Talk:Roman Empire/Archive 10

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Archive 5 Archive 8 Archive 9 Archive 10 Archive 11

History section

As promised, I visited the library yesterday to look at the "Narrative" section of the Blackwell Companion to the Roman Empire, which has three periodized chapters by three different scholars structured chronologically without devolving into annalistic recitation of names and dates. My local university, however, is on spring break, so library hours were curtailed and I didn't finish. Only got up to Commodus. (The only copy of the book they had on the shelves was in Reference, so I couldn't check it out.) The good news is that it's left me feeling OK about our presentation so far. Their narrative emphasizes the maintenance of republican institutions in relation to a monarchy that was in this respect unlike Hellenistic monarchy (notice the redlink, and don't go lookin' for Hellenistic kingdoms either) despite owing some of the trappings of Imperial cult to Hellenistic practices, but usefully clarifies that it was this very insistence on republicanism that obstructed the development of constitutional succession. In other words, because they couldn't admit they had a monarch, ideology kept them from solving the political problem. (Sounds familiar to an American.) Hence the regular recourse to murder, and increasing role of the military.

Another point that was made reminded me that the Society section was originally supposed to have a section on family and familia (and the Familia Caesaris), which I began offline at one point but never proceeded with because of the horrors of length. The principle of dynastic succession was problematized by two Roman values coming into conflict: distaste for inheriting power through mere blood, and a strong emphasis on the family as a political entity. Roman nobilitas was a meritocracy (at least from the mid-4th century BC to the time of Diocletian), as our article points out (which tends, as we know in the U.S., to devolve to plutocracy): the patriciate had become virtually meaninglessness by the late Republic, when so many major players such as Pompey and Crassus are noble plebeians (not to mention the novi homines Marius and Cicero). They didn't like the idea of inherited status, and prized competition and achievement. At the same time, Rome was an intensely traditional society, of which the family was considered the building block. Maintaining your family's status was perhaps the chief raison d'être for a nobilis (of either gender). Augustus drew on the concept of "leading families" and their importance to the oligarchic republic to hold on to power. His was just the most "leadingest," as with the concept of the princeps. The centrality of the family to Roman life is also why women and freedmen of the imperial family come to exercise such influence and power. (Plotina seems to have played the deciding role in Hadrian's succession, for instance.)

So some of what the Companion narrative dealt with is covered in our article under the "Government" section, for instance, and the "History" section seems to me to be a frame for establishing the concept of periodization and major themes that historians see in Roman history. (The Companion uses the Gibbon quote about Commodus too, for instance.)

This has also reminded me that I meant to go back to the Society section, which emphasizes social mobility (up and down) in the first three centuries of the Empire, and add a paragraph on Diocletian's social reforms, which as I understand them created a rigid class society, in some ways therefore more like the Regal period and early Republic. (This is one of the sections, per Johnbod's comment above, where late antiquity is slighted.)

I'm just reporting, so we can proceed in collaboration.

BTW, I'm glad an IP fixed this: I've been wondering about that for a long time, though I was the one who put it in based on the source. I'm not sure it's stated as clearly as it could be, though. Cynwolfe (talk) 14:51, 12 March 2013 (UTC)


Given there are now (gulp) 602 numbered footnotes, one moderately urgent & simple (if tedious) need is to move the full details of those authors with several citations down into "References", which currently only has a handful of them. Johnbod (talk) 13:28, 11 March 2013 (UTC)

why?--Kmhkmh (talk) 14:33, 11 March 2013 (UTC)
I would think it might be better to wait until some of the sections are split off, because some of the overabundance of citation will have taken care of itself (having been diverted to other articles), and some sources may no longer be as pervasive in this article. Cynwolfe (talk) 15:45, 11 March 2013 (UTC)
I agree. Moreover afaik there is no style guide requiring the use of shortened citations and in general there are pros and cons for using them, so i would leave the decision about what to use to the authors doing the actual work (i.e. in this case you). I'd also say as long as the article is flux and content piece might be mived elsewhere it is a plus not having shortened citations, because then the footnotes are independent of other sections of the article.--Kmhkmh (talk) 17:05, 11 March 2013 (UTC)
Cynwolfe makes a good point. Restructuring the citations may be easier if we wait a bit.
@Kmhkmh, there's no requirement, but it is far more manageable once in place and it may even reduce article size.
Sowlos 17:14, 11 March 2013 (UTC)
On the plus side it reduces the article size by reducing the size of the footnotes a bit, but i don't think that matters that much. One minus side however it creates (unnecessary) dependence between different sections making further editing (and the reuse of sources) more complicated.--Kmhkmh (talk) 20:09, 11 March 2013 (UTC)
… it reduces the article size by reducing the size of the footnotes a bit, but i don't think that matters that much.
If you look in the article's revision history, you'll see an edit I made at 00:09 UTC (which I subsequently reverted). I did it to make a point. I condensed the citations of only six sources and reduced the page size by 1,345 characters. That is 1.3 KiB. If this were applied for all sources cited multiple times (and there are many), the article's size could be dramatically reduced.
… it creates (unnecessary) dependence between different sections making further editing (and the reuse of sources) more complicated.
I have a several issues with this statement.
  • Short footnotes create far less obtuse "dependencies" then named ref tags. With short footnotes, you always know exactly where the parent reference is.
  • They make it extremely easy for readers to find the complete information on relevant references. Since editors can not be expected to enter every single detail for references used dozens of times this is extremely important. References are not just for protecting statements from removal, they give interested readers the option to see where the information they read comes from and provide readers with extra-Wikipedia reading resources.
  • By segregating footnotes from the full citations, the short footnote system protects references from getting lost to the readers. Readers can see a complete, well formated list of references without them being scattered throughout nearly 600 footnotes. Also, less information polluting the footnote list makes it easier for readers to see how often (and where) works are cited in an article.
  • While this extra tidiness is more time consuming for editors in the short-term, it becomes enormously helpful in the long-term. In-body full references become nearly impossible to manage in large articles. This is a lesson learned by every programmer who embarks on large projects. Segregation of code costs more initial time and effort, but quickly becomes a time saver as the project grows and makes subsequent maintenance far less laborious. Whether you like it or not, even if Roman Empire were cut in half, it would still be a large article.
  • Copying or moving sections into new articles is not heavily complicated by short footnotes. They directly link to their full references making them easy to find. And lets be honest, you should not copy content between articles while blindly accepting included citations. Taking the time to make a second edit porting over the full references is no more burdensome than reviewing each of the sources.
I do not like coming off strong, but I find that the general argument against short footnotes tends to be "ugggh but it's more work". Unfortunately, building an authoritative encyclopaedia requires work. On the plus side, short footnotes actually save you from some tedious work.  —Sowlos  01:27, 20 March 2013 (UTC)
You know, I thought I'd gotten past having my feelings hurt on Wikipedia, but I find it really insulting to be told that I'm lazy because of my citation style after all the work and countless hours I put into this article. Think I'll just go put my head down and cry now. Cynwolfe (talk) 03:02, 20 March 2013 (UTC)

Considering that you are the one who personally went through all the article's citations, you are obviously not lazy. As someone else who does a lot of the thankless, behind the scenes work, I know the kind of blood curdling labour you must have gone through. But I do think many experience hesitance with trying out new procedures.  —Sowlos  03:39, 20 March 2013 (UTC)

Native names in the infobox

The infobox's native name parameter appears (to me) to be in a wierd state. There is only one name listed with a significant block of information hidden behind it in a <ref>. I think this is problematic for a few reasons.

  1. While I don't think the list needs to be as comprehensive as the hidden text, there is nothing wrong with more than one name and the Roman Empire was known by several.
  2. It gives the appearance that "SPQR" is supported by a citation. It is not. The only citation in there is for the last sentence.
  3. <ref> is not intend (nor should it be used) to host a paragraph of information. Hitting readers with a paragraph of micro-text in a hover-box is a good way to discourage them from reading it. That is if they even mouse over the reference indicator.

If that is all essential information, it shouldn't be hidden in a <ref>. If it can be done without, it should be divided and/or severely reduced and placed the proper form (such as in {{efn}} or {{note}}).
Sowlos 16:15, 11 March 2013 (UTC)

Here's my thinking on this, and why I reverted you:
  • The English-speaking world knows this entity as the "Roman Empire". The multiplicity of names used in antiquity indicates that the Romans themselves weren't concerned about having a fixed "official" name: unless I'm mistaken, the obsession with a sovereign name is a product of nationalism, which is widely recognized as not a phenomenon of antiquity—when by contrast one's identity was bound to the civitas or city, not a nation or ethnicity. The names by which this entity was known in antiquity reflect customary usage and conceptual convenience.
  • Therefore, I would ask: to whom is this information important? What purpose does it serve? Who is likely to want to know it, and do readers need to know it first, before seeing anything else? I know from my teaching experience that a dense collocation of names (here including some in the Greek alphabet!) will only make the article look inhospitable to readers, especially young college students and high school students.
  • And to this last point: Have we all looked at this article on, say, an iPhone? The skinny linear format means that the infobox is the first thing you see, and you don't get the text of the intro to the article until you scroll all the way through the box (which is why we need to keep it compact, essential, and useful to the immediate, broad concerns of the general reader). The first thing readers get from this article shouldn't be a bunch of words that have little or no meaning to them.
My guess is that the information comes from some interminable debate about what the Roman Empire was "really" called. In my perhaps radical view, the only thing we need at the top of the infobox is "Roman Empire". I wouldn't even put the SPQR. It isn't at all the same thing as Greece, for instance, or Germany, where the modern English name differs from the name in the dominant or official language of those who live there (which English speakers need to know). Cynwolfe (talk) 17:20, 11 March 2013 (UTC)
I would like to point out my last two sentences. You do not need to convince me of what's unimportant, but it should not stay the way it is. My reason keeping so many names in the list is probably similar to yours for keeping them all in the ref. Someone else put them there and I was trying to avoid stepping on toes by removing too many. However, I think two or three names is justifiable. You are right to call fixation official names a modern innovation, but the readers are modern people. They can interpret a single Latin name in the modern context of official names.
P.S. I always view websites in "landscape mode" on phones. I find the narrow "portrait mode" too small or requiring too much side scrolling. *lol*
Sowlos 17:40, 11 March 2013 (UTC)
My explanation was not meant as a criticism of what you said here, Sowlos, and I should've stated the areas of agreement. Current usage is to call this entity the "Roman Empire". I'm in the same position of not wanting to exterminate this discussion of the varieties of names used in antiquity, if others find it useful. I just think it should be available for readers who go looking for it, and need not be displayed prominently. Cynwolfe (talk) 19:11, 11 March 2013 (UTC)
And, I hope I do not come off sounding combative. I can have difficulty with the tone-less communication of text.
Though it feels counter-productive to suggest this considering the current article-size reduction drive, perhaps the article needs a name section. Most complete articles have a name/terminology/etymology section. Important information should not be left out, but it should be in the article proper, not hidden in reference tags or even footnotes. Imagine the forked mess articles would become if Wikipedians regularly added tangent paragraphs as such.
It is my opinion that the native name section should list Senatus Populusque Romanus, Imperium Romanum, and Βασιλείᾱ Ῥωμαίων, with footnotes for translation information if needed and the rest simply removed until a name section can be worked into the article.
Sowlos 20:23, 11 March 2013 (UTC)
[Acting on assumptions due to silence] I've implemented the above. Feel free to revert if you disagree with the results.
Sowlos 10:57, 13 March 2013 (UTC)

Political Legacy goes into too much detail on how it influenced United States Architecture

Surely it should be trimmed back or moved to a page by itself - the article is about the Roman Empire - why there has to be a huge paragraph on it's effects on US architecture specifically on the subjects main page is unnecessary. (talk) 00:23, 14 April 2013 (UTC)

Hmmm, discussion on its influences in the US is about 163 words long while discussion on other countries is 223. Perhaps that balance should be adjusted.  —Sowlos  00:41, 14 April 2013 (UTC)
The U.S. and the design of D.C. are a unique example of a conscious and visible modeling after the Classical past. Many if not most Americans think the U.S. was founded as a "Christian nation," and are unaware that the choice of architecture was a deliberate embrace of a Greco-Roman cultural legacy. (I don't know whether the rest of the world is aware of why public buildings in D.C. look like ancient temples.) In Europe, that legacy was a historical continuity and a physically present reality. The architectural traditions developed organically through handing down skills, the influence of viewing Roman structures firsthand, and even recycling materials from ancient buildings. If Commons has a better pair of images that reflects the influence of Roman architecture on political architecture that does not include a building in the U.S., by all means, let's see them. One paragraph is not enough to start an article, and word count is a silly and arbitrary way to judge due weight. That said, if we wish to delete the entire section "Political legacy," that would be fine by me. But I'm not sure why the U.S. doesn't merit a 150-words if such a section exists. The better question is whether the section covers the aspects of the subtopic. Have we omitted aspects of legacy that have greater or equal weight in the scholarship? Cynwolfe (talk) 01:51, 14 April 2013 (UTC)
I completely agree with what you said, but the article section doesn't quite explain that for readers. Actually, I'm half tempted to apply some sources to your post and add it to the article largely as-is.  —Sowlos  10:50, 14 April 2013 (UTC)
PS: The word count was just a rough comparison of coverage. If I'm not mistaken, the section doesn't mention the how Roman architecture permeated European architecture (as it does with the US).  —Sowlos  10:55, 14 April 2013 (UTC)
Well! I feel silly! That section is about Rome's political legacy, not general legacy. In that case couldn't we adjust the balance a bit by adding some detail about how the Roman legal system affected those of subsequent European states? BTW, I still think the start of your post would make a great addition to that section, right before it starts discussing the US.  —Sowlos  15:00, 14 April 2013 (UTC)
It's a matter of proportionality; half of that section is devoted to a single state, the USA, whilst the other half is covers various other countries. I think it should be reduced in size somewhat and the content could be included in the Roman Empire Legacy article. As it stands it is a somewhat US centric piece. (talk) 19:50, 26 April 2013 (UTC)
Neutrality or due weight doesn't mean that you devote equal space in a section to every possible example. Proportionality depends on the amount of scholarship devoted to the topic, which in turn should reflect the extent and nature of (in this case) influence on the political system. Some sections of the article already deal with "legacy" in regard to a particular subtopic; for instance, the sections on languages and law. The images throughout the article, if you'll review them, have been chosen carefully to reflect a wide geographical distribution throughout the Empire, and the text itself tries to choose concrete, illustrative examples from as many different major provinces as possible. But the goal is not to show 10 amphitheaters from 10 different modern-day countries. It's to try to make sure the major provinces are represented in the sections in which they serve as the best examples: Egypt is given as an example in the section on taxes, because farmers along the Nile had special tax exemptions and are a vivid example of tax implementation. The image for transportation and economy shows amphora and wine barrels in Gaul; the importance of wine in later France presumably requires no explanation. There's a mosaic from Roman Africa, a mine from Roman Spain, Hadrian's Wall, the amphitheater of Pula. You can't mention every province in every section, or the article would be at least ten times as long.
In the "Political legacy" section, the U.S. strikes me as a fairly unique example of a conscious, foundational influence outside the former territories of the Empire. The section could be developed a little without much harm to the overall length of the article: France should certainly be represented (evocations of Rome for the French Revolution and the Napoleonic era—there's a great deal of French art that explores this, and see the Palais Bourbon)—and of course there was a lot of political (and architectural) cross-fertilization between France and the U.S. in this period. Again, if the IP can come up with a better pair of images for placing a Roman building next to a modern-era political building modeled directly after it, then we can replace the current juxtaposition, and the text can be less explanatory about the Jeffersonian program. The goal is to show how the Roman Empire had a concrete and documentable influence, and to choose the material that best illustrates in words and images what we mean by "legacy" and "influence". It really isn't important what example we choose, as long as the examples are chosen because they're most notable, supported by good scholarship, and illustrate the concept concretely, vividly and coherently for readers. If the criticism is that the paragraph on the U.S. isn't the best way to show how Rome as a political entity exerted influence even centuries after it ceased to exist, then by all means, the IP should replace it with a better example. Cynwolfe (talk) 21:48, 26 April 2013 (UTC)

All the Maps are Correct ?

According to my history teacher... videos below are the best...

The material is useful. -- (talk) 09:54, 24 April 2013 (UTC)

Citation style changes

Were these changes to the citation style to the horrid sfn style discussed? If not, & it seems they were not, my vote is to revert them quickly now. Yes, & also trim the infobox. User:Lgfcd's talk page is a list of complaints about his undiscussed changes to formats. Johnbod (talk) 02:01, 17 June 2013 (UTC)


… for the massive revert of the new citation system. The length of this article is an ongoing concern, and I didn't realize how difficult the citation revision would make it to work on spinning off sections into independent articles. I had recently begun looking at these issues again, in preparation for trying to get the article into shape for the school year this fall, when it seems to be trafficked a lot by students. I'm not sure anyone else is working on the peripheral articles other than History of the Roman Empire. Many of the sources may not even stay in this article after the spin offs, so we'd end up with a bunch of irrelevant stuff in the biblio section. I really don't mean to be a prima donna. Cynwolfe (talk) 19:10, 17 June 2013 (UTC)

Infobox issues

What are the criteria for explicitly giving the names of some emperors in the infobox? Currently, there are Augustus, Diocletian, Constatine I, Theodosius I, Romulus Augustus and Constantine XI. To me, this seems quite arbitrary. Why not just name the first and last ones? Also, when I click on "show" at the "today part of" country list, the last three (Ukraine, United Kingdom, and Vatican) are not displayed, even though being included in the source code. I can't find the mistake; who can help? --FoxyOrange (talk) 08:46, 16 June 2013 (UTC)

Which emperors? Well, the present list seems quite good, those associated with particularly notable points of remark in the Empire's history, though personally I'd add Trajan. I have removed various bizarre insertions in the list of countries and the remainder seem to show up fine. I wonder if the parser has trouble with too long a list. Richard Keatinge (talk) 19:08, 16 June 2013 (UTC)
Well, it might be that for an expert, the current explicit list of emperors indeed includes those associated with particularly notable points. To me (that is, a Wikipedia reader), this it not obvious. Therefore, if a selection of emperors is given, and short explanation must be added to each one (like "first", "at greatest extent of the empire", "last of a unified empire", "last in the Byzantine Empire").--FoxyOrange (talk) 14:04, 19 June 2013 (UTC)
I had deleted some of the emperors in the infobox but they were added back. IMHO, infoboxes should be snapshots, not overly discursive, and not comprehensive. Plus, there's a question of article scope. Material covered primarily at Byzantine Empire doesn't belong here; this article covers the periodization known as antiquity and does not extend into the Middle Ages. Having the first and last ruler seems standard practice with other political entities, and Diocletian as a turning point with the Tetrarchy. As for the countries, we say in the article that 40 modern countries, as of whatever year the source dates to, are on territory that was part of the Roman Empire. That is indeed a very long list. I seem to recall that the religion section mentions Najran, Saudi Arabia, as the eastern outpost of Imperial cult. Cynwolfe (talk) 23:26, 16 June 2013 (UTC)


I've taken a step toward reducing the length of this article by (at long last) spinning off the Languages section into an independent article, Languages of the Roman Empire. The major omission in what I hoped to offer there is in the "Major regional languages" section, where subheads for "Punic and Libyan" and "Celtic" are sketched in place with a hidden note. Will try to get to those, but I would especially encourage contributions for the North African languages, with which I'm unfamiliar. The Celtic section i should be able to get to with less time and trouble. Cynwolfe (talk) 01:41, 18 July 2013 (UTC)

Length, again and again

Although it's my intention to pay heed to editors who visit this article to drop a dire "too long" warning at the top, and while I fully intend to reduce lengthy sections (as I did with Languages of the Roman Empire) by spinning them off, this takes time, and I'm discouraged when the comments of readers, for whose use the article is presumably intended, ask for more information. What are the thoughts of other editors on this?

I find that this article page loads slowly for me, but I rather doubt that the length of the text is at fault; I blame the tentacles of infoboxes, sidebars, and motley templates that keep accruing. The article itself draws usually 250,000 to 300,000 visitors a month; I would love to know how many visit these geegaws, especially some of the narrow topics at the bottom of the article. Again, I ask for the thoughts of fellow editors. Cynwolfe (talk) 17:49, 19 July 2013 (UTC)

Actually, here's a partial answer:
  • Template:Former monarchies Italian peninsula, 111 visits total, not just from this page (all stats May 2013)
  • Template:Roman history by territory, 83 visits
  • Template:Territories with limited Roman Empire occupation & presence, 44 visits
So I would question the utility of some these things, when I believe that people are more interested in what Romans ate and wore and read. Cynwolfe (talk) 17:57, 19 July 2013 (UTC)
I would love to see the number of templates cut down, however I would like consensus on that before axing several of them. A number of people like the nutshell-overview such templates provide.  —Sowlos  21:28, 19 July 2013 (UTC)
My thoughts:
The Roman Empire is too lengthy and intricate a subject to be adequately covered within the conventional size recommendation. No matter how hard we try, we will never succeed to do so. Splitting content into separate sub-articles (referred to by {{Main}} links) is the best way to reduce article size; I commend you for doing that over simply deleting content. Unfortunately, many readers likely don't systematically sift through an entire collection of related sub-articles when looking for a basic understanding of a single article's named subject (they likely expect that one article to cover most of what's needed). The more articles someone must read to understand a topic, the more of a project it becomes to understand that topic.
I'm sure the fact that this article deviates a great deal from what most people envision when they think of "the Roman Empire" doesn't help. It often takes more time and effort to unlearn and relearn a topic then learning from scratch.  —Sowlos  21:28, 19 July 2013 (UTC)
I would certainly get rid of the first, which is huge, and actually only includes Western Roman Empire, and the last. The middle one maybe keep. Johnbod (talk) 00:55, 20 July 2013 (UTC)
Johnbod, do you know whether my impression is correct that an abundance of templates would contribute to the slow loading of the page more than text alone? Could also be the number of images, but one of the reader comments I've seen most often on any article is "more images". And Sowlos: I think you're right to say that many readers likely don't systematically sift through an entire collection of related sub-articles, which is why I think sufficiently informative sections need to stay in the article and not be removed entirely. I actively hope you're right that the article counters pop-culture preconceptions about the Roman Empire. The pervasiveness and success of the army tends to overwhelm everything else, such as the relative sophistication of the economy, the liveliness of the arts, multiculturalism, the importance of freedmen in society, and so on. The approach of Clifford Ando in particular highlights governmental norms (or "what happens most of the time in relation to most of the people") instead of focusing on rebellions and assassinations. I haven't forgotten the concerns about the annalistic history section, either, but just haven't been able to get back to that, since it requires sustained physical presence at the library immersed in CAH. Cynwolfe (talk) 16:50, 20 July 2013 (UTC)
No, I'm afraid I know nothing about that sort of thing, but you may well be right. I expect images do slow things down - it may be worth checking if any have especially large thumb file sizes. What with google art etc we are starting to get some huge image files, but again I don't know how the thumb file sizes work. Johnbod (talk) 19:04, 20 July 2013 (UTC)

This article is way to long (even half the length would be pushing the envelope). I suggest following the summary style guideline. -- PBS (talk) 15:12, 16 August 2013 (UTC)

My grand proposal 2!

The following is one of several proposals/trolling spammed by Keeby101, involving a merger the Ottoman, Byzantine, and Roman Empire articles. —Sowlos  07:14, 12 August 2013 (UTC)
The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

To everyone on here, I am proposing to merge the Roman Empire and Byzantine Empire articles into one article, given that they were both the same empire. What do you all think of this proposal? Do you oppose or support it? Keeby101 (talk) 17:46, 11 August 2013 (UTC)

No need to open two discussions in parallel. The (non-)discussion for this absurd proposal, which doesn't have a snowball's chance in hell of succeeding, will be held (i.e.: speedily closed fairly soon) at Talk:Byzantine Empire. Fut.Perf. 18:08, 11 August 2013 (UTC)
Since Roman Empire is frequently tagged as too long, I fail to see what this would accomplish. Cynwolfe (talk) 21:34, 11 August 2013 (UTC)

It would accomplish a lot actually. And I am currently talking to a bureaucrat on the basis of having administrator status removed permanantly! What he did on when I brought this proposal up on the Byzantine Empire talk page was completely uncalled for as I said to him on his talk page. He came off rudely here and even more rudely on the Byzantine Empire talk page and closed the discussions abruptly and even threatened to block my account from editing. So I am firing back at that by filing a report to a Wikipedia Bureaucrat to remove him of his administrator status on the grounds of violating civility as he was not being civil on the matter and worst of all abusing his administrator perks! I have never encountered behavior like that from anyone and as a result I will not tolerate that for a second. He has yet to apologize so he can go ahead and block me from editing all he wants or even delete my account, but if he decides to delete my account then I will undoubtingly make sure to take him down with me if he does so. Keeby101 (talk) 22:46, 11 August 2013 (UTC)

This continued nonsense is becoming close to trolling. Your "idea" to combine two articles was closed, whereupon you initiated a clearly nonsensical move to combine the Byzantine, Roman AND Ottoman empires! Future Perfect was completely correct in quickly closing that nonsense and notifying you of the consequences of such continued actions. Take the advice of Future Perfect AND Kathovo(who posted on your talk page), go read a book(s) and do something useful. --Kansas Bear (talk) 23:11, 11 August 2013 (UTC)

Oh I have! And your behavior toward me just now is rather rude. And as for Future Perfect, I reported him to a Wikipedia Bureaucrat who undid that closing of the discussions and he also got in major trouble by the Wikipedia Bureaucracy. So unless you want the same thing to happen to you? I suggest you tone it down a little bit! I will get a Bureaucrat here as well if you try anything like what Future Perfect did and I am now prone to get either a Bureaucrat or a Steward and will go as far as getting a developer if people dare to threaten me like how Future Perfect did. Also, in case if you haven't visited my user page it clearly says that I am very busy in real life so I do not have that much spare time on my hands to "go read books and do something useful". I have a job that is very time consuming. So I will only say this one last time and this is to everyone who EVER uses that kind of action that Future Perfect did against me or the tone that you are using against me. CUT IT OUT AND LIGHTEN UP!!!". Keeby101 (talk) 23:37, 11 August 2013 (UTC)

See what you made me do? I didn't mean to go that far. I lost my temper. :( Keeby101 (talk) 23:38, 11 August 2013 (UTC)

The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Guys, I have a really grand idea. Let's merge the following articles into the article Rome because they're basically all the same thing: Alba Longa, Roman Kingdom, Roman Republic, Roman Empire, Byzantine Empire, Ottoman Empire, Turkey, Latin Empire, Empire of Nicaea, Empire of Trebizond, Despotate of Epirus, Papal States, Vatican City, Holy Roman Empire, German Empire, Weimar Republic, Nazi Germany, West Germany, Germany and, just for the heck of it, Freedonia.-- (talk) 14:47, 14 August 2013 (UTC)

Alright I get it already ok! I am sorry for making such an ignorant proposal and losing my temper toward you guys. Sowlos told me all about it when I went on to his talk page to confront him about this and yes I was ignorant about all of these and kicked the hornet's nest. I apologize ok. Peace everyone! ☮ Keeby101 (talk) 01:39, 16 August 2013 (UTC)

Demographics posted this comment on 6 July 2013 (view all feedback).

Who were the people who made up the roman empire, were they from Italy, Rome or made up of people from the from the Countries that were invaded.

After reading this comment, I realized we don't have a demographics section. Woops. What do others think; should we make this a priority? One thing is certain, this complex topic can enlarge this "too long" of an article quite a bit, even with a subarticle at Demographics of the Roman Empire. —Sowlos  18:58, 12 August 2013 (UTC)

There is no way somebody could read this article and still have that question, Sowlos. The demographic info we had was incorporated into Geography (for reasons that are explained there and in the section on Provincial goverment: because that's the way the Romans thought of it, with census-taking and surveying fundamental to organizing provinces). "Languages" appears immediately following "Geography" because the two sections together sketch a picture of the extent of the Empire and the diversity of its peoples. The first sentence of "Society" explicitly addresses multiculturalism. The section on the Senate talks about the increasing numbers of Senators from outside Italy, and states that fewer than half were from Italy by the time of the Severan dynasty. There's a bit of demography in the section on slaves. Another of our comments says you should give imfo onhow they lived and give imfo on wat happend wan a law wasent followd, when again, a glance at the poor chap being devoured by a leopard ought to draw the eye at least a little to the section that addresses this. Another wants more images; where would these be squeezed in? On the other hand, I suppose in the introduction we don't state plainly "The Romans did not, contrary to popular impression, systematically commit genocide in the countries they invaded, since they thought the point was to make use of what various culture had to offer." Cynwolfe (talk) 21:14, 12 August 2013 (UTC)
As you can imagine, I've read through this article (in its entirety) several times. While looking at that comment, I realized I could not remember a section (or collection thereof) that actually explains the ethnicity of the empire in terms many modern people will understand (at least not readily). I double checked of course.
I think this is a symptom of the so-called curse of knowledge. We may have a notion of the way the Romans thought of it, but I think the article only implies what that is. It lays out the rules (if you will) of how things worked, which could be used to rightly infer what happened, but nowhere in the article is there a clear discussion on the movement of ethnicity (as people define it today). The classical understanding of ethnicity is foreign to most modern people.
Readers are likely to see the senatorial and imperial provinces as the real Roman civilization and those under its direct control. Informing the readers that the Empire, as a whole, was extremely multicultural may not be informative enough in this context. Many modern countries had "empires" which did not mix with their domestic populations. This can easily leave readers wondering how much the real Romans intermixed with their "empire".
There is—of course—much on this topic we don't cover. For instance, genetic characteristics of populations descended from the Empire. The J2 haplogroup distribution is a fun example.
Most comments can be complete nonsense. That doesn't mean some aren't based on valid issues. —Sowlos  07:06, 13 August 2013 (UTC)
There is a section on "Demography of the Roman Empire" in the article Classical demography. It could certainly use some expansion. But I am not sure there is a clear distiction between the "real" Romans and the Romanized populations across. I am personally uncomfortable with notions of purity in discussions of ethnicity. Dimadick (talk) 14:52, 14 August 2013 (UTC)
My point is that there is no clear distinction, and that is a confusing concept to the modern perspective. I've often seen wording creep into articles to distance various historical people from whatever relevant civilization (I assume) because they aren't part of what people consider properly part of ethnicity X.
After reading that comment, I realized it might not be completely transparent to the layman reader what was a Roman. —Sowlos  15:12, 14 August 2013 (UTC)
I agree with Dimadick. The concept of Romanitas was incredibly fluid. Even if all one does is look at the pictures and read the captions, one sees the Fayum mummy portrait, for instance, where someone we can assume to be an "ethnic" Egyptian is wearing a garment with the narrow clavus, and is identified by the caption as a Roman citizen. If we don't have a section that conforms to the modern obsession with slotting people into little ethnic boxes, then we've presented an accurate picture of the Roman Empire's multiculturalism. I mean, if you want to draft a "Demographic" section here that contains info not already in the article, by all means do so. But my main concern is not to add redundant info when the article is already too long. However, the problem may lie in the introduction, where the multiculturalism of the Empire should probably be noted. Cynwolfe (talk) 15:58, 17 August 2013 (UTC)
If one reads the article the assumption is not so secure! Johnbod (talk) 22:42, 24 August 2013 (UTC)


From the edit history:

  • Revision as of 17:55, 17 June 2013 Cynwolfe (I'm sorry to be an ass about this, but I need to work more on this article and I can't do it with this citation system, which has screwed up the refs in several sections; please discuss the necessity of this change) — diff

I think that this total revert was a mistake. If indeed the ref tags in several sections were screwed up then those could be fixed. Whether or not {{harv}} templates are used or not I think that using short citations with long references in a references section would improve the look and quality of the citations, because with long inline citations important things often get overlooked (such as page numbers) and there is a lot of repetition in the text used if a book or paper is referenced more than once but to different pages, eg:

  • Connolly, "Rhetorical Education," in The Oxford Handbook of Social Relations in the Roman World, pp. ....
  • The complete Roman army by Adrian Goldsworthy, 2005 --[The page number is missing; as is publisher etc.)

As an example I have edited the article moving entries in the references section that do not support short citations down into further reading and created short citations for those other entries. -- PBS (talk) 15:06, 16 August 2013 (UTC)

One reason I did this was that I'm trying to spinoff sections into independent articles, per recurring requests to pare down the length of the article. When I reverted, I was about to work on Languages of the Roman Empire, which permitted me to shrink that section a great deal. (I had already done Food and dining in the Roman Empire.) There are a few other sections that need to have this done. I found it confusing to do with your edits of the citations. Editors interested in this article have discussed the citations before, and there's no need to create a bibliography that will include items that won't be cited in this article when the process of spinning off articles is complete. Some of the citations have n.p. because the online edition used lacked page numbers (I'm sure we've all seen those on Google Books): this often requires laying hands on a print copy. This takes time and effort. I don't understand moving items in the citations to "Further reading': if what's needed is a page number. Further reading is for stuff not used for compiling the article. Unless you're actually working with the content issues, could you please just be patient? I know it seems like a long wait between spinoffs, but it takes time to build a usefully independent article, as I think Languages of the Roman Empire now is. There are probably other articles on which you could work your citation magic. Cynwolfe (talk) 16:08, 16 August 2013 (UTC)
"I found it confusing to do with your edits of the citations. Editors interested in this article have discussed the citations before, and there's no need to create a bibliography that will include items that won't be cited in this article when the process of spinning off articles is complete". You must be very confused! What I did was the complete opposite of "building a bibliography" I move all the books that were not cited down into further reading and I attached short citations to the books already in the References section. So given that you were confused and hopefully this explanation should explain what I did (if it was not clear from looking at a diff) what now are your objections to my edit? -- PBS (talk) 16:34, 16 August 2013 (UTC)
In your revert you wrote "please don't do this again without a consensus on the talk page; Goldsworthy is evidently the source for this statement" What is the relevance of "Goldsworthy is evidently the source for this statement" with regards to the edit you reverted? -- PBS (talk) 16:41, 16 August 2013 (UTC)
Sorry, I looked at it wrong. As I said, I plead fatigue, so I can't deal with this sensibly today. Can you just wait? Why is this citation business an emergency? Why can't we wait for the process of streamlining the content into appropriately developed articles? Cynwolfe (talk) 17:13, 16 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Comment on PBS's suggestion for short footnotes: while I prefer short inline notes (with {{sfn}}—its not that much extra work and provides a better user experience) and think it's fairly easy to grab the full references from the bottom of an article after pulling references that need them, I'm currently focusing more on other articles. As the primary editorship of this article appears to find extensive use short references disruptive, I find my self having to oppose them (at least for the time). Wikipedia's house style as pertaining to citation is purely a matter of preference, established by convention and consensus on an article-by-article basis. If it's bad for the primary editors of an article, it's bad for that article. —Sowlos  00:08, 17 August 2013 (UTC)
Agreed. Personally I prefer the basic simple refs and don't like sfn, but the primary editors should decide, & I would support whatever they want. Johnbod (talk) 02:48, 17 August 2013 (UTC)
Sowlos you wrote "short references disruptive". The word disruptive has a specific meaning on Wikipedia are you sure that is what you meant? What does "primary editors" mean? Johnbod There were no {{sfn}} templates in the edit I made. -- PBS (talk) 12:34, 17 August 2013 (UTC)
I know. Johnbod (talk) 23:00, 17 August 2013 (UTC)
While "disruptive" may have a "specific meaning on Wikipedia" (as in say WP:disruptive editing) I'm sure that's not how the word is being used here. Paul August 18:58, 17 August 2013 (UTC)
I'm sure that "primary editors" means nothing in terms of Wikipedia's stated ideology; I take it to mean that we should make citation as easy as possible for those who do the research, and use that research to add high quality content to articles. I firmly believe we should respect their needs and preferences in matters of citation style (I admit, completely without shame, that I understand virtually nothing about cite templates, and haven't a clue what sfn is - or didn't until I looked it up; it terrified me). Personally, I prefer to use the simplest possible form of reference. It's what I'm used to, and it's no less useful to readers than something placed in a template (which reads exactly the same anyway). Haploidavey (talk) 13:06, 17 August 2013 (UTC)
Perhaps "active content editors" would be better than "primary". I'm not opposed to restructuring the citations, once the process of spinning off sections is complete. It wouldn't surprise me if that took another six months to a year, though. But I've just found that when you're cutting and pasting, fancy templates are confusing, hard to work with, and susceptible to breakage. Cynwolfe (talk) 17:10, 17 August 2013 (UTC)
Anyone who edits this page is an active content editor. As Keynes one wrote "In the long run we are all dead", if edits can be made now to improve the article for people who read it, inconvenience for editors should not be made a priority. Besides no one has suggested that "fancy templates" are used, also the current citation method will not protect from careless cut and pasts of citations, because a short citation format is already in use through out the article. eg see (Ando, "The Administration of the Provinces," p. 00) -- NB note the error in punctuation used in the chapter quotation style (see MOS:LQ).
Cynwolfe nothing you have written on this page addresses the edit I made which was to tidy up the References section. Unless you have specific objections to that edit I will redo it. If you do have specific objections then either edit my edit or explain what those objections are here to see if we can reach a consensus before I make the edit. -- PBS (talk) 11:45, 18 August 2013 (UTC)

This article is currently about 260k in size. At the moment the citation take up about 80k of article space in about 570 citations. I have just run a test and using the short citation format of "author year, page number" reduced that number by about 1k for the first 10 citations with their repeats (and another 4 different citations by the same authors). If that is inductive of the savings was to be repeated throughout the article then the savings would be substantial. In making these edit I came across several errors in the citations that need flagging and also the use of non logical punctuation in chapter headings (as mentioned above).

The use "author year, page number" for short citations not only reduces space used in this article, so at a later date if it is agreed to use {{harv}} templates the alterations will be easy to make. Also the current non standard method of embedding part of the title in sort citations like this: Ando, "The Administration of the Provinces," p. 00 is an error waiting to happen, because when another editor adds a different edition with different pagination the citation format is broken) so it is much better to use:Ando 2010, p. 00 (if two publications share author and date then the second one is distinguished by 2010a etc, as per WP:FOOTNOTES). -- PBS (talk) 11:45, 18 August 2013 (UTC)

I don't see a consensus for this. Cynwolfe (talk) 16:18, 18 August 2013 (UTC)
You do not see a consensus for what? -- PBS (talk) 16:35, 18 August 2013 (UTC)
For changing the citation format at this time. The <ref></ref> is an accepted format. If you want to check the refs and add missing information, I'm sure everyone will applaud. Some of the refs have been here since long before the effort to improve the article that began about this time last year. I'm not opposed to Harvard citations, which I see as used effectively at, for instance, Catalogue of Women. But this is a large article that's been put together by many different hands, and at one time with a certain number of outdated or not-the-best sources, or sources with incomplete citations. But because certain sections will be spun off, there's no need to create a Harvard-style bibliography right now that would contain sources no longer in the article later. That's why when the question of citations came up a few months ago, we postponed addressing that particular issue. Cynwolfe (talk) 18:27, 18 August 2013 (UTC)
I am sorry but your answer confuses me. Who has suggested changing from the use of ref tag pairs (<ref></ref>)? -- PBS (talk) 16:35, 19 August 2013 (UTC)
You did in the OP. —Sowlos  16:39, 19 August 2013 (UTC)
I think there's obviously some misunderstanding going on here. I don't see where PBS has suggested eliminating the use of "ref" tags, and that's not what PBS's edit, which Cynwolfe reverted, did. It seems to me that the main thing PBS is suggesting is using "short citations" e.g. <ref>Smith 2013, p. 1.</ref>, with the full bibliographic info appearing once in a "References" section, (instead of appearing repeatedly for each citation to Smith 2013). Paul August 16:35, 20 August 2013 (UTC)
Yes. As I said above, that (short style) would be my personal choice too, and would reduce length somewhat, but the main contributors should be deferred to, & Cynwolfe has explained the transitional state of the article. Johnbod (talk) 17:47, 20 August 2013 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────@August Look closer. There were {{sfn}} templates in the reverted edit. (Those are alternatives to ref tags.) And in his OP here, he reiterated his support for either using such templates or naked short references in ref tags. The discussion was about both, but they are implementationally similar as both involve using short citations with long references in a references section. —Sowlos  18:01, 20 August 2013 (UTC)

There are two reverted edits the edit I made did not use {{sfn}} (see the diff]). -- PBS (talk) 20:20, 20 August 2013 (UTC)
Because you had done extensive rearrangement of the citations before, I just wanted us to achieve some consensus before you expended any further effort. I often revert edits to the article when they alter something that resulted from discussion on the talk page, even if I don't necessarily object to the change personally. Cynwolfe (talk) 21:03, 20 August 2013 (UTC)
Where has PBS done "extensive rearrangement of the citations before"? The only edit by PBS that I see is this one. Paul August 23:25, 20 August 2013 (UTC)
Geez, thanks Paul, I was having a really tough week when I began this discussion with a fundamentally mistaken impression: because PBS quoted my edit summary, I assumed it was (s)he who had made the extensive citation-format edits that I reverted before spinning off Languages of the Roman Empire. I humbly apologize. No wonder PBS thinks I'm an idiot. Working on this article alone could be a full-time hobby, and I must beg pardon for paying such glancing attention. Cynwolfe (talk) 13:51, 21 August 2013 (UTC)
I was wondering if that might be the case, and a perfectly understandable mistake. (By the way "short citations", is also my personal preference). Paul August 16:23, 21 August 2013 (UTC)
You may have been thinking of other articles, as PBS has done such changes to articles on my watchlist, though I can't remember which offhand. Are we all happy now, or not? Johnbod (talk) 14:09, 21 August 2013 (UTC)
Yes, what exactly is the result of this discussion? —Sowlos  11:07, 25 August 2013 (UTC)

Infobox image redux

I restored the previous image, because if we agreed on representing the empire with Trajan (and I'm not sure we did), we did not agree per this edit on representing it with his "deified" father, which raises the question of the difference between divus and deus that we really don't want to get into. Cynwolfe (talk) 16:50, 2 September 2013 (UTC)

BTW: the Latin legend on the coin has all three words agreeing: divus pater Traianus, not divus pater Traiani. Cynwolfe (talk) 16:52, 2 September 2013 (UTC)

Stratocratic autocracy

I object to using terminology in the infobox that neither appears in the article nor has a citation to appropriate RS that labels the Roman Empire a "stratocratic autocracy". I invite discussion. Cynwolfe (talk) 16:54, 2 September 2013 (UTC)

I've been unable to find a source that describes the Roman Empire using the words "stratocratic" or "stratocracy". I just want to make it clear that my objection is twofold: I'm against placing information in the infobox that isn't supported by the text, and against engaging in synthesis by applying terms not used in RS to describe the government of the Roman Empire. I really don't care what the proper label is: I'm just looking for sources. Cynwolfe (talk) 19:13, 2 September 2013 (UTC)
I agree; the term seems to be vague, and might fit the modern UK if one works it hard enough. Johnbod (talk) 19:58, 2 September 2013 (UTC)

Religion in the infobox

Also regarding recent changes to the infobox, "polytheism" is incorrect for two reasons. First, "polytheism" is not a religion. It makes no more sense to say that the religion of the Roman Empire is "polytheism" than to say that the religion of modern Iran is "monotheism". Second, two significant religions of the Roman Empire were monotheistic: Judaism and Christianity. The religious environment of the empire was pluralistic, with Imperial cult as the unifying religious force, which at times arrived at compromises to accommodate Judaism but came into conflict with Christianity. I believe we had an earlier discussion about this, but describing the empire as religiously pluralistic isn't hard to find sources for. Cynwolfe (talk) 17:58, 2 September 2013 (UTC)

Cynwolfe, I'm surprised at you, of all people, engaging in this petty guerilla-editing campaign. Or have you joined the ranks of the self-appointed "infobox dictators" that so plague Wikipedia? My sole agenda in editing the Infobox is to provide readers with a more accurate and informative summary. In response to your points above:
  1. Until the advent of the "military emperors" in the 3rd century (starting with Maximinus I Thrax, all the top administrative and military posts of the empire were monopolised by a tiny elite of Roman senators and knights, from whose ranks all the emperors came also. If this isn't oligarchy, what is?
  2. I didn't say the Romans worshipped "polytheism". I said that the Roman religion was polytheistic (surely you are not disputing that). So were the religions of everyone else in the empire, save for Jews and Christians.
  3. What exactly is your objection to my amended summary of the languages of the empire, which is much more accurate and informative than your vague version? EraNavigator (talk) 18:14, 2 September 2013 (UTC)
Could we please keep the various topics separate, so that editors who wish to contribute on one aspect can do so without having to read the entire discussion? And so we can have a focused discussion? Infoboxes are a magnet of contention, and there have been many discussions about this one among editors who are still highly active. Consensus is difficult to attain, and when a consensus has been reached and an editor wants a change, I just want to make sure we don't devolve into squabbling. In this section, I've tried to focus on religion, and have explained why "polytheism" is not a description of the religious environment of the Empire. You have pointed out that it does not, for instance, describe Judaism and Christianity, which are historically important in the empire. I can give you a string of citations that describe Roman religion as pluralistic if you like, but I'll just start with one that is widely cited: John North (a major scholar on Roman religion), "The Development of Religious Pluralism," in The Jews Among Pagans and Christians in the Roman Empire (Routledge, 1992), pp. 174–193. I don't know what you mean by "guerilla", since I haven't done anything stealthy. I provided edit summaries and opened discussions here. We can discuss languages in another section. Cynwolfe (talk) 18:29, 2 September 2013 (UTC)
I agree that "pluralistic" describes the "official religion" of Empire more accurately than "polytheism"; in practice, even "official religion" is somewhat misleading, the topmost, state-funded tip of a vast religious berg that included many, many "officially acceptable" - if privately funded - cults, deities and practices. Monotheistic religions were accepted as legitimate as long as they seemed not to undermine Rome's good relationship with the gods. The Decian edict, f'rinstace, asked Christians to offer sacrifice - any little sacrifice, to any god of their choice - on behalf of the state. If they did, they were exempt from penalty. To Christians, this was tantamount to telling them to abjure their god. To Roman traditionalists, it show their loyalty to the Roman state and Rome's traditional gods - the point being that the performance of sacrifice in an official context made it official. As an alternative, they might be asked to sacrifice to the emperor instead. That's Imperial cult - at least of a kind. So going on to the other change in the religion part of the infobox, and whatever we mean by "Imperial cult", it was not designed to enforce anything much, either in Rome or the provinces. It often followed hard on the heels of conquest, but it was basically intended as an invitation to the good life, and tried to enroll local religions and customs to the Roman cause; a means of acculturation, of the identification of Emperors with divine good order and Roman culture in the Provinces, a chance for the provincial bigwigs to earn citizenship and Romanise their communities. At times it may have been "enforced" - as after the Bar Kochba revolt - but in general, and as long as they paid their taxes, what the provincials got up to in their own time was pretty much up to them. Haploidavey (talk) 19:24, 2 September 2013 (UTC)
"Pluralistic" is a general term, which can be applied to any field, not just religion. "Polytheistic" is the exact term where you indicate a religion with multiple deities, just as "monotheistic" is a religion with a single deity. (I suppose you guys would insist on calling it "monopolistic" instead!) Look it up in the OED. There was an "official" Roman state religion, and it was polytheistic, revering a large number of gods, although with a supreme one, Jupiter. It was administered by an elaborate hierarchy of priests, including pontifices, augures and flamines. The supreme head of the state religion was the Pontifex Maximus, a post held by the emperor himself during the imperial era. In theory, all Roman citizens followed the official state cult. Non-citizen inhabitants of the empire (peregrini) were required to revere the official emperor-cult. Alongside these official cults were a plethora of native cults, also mostly polytheistic, with their own deities, temples and priesthoods. All this militates in favour of splitting the Infobox data into "official" and "unofficial" cults, just as for languages of the empire EraNavigator (talk) 19:45, 2 September 2013 (UTC)

PS: see my articles Latins (Italic tribe) and Imperial Roman army # Religion for more details.

You might want to look at "our" Wikipedia articles on Religion in ancient Rome and Imperial cult (ancient Rome); or more particularly, their sources. I'm not sure why you suppose that anyone would choose to call monotheism "monopolistic". Haploidavey (talk) 20:09, 2 September 2013 (UTC)
I think by "our" H. means "Wikipedia's". I too would good-naturedly suggest a look at Religion in ancient Rome, Imperial cult (ancient Rome), and Glossary of ancient Roman religion and their respective edit histories. "Official" is not the same as either "state cult" or "public cult". Isis, for instance, had festivals on the official calendar (Lychnapsia, Pelusia, Navigium Isidis, and the major festival at the end of October, which doesn't have its article yet). You can't cram this level of nuance and comprehensiveness into an infobox. "Pluralistic" links to Religion in ancient Rome (see first sentence), not religious pluralism, but we do have an article on that. The Feriale Duranum, given its find site, has shown some interesting and surprising things about religion in the military, which was far more conservative than in the population at large. Not sure what the Latini have to do with religion in the Imperial period. Cynwolfe (talk) 20:13, 2 September 2013 (UTC)
I bet a line like "Roman religion, local cults, syncretism, mystery cults, Mithraism, Judaism, and Christianity" wouldn't work so well. Plus, I think I left some stuff out... --Akhilleus (talk) 21:36, 2 September 2013 (UTC)

Languages in the infobox

Per Languages of the Roman Empire, and the cited statement in the Roman Empire article itself that Latin was the language of the law courts in the West and of the military throughout the Empire, but was not imposed officially on peoples brought under Roman rule, I don't think the word "official" should be included in the infobox to describe Latin and/or Greek. It's unneeded, misleading, and contradicted by the text. They were the dominant languages, and both the section in this article and the main article describe the linguistic situation in more detail. Other languages were not excluded even in official or quasi-official inscriptions (as on public buildings), for instance.

Because the infobox provides a quick-view snapshot, it becomes otiose if too much information (explanatory or mere listings) is crammed into it. Anyone who wants to learn the details of the linguistic picture, and who is reading only the infobox, can click to visit Languages of the Roman Empire. As for listing languages other than Greek and Latin, why? What's the cut off? How do we determine that Gaulish is more important than Galatian (why not simply "Celtic"), or whether or not to include Hebrew or Thracian? It's arguable as to whether "Berber" even existed at the time, and yet we had that in the infobox instead of Punic, which appears prominently in the article and which was the language in North Africa we know most about in the Imperial period. But the infobox should reflect the content of the article and its spin-off, Languages of the Roman Empire. Cynwolfe (talk) 18:45, 2 September 2013 (UTC)

Clarification: You seem unaware that I was trying to improve the existing infobox material. I am not responsible for the list of other languages, which, I agree with you, is unnecessary and incomplete (and also wrong in places: e.g. Hebrew, which ceased to be a spoken language in Palestine ca. 1000 BC, and was replaced by Aramaic, which was the main spoken language in the region during the Roman era, alongside Koine Greek). My edit simply mentioned the "international" spoken languages, Vulgar Latin and Koine Greek, "alongside numerous native languages". What's wrong with that exactly? There is every reason to separate the "official" languages, i.e. those of the written medium, such as official documents, inscriptions, imperial decrees and also literature from the spoken ones, as these were completely different. The average Roman in the street (or soldier in the army) would probably not even be able to follow a senatorial speech by Cicero, as the spoken language was much closer to modern Italian/Spanish than to Classical Latin. Same for Koine Greek versus Classical Attic. EraNavigator (talk) 19:11, 2 September 2013 (UTC)
Yes, I wasn't directing this at any individual: it's been there a while, and I hadn't noticed it until the problem with the coin caption came up. I don't see any need to specify "koine Greek" (the link to "ancient Greek language" should provide an explanation of the range of "ancient Greek"), or "Classical" vs. "Vulgar" Latin, which was a fun distinction to make for a while, until scholars who knew better, like J.N. Adams, pointed out that this was a false dichotomy, especially for anyone who has read Petronius's Latin. There would've been plenty of "Vulgar" Latin spoken in the cubiculi of the Claudii. Nobody could follow a speech by Cicero, I imagine: one of his purposes was to pound listeners into submission through his verbiage. But there's no reason to think ordinary people couldn't have read and understood his letters, if they could read, even though many of his allusions would've gone over their head (on the other hand, they would've got some that we don't). So literacy is the issue more than a false dichotomy between Vulgar and Classical Latin (our article on Classical Latin is deplorable in representing some kind of narrow identity-politics Marxist view held over from the 1990s). Anyway, all this is parsed in Languages of the Roman Empire, and I hope enough was left in the relevant section of this article after the spinoff. The general reader looking up Roman Empire won't be ill served by knowing that Latin and Greek were the two major languages. "Local and regional" seems better to me than "native," since it removes the issue of whether all those who used these various other languages were native users. And listing other languages is just a magnet for squabbling, when an infobox can't handle nuance and can't be comprehensive. Cynwolfe (talk) 19:58, 2 September 2013 (UTC)


Entered some changes to the infobox images [1], hope you guys like them. The Roma/Constantinople solidus never agreed with me because its from Late Antiquity, while the topic of the "Roman Empire proper" is most associated with the high Empire. Late Antiquity also overlaps with Byzantine Empire. The period "embodied" by Trajan's solidus would therefore imo be more representative of the central scope of the article. Also, it would correspond with the map below, and, in my personal opinion, just looks better up there :) (probably higher gold content..).

I also introduced a solidus of Constantine as representative of Byzantine succession. We could argue which emperor is most suited for that, but imo Constantine is at the top of that list. What matters to me in that respect is that we use a coin: #1 if we're using coins we should be consistent, #2 the labarum is a religious symbol rather than one of the state (certainly no more than a coin anyway). Thoughts? Raging disapproval? :) -- Director (talk) 17:32, 26 July 2013 (UTC) ]

I'm not opposed to Trajan. If we pick an emperor for this slot, I agree that he is the best. I would add a caption saying Trajan, who ruled the Roman Empire at its largest territorial extent, or something like that, to show why it is he who gets the spotlight, and not, say, Augustus (who is already well-represented by the Prima Porta statue). I'm not opposed to Constantine, though Theodosius might represent a clearer break. I'm open to persuasion on all these. But let's see … what was that other question? Oh yes. The raging disapproval. That I would direct at the choice of coin for the Republic. Brutus's coin in some sense is post-Republican, if one regards the dictatorship of J.C. as a transition from Republic to Empire. It's daggers drawn, and issued by an assassin, whatever his benightedly noble intentions. Might you be persuaded to give that one another go? On the Trajanic principle, something from the Scipionic era might be more representative. My slight hesitation about using an image of a single emperor is that it lends weight to the "great man theory" of history, which is not really au courant. And the Romans themselves represented political entities by female personifications—I think we find it difficult to find suitable nationalist imagery because we bring preconceptions about what nationalist imagery should be (although in the U.S., the Statue of Liberty is an icon the Romans would get with no trouble). Cynwolfe (talk) 18:08, 26 July 2013 (UTC)
Re Byzantine succession. Since its not really a "succession", and since Byzantine historiography usually starts with Diocletian, we could really pick anybody from Diocletian (in who's palace I just had a cup of tea :)) to Zeno - and not really be "wrong". Hence I would not mind any major emperor in that period being chosen as representative of the imaginary non-existent succession :). Constantine has my vote, for all its worth, as the founder of Constantinople and the guy who established Christianity in the Empire. Theodosius? Fine with him as well, but I think C has a prettier coin..
Re the Republic, I agree completely. An earlier coin - if we can find a pretty round one - would certainly be more appropriate. Both here and in the RR article itself. I couldn't find one but then I don't have Photoshop handy to crop those both-sided coin images in half.
I think its a bit of a stretch to say we'd be endorsing any theory by simply depicting the coin the Romans used? -- Director (talk) 21:45, 26 July 2013 (UTC)
Yeah, I'm OK with Trajan and Constantine. Just raising possible questions. If I see any good Republican coins (they aren't categorized very well at Commons), I'll make suggestions. Cynwolfe (talk) 22:38, 26 July 2013 (UTC)
BTW, they could crop a two-sided coin image for you at the Commons photography workshop. They can also work out a lot of basic problems. Cynwolfe (talk) 22:42, 26 July 2013 (UTC)
Ok. Any suggestions re a numismatic depiction of the Republic? -- Director (talk) 06:06, 27 July 2013 (UTC)
My answer is a little complicated; it starts with a comment. Bear with me.
Context - I agree with all of the above; however, I would like to refer something Cynwolfe said in the original discussion on this topic (archived at page 9). ... One would be to find a continuing strand of imagery not confined to a particular regime, such as Dea Roma or Victory personified, that would show both continuity and change. The personification of the capital would work as a representation of the state: Roma for the Republic; Roma and Constantinopolis clasping hands for the Empire ...
For this article - While Trajan is an apt choice if selecting an emperor's numismatic likeness to represent the Empire, I still think personified state imagery is the best choice. If the previous coin was too old, what about a younger one along the same theme? If we've decided to exclude Constantinople from the scope of the article, isn't Victory still the best choice? Victory personified was a major element in the Roman state right up to the Crisis. I'm sure most us will recognize the Altar of Victory as the prime example.
For the Republic - Along the same vein as above, my vote is for Dea Roma.  —Sowlos  07:33, 27 July 2013 (UTC)
Trajan's solidus for me meets several criteria:
  • Its from the heyday of the pagan Empire (the four good ones), indeed at its very pinnacle: Trajan's reign.
  • It corresponds rather perfectly with our accompanying map of 117 AD (the coin was struck in 115 AD).
  • Its a well-preserved, well-restored high-quality solidus, with high gold content, and its image from Commons is also very well done. Its subject is clearly visible.
I am indifferent as to whether or not our coin depicts an emperor. I believe that, if we use coins, then I think its only natural to have an Imperial noggin on it. That's how I believe people perceive Roman coins anyway. But I'm not opposed to personifications of the state either. However I'm not sure if there is such a coin that meets the three criteria just as well? -- Director (talk) 13:50, 27 July 2013 (UTC)
As I said before, I don't disagree with any of your points. If we must chose an emperor, Trajan fits. I just worry that some readers might see the disinfo box representing the Empire with a single man, rather than whoever is currently atop the social/governmental/military pyramid.
Back to your request for suggestions of numismatic depiction of the Republic, (referring to the previous discussion again) what do you think about this? Or if keeping with the top-of-the-pyramid theme is preferable, what about this?
After considering this for a bit, it occurred to me that numismatics may not be the best depiction of the Republic. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm under the impression coinage wasn't nearly as central to state imagery until Augustus.  —Sowlos  06:38, 29 July 2013 (UTC)
I'm not keen on using the Dacian coin, which is quite late to represent the Republic. I rather like this one to represent republicanism. Cynwolfe (talk) 13:40, 29 July 2013 (UTC)
While I'm happy with any of the choices so far proposed, I do think there's a good argument for presenting a State symbol for the Republic (very much an abstract thing, and one given to abstractions on its imagery), and an emperor's head for the Empire (an autocracy, one-man rule, and with a strong need to present that man in public imagery). Personally I'd go for Dea Roma and Trajan, but I'd go with consensus. Richard Keatinge (talk) 16:20, 29 July 2013 (UTC)
On the Trajan solidus (used in the article per date of this post): "The honours of Divus Pater Traianus may have stressed the fact that he, as much as Divus Nerva, was responsible for the present fortune of the emperor Trajan". See BH Isaac, I Roll, "A milestone of AD 69 from Judaea: the Elder Trajan and Vespasian" JRS, 1976, (available at jstor). If the coin legend refers to Trajan's father, so too, presumably, does the image. According to the commons source, the other side has "IMP TRAIANO AVG GER DAC P M TR P COS VI P P, laureate and draped bust". Haploidavey (talk) 21:50, 3 September 2013 (UTC)

My mistake re Trajan's coin, that is indeed Trajan's father (damn it, they look similar! :)). Here is the coin in question. I suggest cutting out Trajan's half and using that. I'd do it myself if I were back home (also the background ought to be made transparent). -- Director (talk) 07:27, 7 September 2013 (UTC)

Much appreciated. If the image chosen to represent "Roman Empire" requires a long explanation, it isn't the right image for the infobox. Richard Keatinge seems to have articulated the basic reasoning well (just above). I've just cut the caption back to the bone, since what we need is an indication of why the symbolism is potent, not numismatic information as such, nor dates of Trajan's reign and all that. Although this coin confuses me somewhat, its relevance seems to be clear regarding Imperial cult, which is up the alley of Haploidavey. Could we suggest some way to express this in a caption of no more than two lines of text? And let's draft it here together. Readers don't need to see our homework in back-and-forth progress on the page. Cynwolfe (talk) 16:17, 7 September 2013 (UTC)
I'm still strongly in favor of using that coin, just the face depicting Trajan himself. What we need is a coin from the height of Roman power, pre-3rd century, pagan Empire. And I think its a stroke of good luck to have such a well preserved coin that matches our map date as well as other criteria. I think its not a good idea to read too much into exactly which person is up there, what matters is its an emperor, and one of the greats. I see no particular need to focus on coins depicting symbols: if we're using coins then its only natural to have emperors on them. The Constantinople coin is really late-period, overlapping with the Byzantine era arguably. -- Director (talk) 18:29, 7 September 2013 (UTC)
All good for me, particularly that Trajanic era imagery seems a good way to go. Cynwolfe (talk) 19:19, 7 September 2013 (UTC)
I think the obverse of the Trajan coin would serve our purposes well. It needs only the briefest of descriptions; its legend is pretty much the full Imperial whack for living emperors, and maintains an element of least surprise. Trajan's or any other divinised papa raises too many questions. So would any Imperial divus in the infobox; we should maintain the principle of least text, and least surprise. I rather liked the Rome-Constantinople coin, but I do accept D's reasoning. I'd go with any "high Empire" coin, especially one with Dea Roma on the reverse. She starts with the earliest notions of Rome's empire, and continues to its end - probably a more comprehensible personification of Empire than any divus. Of course, this presumes we have a Dea Roma plus Emperor coin image. They're rare anyway, but good ones are specially hard to find. Haploidavey (talk) 19:38, 7 September 2013 (UTC)
I've just been tipped that the aureus currently leading the way in the infobox is up for deletion at Commons (sadly, since I've seen it used in multiple articles). It lacks sufficient source information to show that it doesn't violate copyright. If anyone can provide this info, you should head over to Commons to defend it. If it's deleted, what image do we wish to substitute? Cynwolfe (talk) 23:20, 12 September 2013 (UTC)
If it was originally taken from the CNG website, it is in the scope of ticket:2006092710009217, like e.g. File:NERO-RIC I 59-711403 SALUS.jpg. Can anyone provide the relevant link? --Eleassar my talk 07:53, 13 September 2013 (UTC)
Yes, CNG has its own license tag giving permission to use any of their coin images, but unfortunately I'm not seeing this one at their site, even though it looks as if it could've been one of theirs, judging from other examples of an aureus.[2][3]

Names of the empire in the infobox

The native name section looks like a complete mess. What happened? I thought the consensus had moved towards reducing the name spam.

I'm also surprised the previous multi-entry form of the native name section wasn't retrieved. It was far more orderly looking, easier to read, and sourced. —Sowlos  09:14, 17 September 2013 (UTC)

I agree. I know I'm constantly shrieking like a harpy about this, but evidently that isn't going to stop me from doing my spiel again. An infobox is not a place to cram as much information as possible, and should not become discursive or explanatory. If a piece of information requires explanation or nuance, or is not subject to reducibility as a clear and concise phrase, or has multiple scholarly views, maybe it doesn't belong in the infobox at all. Just head the box with Roman Empire, and have the note. There's a good reason there wasn't a standard name, for which see the history of nationalism. The Roman Empire was a network of cities and peoples, not a modern state.
In general about the infobox, I think we need to consider how people will actually be using this article. Mature readers who want to read about the Roman Empire will read the article, skipping sections they don't care about and wandering off to spinoff articles for subjects they're into. The infobox will be used mainly by younger students (I'd say mainly under age 15) who are looking for factoids for school projects, or by older readers looking for a particular kind of information to which we need to direct them for a fuller treatment—that is, these latter will be using the infobox for navigation. That's why we should be directing them to properly informative articles (not autocracy and polytheism, but [[Constitution of the Roman Empire|autocracy]] or sim. and [[Religion in ancient Rome|pluralistic]] subject to [[Imperial cult (ancient Rome)|Imperial cult]]).
The "native" name is important only in so far as there wasn't one (clearly! given the clutter at the top of the box), which reflects also why we have trouble getting a label for "form of government"—for a good contemporary overview of this question, see [4]. Cynwolfe (talk) 15:25, 17 September 2013 (UTC)
I very much agree. Reduce this as much as possible. Fut.Perf. 19:05, 17 September 2013 (UTC)
By the way, did I get this right, is it true that every single thread that was opened on this talkpage this month has been about cleaning up the infobox from these kinds of over-detailed crammed in factoids? Fut.Perf. 19:16, 17 September 2013 (UTC)
And the image chosen to represent the Roman Empire … in the infobox. Cynwolfe (talk) 22:11, 17 September 2013 (UTC)
If a piece of information requires explanation or nuance, or is not subject to reducibility as a clear and concise phrase, or has multiple scholarly views, maybe it doesn't belong in the infobox at all. <--This. —Sowlos  12:39, 21 September 2013 (UTC)
I would be in favor of restoring the simpler infobox heading, with a note that explained the ancient variations. Does Sowlos have a diff where that version existed so we could take a look? We're approaching the time when the Roman Empire is often studied in U.S. secondary schools, and I'm going to try to return to working on this article if I can. BTW, I'm a poor numismatist, but isn't that a coin of Tiberius? I'm down with either Augustus or Trajan to represent the Empire (though I personally would rather have a personification such as Victoria), but not with Tiberius. Cynwolfe (talk) 14:48, 21 September 2013 (UTC)
Yes, it's a coin of Tiberius, presumably the reverse; it shows his divinised predecessor. Just saying. (Damn. Not so sure now). Scrub that. Seems to be Augustus. The reverse celebrates T's 15th anniversary as tribune (or rather, his trib. pot.). Haploidavey (talk) 14:57, 21 September 2013 (UTC)
OK, so the Divus is Julius Caesar, with Augustus as his filius? Cynwolfe (talk) 17:45, 21 September 2013 (UTC)
Yes, that seems to be the accepted reading. Haploidavey (talk) 17:51, 21 September 2013 (UTC)
And the side depicted would be, according to convention, the obverse, yes? And if the date of issue is correctly placed at 13–14 AD, the only filius Divi at that time was Augustus? Again, if it is Tiberius, let's not use Tiberius to represent the Empire. If it's Augustus, then I don't understand the virulence of this edit. Cynwolfe (talk) 18:46, 21 September 2013 (UTC)
Yes to all. The image here is a crop from this], which shows both sides. For the source (image, identification, legend and English text) see RIC 221 at wildwinds, who're usually reliable. Haploidavey (talk) 19:05, 21 September 2013 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────I restored an earlier version of the infobox heading. I'm not wedded to this exact version. I do think that in this discussion and at least one other (maybe two), multiple editors agreed that top clutter is undesirable, and that we don't need every variation displayed. Additional info can be placed in a note. Heck, a whole article could be created to contain it, so we could link to it. Lest there be cries of ownership, I myself would be content to have none of this at all, and just head the box "Roman Empire". I'm trying to act on what we've hashed out on this page. Cynwolfe (talk) 18:38, 22 September 2013 (UTC)

Inflation and decline

First of all, this article already addresses inflation, here: Roman Empire#Currency and banking. Second, there is another article on the decline, here: Decline of the Roman Empire. Ananiujitha (talk) 21:14, 7 October 2013 (UTC)

I read it,but you didn't post the subjects by importance.I noticed the decline description and the "Civis romanus sum" description.To pay soldiers and above all allies too it needed money and inflaction (well described by the decline of % of gold in coins) wasn't good to do it (soldier derives from solidum that was the latin name of a type of coin ).It seems that under Augustus or Traianus the roman citizens lived on all Roman Empire territories.About the military decline Attila was defeated by Romans and allies.His people caused many movements of other people but it wasn't the main cause of the empire fall.On the military level are much more influent the northern tribes from Scandinavia and Persian Gulf populations.May be reading for people the greatest history encyclopedia BARBAGALLO (and not only ; latin and latin literature and archeology must be known very very well) isn't a bad thing.Thanks of your talking and good luck. (talk) 21:23, 7 October 2013 (UTC)


Nobody cited in the article the main cause of theRoman Empire decline.It's incredible,a lot of words without citing the chronic ill of the this unique power in the history.The real killer was the INFLACTION and HIGH LEVEL of printing of currency.In the year 0 a roman golden coin was 95% golden made.In 465-476 a.C. in the Western Roman Empire a coin was only 5% golden composed.In the Roman Republic article nobody cites that to be a roman citizen( "Civis romanus sum") you must live at the south of the Rubicone river (Romagna) and at the south of Liguria borders. All main hystoricians of Rome know it.It's impressive the lacking of knowledge in this article.May be nobody knows well Romans as Italians because they are the largest part of their roots.Nobody has this privilege,all world copied later the Roman Imperial Eagle that lives on my mountains.Copied. (talk) 11:22, 6 October 2013 (UTC)

There are many causes of "decline", or transformation. The debasement of the currency is at Roman Empire#Currency and banking. Cynwolfe (talk) 15:26, 6 October 2013 (UTC)

INFLACTION and HIGH LEVELS of printing money are the main cause of the Roman Empire collapse.In the article they aren't cited.It's impossible to describe the Roman Empire without citing main things .About roman citizenship nobody cited "what is it".Italian best historicians of the roman period (that are the best ones in roman history without doubt)always cite what i suggested.Article is at a low level. (talk) 18:58, 6 October 2013 (UTC)

Perhaps you should read the article: see Roman Empire#Currency and banking on inflation and currency debasement. Symptoms and contributing factors of "decline", which current scholars are more likely to view as transformation, are discussed by topic, not in a "grand theory" section. Cynwolfe (talk) 12:06, 7 October 2013 (UTC)
You might also be pleasantly surprised by by the article on Roman citizenship and the various articles linked from there, such as Latin right. NebY (talk) 12:14, 7 October 2013 (UTC)

Inflaction should be cited in the main article as main cause of the Roman Empire decline ,just to set the things at the right place.About "Citizenship" you should explain about it too in the main article,in fact it changed by times of the Empire.For istance there isn't a map of the roman citizenship most known that is the one that had very similar borders with the later Gothic Line during WWII.Explaning the importance of Teutoburg battle (the main root of the origin of protestant world,in fact saxons and scandinavian people never had the roman culture) and the defeat in the today Iran land (the east never fell under roman and so also the christian influence) it wouldn't be a mistake.Same importance is explaining the everlasting dualism west-east in the Empire.East was influnced dy eastern minding and religions much more ascetic (this explain why western progress as today intended started in the western lands of the Roman Empire) These are main themes that influenced and will influence history after the Roman Empire (see byzantine and orthodox world that were originated before politically and later also at the religious level).Roman Empire it's too complex to be presented in this way.I gave you just some main suggests to better this article in my opinion good just for common people. (talk) 13:10, 7 October 2013 (UTC)

Historians have proposed hundreds of causes or contributory causes of the collapse of the Western Roman Empire. Inflation is one of the better explanations, but generally specialists in the period don't point to one thing, but a combination of many things, such as civil wars, increasing Sassanid military effectiveness, a wider range of potential usurpers, soil depletion, the destabilizing effects of Hunnic hegemony in central Europe, and its collapse, and so on. Inflation also requires a working definition of inflation, because declining silver content in the currency does not in itself imply declining buying power. Ananiujitha (talk) 15:38, 7 October 2013 (UTC)

A lower % of gold in a coin is sign of inflaction in Banca d'Italia.I don't know at other homes. Roman Empire collapse had as main root (not the only one ) inflaction.We must consider then many causes ,but a strong sign was inflaction.Yun Lin (they were so named by chineses) moving or ills or military mistakes were statistically all possible other causes.Main historicians consider the extension of the Empire too large and too long lasting in the time compared with the level of growth of the inventions and the discoveries of the period( even today and very probably next decades world will grow slowly and in quantity and above all in quality becacuse of lacking of discoveries or inventions).The lines to join the borders of the Empire were too too long .Same for other empires (see Mongols) that because of the short lasting quickly collapsed.Every empire has in its DNA like all the human beings the weak points.In the long term always the most rigid part of a structure (there were a lot of them in the Roman Empire) become a limit,in fact flexibilty is the origin of the life.So "who was " a roman citizen?Where was he from under Augustus?I can't see the map in this article of the Roman Empire referred to it.It's really hard for a common person to realize in the article "WHO" was and "WHERE" lived the roman under the best period of the Roman Empire. Pliny the younger had the main estate at 5 km from my home in northern Umbria ,close Tuscany.The archeological place is named "Colle Plinio".The villa is close to creek Vertola that starts at Bocca (mouth) Tabaria (long piece of wood used for houses or ships).In this area passes (Bocca Trabaria,Bocca Serriola (serrula was used to cut wood),Via Maggio) were the camps of the romans that attacked Hannibal at the lake and the brother close Fanum.You can still see in the forrests the old road that linked Tifernum Tiberinum to Ariminum.I checked this article and they somebody added "citation needed")))What level of knowledge))) (talk) 15:51, 7 October 2013 (UTC)

Except for the map at the top of the article. And the section Roman Empire#Geography and demography. And the drop-down box that lists provinces. I encourage you to read the article before commenting on it. Cynwolfe (talk) 20:53, 7 October 2013 (UTC)

I read it all and those things aren't explained or presented at all well in this article.I'm sorry.And trust me,my low vote isn't from a common reader. (talk) 21:01, 7 October 2013 (UTC)
Another one of those weirdos with incomplete ideas about history coming from political propaganda. Lemme guess, you've heard someone tell you about the history of money and it blew you away so now you think you know why everything happened in all of time. Tell me, is the US is going to go the way of Rome? Is it inevitable? Already starting? Uggh..
Amico, the Roman Empire fell apart due to a huge number of reasons, but behind it all is the fact that political power in the Empire was based more and more openly in the professional standing army - which is a fundamentally unstable system. If any commander can just take his troops and proclaim himself ruler with more-or-less the same legitimacy as anyone else - that's not good. Say Martin Dempsey addressed US troops one day and said he was the rightful President, and that he's counting on their support to put him in the oval office - what do you think would happen? They'd say "you didn't win an election (also, are you nuts?)". If Marshal de Villars ever thought of telling his troops he's the rightful King of France, he knew they'd say - "but you've no right to the throne!".
Its the stratocratic system that caused the Crisis of the 3rd Century, and its this Crisis that ultimately destroyed that which made Rome tick. The inflation was simply the consequence of many would-be emperors trying to buy off their troops with more and more money of less and less worth - its a consequence of the primary factors, not the cause.
But this is not a forum, so I suggest you make a specific edit suggestion (and post sources in support of course). -- Director (talk) 21:09, 7 October 2013 (UTC)

You made of it a forum .May be you misunderstood article.USA can't be compared to the Roman Empire at every level.I'm sorry.Really a low level article.Delete that Amico.You call in that way all people you like ,but not me. (talk) 21:18, 7 October 2013 (UTC)

Non sei mio amico? Sono distrutto. Specific proposals now, please - or else take a hike. -- Director (talk) 21:24, 7 October 2013 (UTC)

I'm sorry for you.May be or without doubt (as people like more) today the real and sole silent empire in the world is EU.See Eurosphere. I like to talk of this article problems not of USA propaganda that you held here.Cynewolfe i saw map,but in the article there isn't map that explain in the "golden" period where lived the people that could say "Civis romanus sum".That's really incredible.People will trust that the majority of roman citizens in that period lived in Spain,Greece,Egypt,France,England,Iraq and so on...that's really not clear in presenting.You lack a lot in describing "WHERE" romans lived and "WHO" were they in Roman Empire.The empire couldn't exist without romans and nevertheless the article. I begin to doubt about or level of knowledge or good feith as Wikipedia asks .Answering many times at the same way (without trying to change what is wrong or without having doubts or criticizing what is written in himself) begins to be an "Excusatio non petita accusatio manifesta".Really good luck and thanks of your talking. (talk) 21:30, 7 October 2013 (UTC)

Main map of Empire

I propose that the map in the infobox used should not be the map at the greatest extent, but the anachronous map of all lands ever under Roman control. For example, southern Scotland was conquered after the greatest extent. Zginder 2013-10-28T19:00:50Z

If its only south Scotland then imo there would be no point. -- Director (talk) 19:46, 28 October 2013 (UTC)

Coin in infobox (yes, again)

I'm sorry to do this, but I just realized the two top images of in the article are BOTH of Augustus. (I was reviewing the images after the sad copyright-vio loss of the model that showed the Circus Maximus and Flavian Amphitheatre … sigh.) In terms of cultural literacy, the Augustus of Prima Porta needs to be where it is, IMO. But it strikes me as redundant to have both images at the top be of Augustus. That's the problem with not making these kinds of choices in the context of the informational/educational purpose of the article as a whole. I still prefer to go with an image that the Romans themselves used to personify an aspect of imperial rule, but the argument about representing the Empire with an emperor is perfectly sound, and Trajan seems like the best candidate as reigning when the Empire was at its greatest expanse. See Commons:Category:Coins of Traianus, but please feel free to get creative and go outside that category. If we can agree on an image, but it needs editing, I'll volunteer to take it to the photo workshop at Commons to have it cropped or the background dropped or whatever, so expressing an opinion here doesn't obligate you to further effort. Thanks. Cynwolfe (talk) 16:40, 22 September 2013 (UTC)

Proposed images

It seems to me that if you're going to feature a coin on the infobox, then the image should show both sides, and that it should be of precious metal - gold (aureus), or at least silver (denarius)- thus less corroded and more shiny, and that it should contain the SPQR acronym. The coin you propose above is grotty bronze, with a badly corroded head. Also, the reverse has the legend RESTITUTOR ACHAEAE ("Saviour of Greece") - hardly an Earth-shaking campaign. EraNavigator (talk) 15:42, 24 September 2013 (UTC)
OK, obviously the two aurei above are an improvement on the bronze specimen. But neither contain the official SPQR state acronym, which surely would be desirable in the infobox of the Roman Empire. EraNavigator (talk) 18:50, 26 September 2013 (UTC)
I don't know what you mean by "official". There's no reason to think that the initialism was more important than other ways of representing the unity of the Empire. In fact, SPQR represents the effort to preserve Republican traditions, and owes its continued use to the formal retention (in some aspects, pretense) of Republican institutions in the Imperial era. The increased use of other abstractions such as Pax, Concordia, Victoria, and numerous others arises from quite official attempts to produce a unifying imperial imagery. The Altar of Victory acquired its symbolic importance in the debate between Symmachus and Ambrose because it was a remaining symbol of that process of unification. J. Rufus Fears has an extended treatment of this, which includes the importance of coinage, in ANRW II.17.2 (1981) with the two very long articles "The Theology of Victory at Rome: Approaches and Problems" and "The Cult of Virtues and Roman Imperial Ideology". These personifications were very much a part of official "self-presentation" (or propaganda) and distinctive of the Empire, though established in the Republic with the temple-dedications to Honos et Virtus and the like by victorious generals from the Second Punic War onward. And in the Dominate they seem to have cared little for the concept of SPQR, while these abstract ladies proliferated. Cynwolfe (talk) 19:13, 26 September 2013 (UTC)
By "official" I mean exactly that: the way that the State was referred to in imperial inscriptions (e.g. on triumphal arches, governmental buildings, etc). Officially, the State remained a Republic (with the same annually elected magistrates - Consuls etc) - whatever the political realities. Senatus Populusque Romanus continued to appear in imperial inscriptions until ca. AD 400. Res Publica Populi Romani Quiritium, or just Res Publica, was an alternative official form. e.g. the epitaph inscription for the imperial statue granted to Marcus Claudius Fronto, a general who was killed in battle with the Sarmatians under Marcus Aurelius (ca. 170): "he fell, bravely fighting until his last breath for the Republic". CONCORDIA, VICTORIA, PAX etc, did not refer to the State: they were propagandistic motifs highlighting a particular quality of an emperor's rule.

PS: here is a Trajanic coin that contains SPQR (unfortunately it's cheap bronze):

EraNavigator (talk) 19:57, 26 September 2013 (UTC)

Most triumphal arches contain the SPQR acronym: e.g. Arch of Titus, Arch of Trajan, Arch of Septimius Severus, Arch of Constantine. You might consider replacing the coin feature with one of these arches, or its inscription. For example,
Inscription on Arch of Titus
I'm not disagreeing with any of that. All these images can be considered propaganda. The abstractions embody a different aspect of unification under Roman rule, and are characteristic of the Empire. The Roman Empire was not a modern nation-state, which is why it seems useful to avoid imagery (particularly that phony vexilloid that someone just added again) that suggests otherwise. Besides, if the image at the top is only letters, then we don't need an image. The idea is to have a visual impact, an image that encapsulates the article, which is not just a political and military account. The advantage of having a two-sided coin image, as Era Navigator suggested, is that we can have it two ways: we have the emperor on one side, and an image on the other that points to something broader. Like the existence of humanity beyond the masculine ruling elite, however it may be shaped for ideological purposes. I like the opportunity of using the image to announce more of what the current article actually does: to show that the Roman Empire will maybe hold some surprises for the reader that Hollywood and popular (mis)conceptions haven't prepared them for. I've learned a lot myself in researching the article over the last year about economic diversity and social mobility, for instance. These are the kinds of things that the personifications are meant to be embody. Cynwolfe (talk) 17:16, 28 September 2013 (UTC)

Ugh.. enough already. We agreed on the coin theme now lets let it stand for at least a couple months before its nit-picked over. I feel kinda guilty for starting all this. Disagree with using photos of triumphal arches. If we must use S.P.Q.R. as a symbol then just use an .SVG rendering of the acronym in some vaguely-Roman font. Placing a photo of a triumphal arch in the infobox is akin to introducing the photo of a flag [5] instead of an .SVG rendition of the same symbol. -- Director (talk) 10:10, 3 October 2013 (UTC)


I don't get it. Why is there an image of a coin in the infobox? Why is this necessary? It makes the infobox unnecessarily long.--FutureTrillionaire (talk) 20:33, 13 February 2014 (UTC)

If you read through some of the more recent talk page logs, you'll see the point of the coin image was to fill the infobox's coat of arms field with something that was much closer to a state symbol than the previously used vexilloid image. Since the Romans didn't represent the state in the way we do today (indeed Rome wasn't even a state in the way we think of them today), there has been some debate (as you can see) over what is the best fit.
It doesn't make the infobox unnecessarily long. Unless you consider infoboxes themselves unnecessary (as many people do), the infobox has been reduced to covering only the essential points. —Sowlos  22:21, 13 February 2014(UTC)
Since Rome didn't have an official flag or emblem, wouldn't it be more appropriate just leave the "coat of arms field" empty?--FutureTrillionaire (talk) 23:45, 13 February 2014 (UTC)
You make a good point, however it's not actually as simple as that. We technically have similar problems selecting:
  • The Empire's official name — It has had many, none of which would be "official" in the modern sense
  • Its start date — It had no actual founding; there was a gradual transition from the way things were run in what is commonly termed the Republic
  • Its end date — Different parts of the Empire ended at vastly different times
  • A map of its territory — We use a map of the Empire's greatest extent, but we have no way to show its final borders
  • The capital city — That depends on what era you look at, what historian you ask, and ignores that the capital essentially was wherever the Emperor happened to be
  • A single government type — That depends on when
  • "The head of state's title" — See Template:Infobox_former_country#Politics
  • Its legislature — One could make the argument that the Empire, after its early years, technically had no real legislature
  • Its historical era — See the dating issues
  • Its official currency — The Empire didn't deal with the minting of currencies at all the way we do today
  • Etc
With all that, we could argue that the Roman Empire wasn't technically a state/country at all and as such it would be more appropriate to remove the former country infobox all together. But, we don't do that here or with the articles of other entities in similar predicaments. The nature states has changed over time. Understanding that, we give all the historical entities across this continuum equivalently similar coverage. The fact of the matter is people like pretty "infoboxes", it would likely cause a great deal of trouble if we tried to resist that for this or any other important article, and the former country infobox was obviously made with the modern nation-state in mind, so we're forced to be somewhat flexible with how its fields are used. However, this is not to say we haven't excluded obviously too ambiguous from being placed in the infobox. —Sowlos  01:07, 14 February 2014 (UTC)


The spelling of this article is inconsistent. First sentence: "characterised", second sentence: "destabilized". Not only -ise/-ize is inconsistent, there are also other issues, such as -our/-or (e.g.: Labor subsection uses labour in body text). Per MoS (and GAC 1?), spelling should be consistent.

I would like to change this article consistently to Oxford spelling. Any objections? Michael! (talk) 11:04, 19 May 2014 (UTC)

 Done Michael! (talk) 10:40, 23 May 2014 (UTC)

"Would have required"?

This is confusing: "In 212 AD, by means of the edict known as the Constitutio Antoniniana, the emperor Caracalla extended citizenship to all freeborn inhabitants of the empire. This legal egalitarianism would have required a far-reaching revision of existing laws that had distinguished between citizens and non-citizens."

"Would have required" is a conditional: IF the edict had extended citizenship, it WOULD HAVE required..."

But the edict was actually issued, right? Why doesn't this say "DID require"? GeneCallahan (talk) 22:44, 5 June 2014 (UTC)

Too long

This article is too long. Consider shortening the article. (talk) 17:10, 27 April 2014 (UTC)

Sorry, but I doubt if mere opinion justifies your tagging for over-length. You'd best offer helpful, specific suggestions on exactly why or how the article should (or could ) be shortened, and meantime, I'm removing the tag. Haploidavey (talk) 17:38, 27 April 2014 (UTC)
As far as I'm concerned the article is actually fine as it is. Regarding such a complex issue as the Roman Empire, trimming it would instead of being an improvement, even detract from its value. Plus the article already links to subarticles. Just leave it as it is. -- fdewaele, 27 April 2014, 19:50 CET.
Please skim the last few archives of a talk page before blindly making such requests. The issue of how long this article should be has been discussed at length. The consensus reached was that this article is actually small given the large topic it covers and that future attempts to shorten it may take place in areas which can be spun off into full sub-articles (leaving behind smaller sections with {{Main}} links at their tops). —Sowlos  12:29, 1 May 2014 (UTC)

yes however it is a very well documented subject, being that many areas of the world had unfortunately lost much of the material of their respective empires, the Roman knowledge survived relatively well compared to other empires because of the efforts of the European and Arabic/Muslim civilizations who inherited them, as long as it is logically organized and has the quick links I think it is good, a summary is good for those looking for a quick overview but an encyclopedia attempts to cover the topics in good depth, and as this is an online source, I don't think it would be good to omit sections for conciseness. General research may cover different things, some things that may be omitted may be entirely useful to others. On that there is not much repetition that I can glean from the article, it would be better to highlight or quote the areas that should be merged or removed if there are cases of repetition you can just have them removed. Other articles are unfortunatley short because we don't know more about some civilizations due to records being destroyed, lost or poorly handled so we have lost that knowledge forever or scholars have not studied in at as much depth or haven't had enough time to (talk) 10:40, 7 May 2014 (UTC)

  • You can look at it this way: the lead does not summarize the article adequately, either make the lead longer or shorten the article. Soerfm (talk) 21:00, 18 July 2014 (UTC)

no mention of decline/the fall of the empire and structural reasons(!) leading to it

here ( is some mentioning of it, but the roman empire article should be somehow linked to this information, i am not sure how would be best to do this. (talk) 12:52, 9 August 2014 (UTC)

Fall of the Western Roman Empire, Fall of Constantinople, Decline of the Roman Empire, and Decline of the Byzantine Empire may all be useful wikilinks. I hope this helps. Richard Keatinge (talk) 22:03, 9 August 2014 (UTC)


Hey guys, I have noticed that the infobox is missing a symbol or flag as with other past countries/empires in wikipedia. I know that Rome was not represented by a 'flag' per se however I would recommend that an SPQR standard be used in this instance as we have it on pretty good knowledge that Rome was expanded and its officials represented under standards. I can't attach an image but if you follow this you begin to understand what i'm driving at. Thanks, - H - H (talk) 18:50, 19 August 2014 (UTC)


Please tone down the hyperbole in the intro

"During its tenure, the Roman Empire was the most powerful economic, cultural, political and military force in the known world."

Economic: Clearly at least one major economic historian ( does not see the Roman Empire as the biggest economy of its day,

Military: I am not an expert on military history, but if the Roman Empire wasnt able to defeat the Persian empire decisively in 500 years, ( it definitely wasnt even the most powerful military force in the Middle East, let alone the world.

Cultural and political: I am not sure what massive cultural impact the Roman Empire had outside its borders during its day. In contrast, by 350 AD we had Indianized kingdoms appearing in South East Asia (, not to mention the spread and adoption of Buddhism as far east as China and then later Japan.

Either qualify this statement in some way or remove it altogether. I am invariant under co-ordinate transformations (talk) 18:03, 29 August 2014 (UTC)

I wouldn't say that Rome's economy was larger than Han China's throughtout it's entire history, but it certainly was during periods of disorder in the latter. Rome's economy was certainly the largest on earth around 100-200 AD. Rome's army sacked the Persian capital five times, whereas the Persian's couldn't even sack Antioch as many times, let alone come within a 1000 miles of Rome. I'm not even going to get into cultural stuff, because you're plainly ignorant there. Tataryn77 (talk) 22:12, 29 August 2014 (UTC)

Promotion to Featured Article Status

What further changes should be made for this article to be promotable to featured article status?Historian7 (talk) 16:46, 30 August 2014 (UTC)

TonyTheTiger raises a major obstacle at Wikipedia:Featured article candidates/Roman Empire/archive1; the article is extraordinarily large. If it was cut by 25%, there might still only be 2 Featured Articles that were larger. That would require more than trimming; it would mean significant cuts and restructuring. It might help to analyse other articles from User:The ed17/Featured articles by prose size - for example, how does India manage to be less than half the size of Roman Empire? There are also discussions in this article's talk pages that might help, most recently Talk:Roman Empire/Archive 10#Length, again and again, though I fear Cynwolfe may have despaired of making progress here.
The lead will bear reviewing further; at present its historical narrative is in some ways more detailed than that in the History section just below it. But even cutting the lead down from six paragraphs to one wouldn't make much difference to the overall size. I'd suggest building consensus for specific restructuring and cuts in the article body first. NebY (talk) 16:28, 1 September 2014 (UTC)
I did despair of making progress here. I drafted a history section, and drafted fork articles to ease the length (some of these came into existence: Languages of the Roman Empire, Food and dining in the Roman Empire), but have been unable to devote the time. Some issues of length arise because adequate articles don't exist on topics such as performing arts in ancient Rome (last time I looked, the theater article was deplorable). I've also noticed that many Wikipedia editors have a distressingly outmoded view of what "history" is, as if they haven't read any history books written in the last 30 years. They seem to think "history" is a chronology of emperors, assassinations and wars. Not economic history, or social history, or political history, or cultural history … At any rate, as I've stated before, I don't see why an article on the Roman Empire wouldn't be among the longest on Wikipedia. Why shouldn't it be longer than, for instance, Shakespeare authorship question? That's a hefty read that I wouldn't have the patience to sit through, no matter that its execution is excellent. So what articles should be longer than Roman Empire? Anxieties about length diminish if you view the scope of the article in comparison to other topics. Do editors sit and read the article, and become so bored and burdened that they can't finish it? That's the issue, not the length itself. I don't think it's anywhere near FA quality, though.Cynwolfe (talk) 13:10, 5 September 2014 (UTC)
I agree that Wikipedia articles and Wikipedia editors often overly focus on traditional narrative history/"chronological event history", which has fallen a bit out fashion in modern historical research. That is definitely a weak spot of Wikipedia. However personally I'm not a big believer in research fashions but more importantly I think this issue need to be looked at from different perspective in Wikipedia. The problem is not that we have too much traditional narrative history ("Wikipedia is not paper") but that we do not have enough economic, social, political, cultural or structural history in general (yet). Since Wikipedia is written bottom up and editors simply work on what they are personally interested in and comfortable with, we probably will always having more editors working on the traditional narrative history perspective than on the other ones and this perspective is always likely to be covered first, simply because traditional narrative history articles are usually easier to write. The whole issue is a bit like the old "Disney versus Shakespeare"-complaint, that is, that in comparison Disney is much better covered than Shakespeare. But such comparisons or relative terms are misleading for WP, since due to its voluntary and bottom up structure there is no way to allocate editor resources from the top (following suggestions from an expert board) in relative terms. In short relative comparisons do not work within the Wikipedia structure for principle reasons. Hence we should not bother with them and concentrate on making any subject as good as possible in absolute terms, in other words people interested in Shakespeare should focus on getting that content as good as possible and not bother with size comparisons to Disney. Now with regard to historic writing in Wikipedia editors working economic, social, political, cultural history should concentrate should making that content as good as possible and assure that it is featured prominently in overview and summary articles, but not bother with the fact, that overall there will be much more content in the traditional narrative perspective.--Kmhkmh (talk) 15:59, 5 September 2014 (UTC)
Actually personally I rather see the article long, complete and "better" but without a feature article status, than deleting meaningful information without replacement (such as outsourcing it to separate main articles) just to make the article conform to some formal feature article criteria. To me Wikipedia articles should in doubt pursue a "content over form" approach and if editors at the feature article review place a strong emphasis on form(al) criteria than that is their choice but as a consequence they have to accept, that certain articles will intentionally not pursue the featured status as it is not their best interest.--Kmhkmh (talk) 15:18, 5 September 2014 (UTC)

Greatest Extent

The article says that "The Empire reached its greatest extent under Trajan, the second in this line." This is often repeated, but I do not think it is true. At the least it is extremely misleading, since Trajan's conquests east of the Euphrates were abandoned after his death. Is it accurate to claim that the areas that Trajan invaded east of the Euphrates were really part of the empire? The Roman army often invaded areas on the other side of the Danube to combat German aggression--yet nobody claims these areas were in any sense part of the empire. Severus actually annexed Mesopotamia and added land in Africa and Britain; I think it is more accurate to say that the empire reached its greatest extent under Severus.Ocyril (talk) 01:18, 6 September 2014 (UTC)

A couple of clarifications here.
  • The phrase "empire X reached it greatest extent", doesn't necessarily longer period of that etent.
  • Traditionally the empire at Trajan's death is considered as the largest extent and Wikipedia should not deviate from a formulation you find in most/all reputable books on the Roman Empire
  • You cannot compare the situation under Trajan with (punitive or preemptive) Roman expeditions after 9 BCE east of the German border as they were never meant to conquer new territory whereas Trajan's epedition in the east clearly intended to.
  • The land that Severus "added" in Britain or the near east, was only land that had been under Roman control before and the Roman permanent acquisition in Africa were rather small.
--Kmhkmh (talk) 04:52, 8 September 2014 (UTC)

Unexplained changes

@Historian7:, please could you say why you made some of the changes in this edit, which had no edit summary? For example:

  • How does "Conflict and civil unrest" describe a period that included civil war first between the triumvirate and the faction of Brutus and Cassius and then between Octavian and Antony, plus the proscriptions of the triumvirate that killed Cicero and many more, better than "Civil wars and widespread exexecution?
  • Why omit the annexation of Egypt, key to the sustainability of Rome and of imperial power?
  • Why hide the Praetorian Guard's role in the accession of Claudius or leave the implication that the Empire survived merely because some liked Claudius?
  • Why not mention conspiracies and civil wars?
  • Why not mention that Rome was greatly extending its power beyond Italy? We should be expanding further on this. It was the massive influx of wealth, concentrated in a few hands, and the extraordinary personal military power gained by a few individuals through conducting long and successful military campaigns that at least precipitated and arguably lead inexorably to the end of the Republic.
  • To say that Julius Caesar was "created" perpetual dictator implies that some entity more powerful than he gave him that title; that is not safe.

I'm not saying my edits couldn't be improved, but I can't see that reversion and deletion have accomplished that. NebY (talk) 18:52, 30 August 2014 (UTC)

  • "Conflict and civil unrest" is a purposely broad term. What it replaced was narrower, and the causes of the end of the republic were broad and complex.
  • I removed the reference to Egypt because A) Rome did not "annex" Egypt at this point in any formal sense (Egypt was nominally independent in the decades immediately after Actium, as it had been before; the only real change at this point was the replacement of the puppet pharaoh with the emperor as "king" of Egypt; it wouldn't be ruled as a province by proconsuls until later) and because a lot was going on at this point, so mentioning Egypt but nothing else is arbitrarily selective.
  • We can remove the whole issue of the senate considering the restoration of the republic at this point if you want. The article said that the praetorians were bribed, and this is what made them make Claudius emperor. This is not what happened, so I removed it.
  • Which conspiracies and civil wars should we mention? As it is now, the coverage of the history in this article is too brief in scope to go into much detail on these things.
  • Rome expanded beyond Italy under the republic, so little detail on this point should appear in this article. As for the causes of its expansion, they went far beyond the handful of causes you list above.
  • No, "created" is a term often used when someone is given a title (as in, "X was created a prince" or "X was created a duke").Historian7 (talk) 20:20, 30 August 2014 (UTC)
  • "Conflict and civil unrest" is by its very breadth too anodyne. We wouldn't describe the American Civil War that way. But I'm not content with my own "widespread execution" to describe proscription either. Perhaps just "civil wars and proscription"?
  • "Annexed" is the term used of Egypt in the OCD and elsewhere. Augustus himself claimed to have added Egypt to the empire (Res Gestae, 27.1). From a kingdom with pretensions (compare the Donations) it was suddenly under the direct rule of the emperor. Certainly we must be selective, but that does not mean we must exclude everything of note. What would you suggest is of comparable significance?
  • Suetonius describes Claudius's bribery of the Guard, but if you are confident that that is not what happened, we could simply say that the senate considered restoration of the Republic but the Guard acclaimed Claudius as emperor. It remains a significant turning point in several ways, particularly as a last gasp of republicanism and as the first direct exercise of the Guard's power in appointing an emperor, and even if we don't spell out such importance we can keep this simple narrative.
  • You ask which conspiracies and civil wars we should mention. I'm not suggesting we should specifically mention (for example) the Catiline conspiracy or the eponymous works of Caesar and Lucan, let alone the Social War, the Sullan wars and so forth - we can simply link to Roman civil wars. But to reduce "Rome suffered a long series of internal conflicts, conspiracies and civil wars from the late second century BC, while greatly extending its power beyond Italy" to "Rome suffered a long series of internal conflicts starting in the late second century BC" is understatement to the point of concealment.
  • I fear that when you responded Rome expanded beyond Italy under the republic, so little detail on this point should appear in this article. As for the causes of its expansion, they went far beyond the handful of causes you list above you weren't actually addressing your removal of "while greatly extending its power beyond Italy" in that same sentence above. The clause is hardly detailed and isn't discussing the causes of the expansion. It is the end of the republic that we are describing here, and that was not merely a little local difficulty within the city bounds; the expansion was at least the context and arguably the driver of the collapse of the republic and the creation of the empire.
  • I would still like to find a better word or phrase than "created"; even in your examples, it implies a superior creating power and the senate was at this point powerless to deny him that position. (We wouldn't, for example, speak of Napoleon being created Emperor.) We could say that he "took power as perpetual dictator". NebY (talk) 13:22, 1 September 2014 (UTC)
I've gone ahead with small changes/restorations as above. NebY (talk) 08:08, 14 September 2014 (UTC)

Representation of Roman Empire

I protest to the method of using coins instead of flags to represent the Roman articles. Flags and coats of arm are the most basic requirements to represent a nation, that can truly represents the nation itself but not just some partial aspects of the nation. For example, coins only represent the financial aspect of the country but not the identity of the nation itself. Isn't it a horrible insult to use some ancient loose changes to represent such a majestic Empire?
I noticed a fellow user has made a great point below, that SPQR standards and Aquilas are well-recognised enough to represent Roman Empire. Pathetically, his point is still unresponded up to the very moment I typed this.Pktlaurence (talk) 19:35, 21 September 2014 (UTC)

OK, it has been a week and my message is still ignored, so I guess I am changing the representation anyway. Pktlaurence (talk) 19:19, 27 September 2014 (UTC)

I have moved this section to the bottom of the talk page in accordance with WP:BOTTOMPOST. This is where we expect to find new discussions, not at the top.
The conventions of flags and coats of arms arose at a much later date; they are not appropriate here. The difficulties of representing the Roman Empire with a single symbol have been much discussed on this talk page before, as you should expect. I recommend the discussions in Talk:Roman Empire/Archive 10 as a starting point. NebY (talk) 20:38, 27 September 2014 (UTC)

That is factually incorrect. Rome was represented militarily and politically by Vexillums, which were essentially flag poles topped with a gold eagle, with a banner hanging vertically underneath. Rome conquered most of the known world underneath these, this is pretty much common knowledge. - H (talk) 16:00, 5 January 2015 (UTC)

The discussions recommended by NebY are worth checking - to summarize, coins were used as a definite and very widespread state or regime symbol, nothing else qualifies, and selected coins seem by far the best representation. If, that is, we need any such symbol. Richard Keatinge (talk) 16:52, 5 January 2015 (UTC)

Time dating terms

I protest the use of the Christian Era dating terms "BC" and "AD"("Before Christ" and "Anno Domini"[Year of Our Lord]) and suggest we replace them with "BCE" and "CE" ("Before Common Era" and "Common Era"). They represent a religious view of the world with Christ and Christianity center-stage, a view that the ancient Roman Empire would fervently disagree with. All in all, it is disrespectful to the greatest empire in Human history that terms are used which would contradict their distinct and ancient religious opinions. (Forgive any errors in this, I'm quite new to editing on Wikipedia) — Preceding unsigned comment added by Xismyhero (talkcontribs) 12:49, 15 February 2015 (UTC)

Given that the Roman empire adopted Christianity, I struggle to see the use of AD as disrespectful to it; arguably it's the opposite. Anyway, do you have evidence that the majority of classical scholars or even popular writers about the Roman Empire now use BCE/CE rather than BC/AD? NebY (talk) 16:14, 15 February 2015 (UTC)
LOL. BCE and CE hardly distract from the fact that it is still a dating system beginning with the birth of Christ, as it is believed in the Christian dating system established centuries later in the 6th century. If not signifying each year by the names of the elected consuls, I think the Romans would have preferred the dating system "ab urbe condita," that is, from 753 BC when the city of Rome was allegedly founded by the legendary Romulus and Remus. For both Romans and Greeks there was also the Olympiad dating system from the very first Ancient Olympic Games in 776 BC. In either case, using either the CE or AD system is fine, since no one uses these bygone dating systems. As far as I'm concerned, CE and AD are one in the same, although the former is just a politically correct way to be inclusive of other peoples who aren't Christians and don't give a damn about the supposed year when Jesus was born. --Pericles of AthensTalk 21:47, 15 February 2015 (UTC)
Well, it seems the consensus is at a tie. With what I perceive as a yes from me, a no from Neby, and an I don't don't care from Pericles. In that case, it seems only fair to close this protest and leave the page's dating terms as they are. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Xismyhero (talkcontribs) 00:00, 20 February 2015 (UTC)