Template talk:Epochs of Roman Emperors

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Gallic & Brittannic Emperors[edit]

I do not understand why there are the Gallic & Brittannic emperors in this template. The Gallic Empire was a separate authority, actually another empire. As regards the Brittanic Emperors, who are them?--Panairjdde 09:45, 15 December 2005 (UTC)

Currently this uses a non-standard template. I changed it to a standard format here] but this was reverted by User:Francis Schonken who kindly explained his reasoning on my talk page. I feel strongly that the template should be standardised. It currently looks very confusing and is unnecessarily complex. All templates have to balance precision with easy-of-use and I feel this template must move towards the latter. With regard to the points on my talk page I suggest adapting the standardised version by:

  • Including a fifth row "After the schism: Barbarian Kings | Holy Roman Emperors | Byzantine Emperors"
  • Including a link to the Nervan-Antonian dynasty in the Principate row
  • Not using the template in lists

Although its present incarnation may better reflect the complexities, I think very few people are inclined to engage with it because it looks so confusing. Please give your thoughts Andeggs 11:33, 13 March 2006 (UTC)

Hi Andeggs, could you indicate which "standard" you're talking about (and where it was established as consensus)? – I'd be surprised the standard is to include instructions like align=right, which is thouroughly unusual for templates that are intended to be used at the bottom of an article (compare Wikipedia:Incumbent series, which isn't even "standard" enough to be used currently for royals but is currently "centered"; compare also {{succession box}}, also centered; compare also the hundreds of templates listed at Wikipedia:Navigational templates#Footers – which one of these is "standard"? And: who said so?) --Francis Schonken 13:11, 13 March 2006 (UTC)
Hi Francis. There is no need for 'align=right' and I'm happy for it to be centred (it actually comes up centred in Firefox anyway). I agree there is no official standard but I've never seen any templates with the arrows that we have now. There's no need for a showdown over this - can we compromise with the points I gave above or come to a new compromise? It's the arrows, bullet points and horizontal lines that I feel are the major sticking points... Andeggs 13:30, 13 March 2006 (UTC)
  • Being said that I don't compromise over Wikipedia's quality (something is agreed upon to be an improvement or it isn't), I also fully acknowledge the "Epochs of Roman Emperors" template is problematic. Some of this has nothing to do with the template as such: Why isn't there a wikipedia article describing the whole 'Epoch between the Flavian and the Severan dynasties - how difficult can that be? But such article doesn't exist yet, so a link to the Category that lists the Emperors of this Epoch (more than the 5 "good" ones!) is not an ideal solution, but it'll have to do, until further notice. I also can't help it that after the messy period of the Barracks emperors, there follows even more mess when describing Epochs: splits, unifications, usurpers,... who can follow? A template that makes it appear as if the Epochs of the Roman Emperors have a straightforward linear development misses the mark too IMHO.
  • Still a thought about your prior remark on "involvement". Well, part of the involvement is also, that, for instance, the wikipedia (sub-)articles on the "3rd Century crisis" were restructured, started (where they didn't exist yet) according to the thentime "redlinks" proposed in the template, etc...: apparently the template helped to improve all that (there are really quite some wikipedians to thank for that...) – anyway what was a messy lot of failing wikipedia articles before the template, was helped to grow to a more coherent structure. The point I want to make is that that was involvement too. And apparently those working on these articles thought the structure proposed in the template was workable.
  • All that being said, and without wanting to cling to the past where the necessity would only be historical I propose the following: I put your last version of the template in template:Epochs of Roman Emperors/Temp - it shows up below between the two horizontal lines (well the second line doesn't show in my browser, I suppose as a result of the align=right, but I propose you figure that out):

{{Epochs of Roman Emperors/Temp}}

You can work on it, others can work on it, you and others can comment on it here, and when we reach some sort of consensus that it's an improvement, we merge it to the "Epochs of Roman Emperors" template page. Would that be OK as mode of operation? --Francis Schonken 14:44, 13 March 2006 (UTC)

OK Thanks for replying in such depth. I agree this is a sensible solution for now and urge other editors to improve the template as they see fit. Andeggs 12:02, 14 March 2006 (UTC)
Note that the template is also used as an overview at the end of this section of the "Emperor" article: Emperor#Roman Emperors - I spent the morning with cleanup of the rehashing of that part of the Emperor article. It is my assumption that if the template is clear and well structured it can help in stabilising that part of the Emperor article too. ...or am I flying off in wishfull thinking here... Tx anyway to anyone contributing to serious improvements of the template! --Francis Schonken 14:57, 14 March 2006 (UTC)

Well, since my second and third round of changes have been reverted, perhaps I ought to explain that the present format that Francis Schonken seems to prefer leaves a really ugly horizontal rule (joining up with the vertical line separating the fifth column) and blank space underneath the left four columns. I'm pretty sure this is a result of the "border=1" around the table-within-the-table which includes the first four columns. Ideas to fix it are very welcome. -- ALoan (Talk) 18:23, 28 March 2006 (UTC)

I see. Started to suspect it was something browser-specific that was bothering. None of the two OS/browser combinations I use has the defect. Even Konqueror (very touchy w.r.t. tables) doesn't show the described defect. Maybe we could try to improve by giving fixed background color values for all (nested) tables.
But probably there are also better/more elegant solutions. My issue was primarily on the internal logic of the table - but if it gives unreliable results in some browsers (or with particular browser settings) we should move to something better. Anyway feel free to use the /Temp page for experimenting. --Francis Schonken 18:48, 28 March 2006 (UTC)
Sorry if I was a bit short above - I have added my various tries to the temp page (and I meant blank space, not black space). IE6, WinXP. -- ALoan (Talk) 19:07, 28 March 2006 (UTC)
No problem. The four first columns are intended to show as a separate table within the template. So unless modifying background colors via CSS or so (I am not even shure how one would do that or whether this is even possible in this case) the 4-column table has a "white" background color, and what surrounds it a very light pink-purplish background color (the LCD screen of my portable shows it without difference also white).
In all browser/screentype/OS combinations I have available the "current" layout is still my favorite. But I can understand that's largely a matter of personal taste. That the 4 major epochs (Principate - 3rd C. crisis - Dominate - Late) are somewhat the "core" of the Epochs of the Roman Emperors (even if the Byzantine Empire more than doubled the duration of the Roman Empire in Antiquity) is due to the fact that according to views of historians the later Byzantines and/or the "Holy Roman" ones are not what is understood by "Roman Emperors" properly speaking. And certainly the "barbarian kings" are outside the "main frame" of the Roman Emperors (just intended to indicate succession in the Western Roman Empire).
A difficulty is, for instance, that it is very difficult to draw a line when Eastern Tetrarchs (which btw. were also "Emperors" in the Roman Empire), and then later Emperors of the Eastern Roman Empire, and then also known as Byzantine Emperors, stopped being "Roman" Emperors (the Eastern Roman Empire did not stop when the Western Roman Empire fell). How to represent something like that, so very depending on historians' views, in a template without being POV for one view or another? Note that even the present structure of Emperor#The Eastern Emperors after 476 takes a questionable slant at it (as if the people chased from Constantinople by the "Latin" Emperors, didn't return there some time later still seeing themselves as the lawfull successors of those in power before the 4th crusade men had chased them). --Francis Schonken 19:48, 28 March 2006 (UTC)

Anyway, turning off the "border-collapse" of the nested four-column table gives a slightly more coherent look in IE, but less elegant in Firefox; Konqueror doesn't seem to be aware of the difference. I don't change yet, because not knowing what other solutions might be possible, and the improvement for IE is not all that spectacular. --Francis Schonken 20:24, 28 March 2006 (UTC)

I don't particularly want to wade into this debate again Francis, but I think you are again too attached to the idea that the template has to be totally accurate in its 'internal logic' and always historically correct. In my opinion, templates are primarily for navigation and should be simple and clear. If a complex diagram is required for any particular article then perhaps this should be generated seperately. Andeggs 20:56, 28 March 2006 (UTC)

Four Emperors[edit]

Is it correct to say "Four emperors", when there were only three between Nero and Vespasian, both of whom belong to the adjacent dynasties? --Simonf 18:14, 1 April 2006 (UTC)

Year of the Four Emperors is an Epoch; it is also a stock expression, indicating the instability after Nero's death. The peak of that instability was the rapid succession of four Emperors, from Galba (murdered January 69), over Otho, Vitellius to Vespasian (proclaimed emperor in Egypt in the middle of 69, but he only could start to consolidate his power after Vitellius' death, by the end of 69).
So, yes it is correct to speak about the "Epoch" of the Four Emperors. The table is not a dynastic table. For more on this, see (e.g.) Tacitus' Histories, and Suetonius' Twelve Caesars (these Four were Nos 7-10) --Francis Schonken 18:35, 1 April 2006 (UTC)


Should the czars of Russia be mentioned as "successors" to the Bizantine Emperors, as they claimed it? Their claim is no more nutty than the claim of the Holy Roman Emperors. Albmont (talk) 10:52, 3 November 2008 (UTC)