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My background[edit]

I am British, and grew up in Northamptonshire. I have a BA degree in Classics and a PhD in Oriental Studies from the University of Oxford, worked as an Administrative Officer in the Hong Kong Government from 1979 to 1992, and am currently working as an Academic Editor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. I have spent much of my life in Hong Kong, and also lived in Taiwan for three years. I read French fluently, and am also comfortable reading Latin, Greek, Syriac and Chinese. When I am not in scholarly mode, I enjoy morris dancing and am a member of the Hong Kong Morris.

My books[edit]

One of my main academic interests is the history of the Syriac-speaking Churches. My PhD thesis, an academic study of the history of the Church of the East during the Ottoman period, was published in 2000 under the title The Ecclesiastical Organisation of the Church of the East, 1318-1913. My second book, The Martyred Church, a more popular history of the Church of the East aimed at a general readership, was published on 20 September 2011 and can be ordered on and The book was warmly reviewed in the Times Literary Supplement on 21 September 2012. My third book, an English translation of the Chronicon Ecclesiasticum of Bar Hebraeus, was published by Gorgias Press in February 2016. I am presently working on (1) an English translation of the Chronicle of Michael the Syrian, already more than half finished; (2) a prequel to EOCE, entitled The Ecclesiastical Organisation of the Church of the East to 1318; and (3) a similar study of the Syrian Orthodox Church, entitled The Ecclesiastical Organisation of the Syrian Orthodox Church. I am determined to sort out the dioceses and map all the toponyms of both Churches. The third book, by far the most ambitious, will draw heavily on my database of around 3,000 West Syrian manuscript colophons. All three books are interconnected, and it has so far made sense to work on all of them simultaneously. The chances are that (2) will eventually pull ahead of the rest of the field and make it to the finishing post first.

Mon grand design ...[edit]

'Aujourd'hui, le Wikipédia; demain, le monde entier ...'

Sino-French War[edit]

I will shortly be publishing a full-length book on the Sino-French War of August 1884 to April 1885, which draws on both French and Chinese sources, and am presently contributing a series of related articles to Wikipedia. So far I have substantially rewritten the main article Sino-French War and edited/created a number of linked articles on campaigns and battles related to this war. In chronological order, these include Capture of Nam Dinh, Battle of Gia Cuc, Battle of Paper Bridge, Battle of Phu Hoai, Battle of Thuan An, Battle of Palan, Son Tay Campaign, Bac Ninh campaign, Capture of Hung Hoa, Bac Le ambush, Battle of Fuzhou, Keelung Campaign, Kep Campaign, Battle of Tamsui, Battle of Yu Oc, Siege of Tuyen Quang, Battle of Nui Bop, Lang Son Campaign, Battle of Shipu, Battle of Dong Dang, Battle of Bang Bo (Zhennan Pass), Battle of Zhenhai, Battle of Hoa Moc, Battle of Phu Lam Tao, Retreat from Lang Son and Pescadores Campaign. To round things off, I have also contributed an article on the Tonkin commemorative medal. The early battles are included in the template Tonkin campaign, those from Battle of Fuzhou onwards under the template Sino-French War.

I have also created or edited articles on several Sino-French War personalities. On the French side, these include Louis Brière de l'Isle, Amédée Courbet, Charles-Théodore Millot, Sébastien Lespès, François de Négrier and Henri Rivière. On the Chinese and Vietnamese side, they include Feng Zicai, Hoang Ke Viem, Liu Yongfu, Tang Ching-sung, Zeng Jize and Zhang Peilun. I am hoping in the next few months to contribute several more substantial articles on senior French military and naval commanders in the Sino-French War, including Marc-Edmond Dominé and Paul-Gustave Herbinger. I have just started overhauling the article Liu Mingchuan.

I am particularly interested in the organisation of the fleets and armies that fought the Sino-French War. For the French, I have created articles on the Tonkin Expeditionary Corps, the Tonkinese Rifles, the Far East Squadron and the Tonkin Flotilla. I have also expanded the recently-created article French battleship Bayard (1880) to include details of Bayard's active service between 1883 and 1885, and would be interested in contributing to similar articles on other ships of the Far East Squadron. For the Chinese, I have expanded substantially the articles (some of them only stubs) on China's four regional fleets (Beiyang Fleet, Guangdong Fleet, Fujian Fleet and Nanyang Fleet), initially from a Sino-French War perspective. Eventually I hope to provide comprehensive coverage of these four fleets back to their establishment and up to and beyond the First Sino-Japanese War. I have substantially expanded the article Black Flag Army, and would also like one of these days to create articles on the Guangxi and Yunnan Armies and the Army of Northern Formosa, the three Chinese regional armies that bore the brunt of the fighting during the Sino-French War.

I have recently moved onto the diplomacy of the Sino-French War, with the creation of the articles Tientsin Accord and Treaty of Tientsin (1885) and the expansion of the stub articles Treaty of Hue (1883) and Treaty of Hue (1884). I will also add a paragraph or two covering the diplomatic aspects of the war to the main article Sino-French War.

I am presently in the process of rewriting or expanding the existing articles on Tonkin Affair and Can Vuong, and am expanding the article Tonkin campaign to set the French conquest of Tonkin in its Vietnamese context rather than merely as the main battle front in the Sino-French War. I have recently created the article Pacification of Tonkin, covering the ten-year insurgency against French rule in Tonkin from 1886 to 1896. Eventually, I intend to contribute articles on each of the battles of the Lang Son Campaign, and perhaps also do an article on Taiwan's coastal defences. This labour of love, however, might take some time. I will, of course, link all these articles to the main article.

I have also provided brief linking paragraphs to a range of related articles, including French Foreign Legion, Zouave and Troupes de Marine.

I have worked on the (perhaps mistaken) assumption that I am one of the few people in the world who either knows (or cares) enough about the Sino-French War to be able to write authoritatively on it. If there are other enthusiasts out there, please get in touch. I would be delighted to hear from you. I would particularly welcome photographs of ships to complete the galleries for the various articles on the French and Chinese naval forces.

Cochinchina campaign[edit]

Although I am rather more familiar with events in the 1870s and 1880s, I am also interested in the early years of French colonial expansion in Vietnam, and have recently moved into the 1840s, 1850s and 1860s by creating or editing the articles Bombardment of Tourane, Charles Rigault de Genouilly, Cochinchina campaign, Siege of Tourane, Siege of Saigon, Battle of Ky Hoa, Capture of My Tho, Capture of Bien Hoa and Capture of Vinh Long, covering the period that culminated in the Franco-Spanish war of intervention in Vietnam launched in 1858. I hope to move shortly onto Francis Garnier's Tonkin campaign in December 1873.

Japanese invasions of Taiwan (1874 and 1895)[edit]

I am also interested in the First Sino-Japanese War, particularly events in Taiwan, where the rapid Japanese conquest in 1895 contrasts vividly with the French experience at Keelung and Tamsui a decade earlier. I have substantially rewritten Japanese invasion of Taiwan (1895) and Republic of Formosa, the main articles on this topic, and have also begun to edit the articles Battle of Baguashan and Battle of Changhsing. I have recently created new articles on several individual battles of the campaign: Battle of Chiayi, Battle of Chiatung, Battle of Keelung, Capitulation of Tainan (1895), Hsinchu Campaign and Pescadores Campaign (1895).

I have also begun to rewrite the article Taiwan Expedition of 1874, dealing with an earlier Japanese incursion into Taiwan.

Church of the East, Assyrian Church of the East and Chaldean Catholic Church[edit]

Several years ago, before I became interested in the Sino-French War, I wrote a book on the history of Assyrian Christianity in the Middle East, The Ecclesiastical Organisation of the Church of the East, 1318–1913. The book was the fruit of an Oxford PhD degree, and at its core was a detailed study of the geography of historic Assyrian settlement in Iraq, Iran and Turkey. For this study I brought together evidence from the colophons of hundreds of Assyrian Christian manuscripts, and the book is regularly cited in online Assyrian publications for evidence of Christian settlement in particular villages and for the biographies of Assyrian patriarchs and bishops, including a number of Wikipedia articles (e.g. Joseph Audo).

Metropolitan provinces, dioceses, monasteries and villages[edit]

I have long been wanting to rework this material for Wikipedia, and have recently dipped my toe in the water by editing the 'Eastern expansion' section of the main article Assyrian Church of the East and creating four major new articles, Dioceses of the Church of the East to 1318, Dioceses of the Church of the East, 1318–1552, Dioceses of the Church of the East, 1552–1913 and Post-1913 Dioceses of the Church of the East, which I expect to spawn about 120 sub-articles. During the next few months I intend to contribute a series of articles on the metropolitan provinces, dioceses, monasteries and villages. I have recently created the articles Adarbaigan (East Syrian Diocese), Adiabene (East Syrian Ecclesiastical Province), Amadiya (Chaldean Diocese), Amid (Chaldean Diocese), Aqra (Chaldean Diocese), Armenia (East Syrian Diocese), Berwari (East Syrian Diocese), Beth Garmaï (East Syrian Ecclesiastical Province), Beth Huzaye (East Syrian Ecclesiastical Province), Fars (East Syrian Ecclesiastical Province), Gazarta (Chaldean Diocese), Hulwan (East Syrian Ecclesiastical Province), India (East Syrian Ecclesiastical Province), Kashkar (East Syrian Diocese), Kirkuk (Chaldean Archdiocese), Maishan (East Syrian Ecclesiastical Province), Mardin (Chaldean Diocese), Marga (East Syrian Diocese), Merv (East Syrian Ecclesiastical Province), Nisibis (East Syrian Ecclesiastical Province), Province of the Patriarch (East Syrian Ecclesiastical Province), Rai (East Syrian Ecclesiastical Province), Salakh (East Syrian Diocese), Salmas (Chaldean Archdiocese), Seert (Chaldean Diocese), Shemsdin (East Syrian Ecclesiastical Province), Shigar (East Syrian Diocese), Tirhan (East Syrian Diocese) and Zakho (Chaldean Diocese). I would also like to publish several translations I made under the supervision of Sebastian Brock while I was researching the history of the Church of the East at Oxford, including a translation (with commentary) of the Acts of the Synod of Timothy II in 1318.

Patriarchs, metropolitans and bishops[edit]

I also intend to expand or improve the existing articles on East Syrian patriarchs and bishops and add new ones. I have edited the articles Ishoyahb III and Timothy II (Nestorian Patriarch), substantially expanded the articles Barba'shmin, Timothy I (Nestorian Patriarch), Yohannan Hormizd, Nicholas I Zaya and Joseph Audo, rewritten the articles Abraham (bishop), Abraham Shimonaya and Ishoyahb II, and added the articles Aba II, Abdisho I, Abdisho III, Abraham II, Abraham III (Nestorian Patriarch), Abris, Acacius (Nestorian Patriarch), Ahadabui, Ahha, Bar Sawma (Nestorian Patriarch), Denha II, Elisha (Nestorian Patriarch), Eliya I, Eliya III, Emmanuel I (Nestorian Patriarch), Enosh (Nestorian Patriarch), Ezekiel (Nestorian Patriarch), Farbokht, Giwargis I, Giwargis II, Gregory (Nestorian Patriarch), Hnanisho I, Isaac (patriarch), Israel of Kashkar, Isho Bar Nun, Ishoyahb I, Ishoyahb IV, Ishoyahb V, Israel (Nestorian Patriarch), Joseph (Nestorian Patriarch), Makkikha I, Mana (patriarch), Maremmeh, Mari (Nestorian Patriarch), Narsai (Nestorian Patriarch), Paul (Nestorian Patriarch), Pethion, Qayyoma, Sabrisho II, Sabrisho III, Sabrisho IV, Sabrisho V, Sargis (Nestorian Patriarch), Shahdost, Shahlufa, Shemon VII Ishoyahb, Shila, Sliba-zkha, Surin (Nestorian Patriarch), Tomarsa, Yahballaha I, Yahballaha II, Yaqob I, Yaqob II, Yohannan the Leper, Yohannan I, Yohannan II, Yohannan III, Yohannan IV, Yohannan V, Yohannan VI and Yohannan VII. I have also attempted to overhaul the List of Patriarchs of the Church of the East, which contains numerous errors, but have given up in despair and started a parallel article, Patriarchs of the Church of the East, in which I present the evidence for the historicity of this list. I have also set up a template, Patriarchs of the Church of the East, to keep everything straight.

I have also written an article on the Schism of 1552, demonstrating that Yohannan Sulaqa's supporters secured his consecration as the first patriarch of the Chaldean Church in 1553 by misleading the Vatican.

Literature of the Church of the East[edit]

I have also begun to improve Wikipedia's coverage of East Syrian literature, with a brief article on Theodore Bar Koni.

Syrian Orthodox Church and Syrian Catholic Church[edit]

Metropolitan provinces, dioceses, monasteries and villages[edit]

I am also interested in the Syrian Orthodox and Syrian Catholic Churches, and have created the articles Dioceses of the Syrian Orthodox Church and Dioceses of the Syrian Catholic Church. I intend to spin off articles on individual dioceses from these two main articles, in the hope that one day they will resemble the suite of articles I have written on the dioceses of the Church of the East. So far, I have created the articles Anazarbus (West Syrian Diocese), Baghdad (West Syrian Diocese), Gubos (West Syrian Diocese), Gumal, Hadath (West Syrian Diocese), Kfar Tab (West Syrian Diocese), Laqabin (West Syrian Diocese), Melitene (West Syrian Diocese), Qlaudia (West Syrian Diocese), Qlisura (West Syrian Diocese), Simandu (West Syrian Diocese), Tarsus (West Syrian Diocese), Tel Patriq (West Syrian Diocese) and Zuptara (West Syrian Diocese). I expect it will take me several years to go through all the dioceses, but it is nice to have a purpose in life.

Patriarchs, metropolitans and bishops[edit]

I hope to contribute a series of articles on the patriarchs of the West Syrian Church, along the same lines as those I have written on the Nestorian patriarchs. I have started by significantly expanding the existing articles Dionysius of Tel Mahre and Quriaqos of Tagrit. In the fullness of time, I hope to produce articles on the other 90 or so patriarchs.

Hong Kong Morris[edit]

When I am not chronicling the history of the Nestorian and Jacobite churches or pursuing the stirring deeds of France's soldiers and sailors on foreign shores, I derive great enjoyment from folk singing and morris dancing, and have recently created an article on the Hong Kong Morris, one of the world's great morris sides[citation needed].

Request for reviews[edit]

Some of these articles need more work, but others (particularly the main Sino-French War article) are pretty near complete, and I would welcome reviews of their quality and significance by readers. One article (Dioceses of the Church of the East to 1318) has recently been upgraded to GA class, several articles are now at B or C Class, but most are still stuck at the lowest level on the respective scales or still classified as stubs.[1] My personal favourites, as they remind me of three years I spent living in Taiwan (1999 to 2002), are Battle of Tamsui, Keelung Campaign and Pescadores Campaign.

djwilms Flag of the United Kingdom.svg

3 April 2012


Mes honneurs ...[edit]

Barnstar of High Culture.png The High Culture Barnstar
Awarded to Djwilms for his superlative work on the Sino-French war. PHG (talk) 04:26, 15 August 2008 (UTC)

Barnstar-stone2-noback.png The Epic Barnstar
Awarded to Djwilms for his work on Vietnamese history. YellowMonkey (bananabucket) 06:57, 29 September 2008 (UTC)

BoNM - France.png French Barnstar of National Merit
Awarded to Djwilms for his extraordinary and highly knowledgeable contributions on the Sino-French War and related subjects. Phg (talk) 05:40, 17 June 2009 (UTC)

Assyrian Barnstar.JPG The Barnstar of Assyria
Awarded to Djwilms for his excellent, well-resourced, authoritative historical account of the dioceses of the Assyrian Church of the East. Ninevite (talk) 21:00, 11 August 2009 (UTC)

Taiwan Barnstar.png Taiwan Barnstar of Merit
Awarded to Djwilms by Taiwantaffy (talk) for contributions to WikiProject Taiwan, specifically for his sterling work on the Battle of Tamsui, Keelung Campaign and Pescadores Campaign articles.

17 August 2019

Mor Efrem barnstar.svg
ܚܠܥܬܐ ܕܡܪܝ ܐܦܪܡ
The Barnstar of Mor Ephrem
For your exceptional contributions to Syriac Christianity-related topics.
this WikiAward was given to Djwilms by Rafy talk on 00:16, 25 July 2011 (UTC)

Mes projets ...[edit]

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WikiProject Christianity.
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