the dead horse. --Hans Adler (talk) 12:52, 7 June 2009 (UTC)
It's ironic how Green Squares urges us to show humility before embarking on an "I was right and you were wrong" rant. And, considering Fleig's countless errors - the unrecognisably morphed Grattius, the hoax "procurator cynegii", etc. - I strongly suggest he be removed as a source. The quotes from Arrian and Oppian shouldn't be too hard to track down, if they are genuine.--Yolgnu (talk) 13:05, 7 June 2009 (UTC)
This source indicates that Dr Flieg is recognised as an authority on fighting dogs in Germany. Since there may be multiple issues of translation here, we should be cool and not assume the worst while the facts of the matter are further clarified. Colonel Warden (talk) 13:01, 7 June 2009 (UTC)
(ec) Perhaps I can explain it better. Imagine someone posts at a noticeboard because of the following information in an article about Romain Britain:
The pugnaces Britanniae were the ancestors of the breed known as Baskerville dogs, which are known to be related to bulldogs and German shepherd dogs.
Of course with a citation to a renowned expert on antique history. Would you consider it reasonable to keep the information in on the grounds that you can't prove there is no such thing as Baskerville dogs (only the Hound of the Baskervilles) and that an editor of the page trusts the historian? --Hans Adler (talk) 13:08, 7 June 2009 (UTC)
Folks, this is getting silly. Green Squares... part of reliability is context. I agree with you that Fleig should be considered an expert on modern dogs. However, he is not an expert on ancient Roman authors. To determine if Fleig is the best possible source for a given statement, we have to examine the context of that statement. If the statement is about modern dogs then Fleig is a very good source, but if the statement is about antiquity, then (as we have seen) he is a very poor source.
No source is universally reliable (or universally unreliable)... a lot depends on the context of what we are trying to say. Blueboar (talk) 14:23, 7 June 2009 (UTC)
It's getting more than just silly. Green Squares created the article Dieter Fleig as a WP:POINT violation, obviously under the misapprehension that it was a BLP article. Quite shocking. --Hans Adler (talk) 17:41, 7 June 2009 (UTC)
GS... suggest you read: Wikipedia:Notability (academics) and Wikipedia:Notability (people)#Creative professionals and make sure Dr. Fleig meets the criteria for having an article. I don't know enough about him to say yes or no... But if you can not establish that he meets these criteria in the article (through reference to reliable third party sources that are independant of the subject) then someone else might propose your work for deletion. Just some friendly advice. Blueboar (talk) 17:56, 7 June 2009 (UTC)

Procurator Cynegii[edit]

This term Procurator Cynegii is in Dr. Fleigs book at page 27, paragraph 2, with a nice description of what the person was and their duties, so I have added it back to the article. It is in the same paragraph, where he is discussing Strabo, so it seems Strabo is the using the term Procurator Cynegii. If you can support it is wrong on the talk page, we can remove it then. Green Squares (talk) 17:07, 7 June 2009 (UTC)

In 43 AD, the Roman conquest of Britain made Britannia a Roman province. At that time, in Britain there were giant, wide-mouthed dogs, which the Romans called Pugnaces Britanniae, that surpassed their Molossus dogs. A Procurator Cynegii, was stationed in Venta Belgarum and responsible for selecting these dogs, which were exported to Rome for contests in the amphitheatre and for integration into the military of ancient Rome as war dogs.[1]

—Preceding unsigned comment added by Green Squares (talkcontribs)

The proof that this is a hoax was supplied above by Yolgnu. [3] As if that was even necessary after we have proved that Dieter Fleig is not reliable when he writes about antiquity. The qualifications for breeding attack dogs, describing them and advocating against restrictions on them are simply not the same as those for writing about Roman authors. It's simply not enough to copy citations from other books on the same subject, as he has done. You also need an overview over the subject so that if something has been identified as an error 100 years ago you can make sure not to repeat it. --Hans Adler (talk) 17:57, 7 June 2009 (UTC)
Oh, I forgot – as it seems to be the custom on dog related articles of course I should sign -- Dr. Hans Adler (talk) 17:59, 7 June 2009 (UTC) Does this make you believe me?
No, but "Dr." Dieter Fleig has written over 50 books on dogs, have you? Every change that Yolgnu has attempted to make has been refuted, see articles Pugnaces Britanniae, Procurator Cynegii and Canes pugnaces, in addition, Yolgnu, states on his/her user page "My main interest is American Idol", do these facts give you confidence in this editors abilities?! -:) Green Squares (talk) 18:09, 7 June 2009 (UTC)
You can keep your ad hominems concerning Yolgnu for yourself as I am not relying on his authority. I have downloaded the very book that you added as a reference to Procurator Cynegii in this edit (actually you used the Google Books copy of a facsimile, I used a full copy of the original). While you apparently just scanned for the appearance of the word, I have read the chapter in question. It turns out that it debunks this misconception in very strong words. And this debunking is exactly what Yolgnu referred to. To quote from my update to the article in question (which in turn quotes your reference):
The Britannia noted that two authors read cynegii as cynœcii and interpreted this as "sacrum textrinum or royal weavery", but that Wolfgangus Lazius incorrectly thought that "the officer had the care of the emperor's dogs here." Wynn concluded that Wolfgangus Lazius "seems to have mistaken the Imperial Linen Draper for a Canine Agent of the Emperors" and deplored that "writer after writer pirates the misstatements." The error can still be found in recent dog literature.
Please stop this nonsense now. You are wasting the time of competent editors who are relying on proper research rather than superficial web searches without even reading the results. --Hans Adler (talk) 19:38, 7 June 2009 (UTC)
It does not debunk, it is one authors opinion, based on his research. You seem to throwing the gratuitous ad hominids around yourself. If you feel editing is a waste of your time, then simply do something else with your time, tiddlywinks might be more to your liking my good Dr.. Green Squares (talk) 20:28, 7 June 2009 (UTC)
I feel an irresistible urge to point out that it's not me who introduced the word hominid for referring to you. --Hans Adler (talk) 12:59, 8 June 2009 (UTC)
Well, Wynn certainly is intending to debunk... and his argument is very plausible. This sounds enough like what we have see occured with "Gratius Falsius" that I am convinced we need to look into this deaper. Certainly I think there are just grounds for questioning the reliability of the statement... and for at least temporarily removing it and not returning it until we have more information. Blueboar (talk) 20:57, 7 June 2009 (UTC)
I've never felt so much outrage in 17 months on Wikipedia. I'm a classicist with a PHD in Latin poetry! I've been a member of Project Classical Greece and Rome since March 2008, and I founded the (now sadly defunct) Catullus WikiProject. Of all my edits, the majority are related to the classics! My favourite reality tv show has nothing to do with it. People with the ignorance of Green Squares need to be put down like a rabid pugnax Britanniae, and the fact of their very existence is the cause for all of Wikipedia's - and the world's - problems. I need to meditate on the philosophical implications of the existence of such a person as Green Squares; I think I finally understand why the world is in such a mess. The tragedy is that he seems to be not the exception but the rule.--Yolgnu (talk) 07:30, 8 June 2009 (UTC)

STOP... all of you... discuss the article and not each other. Blueboar (talk) 13:44, 8 June 2009 (UTC)

Merger Proposal[edit]

When push comes to shove, removing all the fluff and questionable material, this article says the following...

  • Several classical sources mention that the Roman Province of Brittania exported a breed of very large, fierce dogs. Modern dog writers believe that modern breeds such as the Mastiff are descended from these dogs.

That's it. This is not all that much to base a complete article upon. I think it might be best to re-work it and merge it into a "history" section in the article on Mastiff. Thoughts? Blueboar (talk) 15:53, 8 June 2009 (UTC)

  • Mastiff is a dab page and the merge proposal does not seem consistent with its structure. The current format seems fine as a basis for further additions. The above debate indicates that further digging may well turn up more good material. For example, some browsing indicates that the following sources may be helpful:
Hundens roll i det romerska Britannien. En studie av hundens olika funktioner, gjord utifrån 30 avbildningar by Anders Cronholm
Varieties of dog in Roman Britain by L. Cram
Hans Adler may be interested to see that the latter is given as an example of the use of mathematics. Colonel Warden (talk) 17:15, 8 June 2009 (UTC)
I am not particularly impressed. I am much more impressed by this reference uncovered by Dougweller (see WT:WikiProject Classical Greece and Rome#Eyes needed: "Gratius Falsius" and the "Procurator Cynegii" in Roman Britain). We are hardly going to get a more competent debunking of all this telephone-game-produced pseudohistory establishing mythological pedigrees for modern dog breeds than one by a professor of ancient history that appeared in Bulldog Review.
You are right that merging into a disambiguation page makes no sense. Perhaps we can merge this article into Molosser, because that article discusses many similar dog breeds and already contains some of the misinformation that we need to clean up. --Hans Adler (talk) 18:19, 8 June 2009 (UTC)
  • No merger: the article is about a specific breed of dog that is verifiable and notable. It meets the criteria for it's own article. Green Squares (talk) 17:34, 8 June 2009 (UTC)
It is indeed verifiable and notable as misinformation. --Hans Adler (talk) 18:19, 8 June 2009 (UTC)


I am still willing to call Fleig reliable when he talking about dogs... but not when he talks about Ancient Roman sources. I am removing the following...

Given all the misinformation going on here, I simply don't trust this source. If you want to say Arrian talked about these dogs... give me the text where Arrian does so, not the word of a dog book author who I strongly suspect is simply repeating erronious information. Blueboar (talk) 01:18, 9 June 2009 (UTC)

Green Squares is not going to find it in Arrian for two reasons:
  1. Based on previous behaviour it's safe to assume that he is not even going to try.
  2. Arrian wrote about pugnaces and about swift celtic dogs in Britain, but not about British pugnaces. See Dansey, William (1831), Arrian on coursing : the Cynegeticus of the younger Xenophon, translated from the Greek, with classical and practical annotations, and a brief sketch of the life and writings of the author. To which is added an appendix, containing some account of the Canes venatici of classical antiquity .
--Hans Adler (talk) 01:29, 9 June 2009 (UTC)

Here is an interesting book on Arrian's writings: Arrian on coursing By Arrian, William Dansey Green Squares (talk) 23:25, 10 June 2009 (UTC)

Hans Adler has already told us about it, see above. Dougweller (talk) 07:19, 11 June 2009 (UTC)
In point of fact, Arrian wrote about Segusian dogs among the Celts; the Segusii lived around Lyons. Strabo 4.1.11; so Phillips and Willcock's edition of Arrian. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 20:45, 12 June 2009 (UTC)

and Oppian[edit]

I think we we have a similar issue with the following sentence ...

  • Oppian says the fighting dog had light brown eyes, truncated muzzle, loose skin above the brows, a broad back, great stature, and muscular legs.<ref>Homan, M. (1999). ''A Complete History of Fighting Dogs''. ('''Pg. 9'''). Howell Book House. ISBN 1-58245-128-1</ref>

I no longer trust dog books to accurately quote ancient sources. I am removing the sentence and ref until someone can double check that Oppian actually said this (and was talking about British dogs of some sort while doing so). Again, we need to cite directly to Oppian for what Oppian said, and not accept the word of an author of dog books. Blueboar (talk) 15:34, 10 June 2009 (UTC)

I agree. I can't imagine why we should use a dog book instead of the original. Dougweller (talk) 15:45, 10 June 2009 (UTC)


Is Pugnaces Britanniae attested, anywhere, as a classical name for this breed? If so, where? Septentrionalis PMAnderson 14:06, 15 June 2009 (UTC)

Why don't you do some research yourself for once ! Green Squares (talk) 18:19, 15 June 2009 (UTC)
Having done so, before I asked, I found none. The usage of the present title appears to be two dog books, and an article in Turcica in French; if it were a clear classical reference, there would be more. Does any responsible editor have an actual citation, or an idea where to move this? If not, I'll pick something. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 20:41, 15 June 2009 (UTC)
I think moving it would be sweeping it under the carpet, apart from the danger of replacing a little used expression by another little used expression or neologism. As far as I am concerned, I consider the claim that this is a single breed rather more problematic than the name used for it. I strongly suspect that that's wishful thinking. --Hans Adler (talk) 21:19, 15 June 2009 (UTC)
And for that reason, we could use a descriptive title, like British dogs of antiquity. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 21:23, 15 June 2009 (UTC)
Sounds good to me. Dougweller (talk) 21:27, 15 June 2009 (UTC)
Dogs of Roman Brittania? (just giving some options, I don't really care what is used) Blueboar (talk) 00:33, 16 June 2009 (UTC)
Two points from someone following this at a distance. (1) The title of Roman Britain should be followed if a reference is needed. (2) I wonder whether Dogs of Roman Britain is a bit on the narrow side, when one article might well be able to encompass all the available treatment of what is encyclopedically notable about dog breeds of ancient Europe. I wouldn't presume to set the boundaries in time and space for the article, not having in my mind a census of the articles that now exist in Wikipedia--but why not consolidate? Wareh (talk) 14:33, 16 June 2009 (UTC)
I don't understand your first point, but the second is an excellent idea. --Hans Adler (talk) 14:53, 16 June 2009 (UTC)
My first point was simply that if we are to refer to "Roman Britain" in the title of an article (and if others agree with your endorsement of my second point, then the need will not arise), we should use that name (as opposed to "Roman Brittania" etc.) because it is standard and because the Wikipedia article on the subject goes under that name. But you understood my more general & rambling point, so I'm satisfied! Wareh (talk) 17:41, 16 June 2009 (UTC)

One breed, or many?[edit]

If I understand the argument correctly, some sources (books on dog breeds) state the opinion that "Pugnaces Britanniae" was a single breed ... while other sources (also books on dog breeds) have stated an opinion that this is incorrect. So let the sources speak for themselves. Discribe the debate as per WP:NPOV, with clear attribution as to who holds what opinion. Blueboar (talk) 12:16, 16 June 2009 (UTC)

I am not aware of sources that say the opposite. The problem is that the only reliable source seems we have so far is Wynn, and that book is quite dated. We have seen that Fleig is not reliable when he speaks about antique authors. He may be reliable as to whether 2000 years ago there was a dog breed in Britain from which mastiffs and bulldogs descended, but not so far as the simplistic connection with the phrase "pugnaces Britanniae" is concerned.
Here is something interesting from Wynn:
The theory or opinion I hold, is that the English mastiff from the earliest times has existed in Britain, in its purity resembling in many respects a vast bulldog, being the ancestor of that breed. Such being the true pugnaces peculiar to Britain and Gaul mentioned by the historians, and by crossing these with larger breeds, particularly the Asiatic mastiff (introduced probably by the Phosnicians) and other large races of the pugnaces, as the white alan or war dogs of the Alani, a larger variety of the mastiff was formed, which often became crossed with the boarhounds and other large breeds, as example the Kerry beagle and old Southern hound ; to its detriment. Whereas whenever crossed back with its dwarfed descendant the bulldog, manifest improvement in all points except mere height has been obtained.
The English mastiff and English bulldog present affinity of character possessed in common only by the Spanish bulldog, of any known race of dog, character which is absent even in the Asiatic mastiff. This stamps these varieties as peculiarly European, and places the English bulldog as the most typical of the European mastiff group, and simply unique in its characteristics.
This seems quite plausible. It suggests that the first dogs of bulldog/mastiff type were brought to the British peninsula with the first settlers who came from around the Pyrenees when the ice of the last glaciation receded. (Britain and Ireland were still connected with each other and to the continent at the time, and the settlers simply followed the coastline across the Channel River, which had the Thames and Rhine as tributaries.) But it doesn't necessarily mean that bulldog and mastiff split after the move, and much less that they still formed a single breed in Roman times. The latter question could possibly be settled using genetic tests, but I doubt that Fleig had the means or interest to do that. --Hans Adler (talk) 12:43, 16 June 2009 (UTC)
Doesn't this contradict our Molossus article? Dougweller (talk) 13:19, 16 June 2009 (UTC)
Molossus (dog) has similar sourcing problems to this article. Except for an improperly used citation to Skinner, "The Mammals of the Southern African Sub-region", all references are dog books. And to quote Wynn again:
The term for the mastiff among some naturalists, is the molossus, originating with our early writers, who chose to think that the classic writers meant a mastiff, in the sense we now use the word, whereas the molossus was not in reality a mastiff. Many people therefore, erroneously think the word molossus necessarily means a mastiff, whereas the Greeks only became acquainted with the true mastiff about the time of the Macedonian conquest at 336 B.C., being about 300 years after the breed was cultivated by the Assyrian kings.
Of the unmastiff-like type of the Molossian we may learn from Aristotle who says : Of the Laconian dogs, that they were produced from a cross with the wolf. " Laconic: canes ex vulpe d cane genevantur" Arist. Hist. Animals, Lib. viii. ch. xxviii., and of the Molossian he says, they differ nothing from the Laconian, but as a guardian of the flocks and herds they are eminent against wild beasts for size and courage." Lib. ix. ch. i.
--Hans Adler (talk) 13:43, 16 June 2009 (UTC)

Rework of Lede[edit]

Let's stick to what we know. We know that several classical writers referred to dogs coming from Roman Britain (these writers do not give these dogs a "breed name" so we do not know if they were considered a distinct breed in those days). We know that some modern dog breed authors think that these dogs were a distinct breed and that this breed was the progenitor of the modern Mastiff and/or Bull-dog. We also know that other dog breed authors disagree. I have re-written the lede to account for these facts in what I believe is a neutral tone, not supporting any viewpoint in the debates. Blueboar (talk) 23:49, 18 June 2009 (UTC)

Look who we've been dealing with[edit]

SirIsaacBrock (talk · contribs) - indef blocked for sockpuppetry, etc, both editors interested in dogs, animal baiting, Nazi stuff, fish, accounting, etc. Dougweller (talk) 18:49, 19 June 2009 (UTC)

Have you confirmed through check user? Blueboar (talk) 20:06, 19 June 2009 (UTC)
I don't think that is necessary: Remarkable overlap with SirIsaacBrock, HeadphonosWritersCramp. In particular, 9 obscure articles edited by all four. [4] By the way, I just found another sock drawer that seems to need merging with this one.
Dougweller, congratulations! Hans Adler 21:25, 19 June 2009 (UTC)
OK, I can live with that. In any case... I think I have contributed about as much as I can here. Since I got involved in this throught WP:RS checking, and not any interest in the topic (whether dogs or Roman Britain), it is time I bowed out and got back to editing the articles I am interested in. Good editing, folks. Blueboar (talk) 22:07, 19 June 2009 (UTC)
It was exactly the same story for me. But now I am sort of hooked. Hans Adler 22:34, 19 June 2009 (UTC)
Hi, I never tried to hide my identity. Check the original user page for User:SirIsaacBrock it is the same as mine. I am a good editor, most of the articles you are editing are one's I started years ago. I try to build them up and protect them, to a certain degree, but not to the point of article ownership. I believe that once somebody has sock puppet themselves, they should not be banned for life. Is there not a point in time when they can be brought back to Wikipedia, instead of creating another account? Seems only reasonable to me. Let me know on my talk page. Take care. Green Squares (talk) 23:59, 19 June 2009 (UTC)

Grattius again[edit]

Although Grattius did indeed write about dogs as was finally shown, he doesn't seem to have written the quote included in the article. Dog books aren't generally reliable sources for Roman texts, and a translation of Grattius can be found here] if anyone wants to use it. Any claims as to what the Romans said or did should be cited to academic sources. Dougweller (talk) 12:57, 13 April 2013 (UTC)

Sorry, saved too soon. We already have a Grattius quote in any case, using the source above. The real issue is Pugnaces Britanniae as discussed above. You really need historical sources for this also. Dougweller (talk) 13:22, 13 April 2013 (UTC)

New scientific source which is the most significant contribution to the study since Harcourt 1974 & Clark 1995[edit]

There is now a new source available to all online, which presents the current scientific state of the art. It should be consulted by all contributors to this page. References to Roman dogs by contemporary authors of popular dog books on modern "breeds", such as Fleig, Wynn etc. are simply personal assumptions, they are not historical fact. Unless it is clearly stated that they are only assumptions, they should have no place in this article - lest this page descend to the depths of mythology presented for example in the page on the Irish Wolfhound.

Bennett,D. Campbell,G. & Timm, R.M. 2016 The Dogs of Roman Vindolanda Part I

Bennett, D. & Timm R.M. 2016 The Dogs of Roman Vindolanda Part II

Richard Hawkins (talk) 13:14, 29 June 2016 (UTC)

  1. ^ Cite error: The named reference Fighting_Dog_Breeds was invoked but never defined (see the help page).