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from VfD:[edit]

This is patent nonsense. Lollianus is a Roman personal name, belonging to no particularly distinguished individual, let alone having mythological connections. -- Bill 22:12, 5 Oct 2004 (UTC)

  • Delete - doesn't this also qualify as a speedy under 4 'Very short articles with little or no context' or 'No meaningful content or history'? Jongarrettuk 22:18, 5 Oct 2004 (UTC)
  • Comment: Shouldn't we have a list of Roman personal names somewhere? IIRC, there weren't very many of them. Quintus, Marcus... They were typically just abbreviated with one or two letters. - RedWordSmith 00:00, 6 Oct 2004 (UTC)
    • One or the other of us :-) should be careful with my terminology.... In the sense of praenomina, you're right: there were only 18 of them: Aulus, Marcus, etc. In the sense of "names of people", there were as many as there are now: Vinucius, Frugi, Albinus, Cicero, Quintilianus, etc. Lollianus is one of the latter; it's attested, and is a derivative of the gentilitial name of the gens Lollia (-ianus names often freedmen of the corresponding -ia gens); the most famous Lollia was a wife of Caligula's. Anyhoo, a list of Roman personal names in that sense would be much like a modern phone directory. In your sense, you're right: it's something that belongs onboard. Bill 01:14, 6 Oct 2004 (UTC)
  • The underlying article has been completely rewritten, with factual information this time, and nothing about Greeks or mythology. Keep, I guess. (Suppose I ought to point out that "Valentinium" is not so great, but am not gonna to start edit until this is settled, of course.) I think it ought to be a disambig page but (a) it doesn't seem worth doing unless each person is expanded; (b) -- now we get to the bottom of things -- I'm not too sure how to do it properly..... — Bill 01:34, 6 Oct 2004 (UTC)ing
  • dpbsmith seems to have turned it into a keepable disamb page. Niteowlneils 03:44, 6 Oct 2004 (UTC)
  • Delete. We're not a list of baby names, and don't need articles listing every fred or bob in the world. --Improv 16:24, 6 Oct 2004 (UTC)
    • Agree, but now you've put me in the distasteful position of supporting a very minimal article the sole purpose of which seems to be to salvage something that the original "author" couldn't get in.... OK, so it's the work of two minutes with Google once past the first stupid sub-stub, but it now falls under the legitimate envelope of prosopography — I notice we have no article, we should — of which large books are sold at high prices, like the PIR (Prosopographia Imperii Romani) because scholars consider them useful. Reluctantly, then, keep — Bill 18:10, 6 Oct 2004 (UTC)
  • Comment I don't say it should be kept, I just couldn't stand staring at it the way it was. At this point I think it would be silly for me to vote delete at this point, or to revert the article to the original stub and then vote delete. But if the name does not refer to anybody that anyone is likely to write an article about, the page should be deleted. [[User:Dpbsmith|Dpbsmith (talk)]] 21:05, 6 Oct 2004 (UTC)
  • Keep if any of the possible articles are notable enough, otherwise delete. siroχo 22:51, Oct 6, 2004 (UTC)
    • That too makes good sense; but it's very hard to say whether any of them would be, and at what point in the development of Wikipedia. On a quick run, with further tips from the Web then back to my books, I found for example 5 more Lolliani: four of them mentioned in the Scriptores Historiae Augustae — one of whom is the most likely to get the first article, since he is one of the so‑called "Thirty Tyrants" (although the SHA is a dubious source) — and another, at least a century later, a Mavortius Lollianus to whom Firmicus Maternus dedicated his handbook on astrology. That now brings the total to 9, and I bet if I had access to the PIR or something like it, there'd be dozens more. Since the PIR is a valid work, it's equally valid for Wikipedia to start working on something like it (just as we have the beginnings of an atlas, of a dictionary of mathematics, of a bibliography of popular songs, etc.): but it would be in itself a huge undertaking. Since Wikipedia is open-ended, I'm now saying keep as long as we get away from the bad beginning. — Bill 23:32, 6 Oct 2004 (UTC)
  • Keep now as a disambiguation. I just added Lollianus Spurius. Geogre 21:23, 8 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Fair 'nuff; sensing general agreement, I've removed the Vfd, added the three others in the HA, etc. We seem to have set a precedent here, nudging Wikipedia towards a full-fledged prosopography, for which for the moment we're hardly equipped. Still, no harm done. — Bill 21:51, 8 Oct 2004 (UTC)

If nobody else is going to ask, I will. What the heck is a prosopography? AHD4 says
A study, often using statistics, that identifies and draws relationships between various characters or people within a specific historical, social, or literary context
which somehow leaves me none the wiser. I really need to know, because the next time someone asks me what I do online, I want to be able to say "downloading prosopography." [[User:Dpbsmith|Dpbsmith (talk)]] 23:26, 8 Oct 2004 (UTC)
Yuk what a nasty and incomprehensible definition. I suppose we should have an article, of course! Prosopography (from Greek προσωπος, prosopos, original "face", then "person" — both Greek spelling and exact etymology off the top of my head so don't take it for Gospel) is just the discipline that seeks to identify people from what may have been written about them. Usually people in classical Antiquity, and "what is written" is usually just tombstones and scraps of inscriptions: prosopographers assemble this scant info and say that one guy must have been the son of the other because that stone inscription looks later than that other papyrus, and besides, some historian mentions X but he really meant Y but misspelled it; or that C and D are actually the same person (like Cat Stevens, Stephen Demetre Georgiou, and Yusuf Islam, all the same person). To get anywhere, all these scraps have to be organized, exactly like we're doing with the name Lollianus here. Speaking of Cat Stevens — and without regard to the merit of the whole business — the problem the US gummint had with him a coupla weeks back was a prosopographical one: their lists had Youssouf Islam, but he spells it Yusuf, and he got on that plane.
A prosopography is a very large dictionary of all these personal names, organized to try to help scholars make sense out of it all: a bit like a phone directory in which your nicknames and Internet handles would be cross-indexed with your name (but also the names of anyone else who had the same or similar nicknames and handles). Best, Bill 23:44, 8 Oct 2004 (UTC)
Thanks! Now I think I understand it. So, when a character in Robert Heinlein's Double Star makes a joke to the effect that it scholars have discovered that the Iliad was not really written by Homer at all, but by another Greek of the same name... that is a prosopographical joke. Right? [[User:Dpbsmith|Dpbsmith (talk)]] 00:46, 9 Oct 2004 (UTC)
Yes. Bill

end moved discussion