Wikipedia talk:Naming conventions (ancient Romans)

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Interesting proposal[edit]

But! It assumes that every single one of them deserves a wiki-article. Do you want to create an article just for saying so and so was pretor in 244 BC? I'd rather have something in the style of Caecilius Metellus, creating separate articles only for people w´hich further distinguished themselves. In other words I suggest: keeping all the stubs together in the paged named after the name they share. MvHG 11:26, 18 May 2004 (UTC)

I've gone back and forth on that several times in my WP career. Right now I'm tending to favor splitting, because when you put several people in one article, links from events centuries apart end up on the same page, and we make the poor reader manually sort through the dozen people trying to figure which one was actually meant, and editors not familiar with the subject would likely "fix" the descriptions incorrectly if they picked the wrong person. Of course, if a person is not ever going to be linked to from anywhere else, then there's no reason not to leave on a group page. Stan 15:51, 18 May 2004 (UTC)
I've been working on articles about individual Roman gentes, and the practice I'm following is to group all of the members on one page, sorted by family if necessary, and then by date, with each name on the list linking to a separate article, if there's enough material to warrant one. Of course many of these are just red links for now, and I'll have to go back and write up the articles later! The ones about whom there isn't enough (or doesn't appear to be enough) material for at least a paragraph or two, get about one line explaining their significance and citing the ancient sources used to document them. If it later turns out that there's enough material to justify a separate article, it's easy to add one and link it to the page about the gens! P Aculeius (talk) 19:23, 12 January 2010 (UTC)

A proposal regarding articles on Romans[edit]

I might suggest that when an Anglicized form is often used (e.g. Livy or Marc/Mark Antony), the original form be the article and the Anglicized form the redirect. If all wikipedias would adopt this it'd make interwiki linking a lot easier -- Antony would be listed under Marcus Antonius everywhere, as he already is on DA, DE, NL, and SV. In fact, the article on en.wikipedia discussing Marcus Antonius refers to him as "Antonius" everywhere except the title, and such a standard would appear to be already in place on the German wikipedia, though it may just be that Germans retain the proper endings on their Romans. We need not be constrained in fact to the constraints of a paper encyclopedia; if people come looking for Mark Antony, they can be directed to Marcus Antonius, unless we wish to start referring to Cicero as Tully; a uniform appearance is a desirable characteristic, even if it makes people undergo a redirect here and there. --Jeff Anonymous 07:40, 23 Nov 2004 (UTC)

FWIW, I agree wholeheartedly. — B.Bryant 11:26, 13 Apr 2005 (UTC)
FWIW, I don't. This is just pedantagonism. --Jpbrenna 06:58, 1 Jun 2005 (UTC)
I also agree. Using the word pedantagonism is pedantagonism. Using true names is simply accuracy, so long as a redirect or acknowledgment exists. — Jowfair 6 August 2005
I used to favor Marcus Antonius until I came into contact with a language which has cases. That language (Serbo-Croat FWIW) takes the root of the name rather than nominative. This brought home to me that using a form like Antony based on the root is just as "correct" as using the nominative form especially as in English it will be used even when the object.Dejvid 09:30, 1 September 2005 (UTC)
This may be reviving a dead proposal, but I also think this would be preferable. I see no disadvantages to having Mark Antony, Marc Antony, Mark Anthony, and Marc Anthony all redirect to a page entitled Marcus Antonius (triumvir) or something along those lines, or having Caesar, Julius Caesar and Iulius Caesar all redirect to Gaius Julius Caesar (Roman dictator) or perhaps to a page about the gens Julia, or even a disambiguation/prosopography page, depending on the context. If the goal is to help people find the articles they're looking for easily, then redirects are a perfectly appropriate solution. P Aculeius (talk) 19:17, 12 January 2010 (UTC)

"which" vs. "whom"[edit]

There's a grammatical error in the first sentence. It should read "...about whom we have...", not "...about which we have..."; Roman citizens are people, not things. I've not made the change myself, since conventions should not be changed without consensus. If another editor seeing this concurs, please make the change.MayerG (talk) 19:15, 12 October 2008 (UTC)


I have taken some of the detailed discussed at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Classical Greece and Rome#Consul disambiguation and implemented them into the convention. Further expansion and clarification is till needed but this appears to clarify the position on disambiguation. --Labattblueboy (talk) 08:35, 19 January 2010 (UTC)

RFC – WP title decision practice[edit]

Over the past several months there has been contentious debate over aspects of WP:Article Titles policy. That contentiousness has led to efforts to improve the overall effectiveness of the policy and associated processes. An RFC entitled: Wikipedia talk:Article titles/RFC-Article title decision practice has been initiated to assess the communities’ understanding of our title decision making policy. As a project that has created or influenced subject specific naming conventions, participants in this project are encouraged to review and participate in the RFC.--Mike Cline (talk) 17:33, 16 February 2012 (UTC)

Gens articles[edit]

WP:ROMANS exists because Roman names are confusing. There is an immense series on the gentes, each of which (depending on the size of the gens) is a prosopographical list. These currently follow a consistent naming practice, and to minimize confusion (especially with the names of women in the gens), it's highly desirable to maintain consistency. If the current system doesn't conform to MOS, then any style change would need to offer the same degree of consistency as an aid to title recognition. If a consensus can be achieved, I'd like to codify it here, and have drafted a temporary section toward that end. I seem to be having trouble attracting comment, though. Cynwolfe (talk) 17:27, 1 August 2013 (UTC)

Below I'm copying a discussion on gens article titling. After seeking input at WP:Article titles and WP:Disambiguation, I was unable to get any outside editors to participate in the discussion here or at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Classical Greece and Rome. I didn't see a clear consensus emerge from the other two discussions, nor did any editor volunteer to take on the massive job of moving all the gentes. I'm thus assuming that editors tacitly think that it isn't worth the trouble to change the status quo. Cynwolfe (talk) 16:46, 16 September 2013 (UTC)

Discussion copied from WikiProject Classical Greece and Rome:

In my view, the crucial thing for these titles is that they all follow the same style; Roman nomenclature is confusing enough. Since I see no benefit to readers or editors if only those gens articles that have a title "ambiguity" are allowed to have the parenthetical explanation, I would like to reexamine titling options, in the hope of finding one we could apply consistently.

I don't recall where the original titling discussion took place, so let me summarize the options to the best of my ability:

  • Nomen, masculine singular. The article could be titled by the nomen of the gens used for its male members: Licinius, Afranius, and so on. The nomen already redirects to the gens article when there is no other clear primary topic, or when there is no article on the nomen itself nor other prosopographical list of those who share the name. Problem: there are instances where the nomen would not be the clear primary topic, and would require disambiguation. Here I'll point out that Pompeius is the other gens article title that is anomalous; it should really be a redirect to Pompey the Great, as Syme and some routinely call him by his Latin nomen Pompeius, and he's either the clear PT or there is none.
  • Nomen, masculine plural. This is possible, but not really accurate, as the article isn't about individuals, but rather the gens itself. Also potentially ambiguous: Licinii, Afranii, … Pompeii.
  • Nomen, feminine singular. The word gens is understood, as in the example of the moved Annaea. But when women of the gens are notable, this would produce a sea of ambiguity. And some of these are already dabs (Aemilia or Cornelia, for instance) or prosopographical lists.
  • The word gens + nomen (fem.). This would be the Latin form that would be clearest: gens Licinia, gens Afrania, gens Pompeia. No ambiguities. Drawback (a serious one, in my view): it's more useful when the nomen comes first in the search string. Readers are quite unlikely to be typing in the word gens. They're looking for a name.
    • (inserting a point here) In indices to scholarly works, a gens is often given as Afrania, gens, in alphabetical listings. Alphabetization of Roman names by the nomen is pretty standard in scholarly works that list a lot of names, even when a figure (such as "the" Crassus) is known more commonly by his cognomen (which would generate a cross-reference that functions like our redirects). This goes with what P Aculeius points out below about the utility of the gens name appearing first rather than the word gens itself, which would produce a hard-to-navigate drop-down menu if Latin word order were to be used. WP doesn't use this form of alphabetizing for article titles, so I don't see Afrania, gens as an option.
  • Nomen (fem.) + gens. Not really standard Latin to say Licinia gens, Afrania gens, Pompeia gens, but conforms to English expectations: "the Licinia family".
  • Nomen + (gens). This is the style P Aculeius arrived at in order to avoid bad Latin. But as we see with the move from Annaea (gens) (now a redirect) to Annaea, this system of naming is vulnerable to dab enforcement, and potentially results in a confusing lack of consistency for the gentes article titles. That's why I've brought the issue here.

Thoughts? Cynwolfe (talk) 15:43, 31 July 2013 (UTC)

I added a note on existing practice to the bottom of WP:ROMANS, with a link to this discussion. If existing practice is backed by consensus, or if we can come up with another naming scheme, then I think that guideline page should codify the style point. Cynwolfe (talk) 21:57, 31 July 2013 (UTC)
I'm not actually away, just hadn't had time to respond, being busy. I can't claim to be unbiased, since I established the style currently in use. I could have argued with the move of Annaea from "Annaea (gens)" but chose not to because I didn't want to get involved in a war over MOS issues involving disambiguation. I'll briefly comment on the different options:
  1. Nomen, masculine singular. I don't like this option, because it would be completely foreign to the Romans, isn't used by the most widely-available sources on the topic, and would certainly be problematic where some the gens wouldn't be the primary topic (and this would probably be the case with many important families).
  2. Nomen, masculine plural. Also not a good choice in my opinion, for the reasons Cynwolfe gave above. And probably nobody would look for an article using this format.
  3. Nomen, feminine singular. Ambiguous, especially where there are articles about women of the gentes (individually or collectively).
  4. The word gens + nomen (fem.). Technically correct, for which reason I would recommend it if the word gens were ignored like "a" or "the." But it's not. If we use this, the search window will have far too many results to display, all beginning with the same word. A bit like filing things such as "a letter from Cicero to Licinius" and "a will belonging to Caesar" under A.
  5. Nomen (fem.) + gens. I think this would work. It would mean redirecting a lot of articles, but some of that might be done by bots. It avoids the issue of the parenthesis conflicting with disambiguation policies. I doubt there would be many conflicts with other pages, since the word gens isn't that widely used outside of classical studies; it's also used in biology, but the two (related) meanings aren't used in the same context, so conflicts with existing articles should be rare. As for the objection that it's not standard in Latin, that's true. But the Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology, which is about as good a source as can be expected for general topics about gentes and their members, does use this form in a high percentage of articles. So I think we can say it's good English. And while I strongly prefer Latin forms for some purposes ("Pompey" for "Pompeius" drives me nuts), English forms have their place in English-language articles, and this seems like a good example.
  6. Nomen + (gens). Sticking with this ought to be fine, although the non-parenthetical version above might be just as good. I don't think that the disambiguation policy should apply here, since in this case uniformity of titles is more important. But if the preceding suggestion would avoid difficulties arising from disambiguation policies, then that seems acceptable also. P Aculeius (talk) 23:10, 31 July 2013 (UTC)

end copied discussion

To P Aculeius's observation above that DGRBM lists the name as (for instance) Afrania gens, I would append a note. It does, but I believe the purpose is to keep related information together (all the Afranii and Afraniae), since it's arranged alphabetically. I'm not sure the principle differs from indices in modern works of scholarship that would list Afrania, gens for alphabetizing. Cynwolfe (talk) 19:45, 19 September 2013 (UTC)