Talk:Mos maiorum

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
WikiProject Military history (Rated Start-Class)
MILHIST This article is within the scope of the Military history WikiProject. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the project and see a list of open tasks. To use this banner, please see the full instructions.
Start This article has been rated as Start-Class on the quality assessment scale.
WikiProject Philosophy (Rated C-class, Low-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Philosophy, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of content related to philosophy on Wikipedia. If you would like to support the project, please visit the project page, where you can get more details on how you can help, and where you can join the general discussion about philosophy content on Wikipedia.
C-Class article C  This article has been rated as C-Class on the project's quality scale.
 Low  This article has been rated as Low-importance on the project's importance scale.

Justification for stub[edit]

I disagree. I just think it's a lazy stub which is worth having a page for someday. Doops 22:38, 12 May 2004 (UTC)


This article is a mess and wants taking in hand. Examples:

  • What does "conscientiousness precision of conduct" mean? - is there a comma missing?
  • How come the "six cornerstones" are eight in number?
  • How come Parsimonia is uniquely capitalised? (minor point)
  • Reviewing the history of this page, it is apparent that there has been squabbling over what should and should not be in the list. The way to resolve this is to justify all inclusions with citations/references.

AWhiteC 07:11, 12 August 2006 (UTC)

Also, I don't know Latin, but... is parsimonia really best translated as "stinginess"? That's an inherently negative word. Perhaps "frugality" would be a better translation? Narsil 00:36, 10 October 2006 (UTC)
That depends... "frugal", contrary to popular misconception, means neither "cheap" nor "to use very little" but rather "to make the most of". A person who takes a roasted Thanksgiving turkey and makes several meals out of it (Thanksgiving feast, turkey sandwiches, leftover stuffing, soup from the bones, etc) is being frugal, even if the turkey was an expensive gourmet bird. So, would "frugality" really be the best translation of "parsimonia"? (talk) 13:35, 24 December 2008 (UTC)

Why was parismonia changed?[edit]

It means stinginess. not frugal

where does this list come from?[edit]

Is there an ancient source? Who made this list? - Christopher 15:27, 7 August 2007 (UTC)

You forgot Poland![edit]

I mean dignitas... in that unsourceable list. :) --- Pichote (talk) 17:51, 27 February 2008 (UTC)


What about virtus? Is virtus not one of the most significant of these?


Error in Pietas[edit]

In the section named "Pietas" the following caught my eye:

For example, Julius Caesar displayed pietas during his life by beginning in 42 BCE and dedicating in 48 BCE, after the battle of Pharsalus, a temple to Venus Genetrix.

Since BCE years count backwards this made no sense. I found the following in the Stambaugh reference on page 119 via Google Books:

The Forum Iulium ... Begun by Julius Caesar in 54 BC and dedicated in 46 BC, its architectural focus was the Temple of Venus Genetrix ...

Looks like some fact checking may be in order. Is this a simple case of swapped dates or are the dates really way off? If the Forum was dedicated in 46 BCE then when was the Temple itself dedicated? (talk) 14:05, 24 December 2008 (UTC)

Latin version[edit]

There really should be an article about this on the Latin Wikipedia. Anyone else agree? (talk) 16:10, 19 April 2009 (UTC)


This article could benefit from better organization; some sections overlap, repeat, and don't follow each other in any logical order. Cynwolfe (talk) 02:03, 9 September 2010 (UTC)

The stuff was quite good and informative. I agree the form and the English were bad. I was waiting for the author to complete the citations.

I disagree on your view the article is not organised: it deals with the topic from different POVs.

I would appreciate you leave a note before deleting my work: this is a rule I had always followed (well I never deleted whole articles or big chunks). But everyone has his own style.Aldrasto11 (talk) 15:15, 21 September 2010 (UTC)

I'd like to offer Aldrasto a genuine apology here. I deleted more of the article than I intended to. A great deal of what I deleted was unsourced, but I would normally have left it unless it was misleading. In this case, the material was not misleading, but its relevance wasn't made explicit to the topic of mos maiorum; the individual topics, such as patria potestas, were treated at extended length as topics in and of themselves, when they're already treated elsewhere in the encyclopedia. Here, patria potestas should only be a short paragraph under a subhead something like "The mos of the Roman family", explaining the pertinence of the mos and with a "See also" to the relevant article (this is all part of "wikifying"). The same was true of the section on the patron-client relationship, which required a minimal description specifically focused on how this relationship pertains to the topic of the mos maiorum, not what that relationship is (perhaps under a heading such as "The mos and society"). Patronage, however, is currently given a greatly confused treatment on WP in no fewer than four separate articles that need to be merged into one: patronus, cliens, Client (ancient Rome), and, may the gods help us, Clientela.
In addition, the relation of material pertaining to the magistracies needed to be focused on illuminating the mos, not explaining the magistracies per se; this topic is extensively covered on WP under Roman Magistrates, cursus honorum, Constitution of the Roman Kingdom, Executive Magistrates of the Roman Kingdom, Constitution of the Roman Republic, Executive Magistrates of the Roman Republic, Constitution of the Roman Empire, Executive Magistrates of the Roman Empire, and articles on such things as elections. Again, the subhead would be something like "The mos and politics." The article needed to keep its focus on explaining what mos maiorum means, not providing a survey of Roman society. I apologize for cutting these sections altogether; I bailed. I have revisited the article once or twice since then to begin the process of restoring material with citations.
Another example of where I edited is the section on the Roman "virtues," where I whittled rather than deleted. Again, length and focus were at issue. Many of these have their own articles. What's needed here is simply to look at these as examples of abstractions that constitute an unwritten code of conduct, that is, the mos.
Actually, Aldrasto, I don't know what of the unsourced material I deleted was yours and what others had provided, but the quality of the writing was not at issue here. (Except, to repeat myself, that we often seemed not to be specifically illuminating the topic of mos maiorium, but to be writing other articles already written — this is a matter of emphasis. In this article, we're not explaining all the things that made up the mos maiorum; rather, we're explaining the mos maiorum by presenting its components, most of which are treated in separate articles.) Again, I apologize for what is no doubt rash editing here. You should not hesitate to take a section and restore it with citations from the ample English-language sources; however, I do advise that you look carefully at whether you're treating a topic at length that already has its own article on WP, and to use links and cross-referencing to stay on topic and keep the article at a readable length for a generalist encyclopedia. I can provide the links to the relevant WP guidelines and policies if you would find that helpful. Cynwolfe (talk) 16:16, 21 September 2010 (UTC)

I had a look to page history, I contributed only the final part of the article, starting with heading : History. Your remarks apply to other bits not to mine. As you can see what I contributed does not deal with issues you mention: it is a survey of the bearings of mores on Roman legal and social history, from a broad range of different viewpoints.

I wish to point out once again that the article is not my job: it has been written for by a student of Roman law. I checked the original but no citations have been provided as yet, thus I cannot help there. He however has given a list of very authoritative works in the bibliography.Aldrasto11 (talk) 04:36, 22 September 2010 (UTC)

After a long time I see my contributions on the core issue of the concept of mos maiorum as the real societal and legal framework of Rome have not been restored. Law, i.e. legal procedure, legal casuistic etc. was in the hands of clergy, the pointiffs and the augurs, and they acted on the basis of their secret knowldge. This is the essential issue of the confrontation and development in the topic of m.m. that the contribution I translated adressed.Aldrasto11 (talk) 04:47, 20 July 2011 (UTC)

I see what you're saying, but in English scholarship, mos is usually contrasted to Roman law, and is used in a much broader sense than "religious awe" in archaic Rome to encompass, well, what Hölkeskamp says. I don't see how anyone can read the literature of the 1st centuries BC and AD and conclude that Rome society was shaped by clergy in the way that medieval Europe was. Cynwolfe (talk) 12:49, 20 July 2011 (UTC)
Thank you for the comment. I do not know what Hölkeskamp maintains. On the issue of Roman society being in fact a theocracy, this is the opinion of eminent scholars, e. g.. Leonhard Schmitz (perhaps also Jerzy Linderski...). Of course the nature of Roman religion or religious lore is very different from Christianity so any parallel medieval with Europe is impossible, misleading..
I read the articles Roman law and Jus which look insufficient in this respect. Roman law has a little info about Gn. Flavius and his making public legal procedure. However I got the impression from my readings that the whole development of Roman political history is a fight between those who were excluded from the mastership of the legal procedural trappings and those who were in charge of them. I.e. power, political and economic, lay in the hands of those who were the depositaries of these legal trappings. Or, from the opposite (also marxist) standpoint, one could argue that religiously grounded customary legal practise was a tool of political domination. Although magistrates were not priests they acted also as such. And aristocracy had a monopoly on religion (pointiffs til Tib. Coruncanius and augurs). The publication of the XII Tables was not a solution as it did not explicitate actual procedure: if you are not knowledgeable on procedural matters law is void. So in fact pointiffs and augurs were able to dominate political and social life, of course with some checks by the tribunes of the plebs. (Augurs were later elected but within a group which had been selected-coopted).
What the author tried to make clear is that, unlike what the article says, the m. m. were not, or not only (and mainly) the traditional Roman virtues: they were a set of traditional lore that reached far into the field of religion, custom and law, and illegally (or perhaps uncostitutionally) dominated public life, at least until the crisis of the II-I century BC. Many scholars see Roman history as a perennial infighting against those who held the exclusive access to the knowledge and manipulation of the m. m., i.e. customary and religiously founded/related legal and political practise.Aldrasto11 (talk) 04:56, 23 July 2011 (UTC)