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A link to a DAB page[edit]

Dominic Rathbone links to the DAB page Greek and Roman Egypt. Does anyone here know his area of interest? Thanks in advance. Narky Blert (talk) 11:14, 26 August 2018 (UTC)

Surely the most practical solution, since there only seem to be three topics listed—one of which seems to be the main article for "Greek Egypt", one of which covers "Roman Egypt", and one of which is for "Post-Roman Egypt"—is to split the link between the first two articles, as both seem applicable given both the plain language and the list of publications at the bottom. Done, unless someone thinks of a better solution. P Aculeius (talk) 11:47, 26 August 2018 (UTC)
I'd have said his focus is Roman. To do Roman Egypt you have to know about what went before, and you have to do Greek, and he does. But P Aculeius's solution is ideal. Andrew Dalby 12:08, 26 August 2018 (UTC)
Thanks. I was thinking that way, but it's good to have confirmation. Narky Blert (talk) 08:05, 11 September 2018 (UTC)

RoC: Marcus Aurelius should be referred to as "Marcus" and not "Aurelius"[edit]

Thanks everyone, for all your contributions! When editing relevant articles, he should be called Marcus and not Aurelius. The two are used variously in different places. The main reason in support is the sources. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, The Encyclopedia Brittanica, and Van Ackeren's Companion never use "Aurelius" alone to refer to him. I saw that @Векочел:, an editor for whom I have much admiration, systematically changed "Marcus" to "Aurelius" on Reign of Marcus Aurelius. Thanks for calling my attention to this. Informata ob Iniquitatum (talk) 22:11, 26 August 2018 (UTC)

Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I changed the referencing to match that of the main article on Marcus Aurelius. However, it is not much of a problem if he is called "Marcus". Векочел (talk) 23:15, 26 August 2018 (UTC)
A quick flip through suggests that naming him "Aurelius" alone has become much more common in the main article on Marcus Aurelius in the last few months, although it occasionally occurred there even before. I agree with InformationvsInjustice that off Wikipedia, in English writing, his brief name is nearly always "Marcus", never "Aurelius".
There are several references in both articles to his brother and co-emperor Lucius Verus. The latter is sometimes given the brief name "Lucius", sometimes "Verus", and both brief names can be found in other English sources, so that's OK, though it might help readers if we were consistent. Since the name "Aurelius" belonged to both of them, that is an additional reason to choose another short name for Marcus instead. Andrew Dalby 11:43, 27 August 2018 (UTC)
I'll just note here that Anthony Birley in his biography refers to the emperor by his praenomen on a consistent basis. That is, for the portion of his the book where he went by the name "Marcus Aurelius": the man had three or four different names over his lifetime. (And that assumes he didn't have a nickname his most intimate friends & acquaintances called him by.) That said, I'm going to pontificate here on a very complex topic: which short form of a Roman's name should one use in an article?
If the person has a commonly-accepted version in English (e.g. Marcus for Marcus Aurelius; Vespasian for the older Titus Flavius Vespasian, & Titus for the younger; etc.), the writer is home free. Where none exists, the writer has to consider a number factors. Writers on the Roman Republic have it easy, since there's sufficient evidence that Romans of that period went by their praenomina. Likewise, writers of the Later Roman Empire also have it easy, since most people have only one name recorded for them (e.g. Stilicho). (BTW, one authority persuasively argues that "Flavius" (abbreviated "Fl.") was from about AD 375 on an honorific title & not part of the person's name. As a title, it is roughly equivalent to "Mr." in an 18th-century context; thus Senators rarely, if ever, used the style "Flavius", & to address a senator as, say, "Flavius Symmachus" would be considered an insult.) It is the first three centuries of the Roman Empire where things get difficult to get right.

For the period up to the Year of Four Emperors, if not a decade longer, men still favored using the praenomen as the short form. It is in the AD 70s where the important part begins to be the cognomen: where an individual named "Gaius Bigus Dickus" lived before AD 70 would favor being known as "Gaius", after that point he would favor "Dickus". But both preferences can be found until the late 2nd century, when praenomina have become treated as part of the gentilicum & the cognomen becomes the part that distinguishes family members. (IMHO, this shift was due to an influx of newcomers who were descended from men who had taken the first two name elements from the Senator who helped them to become Roman citizens, or the Emperor at the time they became citizens. Thus not only were a "Sex. Julius" & "C. Julius" of the 2nd Century very likely unrelated, it is not at all likely two "Sex. Julii" of that period were related. Things do get confusing, & my practice is to find an expert to lean on.) However, there are still old Italian families where two brothers may have the same gentilici & cognomina, yet different praenomina: the praenomen is still the significant element, as late as the 4th century. And the issue of polyonomous names only serves to further complicate matters: if there is no attested short form used by their contemporaries, there really is no simple way to pick a proper short form. (If anyone cares, my practice is to use the final element in the names, & cross my fingers that I did it right. But I have seen experts use the gentilicum of a person as the abbreviated way to refer to the person.

In short, it's clear that Векочел was acting in good faith & using common sense -- although calling the emperor "Aurelius" grates my ear. And my extensive discussion is not my attempt to lay out the "right way" to solve this problem, it's just my warning that we will see people argue over which name element is the "right" one to use. (Maybe even if a policy were hammered out on the matter.) I hope fore-warned is fore-armed. -- llywrch (talk) 21:46, 27 August 2018 (UTC)

I prefer Aurelius over Marcus, even if not widely used in the modern academic literature (and Verus over Lucius). We have the name of several thousands Romans named Marcus, which is one of the three most common first names in Roman history, and therefore not distinctive at all. Stanford and the Internet Encyclopediae of Philosophy, etc. are just tertiary sources, they do not have an authority over how we format Wikipedia. Wikipedia is aimed at all audiences, and we should therefore abbreviate Roman names to make them distinctive enough to the average reader. You don't use Marcus for Cicero, Gaius for Caesar, or Publius for Tacitus. Less common praenomina can be used though.

By the way, while we are discussing the article on Marcus Aurelius, why is his biography split into several articles ("Marcus Aurelius", "Early life of Marcus Aurelius", and "Reign of Marcus Aurelius")? It would be much better to have everything on the same page. It makes things more difficult to read and edit otherwise (hard to maintain consistency over many articles).T8612 (talk) 09:52, 28 August 2018 (UTC)

Such ambiguity is why we usually say "Marcus Aurelius". However, there are instances where it's safe to use praenomina to refer to individual Romans; such as when distinguishing someone from a brother (biological or adopted, in the case of co-emperors) whose names were otherwise similar, which might be the reason for using "Marcus" as shorthand here; his colleague was Lucius Aurelius Verus. And we do use praenomina to refer to some specific individuals on a regular basis: Gaius Caesar, Lucius Caesar, Gaius (Caligula), Tiberius, Titus; Nero's birth name was "Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus", but he was officially "Nero Claudius Caesar" when he became emperor. As long as there's no risk of confusion in a particular instance, it's safe to use whatever name is preferred by academia when not using the full name. I'm not saying it's mandatory. But "Aurelius" by itself would be more ambiguous in this instance, which might explain why "Marcus" seems to be the more common way to refer to him when it's already clear which Marcus. P Aculeius (talk) 12:39, 28 August 2018 (UTC)
Yes, as Llywrch says, all is in good faith and this is a very diffficult issue. Just "Aurelius" is an unwise choice, exactly because of the ambiguity that P Aculeius points out. If writing about Henry James, in a context in which his brother is also involved, it would be no good calling either of them just "James". Andrew Dalby 09:06, 29 August 2018 (UTC)
To answer T8612's second question, I expect there are three articles due to length. The main article on Marcus Aurelius, when I checked just now, is 117,830 bytes; the one on his early life is 69,224 bytes; the third, on his reign, is 66,360 bytes. These figures omit the additional size of any graphics. His reign is one of the better-documented periods of Roman history, & he is one of the very few people of ancient time we have enough personal information about to allow us to analyze his character & motivations. (The others include Cicero, Augustus, Augustine of Hippo, Julian the Apostate, & Libanius; not only do we have an adequate account of their lives, but we have their own words to explain their lives.) When you contrast this with what we can say about the vast majority of known Romans (viz. little more than their bare name), or what we can say about a number of known events of the time (e.g., the Bar Kochba revolts, for which our knowledge can be summarized as "The Jews revolted, the Romans sent a lot of men to Judea, who killed a lot of people there, and the revolt was crushed"), be glad we have to write several articles to cover the material competently. -- llywrch (talk) 22:50, 29 August 2018 (UTC)
That doesn't look too long for me. The article on the Roman Empire is 279,201 bytes, and the three articles on Marcus Aurelius share some duplicated material (bibliography, citations, and pictures). Is there a size limit for articles?T8612 (talk) 15:12, 30 August 2018 (UTC)
Not a strict limit, but there's a useful editing guideline to suggest when large articles should be split based on size. It doesn't apply in every case; some articles simply require a lot of space to cover a broad topic, which is probably the case with "Roman Empire". However, when individual portions of a topic become individually more expansive than many thorough articles, so that readers risk becoming bogged down in minutiae, splitting an article can be a good idea. Article size is only one way to help determine whether a large article should be split; but I note that each of the three Marcus Aurelius articles by themselves are in the range of very long articles that might benefit from being split, if size alone were the main criterion, as two of them are over 60K, while the main topic is over 100K. Combining the three would make the resulting article over 250K! But more importantly, if you want an overview of Marcus Aurelius, you could easily get overwhelmed by a large section just on his early life, and then again on his career, with the rest of the article being crowded out; these two sections combined would make up more than half the space of the article. Another way to look at it is that practically everything about the life of Marcus Aurelius is potentially encyclopedic, but not all of it is necessary to get a broad overview of the man. More detailed topics can be made into stand-alone articles, making the main one more accessible to readers, while still directing them to the split-off topics for further information. P Aculeius (talk) 18:32, 30 August 2018 (UTC)
A long, long time ago there was a limit of 32,000 bytes for articles but that was lifted years ago. (It was due to a limit in some browsers, so I was told at the time.) If you can remember that constraint, then you are truly a Wikipedia old-timer. (I suspect of the people posting in this thread, Andrew might be the only other person to remember that limit.) Something to remember in case there is ever a "Wikipedia Trivial Pursuit" contest with cash prizes. -- llywrch (talk) 23:14, 31 August 2018 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────@Llywrch: To be clear, are you saying that Birley sometimes refers to the emperor Marcus Aurelius as "Aurelius" but refers to the juvenile Marcus Aurelius as "Marcus"? @T8612: While I agree at those sites have no "authority" over Wikipedia, the fact that they consistently use Marcus should carry weight here. Also, if there are going to wholesale changes across multiple articles (as has occurred in the last couple months), I feel that there should be (or should have been) a discussion and a consensus first. Is there a consensus here? Informata ob Iniquitatum (talk) 04:23, 5 September 2018 (UTC)

InformationvsInjustice, I just saw your query earlier this morning; sorry for the delay. I checked Birley's biography, & he consistently refers to the emperor as "Marcus".

Yet I also need to add a caveat about this, that Marcus is a special case concerning names: his changed dramatically over his life up to the point he assumed the purple. It can be confusing, & the author of the Historia Augusta does get confused in reporting this. According to Birley (& counter to what the Wikipedia article states), he was born Marcus Annius Verus. When he held his first consulate (AD 130), he used the name Marcus Annius Verus Catilius Severus, the last two elements taken from his grandfather. In an inscription dated 138, after Antoninus Pius adopted him at Hadrian's direction, his name became Marcus Aelius Aurelius Verus; "Aelius" taken from Hadrian, & "Aurelius" from Antoninus Pius". Then when Marcus assumed the purple in 161, he assumed the name Imperial Caesar Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus. So I may be wrong about why we refer to him as "Marcus", & the real reason is that "Marcus" is the only part of his name that remained consistent thru his lifetime. -- llywrch (talk) 18:13, 7 September 2018 (UTC)

I take it Llywrch meant to write "Imperator Caesar Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus". That agrees exactly with the longest form of his name on imperial coins as given by David Sear (reference below). Not that Sear was necessarily a great expert on the history, but this is the kind of thing he had to get right. Andrew Dalby 08:43, 8 September 2018 (UTC)

Hi. I just found this discussion via a link on the talk page at Marcus Aurelius. I take the blame for making "Aurelius" the standard short name on that page last month. I was not completely confident in that choice; you can see me asking for another opinion on talk:Marcus Aurelius. If the consensus here is that "Marcus" should be used instead, I can make those changes so no one else has to clean up after me. Regards, Tdslk (talk) 07:37, 6 September 2018 (UTC)

I swear I had typed Imperator" & not "Imperial". I blame it on my computer keyboard! (And FWIW, I took that style from Alison E. Cooley, The Cambridge Manual of Latin Epigraphy (Cambridge: University Press, 2012). I guess we have independent verification of this fact.) -- llywrch (talk) 03:27, 9 September 2018 (UTC)
Thanks for commenting! Векочел, who continued that pattern at Reign of Marcus Aurelius, said above that it was done "to match ... the main article", not for any other reason. T8612 has stated a preference for "Aurelius", but without giving any reason as yet (I think). Otherwise, my impression is that there's a consensus above for "Marcus" (or, whenever it works better, "Marcus Aurelius"), and that seems to be what reliable writers on this subject in English also do.
While waiting to see what others say (especially T8612), I would be in favour of acccepting Tdslk's offer. Andrew Dalby 10:09, 6 September 2018 (UTC)
I principally reacted over the use of other encyclopediae to format Wikipedia. I think that Marcus (as well as Lucius and Gaius) are not distinctive enough to be used as diminutive in this kind of article. I checked the literature a bit and many authors keep the whole name (either "Marcus Aurelius" or "M. Aurelius"), possibly for the same reason, although the Cambridge Ancient History says "Marcus" only (but "L. Verus"). The Roman Imperial Coinage uses "Aurelius" (my preference for Aurelius may come from there as I've read these books so many times), but it dates from 1930. That said, I I don't have a strong opinion about the use of Marcus if there is a consensus on this.T8612 (talk) 23:04, 6 September 2018 (UTC)
Interesting reply. You made me think of looking at David Sear's Roman Coins and Their Values (1964 edition: pp. 99-104). This also uses "Aurelius" as brief name. But I don't feel these two examples outweigh others: coin catalogues are a bit special.
I agree that "Marcus Aurelius" is good. Andrew Dalby 13:38, 7 September 2018 (UTC)
Just checking in on this. My sense of the above discussion is that using "Marcus Aurelius" throughout would be preferred, or at least acceptable, to everyone. Are there any objections to making this change? Tdslk (talk) 23:05, 15 September 2018 (UTC)
I think the consensus is that either "Marcus" or "Marcus Aurelius" are acceptable, as long as the context makes clear that Marcus Aurelius is the subject. "Aurelius" alone should generally be avoided as ambiguous, because it was shared with many other individuals in this family, and isn't widely used to refer to Marcus Aurelius in scholarly literature. P Aculeius (talk) 02:16, 16 September 2018 (UTC)
I've edited to use both names throughout at Marcus Aurelius, as well as Reign of Marcus Aurelius and Early life of Marcus Aurelius. Tdslk (talk) 18:55, 16 September 2018 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────@Tdslk, P Aculeius, and Векочел: Stylistically, I would prefer to use "Marcus Aurelius" when first mentioned in each section/subsection and Marcus thereafter. Informata ob Iniquitatum (talk) 22:16, 17 September 2018 (UTC)

Might be overkill to use the full name for every section and subsection; we don't do that when speaking of "John Smith". Just try to make it read clearly, and nobody will object. If something's unclear, it's easy enough for someone to rephrase. P Aculeius (talk) 22:24, 17 September 2018 (UTC)

Battle of Cannae[edit]

I have nominated Battle of Cannae for a featured article review here. Please join the discussion on whether this article meets featured article criteria. Articles are typically reviewed for two weeks. If substantial concerns are not addressed during the review period, the article will be moved to the Featured Article Removal Candidates list for a further period, where editors may declare "Keep" or "Delist" the article's featured status. The instructions for the review process are here. DrKay (talk) 17:24, 3 September 2018 (UTC)

Yow. This article does need work, although some of the assumptions in the nomination are questionable. (For example, which would you rather rely on as being closer to the truth: the statement of a primary source, or a paraphrase of this primary source in a secondary one?) And I'm wondering if all of its problems could be fixed in two weeks. In any case, it would be a shame if the article on one of the most famous battles of antiquity were to lose FA status. -- llywrch (talk) 23:02, 3 September 2018 (UTC)
Likewise, I don't see the problem with using primary sources; Livy and Polybius represent everything we know on the battle (and the Second Punic War). For the same reason, there is generally no need to mention page numbers when citing ancient sources (the tome and paragraph are enough).T8612 (talk) 00:00, 4 September 2018 (UTC)
The page numbers aren't a problem on the primary sources. It's some of the secondary sources where they're missing. DrKay (talk) 17:37, 4 September 2018 (UTC)

Vital articles[edit]

I have made some suggestions in the list of Level-4 articles regarding Ancient History. Can you guys take a look?T8612 (talk) 10:52, 5 September 2018 (UTC)