Talk:Macedonia (ancient kingdom)

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Featured article Macedonia (ancient kingdom) is a featured article; it (or a previous version of it) has been identified as one of the best articles produced by the Wikipedia community. Even so, if you can update or improve it, please do so.
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Date Process Result
February 20, 2017 Good article nominee Listed
July 22, 2017 Featured article candidate Promoted
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Current status: Featured article

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Seeking advice for moving material to split articles and summarizing it here, per WP:SIZE[edit]

Checking the prose size of this article, it contains about 15000 words. That's well over the 10,000 word limit suggested by Wikipedia:Article size. Mind you, it says that this can be justified with certain articles that have an enormous scope, but I don't know if it can be justified for this one. I have covered a lot of topics in this article, but it is possible to shift more material into split articles via Wikipedia:Summary style. For instance, I've just recently created the article History of Macedonia (ancient kingdom). Certainly more material can be shifted there, but I'm having difficulty deciding on what to keep here and how to summarize it appropriately without losing clarity or damaging the carefully-constructed narrative. Sometimes excising too much content is disruptive and hurts the article's ability to inform the reader. It's a delicate balance, though, since there's also the issue of readability for the average visitor to Wikipedia who just wants an abridged version of events in a history article. Any suggestions about specific content that should be kept, moved, minimized, reworded, etc.? Pericles of AthensTalk 10:23, 23 March 2017 (UTC)

I have drastically reduced the size of this article thus far, shifting roughly half of the material found in the "military" section over to the articles Ancient Macedonian army and Antigonid Macedonian army. However, the article is perhaps still a bit too big to be considered readable or navigable for average readers. I'm thinking about creating a new article called something like "Government of Macedonia (ancient kingdom)" and shifting most of the material from the current "Institutions" section over there. Do you guys have any input or thoughts you might want to share about that? I could probably use some help. Pericles of AthensTalk 08:54, 24 March 2017 (UTC)
Well, I did it! I created the new article Government of Macedonia (ancient kingdom) and shifted much of the material found in the "Institutions" section over to that new sub-article. I've also created links to that article in about a dozen related articles. I've tried my very best to remove details from the prose body of this article and shift whole sentences into new footnotes. At the very least I think the article is approaching an optimal size per WP:SIZE, given the incredible scope of the article and the multitude of subjects that require adequate coverage. I'm surprised that I've been able to remove so much detail thus far and yet maintain such a large article, but that's to be expected for a topic of this scale. Just to reiterate the various subjects that are covered, we have sections on etymology, history, government institutions, the military, language, religious beliefs, socio-economic class, visual arts, performing arts, literature and philosophy, sports and leisure, dining and cuisine, ethnic identity, architecture, military tech and technological engineering, currency, finances, and resources. That's a huge amount of items to discuss! Given all of that, I think my efforts to scale down the sheer size of the article have been a success and further efforts in that regard should involve only minor tasks. Removing too much detail from the article might actually damage and cheapen it, if not deny our readers with some critical information for fully understanding the topic. I'd like to hear others' thoughts on the matter, though, before I push ahead with a Wikipedia:Featured articles nomination. Pericles of AthensTalk 13:05, 24 March 2017 (UTC)
In that regard, I'd like to hear the opinions of those who've shown a keen interest in this article, including @Cplakidas: @SilentResident: @Richard Keatinge: @Iazyges: @Finnusertop: @Johnbod: @Dr.K.: @Future Perfect at Sunrise: @Khirurg: @TaivoLinguist: @Alexikoua: @Kahastok: @Reaper7: @N.Panamevris: @Macedonian: @Furius: @Judist: @NickTheRipper: @Chris Troutman: @Wzrd1: @TU-nor: and @Pincrete:. I'd appreciate any and all feedback I can get. Thanks in advance! Pericles of AthensTalk 13:20, 24 March 2017 (UTC)
Amazingly fast work -- this from a two-fingered typist who still has to look at his keyboard and can produce one line of text in the time it takes you to produce two new articles. Ho hum. I think you're nearly ready for FA; but the section on social class and economy stands out to me as sketchy and incomplete. I don't know what's available to flesh it out, and quite naturally, most sources are concerned with the most influential, ambitious and powerful men; but that's a top-down approach. What about commoners? Do we have anything at all on the topic? Or anything on who qualified for citizenship and voting rights? I'd be very interested to read something more about the 90-odd percent of "ordinary" men (and women, naturally) who made up the bulk of the population. Haploidavey (talk) 13:19, 24 March 2017 (UTC)
@Haploidavey: that's a great question! I'm not sure if there's much more to say about social class, although ancient Macedonian economics are certainly fleshed out and given greater treatment in the final section of the article entitled "Currency, finances, and resources." Aside from farmers and soldiers, I gained the impression from Hatzopoulos (2011) and Anson (2010) that there isn't much known about other people of lower professions and stations in life. There's obviously a wealth of material about the aristocracy. I'll see what I can find, but I don't think you'll be too satisfied, since I believe the evidence is lacking. Pericles of AthensTalk 13:31, 24 March 2017 (UTC)
Just in case anyone's wondering, I'm most likely going to wait for my current Featured article nominee Sino-Roman relations to finish before I nominate this one. I think it would be too much to handle having two FA candidates at the same time. One thing I learned about the recent one, though, is that the licensing of images are a real concern. They are very pedantic about it, wanting several different public domain tags if it is marked as public domain, for instance (indicating unequivocally that it applies to the US and everywhere else). Pericles of AthensTalk 14:37, 24 March 2017 (UTC)
Maps are also tricky when it comes to licensing and sourcing. Just today I had to fix the source info for a couple maps and replace one map entirely, i.e. the one showing Alexander's empire. If anyone spots anything else, please let me know! Pericles of AthensTalk 15:53, 24 March 2017 (UTC)
I'm worried that if we trim the article too much, this will rather damage the article's quality than alleviate it of its sheer size. But if really has to be trimmed further for WP:SIZE, then it is a good idea to weight the sections of the article for their relation to the kingdom as a political entity, and see which sentences/sections relate less to the kingdom and more to its people (i.e. "Culture and society" section), since there is always the option to move and present some of this trimmed info in other articles (i.e. Ancient Macedonians). This could help alleviate a bit the article of some of its size. -- SILENTRESIDENT 15:19, 24 March 2017 (UTC)
Good points. I wonder what further materials from the "Culture and society" section could be shifted over to the article "Ancient Macedonians" instead of creating some new article called "Society and culture of Macedonia (ancient kingdom)." I think we probably have enough split articles already with the new History and Government ones. Pericles of AthensTalk 15:53, 24 March 2017 (UTC)
We already worked hard to trim the language section when you first expanded this article. I'd say leave that section alone, it's already nice and neat with appropriate material in the other referenced articles that deal specifically with language. --Taivo (talk) 19:01, 24 March 2017 (UTC)
Yes, it's not the language sub-section that is the problem. I was thinking more the excessive size of perhaps the "religious beliefs and burial practices" section that could probably have some of its material shifted over to Ancient Macedonians, per Wikipedia:Summary style. The latter article does cover religion, so there's already a section for such material. Visual arts and performing arts could also probably be handled the same way, if only to parse this article down to get it within a more acceptable range according to WP:SIZE. Pericles of AthensTalk 22:27, 24 March 2017 (UTC)
I think the paragraph on royal cult in the religion section could go, or be reduced to the first and last sentences - Alexander as Pharaoh and so on isn't all that relevant to Macedon itself and is covered in the article on him. Furius (talk) 00:09, 25 March 2017 (UTC)
I had the impression that religion played less a significant role in the Kingdom's affairs (except for the funerals of high ranked kingdom officials who passed away) rather it did in the daily life of the commonsfolk. For example the religious practices of the Macedonian kings are not as notable as their burials after death. Couldn't be more logical to keep info about the burial customs (since they relate more directly to the kingdom itself) than about religion of the commonsfolk? I know burials and religion are related to each other, but it feels like details about religion are just cluttering this article and rather should be limited (trimmed) abit. -- SILENTRESIDENT 01:41, 25 March 2017 (UTC)
Yes, similar to other sub-sections, I'm going to shift some material about religion into the article Ancient Macedonians, especially if it is not pertinent to the state. There are some things I will not touch, though, such as the statements about the patronage of temples and cults by the Macedonian kings (which is directly related to the state). I will also try to retain most of the info about royal burials. Pericles of AthensTalk 20:50, 25 March 2017 (UTC)
We'll, I've succeeded in moving a bunch of stuff over to the new sub-articles History of Macedonia (ancient kingdom) and Government of Macedonia (ancient kingdom) as well as the preexisting article Ancient Macedonians. However, the article's prose body is still about 80 KB (13,000 words). According to WP:SIZE#Size guideline, an article above 60 KB (10,000 or so words) should be split up into sub-articles, which has already been done. While it says it should be divided at that size, it also says that "the scope of a topic can sometimes justify the added reading material." I think this article in its current incarnation is more than justified in having as much content as it does, especially after all the efforts editors, including myself, have done in minimizing the amount of material. The sheer amount of topics that are covered and given due weight also justify the article's current size. Your thoughts? Pericles of AthensTalk 02:19, 26 March 2017 (UTC)
Yes, the rule of WP:SIZE should not be perceived in the sense that size has to be small just for the sake of being smaller. While comfortable navigation and reading are important, sometimes, exceptions can be made to that rule when the dilemma is between having a complete but bigger in size article, or an incomplete but smaller in size article. There are many articles which are as big in size as this one, and still retain their GA status, such as United States of America. -- SILENTRESIDENT 03:43, 26 March 2017 (UTC)
I totally agree, especially at this stage of progress in editing the article, with reasonably-sized summary sections for the new articles. In fact, I'd go as far as to say the article could probably remain fairly static from this point forward. I would like to hear everyone's opinion on the matter and gain Wikipedia:Consensus before moving forward with a Wikipedia:Featured articles candidacy. At the very least the article is now well-sourced and every image has appropriate copyright tags/licensing. That alone is a solid foundation for a successful Featured Article nominee. Pericles of AthensTalk 11:23, 26 March 2017 (UTC)
Anyone else want to comment on the recent shifting of content to the new sub-articles? Any and all feedback would be most welcome and I appreciate the input you guys have provided thus far. I want to make sure that we have a clear consensus here before I move on to the Featured Article nomination process. Pericles of AthensTalk 22:36, 30 March 2017 (UTC)
Just that I'm looking at all your hard work with awe and admiration. We seem to have a willing horse and I'm happy to applaud as you run the extra mile. I do agree that per WP:SIZE#Size guideline the shifting is a generally good idea, we want a series of digestible encyclopaedic articles not a single book-sized page. We may be heading for more than one FA. Richard Keatinge (talk) 08:10, 31 March 2017 (UTC)
I agree with all of Richard Keatinge's points--especially about all of Pericles' hard work. --Taivo (talk) 11:46, 31 March 2017 (UTC)
Thanks guys! I'll take that as an endorsement to move ahead with a Featured article nomination. My current nominee Sino-Roman relations is moving at such a snail's pace over there that it has convinced me that nominating this article for Featured status as of today wouldn't really hurt much. In my estimation and previous experience it might even take two or three months just to complete. There will be lots of feedback from regular reviewers over there, so don't become too alarmed if I start editing the article and making significant cuts according to their demands. I have a good number of featured articles under my belt, but I'd like to avoid another bitter, fruitless episode like the one I had with the nomination for History of the Han dynasty, a current Good Article but an ultimately failed Featured Article candidate. I have a feeling that, despite our consensus here and all the hard work that has been done shifting material over to the new sub-articles, there will probably be at least one or two detractors who will declare their opposition based solely on the fact that this is a larger article than usual. I will mention quite prominently in my candidacy's introduction that we achieved community consensus here about the article's current size. I hope that will hush up some of their potential grievances with having to read a larger article. If it becomes necessary to win the support of a more stubborn reviewer, I am willing to make further cuts to the "Society and culture" section (minus "language and dialects" as proposed by Taivo), but I will vehemently oppose any other cuts to the article. Wish me luck! All the best, Pericles of AthensTalk 14:37, 31 March 2017 (UTC)
Good luck... not that you'll need it. What you've done here's truly heroic. Haploidavey (talk) 15:43, 31 March 2017 (UTC)

A quibble about the language section[edit]

I'll join in the congratulations to User:PericlesofAthens and others who have participated in the recent development of the article, but I have one quibble about the current wording in the "lnnguage" section: The sentence "Rare epigraphic evidence indicates that the native Macedonian language was either a dialect of Greek similar to Thessalian Greek and Northwestern Greek,[290] or a language closely related to Greek" evidently tries to strike a reasonable balance in the tired old POV debate, but it's in fact not quite accurate. The reasons for the "language closely related to Greek" position are not, as far as I know, based on epigraphic evidence. The relevant evidence on the side of foreign, non-Greek status comes more from literary, historiographical and lexicographical sources. The only truly epigraphic piece of the puzzle is the Pella curse tablet, and that of course falls plainly on the "Greek dialect" side. Fut.Perf. 09:11, 1 April 2017 (UTC)

Perhaps that wording can be changed to "rare textual evidence"? That should maintain the balance and be more accurate. "Textual" implies a broader range of documentation than just epigraphic. --Taivo (talk) 09:45, 1 April 2017 (UTC)
Hi Taivo! I wrote my response below before seeing yours here (or rather, was in the middle of writing my response when you had given yours). I think that your suggestion here would make a fine compromise. More importantly, it reflects what the sources have to say. As you can see in the block quote below, Hatzopoulos makes a single reference to "epigraphic evidence", yet he uses the terms "texts", "documents", and "inscriptions" thereafter. --Pericles of AthensTalk 10:32, 1 April 2017 (UTC)
Yes, "textual" is minor enough to be irrelevant for the FA nomination, but inclusive enough to address Future's concern. I don't think Future's intent was to rewrite the section, but to simply be more accurate about the nature of the evidence. --Taivo (talk) 13:57, 1 April 2017 (UTC)
Textual sounds good and summarizes all thee other words into one. --SILENTRESIDENT 23:15, 18 April 2017 (UTC)

Pericles' reply[edit]

@Future Perfect at Sunrise: hello again! Thanks for giving your congratulations. As for the chosen wording in the "language and dialects" section, that was the compromise made by User:TaivoLinguist and I, which included the removal of any mention of the Pella curse tablet. Discussion of this, along with similarly verbose scholarly debate, was shifted into footnotes and the appropriate sub-articles "Ancient Macedonians" and "Ancient Macedonian language" where that material can be given its full context. I cited multiple authors in the footnotes of that single sentence you have mentioned and basically provided a collective summary of what they had to say. For instance, here is an extract of Hatzopoulos (2011, p. 44): Pericles of AthensTalk 10:25, 1 April 2017 (UTC)

The origin of the Macedonians themselves has, for more than a century, been the object of a lively debate, in which scientific considerations are sometimes inextricably intermingled with ulterior motives of a political nature. Macedonian authors, like most Greek writers of the late classical and Hellenistic period, used the Attic koine instead of their local dialect, while conclusive epigraphic evidence concerning the ancient Macedonian speech was not forthcoming. Inscriptions discovered in Macedonia were both rare and late, dating from after the reign of Philip II, who had introduced the Attic koine as the official idiom of his administration. We therefore had to rely on the contradictory evidence of ancient authors, who may have not been immune to political considerations when they stressed the common origin and common language of the Macedonians and the other Greeks or when they denied it. As for the collection of glosses, that is rare words attributed by ancient authors to various foreign and Greek peoples, among which feature the Macedonians, their ex hypothesi exotic nature and the uncertainty of the manuscript tradition deprives them of a large measure of their value as evidence.

In the last thirty years the discovery, systematic collection and publication of a large number of inscriptions, sometimes of an early date, has made it possible to study in perspective proper names and technical terms that preserve phonetic and morphological features, as well as their divergences from the norms of the koine. Very recently a couple of longer texts entirely written in the local idiom have come to light and been published. They leave no doubt that Macedonian was a Greek dialect presenting affinities partly with the dialects attested in the inscriptions of Thessaly and partly with those known from documents discovered in north-western Greece. Moreover its phonology seems to have been influenced to a limited extent by the languages of the conquered peoples, in which the distinction between voiced and unvoiced consonants tended to be blurred.

So then, as you can see we're not talking about a single piece of evidence, ala the Pella curse tablet, but actually a range of Macedonian inscriptions in not-so-standard Koine Greek that betray some elements of the native Macedonian tongue as well. On top of that Hatzopoulos mentions the two longer texts written entirely in the native Macedonian language, no doubt a reference to both the Pella Curse Tablet AND the binding spell of Oraiokastro dated to the 4th century BC. The "conquered peoples" he mentions are the Illyrians, Thracians, and even the Phrygians, who seem to have had some influence on the development of native Macedonian (at the very least some loanwords). Hypothetically speaking, all of this could be explained in the language section, but again, its presently terse wording is a reflection of the heated compromise that I had made with TaivoLinguist. I would request that we refrain from going down that road again, given how I have just nominated this article for Featured status. If you have a better suggestion on how to word that sentence, I am all ears, but rewriting the sub-section in any way will need consensus here first. The discussion must include Taivo at the very least, since it was he who had raised most of the major grievances about that sub-section in the past. Pericles of AthensTalk 10:25, 1 April 2017 (UTC)

Featured article![edit]

Hurray! The article has finally achieved its featured status!!! I want to thank everyone here involved in consensus-building and who helped bring the article to its current form. Our efforts have been rewarded. Kindest regards, --Pericles of AthensTalk 01:33, 23 July 2017 (UTC)

I am so sorry I didn't notice this sooner! I was very busy in real life these days, that didn't allow me to check the developments here and on many other articles. I am very happy to see this being realized! Impressive feat, Pericles of Athens! Congratulations!!! --SILENTRESIDENT 12:14, 2 August 2017 (UTC)
No problem! It's the summer. People are busy. I'm glad you enjoyed reading the article as much as I enjoyed writing it! Cheers. --Pericles of AthensTalk 13:17, 2 August 2017 (UTC)
"Impressive feat" would probably be an understatement IMO. Well fcking done, PericlesofAthens! Was a pleasure reading! - LouisAragon (talk) 01:05, 4 August 2017 (UTC)
The beautiful work that you, PericlesofAthens have put into this - and the sheer amount of it - was a happy shock that made me wake from my slumber! And in a more self-indulgent note, I was happy that much of the wording of my contributions in the lead was kept. I am really happy how you and others helped evolve this corner of the wiki from a battle arena to a construction site. I would have never imagined such an improvement when I tagged some of the sections of the article as requiring expansion. Boy what a treat! Cheers! Shadowmorph ^"^ 07:41, 29 August 2017 (UTC)

@LouisAragon: thanks! I'm glad you enjoyed it. I hate to sound like an advertiser, but if you like these articles, you may be interested in others I've written and/or made major contributions towards, all of which are now either Featured or Good articles:

@PericlesofAthens: jesus, what are you trying to be, an online billboard?!!!1 Just reported you per WP:NOTADVERTISING.


...Thanks much for linking those articles man. I had already seen Sino-Roman relations before. Its really well written. I just made a start with Ethopian historiography; it contains so much information of which I knew barely anything. I hope to make a start with Mosaics of Delos these days as well. Keep up the great work! - LouisAragon (talk) 01:39, 23 August 2017 (UTC)

@Shadowmorph and LouisAragon: thanks for the kind words! I appreciate the praise and am humbled by it. I'd like to work on other related articles like Ancient Macedonian language, but perhaps not anytime soon. I'm juggling other projects at the moment, namely Mosaics of Delos and Ethiopian historiography that I mentioned above. I might even work on another Chinese history article (for instance, finally creating a History of the Tang dynasty article to complement my Tang dynasty FA), or even something related to my FA on Ancient Egyptian literature. I've been itching to improve articles on Roman emperors for a long time, in line with my FA on Augustus. Beyond that, the articles on the Macedonian dynasties (i.e. the Argead dynasty, Antipatrid dynasty, and Antigonid dynasty) could use some work. Pericles of AthensTalk 08:09, 29 August 2017 (UTC)