Talk:Limes

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Etymology and sentiment[edit]

I fail to see the point in this discussion: applying a modern term to a Roman building and then speculating how the Romans might have felt about it. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Nafiris (talkcontribs) 17:34, 8 November 2014 (UTC)

John's spelling corrections[edit]

Hello John, thanks very much for fixing my spelling errors. Nice catch. As a sort of aside, you also fixed the Latin as though it were English, which is not a correction. The plural of limes is limites. The stem is limit- in Latin rather than in English. The Romans would have used the plural there. In English we never translate limes as limit but always as frontier or boundary, unless it meant path. The Romans did not have any LIM and certainly no boundary theory. It is a matter of usage. We use it one way, they used it another. Same word. I realize I should have put the Latin in Italics so you could be clear on it. I've gone through there and fixed some of your fixes. Thanks for the spelling check.Dave 17:36, 29 May 2006 (UTC)

Merge with Borders article[edit]

I just discovered both articles today, but this seems like a logical move. The Borders article needs some cleanup, and it would be vastly improved by the inclusion of the content here. Dppowell 20:54, 1 November 2006 (UTC)


I think that both articles (limes and borders) deal with different topics. Limes is related to a "line of defense" used by the Romans to protect their empire from outsiders (in a similar way to the famous China Wall), while borders is related to the "areas" at the limits of the Roman Empire. So "borders" deals with the regions (with related people, history, geography, etc..)near the "limes" (that is related to fortifications,terrain defenses, "fossatum", etc..): two totally different arguments, even if connected. --Brunodam 14:03, 2 November 2006 (UTC)

Disagree with merge[edit]

The Limes were a system of border defense, and weren't implemented along the entire length of te borders. It is a separate concept. The articles should mutually link, but not be merged - PocklingtonDan 21:12, 16 November 2006 (UTC)

I also disgree with the merge. The concepts are different. The connotations and flavour are also different. --Boson 23:10, 29 November 2006 (UTC)

I also disagree. Limes were an element of the Roman border, and should be mentioned and linked, but they were not the only one nor were they universally used. In addition, this article covers rich etymological detail of the word itself that would be out of place in the Roman borders article. Plynn9 16:15, 5 December 2006 (UTC)

Seeing as there are 4 disagrees, as I'd be the fifth disagree, would there be any dispute to removing the merge tag? If people change their minds or new supporters are found, it can always be put back. SnowFire 20:01, 9 December 2006 (UTC)

Limes vs Limen[edit]

If you are going to distinguish limes from limen, then you should not claim that eliminate is derived of limes. The form clearly comes from the genitive stem of limen: limin(is). 66.75.246.15 23:30, 11 November 2007 (UTC) (T. Gnaevus Faber @ la.wiki)

Delete this article?[edit]

This article has many problems:

(1) From the lede section: "The word limes was utilized by Latin writers to denote a marked or fortified frontier." Also from the lede section: " It is now more common to accept that limes was not a term used by the Romans for the imperial frontier, fortified or not. This is a modern, anachronistic interpretation." So, limes means "frontier (of the Roman Empire)" but does not mean "frontier (of the Roman Empire)". This article is useless — until someone decides what limes means (to modern peoples) or meant (to the ancient Romans).

(2) The section titled "Etymology and sentiment": "Sentiment"?! What the Hell does "sentiment" mean? That the Romans were sentimental about their limes?

(3) From the "Etymology and sentiment" section: "The limes was a cross-path or a cross-wall, which the Romans meant to throw across the path of invaders to hinder them. It is a defensive strategy. The Romans never built limites where they considered themselves free to attack. As the emperor had ordered the army to stay within the limites except for punitive expeditions, they were as much a mental barrier as material. The groups of Germanic warriors harrying the limes during summer used the concept to full advantage, knowing that they could concentrate and supply themselves outside the limes without fear of preemptive strikes."

There are no citations to substantiate a single sentence of this.

  • Which ancient author in which text stated that "a limes was a wall intended to obstruct the paths of potential invaders"?
  • Which ancient author in which text stated that "the Romans never built limites where they considered themselves free to attack"?
  • Which ancient author in which text stated that "the emperor had ordered the army to stay within the limites except for punitive expeditions"?
  • Which modern scholar in which text stated that the limites "were as much a mental barrier as material"?

(4) Again, from the "Etymology and sentiment" section: "In a few cases, they were wrong. The limit concept engendered a sentiment among the soldiers that they were being provoked by the Germanic raiders and were held back from just retaliation by a weak and incompetent administration: they were being sold out. So they mutinied. The best remedy for a mutiny was an expedition across the limes. Toward the later empire, the soldiers assassinated emperors who preferred diplomacy and put their own most popular officers into the vacant office."

Again, not a single source is cited to substantiate one word of this.

  • Which ancient author in which text stated that the Roman soldiers who were stationed on the empire's frontiers were eager to attack the Germanic barbarians who were provoking them on the other side of the border?
  • What evidence is there that the Roman soldiers' frustration with being restrained from attacking the barbarians led them to mutiny and overthrow the emperor? Which emperor? And overthrown by whom?

(5) Again, from the "Etymology and sentiment" section: "Roman writers and subsequent authors who depended on them presented the limes as some sort of sacred border beyond which human beings did not transgress, and if they did, it was evidence that they had passed the bounds of reason and civilization. To cross the border was the mark of a savage. They wrote of the Alemanni disrespecting it as though they had passed the final limitation of character and had committed themselves to perdition. The Alemanni, on the other hand, never regarded the border as legitimate in the first place. The Romans were foreigners changing native place names and intruding on native homes and families (see under Alemanni), only to be tolerated at all because they were willing to pay cash for the privilege and offered the blandishments of civilized life."

Again, not a single source is cited to substantiate one word of this.

  • Which ancient author in which text stated that the limites were regarded by the Romans as "some sort of sacred border beyond which human beings did not transgress, and if they did, it was evidence that they had passed the bounds of reason and civilization. To cross the border was the mark of a savage."? In the preceding paragraph, the author wrote that Roman soldiers were eager to cross the border in order to fight the barbarians on the other side. Were the Roman soldiers therefore insane and uncivilized — as this paragraph states?
  • Who is "they" in the following sentence: "They wrote of the Alemanni disrespecting it as though they had passed the final limitation of character and had committed themselves to perdition." ?
  • "The Alemanni, on the other hand, never regarded the border as legitimate in the first place. The Romans were foreigners changing native place names and intruding on native homes and families (see under Alemanni), only to be tolerated at all because they were willing to pay cash for the privilege and offered the blandishments of civilized life." Says who? Did someone interview the ancient Alemanni chieftains? If so, which ancient author recorded the interview in which ancient text?

Conclusion: This article is terrible. It's a mix of "original research" and contradiction — it can't even decide whether its subject, limes, was a legitimate ancient Roman term for the empire's frontiers or just a modern construction. At best, this article will mislead any reader who's unfamiliar with the concept of a limes. This article should be deleted. If you don't want to do that, at least delete the original research. VexorAbVikipædia (talk) 08:13, 2 September 2015 (UTC)

Reply with restructuring suggestions & list (navbox) of inline tag templates[edit]

To VexorAbVikipædia: Hello! I went to the national competitions for JCL (America's Junior Classical League) a long time ago in high school, but mostly for derivations (top 10, but not top 3!), and I have not studied Latin since, although non-fiction writing was my career. I do see that the problems you point out are likely largely correct from the viewpoint of 2nd-century usage and more specific than I could point out. (It's a great compliment to your work above that I'm commenting at all, because the pain part of my chronic illness is acting up. Fortunately, I'm not passing out!)
The root of the problem is, and correct me if I'm wrong, that the term was appropriated, in the decline of the Western Empire and/or by later historians to mean something different than it would have in the 2nd century. If that is true, we need to draw a line between contemporary 2nd century usage, later (when?) usage, and cover both in separate sections.
What you call original research might actually be from older, publicly available sources and thus apply towards a decent Later Usage section, if it is verifiable and can be looked at from the viewpoint of temporally focused historians. There's got to be a better way to phrase that, but hopefully you see what I mean.
I suggest using the box Template:Multiple issues with Template:Original research and some others at the top, and then Template:OR (the inline tag for original research) and others (see navbox right above my signature) throughout. With that guidance, I suggest working out a general restructuring on this page, then placing the current info within that structure in a a Wikipedia sandbox or on the article page, and then carefully seeing what can or cannot be supported, being careful of older, publicly available sources as being likely out of date with modern scholarship.
Deleting or gutting the article is tempting and would be easier, but would only leave little behind to work on or to prompt others to work on. That's why tagging with templates came about, although we should still delete instead of tag using templates if it's warranted. I have gradually gathered a lot of tagging & info navboxes (navigational boxes) towards the end of my user page, User:Geekdiva.
By the way, I couldn't check that all images had alt text for accessibility for the vision-impaired. See Wikipedia:Alternative text for images.
This is an important article for understanding Roman history (Portal:Roman Empire might be able to help; oops, I meant WikiProject Classical Greece and Rome, which you probably are already a part of), but unfortunately all I can do is ask or suggest this. My real-life limitations are getting in the way of doing this myself. If someone works on this, would you use the notification system to please let me know when it's done or you want my opinion on something? I'm very interested, although I truly can't be relied upon, as I explain on my user page.
This took me a while and I got distracted a lot, but hopefully there's something useful here. Thanks in advance! — Geekdiva (talk) 10:14, 28 December 2015 (UTC)
Well, I'm sorry to have dragged you out of your sick bed, but this article has not improved since September 2015, when I posted my objections about it. Definition of the subject of an article is the most basic requirement; however, this article still doesn't state what the ancient Romans called the border fortifications which moderns call "limes". None of the undocumented ("original") research has been either documented or deleted. So, it is apparent that I will have to clean up this article myself. I'll put it on my (very long) "to-do" list. But when I start deleting undocumented statements, I don't want some administrator complaining that I'm vandalizing the article. Wikipedia incessantly demands that content be verifiable. This article clearly violates that criterion. Presently the article consists mostly of a lot of tedious and largely irrelevant material about the etymology of the word limes. People who access this article expect to learn: when the first limites were built, by whom, for what purpose, how they were built, how extensive did they become, how effective were they, etc. I'll start researching the subject, with the aim of revising this article extensively.VexorAbVikipædia (talk) 11:29, 28 December 2015 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

Hello fellow Wikipedians,

I have just added archive links to 3 external links on Limes. Please take a moment to review my edit. If necessary, add {{cbignore}} after the link to keep me from modifying it. Alternatively, you can add {{nobots|deny=InternetArchiveBot}} to keep me off the page altogether. I made the following changes:

When you have finished reviewing my changes, please set the checked parameter below to true or failed to let others know (documentation at {{Sourcecheck}}).

Question? Archived sources still need to be checked

Cheers.—cyberbot IITalk to my owner:Online 00:37, 28 February 2016 (UTC)