Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Classical Greece and Rome/Archive 8

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Archive 7 Archive 8 Archive 9

Things To Do

What articles to do with the project currently need cleaning up?


I would offer that the Gnothi_seauton entry could use some expert (or at least competent) attention. In making the request for help, I am also raising the question of whether that article should indeed fall under the rubric of WikiProject Classical Greece and Rome. Skandha101 • 20:50, 5 November 2009 (UTC)

Companion cavalry

Could someone assess Companion cavalry and review it for missing information? I am pretty sure it is C class or better (maybe B).SADADS (talk) 01:36, 5 November 2009 (UTC)

Greek Love rewrite

There is a proposed overhaul draft at the talkpage; could folks have a look and comment, etc. Any extra eyes would be appreciated. -- Banjeboi 01:02, 8 November 2009 (UTC)

Help sought re: source for L. R. Taylor article

If anyone has access to Taylor's "The Mother of the Lares," American Journal of Archaeology 29.3 (1925) 299-313, sharing would be much appreciated. It would be very helpful for several articles. Haploidavey (talk) 15:07, 16 November 2009 (UTC)

...and lo, help was given. A milliard of thanks to C. Haploidavey (talk) 15:56, 16 November 2009 (UTC)

Latin Right

Could someone with expertise take a look at Latin Right? I'm pretty sure the article is using the word "provincial" when it means "municipal" (municipium), which may or may not cast doubt on other points of accuracy in this highly technical and intricate subject. I think there are a couple of Roman constitutionalists lurking about? Cynwolfe (talk) 16:37, 30 November 2009 (UTC)

It seems to mean municipalities in the provinces = outside Italia. Presumably Latin right had been extended throughout Italy in the Social War; but the article should say so. The pompous prose suggests that our editor has copied phrases he does not fully understand (sacral community will be helpful to nobody). Septentrionalis PMAnderson 20:50, 1 December 2009 (UTC)
Well, but in the section "Origin of the Latin Right" it says that the rights given to the former city-states of the Latin League were "provincial" rights; that's where I'm pretty sure we need the concept of municipium somewhere. "Provincial" is probably correct, however, in the section "The Latin Right under the Empire." If anybody's interested in pursuing this, A.N. Sherwin-White's Roman Citizenship is the magnificent beast that would have to be rendered into a tidy sausage; limited but daunting preview online. Cynwolfe (talk) 00:48, 2 December 2009 (UTC)

Pageview stats

After a recent request, I added WikiProject Classical Greece and Rome to the list of projects to compile monthly pageview stats for. The data is the same used by but the program is different, and includes the aggregate views from all redirects to each page. The stats are at Wikipedia:WikiProject Classical Greece and Rome/Popular pages.

The page will be updated monthly with new data. The edits aren't marked as bot edits, so they will show up in watchlists. You can view more results, request a new project be added to the list, or request a configuration change for this project using the toolserver tool. If you have any comments or suggestions, please let me know. Thanks! Mr.Z-man 00:47, 1 December 2009 (UTC)

Education in Ancient Rome

The article on Education in Ancient Rome reads like an essay by an ESL student who spent the night googling the subject in question. I've gone and removed overly subjective phrases such as "as we know" and some unsourced BS, and given it a bit of grammar cleanup, but someone who knows more about the subject than I do should make more substantive improvementsSzfski (talk) 23:14, 24 October 2009 (UTC)

I've goven it a bit more of a cleanup. However, i think it needs looking at in conjunction with Roman school which is unreferenced and is confusingly a completely different article from Roman School.--Peter cohen (talk) 10:18, 25 October 2009 (UTC)
Not that confusing. Capital letters are important. I don't really see why Roman school exists, though--aside from the issue that it's of severely doubtful accuracy, everything it covers should already be dealt with in Education in ancient Rome. --Akhilleus (talk) 14:55, 25 October 2009 (UTC)
Yes, Roman school would be best merged into Education in ancient Rome and "ancient" changed to lower case. How's all this done? Haploidavey (talk) 14:47, 6 December 2009 (UTC)

Templates for CIL and AE

Hi, I did those templates to cite sources from the repository of L'Année épigraphique and Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum:

They could be useful? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Lord Hidelan (talkcontribs) 11:27, 23 November 2009 (UTC)

Rather more useful if they linked to the English version of the database. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 19:54, 24 November 2009 (UTC)
Now they work correctly.Lord Hidelan (talk) 16:24, 9 December 2009 (UTC)

Descent from antiquity

Hi all.

I had a discussion with another user regarding the insertion of the article Descent from antiquity in the "See also" section of several articles about ancient people having sons or parents. If you check Special:WhatLinksHere/Descent_from_antiquity you will notice that there are more than 140 articles linking to Descent, among which many are biographies unrelated to the concept.

My question is if we should keep or not this article in the "See also" section of articles such as Attila the Hun.

--TakenakaN (talk) 21:04, 5 December 2009 (UTC)

The topic doesn't seem to be relevant at all for such articles, only the other way round. It seems that the analogous principle to WP:ONEWAY (which is formulated only for fringe topics, which this may or may not be) applies. Hans Adler 22:02, 5 December 2009 (UTC)
I think I shall remove the links, then. Thanks. --TakenakaN (talk) 10:26, 9 December 2009 (UTC)

Missing names

I had a discussion about biographies about Romans whose first name is missing. For example, in Egnatius Lucillus the praenomen is probably missing: a user thinks this should be indicated putting tree fullstops in its place, according to me there should be nothing. What is the correct practice? --TakenakaN (talk) 10:35, 9 December 2009 (UTC)

Pro di immortales, please don't do this. Who on earth will know what it means? Just state within the article something along the lines of "no praenomen is recorded" or such. The ellipsis should be used only if you're presenting a name as it appears directly in an inscription or manuscript (or an edition that preserves a lacuna of a ms.), where there really is a discernible chunk missing. Not all Romans are known to have had three names; famously, Gaius Marius and Quintus Sertorius (though in these cases, it's the cognomen that's lacking). There are many many Romans for whom the praenomen is missing or uncertain. Cynwolfe (talk) 14:16, 9 December 2009 (UTC)

Among these Petronius; Tacitus gives him a different praenomen than the MS titlepage of the Satyricon. Please leave well enough alone; in Egnatius' case, any reader who will be concerned about the problem will also know that Egnatius is not one of the two dosen praenomina - other readers should be given the name that English sources will use. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 03:42, 15 December 2009 (UTC)
Just a clarification: I agree with you all, it was the other user who said it is important to signal the missing name. --TakenakaN (talk) 11:57, 15 December 2009 (UTC)
Yes, sorry if it sounded otherwise! I was assuming the other user might read the comments too. Thank you for taking up the issue. I think I've seen the user in question do this elsewhere. There are a number of articles (using the same single source) that give genealogies and little else about the figure in question. (Typically not enough to meet notability requirements, which is not to say the individual isn't notable.) I've wondered what's up with all that, especially given the idiosyncratic use of the ellipsis in the name. Cynwolfe (talk)

GA nomination for Roman Alconétar Bridge

See Talk:Alconétar Bridge. Gun Powder Ma (talk) 01:43, 14 December 2009 (UTC)

Book class

Since several couple of Wikipedia-Books are CG&R-related, could this project adopt the book-class? This would really help WikiProject Wikipedia-Books, as the WP CG&R people can oversee books like Constitution of the Roman Republic much better than we could as far as merging, deletion, content, and such are concerned. Eventually there probably will be a "Books for discussion" process, so that would be incorporated in the Article Alerts.

There's an article in last week's Signpost if you aren't familiar with Wikipedia-Books and classes in general. If you have any questions just ask. Thanks. Headbomb {ταλκκοντριβς – WP Physics} 01:23, 9 December 2009 (UTC)

Anyone for/against this? Or confused? Headbomb {ταλκκοντριβς – WP Physics} 04:32, 18 December 2009 (UTC)

Talk:Comparison between Roman and Han Empires

You are invited to join the discussion at Talk:Comparison between Roman and Han Empires. Gun Powder Ma (talk) 12:36, 17 December 2009 (UTC) (Using {{Please see}})

You are invited to join the discussion at [AFD] for Comparison between Roman and Han Empires. Gun Powder Ma (talk) 23:36, 17 December 2009 (UTC)

Roman Gentes

Hi there! Still rather new to all this, and probably stepping on a lot of toes (sorry about that). I've been working on a project to create (and revise) a series of articles on Roman gentes to go with the articles I've revised under the titles of praenomen and gens. The goal is to create a uniform series of articles treating every family that can be identified, more or less, as a gens, placing it in historical context, providing information about its origin, praenomina, and stirpes and/or major cognomina, and then giving a list of known members, with links to articles about individual members about whom enough is known to justify a separate article.

I thought this project was justified because the articles that existed were in a very confused state. The same family might have several different articles titled things like, "Aemilia", "Aemilius", "Aemilii," "Aemilius (name)", "Aemilia gens", "Aemilius (gens)", "Aemilii (gens)", "Aemilius (Roman family)", etc. sometimes repeating one another, frequently without sources, etc. After I had done about eighteen of these, Cynwolfe suggested I post here and ask whether there was any concern about moving pages from, say, "Aemilius (gens)" to "Aemilia (gens)", on account of all the links on other pages that might need to be changed, and also some questions about the orthographically-correct form (Aemilius vs. Aemilia), and whether it makes sense for gens to be parenthetical in the titles.

Since gentes are feminine, and so treated in reference books such as the Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology, I don't think that there ought to be much doubt as to the correct form of the name in an article about the gens. The nomen can be masculine or feminine, but the name of the gens should always be feminine. As for the links, my plan was to change them individually each time a page is moved. That's what I've done on all the articles I've worked on so far, except for talk pages (I wasn't sure what the protocol would be for things like that). But fixing those doesn't seem like a serious problem to me, as I was planning to do that as the project moved along.

As for whether the word gens in the titles should be parenthetical, my feeling is that the name of the gens should come first in the title, even though in a sentence we would say, gens Aemilia rather than Aemilia gens most of the time. Placing gens in parentheses makes clear that it's a gens and not a genus of beetles (ran across one like that yesterday), and at the same time doesn't suggest that you should say, "Aemilia gens" instead of "gens Aemilia". Some of the articles that already exist use this format, and it makes sense to me to apply that uniformly to all of them. But, I suppose this is the point where I need to take a deep breath, and ask what everybody else thinks. P Aculeius (talk) 05:00, 18 December 2009 (UTC)

This seems very sensible, if we are careful with the distinction that the nomen is Cornelius, and when we say "Cornelia", we're really saying gens Cornelia, with the word gens understood. In other words, the nomen gentilicum is in fact Cornelius, not Cornelia. I also agree that the nomen should come first in the article title, regardless of the usual Latin word order, because it's more user-friendly — someone looking up an Aemilius will be typing that in first, and the menu that then starts to come up will (one hopes eventually) point to the right article.
When I started organizing some of this in an effort to avoid the disambiguation police, I found the kind of inconsistencies of article-naming that P Aculeius lists: you didn't know whether you were going to find Aemilii, Aemilius, Aemilius (gens), Aemilius (family), or Aemilia (gens). The most common reason for these inconsistencies, and why such pages have no sources, is that they often began as disambiguation pages, and individual editors overcame the obstacles variously. My personal introduction to the frustrations of this can be found at Talk:Tiberius Claudius Nero (if you're wondering, P Ac., how this good deed of yours could possibly be contentious). What I started doing was splitting off the content of pages, leaving the references to towns in Ohio and butterflies and such on the disambiguation page, along with a link to the new gens page (or stirps or individuals with the same name), and if there was a person or two of extraordinary note, like an emperor, also linking directly to that article from the dab. The new pages I categorized under Prosopography of Ancient Rome and any other appropriate categories, such as Cornelii, Ancient Roman gentes, etc. (In some cases, I did the reverse, and created the disambiguation page.) It was hoped that these pages might eventually be adopted by someone; in the meantime, they served as lists or indexes to help those trying to find a particular Roman.
I'm still inclined to think that a gens article should be called, for instance, Baebius rather than Baebia (gens), which seems less intuitive for a non-specialist user. If you're a bloke reading Livy because of an interest in military history, and you're confused about figures named Baebius, when you come to Wikipedia you'll type in "Baebius." If you start typing in Baeb and see Baebia (gens), you may not even recognize that it's what you're looking for. In some cases, of course, the nomen needs to redirect to a disproportionately famous individual: obviously Sertorius needs to go to Quintus Sertorius, not Sertoria (gens). I'm thinking more of figures not readily distinguished from each other — fellows named Calvisius or Baebius and the like, or those praetorian Tiberii Claudii Nerones.
I hope we can all be supportive of P Ac's efforts, who shouldn't worry about toes. But there are a certain number of regular contributors interested in these and related issues. Cynwolfe (talk) 15:05, 18 December 2009 (UTC)
Thanks, I read some of what you went through earlier, and I appreciate your patience. I'd like to propose the following convention for articles on this topic, which I think should fulfill the goal of both accuracy and ease of use: the bare nomen gentilicum should always refer to a disambiguation page, except if it can only refer to one article; that is, if it refers to only one known person, or to members of a gens so obscure that none of its members have separate articles (yet), in which case it should simply redirect to that page. The disambiguation page would refer people first to the gens, which could be orthographically correct (as many of them already are), and feminine; then to anyone famous enough to be known by the nomen; then to other articles that relate to the same name.
For instance, typing "Cornelius" would bring up a disambiguation page with entries like the following examples: Cornelius may refer to various members of the Roman gens Cornelia, including: * Aulus Cornelius Cossus, consul in (years) * Lucius Cornelius Scipio Barbatus, consul in (years) * Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus, the conqueror of Carthage in the Second Punic War * Lucius Cornelius Sulla, Roman dictator  :For other examples, see Cornelia (gens). Cornelius may also refer to the personal name Cornelius, derived from the Roman gens * The town of Cornelius, New York * Cornelius, a metaphorical term for a person who has grown horns * Cornelius, a genus of cute little beetles (all of these would be linked to the related article, of course).
Do you think that this convention would make it easy to find the right article, without compromising accuracy? I share your concern about helping people unfamiliar with the terminology find what they need, and I'm committed to that goal, but at the same time I'm also concerned about the risk of underestimating people's ability to understand the material or learn from context. I'm sure you agree with the goal of providing high-quality material that can be accessible to both laymen and academics without the need for "dumbing down". P Aculeius (talk) 17:07, 18 December 2009 (UTC)
You haven't thought this through enough. The bare nomen gentilicum should always refer to a disambiguation page, except if it can only refer to one article; that is, if it refers to only one known person, or to members of a gens so obscure that none of its members have separate articles (yet), in which case it should simply redirect to that page. would require moving Claudius; yet Tiberius' successor is primary usage in both senses: he is normally called Claudius and is what most people will be looking for by typing in the name. (So also for Petronius.)
Better to set up a principle Call the articles on gentes by the masculine singular form of the nomen, unless there is some good reason to do otherwise and see if this causes problems. Unless (horresco referens) you do this by a bot, you will have to work through the gentes one at a time anyway. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 15:51, 19 December 2009 (UTC)
Actually, I have thought this through. I suppose there could be exceptions for names like Claudius, although there aren't that many important nomina that are usually used by themselves (for instance, nobody knows who you mean if you just say, "Julius" or "Cornelius"). But if Claudius did lead to a disambiguation page, instead of directly to the emperor, would that be such a bad thing? I don't think anybody would be confused or unable to identify the right page from a list including something like, "For the first century Roman Emperor, see Claudius (emperor). But at the same time, using nomina standing alone as disambiguation pages was just a suggestion. It's not necessary to the project as a whole.
However, I simply don't think that it gives readers enough credit to assume that they would be confused to find that the name of a gens is always feminine. In fact, someone who's researching a gens probably already knows that, and if he or she doesn't know, it ought to become apparent in the course of reading the article. The way that the articles are being written, it should be clear from context alone that this is the case. Each article begins with a paragraph that says what a gens is and gives an example of someone in it, and after a few paragraphs of general information, a list of both male and female members. I think that giving articles names that are patently inaccurate is completely antithetical to the basic concept of providing information that is both accurate and reliable.
It would also be consistent with the usage in the other major reference works, such as the Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology and Harper's Dictionary of Classical Literature and Antiquities. A large number of the existing Wikipedia articles on gentes already follow this convention, and it doesn't seem to have confused people. I think it makes more sense for them all to use the correct form than for some of them to do it right and others to do it wrong, as if it makes no difference what you call a gens.
One thing I'm not concerned about is having to do it separately for every gens. I wouldn't dream of using a bot, even if I knew how. But each gens needs to be worked on separately, and giving them a uniform appearance takes much less time than actually writing and revising the articles. It may take months for me to get them all written, but I can certainly do it, and always intended to. P Aculeius (talk) 22:55, 19 December 2009 (UTC)
Septentrionalis, could you clarify what you mean by the nomen always being a disambiguation page? P. Ac is not trying to create disambiguation pages, but prosopography pages. That is, the kind of information he wishes to provide cannot be accommodated within disambiguating parameters, which are very strict. What you say is true of Cornelius, but not true of, say, Cloelius, which as far as I know is only a Roman name, and not a toad or Ohio town, thus requiring no disambiguation page at all, but rather a prosopographical page that helps somebody typing in Cloelius find a page that sorts these fellows out. (Why is why I would resist changing the page named Cloelius to the counterintuitive Cloelia (gens); Cloelius is what's most likely to be entered in the search field.) A few Cloelii might merit separate articles, but for others only a sentence or paragraph of information is known — information not permitted on a dab page, but again useful to the reader who finds the name and is trying to figure out which Cloelius.
This use of "Cloelius" is only an example, of course, and not meant to imply that any Cloelii are of vital importance. It just happens that I had to sort out a couple for myself recently, and provided that information on their page. Cynwolfe (talk) 17:35, 20 December 2009 (UTC)
Actually, I think I was suggesting that the bare nomen always go to some sort of disambiguation page, either that or redirect to the gens. Maybe that's too extreme. But I'm really convinced that we should distinguish between the nomen, which can be either masculine or feminine, and the gens, which is always feminine, by definition. But I think perhaps we could agree on a middle ground by making one page about the nomen, which could be masculine by default (the purpose of this page would be to explain where the nomen comes from or what it means), and another about the gens. Chase left plenty of information about nomina and cognomina to add to other material in reference sources. I haven't sorted through it all carefully because I was mainly researching praenomina, and that was what led me to my interest in the various gentes.
In any case, I don't think that intuition plays a significant role when it comes to researching gentes. If you don't already know what a gens is, then curiosity, and not intuition, will lead you to the page, which should be described something like this: For a list of people with this nomen, see Cornelia (gens), or something else appropriate to the circumstances. And if you do know what a gens is, then you probably already know that it's always feminine. I don't think it's likely to cause much confusion, and in any case even someone who has no idea what a gens is ought to be able to figure it out from the context as quickly as it could be explained. I'm sure if you were as used to the proper Roman convention as I am (I first started making lists of gentes, whether they were patrician or plebeian, and which praenomina they used more than ten years ago), it wouldn't seem at all strange to find them in the feminine form. You're used to thinking of them the other way. Perhaps, like other classical subjects, it's just something that takes time to get used to. P Aculeius (talk) 01:49, 21 December 2009 (UTC)

I don't see much functional difference between a dab page for a nomen and an article on the gens bearing that name. For the Claudii, there will be a sentence in the latter on their legendary origin, and perhaps a sentence of generalization on the popular reputation of the Appii Claudii, but what else will be in one and not the other? Septentrionalis PMAnderson 02:18, 21 December 2009 (UTC)

If it's a disambiguation page, enforcers of MOS:DAB will remove notable (not to mention useful) items from the list if they do not obviously fit a very strict interpretation of that style guideline (as Cynwolfe brought up earlier above). (My recent efforts to speak up for notable or useful items on disambiguation pages at WT:D has pretty much flopped.) Wareh (talk) 02:44, 21 December 2009 (UTC)
True enough; so we need a functional substitute to work around the Mass of Stupidity (as usual). Septentrionalis PMAnderson 04:22, 21 December 2009 (UTC)
  • I'm afraid so. Aka end run, legal dodge, offshore account ... that's why I removed dab tags from pages that were primarily lists of Roman names, perhaps with a quasi-sentence of info. You can't call them disambiguation pages, or you may come back and find that an hour's work has been deleted and that any effort to restore it puts you in an edit war with those who mistake rules-wielding for argumentation. Cynwolfe (talk) 22:54, 21 December 2009 (UTC)
I see, so if there's any useful content about the nomen, that would have to go on a separate page, with a title such as Cornelius (nomen), to which Cornelius (disambiguation) would point, together with something like Any of the members of the Roman gens Cornelia. That seems like an acceptable result. I do understand that in many cases it makes as much sense to place information about the nomen in the article about the gens, and that was my initial intention; to consolidate all of the useful information about the gens in one place. But the current articles include some about gentes and others about nomina, and one of the issues to be resolved is whether to list gentes correctly, as in gens Cornelia or Cornelia (gens), or incorrectly, as in Cornelius (gens), which has been suggested as more "intuitive".
Treating the nomen separately from the gens would serve as a middle ground, because unlike the gens, the nomen can be masculine. However, the nomen article would be concerned primarily with the ethnological and linguistic origin of the name, not with the history or reputation of the gens or its members, except insofar as those have a direct bearing on the nomen itself. This does not mean limiting such articles to "a sentence in the latter on their legendary origin". The purpose of such an article would be a detailed discussion including linguistic evidence, not a mere passing reference. In some cases there may not be much to say. However, the article, The Origin of Roman Praenomina by George Davis Chase contains quite a lot of material on hundreds of nomina and cognomina which served as preface to the discussion of praenomina. So there should be enough content to justify a separate article in quite a lot of cases.
However, except in the case of nomina requiring very detailed discussion, this would be unnecessary if we decided that the correct name of a gens is not particularly confusing. I doubt that anybody is going to type in Foslius expecting to go to the biography of a particular person, and be confused to arrive on a page discussing gens Foslia, with a list of persons named Foslius or Foslia at the bottom, linked to separate articles on each one for which an article exists. If the person typing doesn't know enough of the person's name to type, "Marcus Foslius Flaccinator", then a page about the gens seems like a logical place to begin, since then the person can use that page to figure out which article about a Foslius is needed, or search through them for the desired result. I really don't think that this format is going to confuse anybody. P Aculeius (talk) 12:29, 21 December 2009 (UTC)
I don't get your point about separate nomen and gens pages. Wouldn't the gens page need a section on the nomen gentilicum, its proposed origins, the praenomina traditionally used by the gens, and branches as distinguished by cognomina? Any word could have a page exploring its etymology or linguistic aspects, but Wikipedia is not an etymological dictionary. Terms as used in scholarship often have a page, but these articles are usually about usage, and how the term reflects the history of the concept: Genius (literature), for instance.
It may be my own bias, but I would think that users looking up an individual's name would far outnumber those researching a particular gens, which seems a pretty specialized activity. I may be misunderstanding your purpose, P Ac.; please correct me, but why would academics, or anyone doing serious research on Roman gentes, use a generalist resource like Wikipedia? I don't care that much about what an article is titled, as long as redirect pages are also created that will lead a reader efficiently from the most likely search term. It isn't about dumbing down, it's about recognizing your audience/readership/market; there are perfectly intelligent people who take an interest in military history, for instance, who don't know Latin at all, or what "inflection" is.
Incidentally, since Chase's work dates to 1897, I feel compelled to point out that a great deal of prosopographical work has been done in the ensuing hundred years, particularly because of new inscriptions. And linguistics is another area in which methological advances have been made, so a source that old has to be treated with caution on subjects like etymology. On the other hand, 21st-century linguists often fail to recognize that ancient eytmologies (such as Varro's), even when they're demonstrably nutty, do matter, because they reflect what the Romans themselves thought, and thus explain things like puns and insults. Cynwolfe (talk) 22:54, 21 December 2009 (UTC)
The only reason I suggested that a separate page about the nomen might be desirable is because I thought it might make it less likely that people would be confused to find the name of the gens is the feminine form of the nomen. I agree that most of what would go on such a page could be, and might be more logically addressed as part of the article on the gens. But if your primary concern is making sure that people can find the pages through proper redirects, I'm perfectly happy to take care of that. I already had to make a number of redirects for other articles, plus cross-references in articles that have similar names.
I didn't mean to imply that only academics would be looking for these articles. But chances are, most people who go looking for a gens either know what one is, or expect to find out by reading the articles — in which case I think it's even more important to use the correct terminology. I'm trying to write them in such a way that it'll be perfectly obvious that the same nomen can appear in multiple forms. I don't think it's necessary to include a list of inflected forms, if you write the article carefully, but certainly that would be an option if for some reason one of them were more complicated than the others. Still, you don't need to know anything about inflection to know that words come in different forms. We pick that sort of thing up in context every day.
I agree, ancient etymologies do matter, even though they're often (and obviously) wrong, or at least extremely improbable. But popular etymology is important because what people thought about names was important, not just what they actually meant. I do try to emphasize the true meaning of a name, but I also mention any alternative hypotheses mentioned by ancient authors or more recent sources.
As for Chase, I cite to his work because it's one of the most comprehensive, and is still cited as primary in more contemporary work. I would love to consult Salomies or Kajanto, but their work is impossible to buy, and difficult to visit at the library without traveling over a hundred miles (naturally they can't be checked out). Plus, Salomies is written in German, so I wouldn't be able to read it! I haven't been able to find out what language Kajanto's work on cognomina was written in, but it might be English. I do have Kajava on women's praenomina, and she frequently cites to Chase, as well as her contemporaries at the Roman Institute of Finland.
Anyway, if somebody else is able to add more recent scholarship to the articles, they're welcome to do it. At least the articles will be there, ready for new information. Provided that the articles have redirects to bring people to them if they don't know what to type, do you think I can proceed with this project? P Aculeius (talk) 01:40, 22 December 2009 (UTC)

I think it's marvelous that you're proceeding with this project. I think you've mentioned that you don't have easy access to a university library? If there are specific pieces of information you want from another source, I might be able to look up a few things for you. After the New Year. Sometimes even the Google Books snippet view can tell you where you need to go, and Kajanto's titles do indicate English. My German is almost uselessly feeble, so I have to be in desperate need to grind through it. Cynwolfe (talk) 16:30, 22 December 2009 (UTC)

Thanks, I'm glad to know the work is still appreciated, even when there's some disagreement on the minutiae [vide: Minutia (gens)]. Of course formatting questions aren't really minutiae, or we wouldn't get so worked up about them... anyway, I hope you'll like what I come up with, although I always appreciate a helping hand when I make a mistake (I may need some help with one of the first pages I worked on later).
I do have a university library handy, but it's not a major university and its classical section isn't very big. It has Pauly-Wissowa and some other useful sources, but except for P-W, which I only catalogued, due to lack of German skills, I think I've extracted just about all the material relevant to this project ages ago. The Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology still seems to be the standard in terms of identifying and cataloguing the various members of most gentes, and I have my own copy (plus it's now available on-line). So I have what I need to make a start, although some articles sadly will begin and end as stubs unless I learn to read German and the CIL goes on-line.
I'll be sure to let you know if I need a lookup, and you have access. If my library had Kajanto on cognomina, I'd probably photocopy the whole book and take it home to read. I'd gladly buy it if any copies were available... but it's over 400 pages, which is a lot to copy, so that'll have to wait until I have time to drive to Lexington or something. In any case, the DGRBM should suffice to get this project going, and between that and Chase I could even make a start on cognomina. But I'd rather work on gentes first. P Aculeius (talk) 20:44, 22 December 2009 (UTC)
Brill's New Pauly is about half the length of the last Pauly-Wissowa, but should be almost as comprehensive - and it is in English (a translation from the German). Furthermore, subscriptions do exist, and you may be able to convince your library to buy one if they don't have a printed copy. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 16:22, 23 December 2009 (UTC)
Thanks for calling my attention to this! I doubt I can get my local university to subscribe to the on-line edition (but I could ask). But even if I can't, I should be able to reach a library that does have some of the volumes in print, and a subscription to the on-line edition — there's one about ninety minutes' drive away! Sadly they don't offer non-institutional subscriptions, it seems. But in any case, I'm not likely to need the resource right away. There'll be time for that when the basic articles have been written. Then I can use the New Pauly for research to revise and update them.
As for comprehensiveness, Brill's web site says it's comprehensive, but I couldn't find any comparison between it and the original, and may have to test that myself. I have a little trouble seeing how 83 volumes of the original could be adequately represented in 18 volumes of the new version, without leaving out masses of information for no better reason than that it isn't considered important. Sadly, the kind of work I've been doing on names and families is the sort of thing that depends on loads of relatively obscure or unimportant data, like the fact that someone about whom nothing more is known was named "Proculus Sertorius". But I guess there'll be plenty of time to figure out what's in it later! P Aculeius (talk) 01:03, 24 December 2009 (UTC)

Dido and Aeneas' GAR

It can be found right here. GamerPro64 (talk) 02:28, 5 January 2010 (UTC)

Seneca the Younger

Should this be plain Seneca, or does the Native American people conflict? See Talk:Seneca the Younger/Archive 1#Requested move. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 16:05, 11 November 2009 (UTC)

This may be a rather late reply... but as the article hasn't been moved, perhaps it's still open to debate. My preference is for biographical articles about Roman subjects to be placed under their tria nomina, plus sufficient information to distinguish them from other people of the same name. I dislike having some individuals listed by only one name, seemingly randomly (Tiberius, Claudius, and Nero all refer to different people, the first two of whom were named "Tiberius Claudius Nero", while the third one was not, just as three later emperors named Titus Flavius Vespasianus, Titus Flavius Vespasianus, and Titus Flavius Domitianus are now called Titus, Vespasian, and Domitian). Then we have Augustus, known by a title even though he was born Gaius Octavius and adopted as Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus. Caesar is listed as Julius Caesar, omitting his praenomen, but including his nomen...
Anyway, I think it should be listed as Lucius Annaeus Seneca with some distinguishing information. If he had held a magistracy, I'd say the date of the first consulship, or next higher magistracy if none. So perhaps Lucius Annaeus Seneca (Seneca the Younger), or Lucius Annaeus Seneca (philosopher) since his father, probably also named Lucius Annaeus Seneca, was more of a rhetorician than a philosopher. Seneca could redirect either to Seneca the Younger, or to a disambiguation page with Lucius Annaeus Seneca (rhetorician), Lucius Annaeus Seneca (philosopher), and Seneca (Indians) or something like this. P Aculeius (talk) 13:41, 5 January 2010 (UTC)
Have to disagree strenuously on this one. Articles on figures who are far-reachingly famous beyond the province of classical studies should be named in ways that are most accessible and familiar: Cicero, Julius Caesar, Pompey, et al. Tiberius, Claudius and Nero refer to the emperors who are regularly called by these names outside the field and in general-interest publications — if the New York Times refers to the emperor Claudius, everybody knows who that means (unless they have no clue at all, in which case they might want to look it up). So these choices are not random, but reasonable (if necessarily subjective or intuitive), given Wikipedia's purpose as a general reference work for everybody.
I do think political men of lesser fame who share the same tria nomina should be distinguished consistently by their highest office — unless there's a more salient and useful way to identify him. Common sense applies here: the more obscure the figure sought, the greater the specialized knowledge of the seeker, it can be presumed. I believe there is a stated principle somewhere on using the most common form of the name for an article's title. Again, the issue is this: if someone's reading a Church Father or American patriot who refers to Seneca, and that person wants to know who Seneca is and knows literally nothing about ancient Roman naming systems, how do we most efficiently point that person to the right article? Cynwolfe (talk) 16:17, 5 January 2010 (UTC)
Directing people to the information they're looking for is quite easy. That's what redirect pages, disambiguation pages, and cross-references are for. Just because somebody is better known by a nickname doesn't mean that the article ought to be filed under that nickname. I can entirely understand continuing to refer to someone by the most familiar name, but there's a big difference between that and promoting a confusing system, where three people with the same proper name can be known by three different parts of that name. Right now the Roman biographical articles are as likely to be titled with one name as two names as three names, with almost no consistency, and you never know who some links are going to lead to.
It's annoying to see "Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus" constantly referred to as "Pompey", which sounds more like a stuffed animal than an important statesman and general. We no longer refer to Cicero as "Tully". Just because a generation of English scholars decided to mangle all the Greek and Latin names they could get their hands on doesn't mean that the habit has to be passed down and encouraged for all perpetuity. I'm all for noting historical variations and nicknames in the appropriate places, and providing redirects and cross-references for people who only know those names. But I see no reason why an article should be titled with a nickname. P Aculeius (talk) 18:50, 5 January 2010 (UTC)
WP:NAME provides a reason: it's Wikipedia policy. --Akhilleus (talk) 20:47, 5 January 2010 (UTC)
Yes, Akhilleus has provided the appropriate policy statement. I would emphasize again that Wikipedia is a general-interest encyclopedia, not a classical studies reference. The articles identify the full and correct name almost always in the first sentence. I'm sorry you're annoyed, P. Ac., but I hardly think that calling an article Tiberius or Marcus Aurelius is "mangling." As a new editor (and I say this respectfully), you might want to become more familiar with Wikipedia philosophies before disrespecting the work of others. Cynwolfe (talk) 06:33, 6 January 2010 (UTC)
Precisely what "disrespect" are you referring to? I never said that Wikipedia editors were mangling people's names. I was referring to the practice of English renaissance writers of altering the names of Greeks and Romans by removing all inflected endings, including nominative ones, and replacing them rather haphazardly, a practice which has been followed in English to the present day, as well as the tendency to replace or eliminate vowels they didn't like and ignore multiple names in some cases and not others, changing praefectus to prefect, Ptolemaeus to Ptolemy, Titus Livius into Livy but Gaius Sempronius Gracchus into Gaius Gracchus and Gaius Julius Caesar into Julius Caesar and Marcus Tullius Cicero into Cicero or worse, Tully.
I also point out that this was simply a philosophical statement in the context of whether Seneca was sufficiently distinguishing as a title, given that there were two different men and an Indian nation all known by that name. It's been blown completely out of proportion at this point. It was a simple statement of personal preference, and wasn't intended to be disrespectful to anybody. If you were offended by it, I apologize. P Aculeius (talk) 14:04, 6 January 2010 (UTC)

Rating short but complete articles.


In the articles I write, I add the tag to rate their quality and importance. My question regards the quality rating of articles such as Nomus: if an article is short, but contains all of the information relevant to the matter, should it be rated 'B'? Or the fact that there is little information on the matter prevents such a high rating?

Thank you in advance. --TakenakaN (talk) 16:17, 8 January 2010 (UTC)

Generally higher rated articles have in line citations and have significant scholarly coverage. Thus they need to be very notable and have interpretive value for scholars to have discussed it. Small articles tend not to have multiple scholerly perspectives, thus do not qualify for higher rankings. So the answer is: short articles have a real hard time becoming upper rated articles even if covering all of the scholarship, because they don't have multiple perspectives and significant notability. However, if the article is short, very notable (multiple perspectives) and exemplary and nothing else can be said about it, sure it can be rated higher.
More specifically, Nomus also has problems with style and should have in-line citations. Sadads (talk) 16:42, 8 January 2010 (UTC)
I don't want to comment on the specific article, but rather on TakenakaN's general point, with which I agree completely. Quality and importance are two different things, and in fact a ratings box has two separate slots for them. The two ratings are not meant to be the same, or both would not be required. Surely a low-importance article on a narrow, more esoteric topic can be superlatively done? Its copy editing and style can be perfect, all the needed information included, its relation to more important topics outlined, links to other articles made, other articles linking to it, etc. If a person is going to rate an article, the things needed for improvement should be outlined on the talk page. The quality can be improved; the importance of the topic is what it is. To dash off a rating for an article as substandard and then not leave any comments is disrespectful to the editor(s) who created it. (Not saying this applies in this case, but I see this often.)
As for assessing articles when you aren't familiar with the scholarship or the subject matter, why would someone presume to do that? I wouldn't assess an article on particle physics, because I don't know the scholarship and have little understanding of the subject. If, however, I came to the article as a general reader and found it unhelpful, I would leave a note on the talk page explaining why and what might help someone like me. Cynwolfe (talk) 18:38, 8 January 2010 (UTC)
There is absolutely no good reason why a short — but complete — article may not be highly rated. Paul August 19:05, 8 January 2010 (UTC)
But Takeanaka should not be rating his own writing; the whole point of rating, such as it is, is to get another pair of eyes on the text. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 20:08, 8 January 2010 (UTC)
I thought he meant that he added the tag to invite a rating, not that he filled in the rating himself. Cynwolfe (talk) 21:54, 8 January 2010 (UTC)
I didn't see that possibility; but he did rate the article Nomus, admittedly with a C. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 23:29, 8 January 2010 (UTC)
Ah, yes, I see; I was answering on principle, not the specific case. Now I fail to understand the original question, which I thought was a complaint about unfair rating. Cynwolfe (talk) 23:45, 8 January 2010 (UTC)

Short but complete articles can certainly be highly rated. Ýdalir, for example, is a rather short GA. -Pollinosisss (talk) 23:54, 8 January 2010 (UTC)

I was not complaining for a low rating, please, do not attribute me a stupid intention I did not have. I do not care if Septentrionalis thinks that an article I wrote is good or bad, I am just asking if a very short article with (nearly) all of the information on the matter can be rated high in quality or if the little information it presents "condamns" it to be a stub. That's all. --TakenakaN (talk) 00:49, 9 January 2010 (UTC)

That was my understanding. And the answer is an unequivocal yes. Paul August 04:23, 9 January 2010 (UTC)
Thanks. --TakenakaN (talk) 11:29, 9 January 2010 (UTC)
Paul August is right, of course, and I agreed with that from the beginning. I also wouldn't think it "stupid" to complain about unfair rating in general, or in regard to a particular article, because this is a matter of maintaining a credible process and of showing mutual respect. But wasn't it the point of Septentrionalis that the creator of an article shouldn't be the one to rate it? Am I wrong to think that we all agree on that? Cynwolfe (talk) 21:57, 10 January 2010 (UTC)
Yes, that's exactly what Septentrionalis' said. And I hope you're not wrong. Haploidavey (talk) 22:50, 10 January 2010 (UTC)
I do not understand why the "main" contributor to the article should not rate it. --TakenakaN (talk) 16:46, 11 January 2010 (UTC)
It might be difficult for the main contributer to be objective. Paul August 16:55, 11 January 2010 (UTC)
If you think the rating is not objective, change it. However, to cut it short: I will not rate any article, in future, is that ok? --TakenakaN (talk) 17:00, 11 January 2010 (UTC)
(edit conflict; question resolved but posting regardless) A rating is a value-judgment, and Wikipedia works on a collegial basis. I would not trust my own judgment regarding the importance of an article in which I had close personal interest; and I certainly wouldn't (and don't) trust myself to evaluate its quality. Mine's all deathless prose until slaughtered by others. Haploidavey (talk) 17:12, 11 January 2010 (UTC)
If you think so, you should not write at all... --TakenakaN (talk) 17:20, 11 January 2010 (UTC)
Yet I evidently do, and on subjects that interest me - despite a habitually self-critical frame of mind. That's self-evidently no big deal to me... and besides the point that Wikipedia is collegial in nature and its articles are peer-appraised. Haploidavey (talk) 17:33, 11 January 2010 (UTC)

Consul disambiguation

Currently, the articles related to consuls are disambiguated in five ways:

  1. "(consul FIRST_CONSULATE_YEAR)", as in Agrippa Menenius Lanatus (consul 503 BC), Marcus Aemilius Lepidus (consul 6)
  2. "(consul ALL_CONSULATE_YEARS)", as in Lucius Postumius Albinus (consul 234 and 229 BC)
  3. "(consul)", as in Titus Flavius Clemens (consul)
  4. "(Roman consul)", as in Constans (Roman consul)
  5. ", Consul", as in Flavius Probus, Consul.

I think it would be nice to choose a uniform disambiguation. My suggestion is for option #1, to use "(consul YEAR)", where YEAR is the (first, if multiple consulates are held) year of consulate. --TakenakaN (talk) 12:43, 10 January 2010 (UTC)

I strongly prefer #2 because it identifies an individual with his consular office in any given year. It more closely serves the purpose of a disambiguation page for non-expert but interested readers and editors like me - often doomed to use scholarly sources that assume prior background. Haploidavey (talk) 13:16, 10 January 2010 (UTC)
I'm not completely satisfied with any of these. The last three are obviously inadequate, as there are often several individuals with the same name who were consuls at different times. They work fine when that's not the case, but of course then we have no uniformity (but what do we do when we know that someone was a consul, but the year is unknown? This occurs in imperial times). I've been using #1 in my work, although the articles I've been working on generate mostly red links. It's shorter, if less exact, than #2. #2 is obviously more comprehensive, but has the disadvantage of making the article titles quite long. Especially in cases where the person held the consulship three or more times.
There are several instances where someone was consul four, five, or six times, and Marius of course held it seven times, although some of these individuals, such as Marius, don't have any reference to their consulships in the article titles. This raises two questions. First, is it okay to omit any reference to consulships when there's no need to disambiguate (very well-known person, or only person with a particular name)? And secondly, if we go with option #2, would an article title such as "Titus Quinctius Capitolinus Barbatus (consul 471, 468, 465, 446, 443, and 439 BC)" be a good idea? Also, we need to bear in mind that whatever option we use would need to be applied to other magistracies as well (although "consular tribune" is the only one that's likely to have more than two repetitions). That said, I think I'm now leaning towards #2. P Aculeius (talk) 14:05, 10 January 2010 (UTC)
I agree with Aculeius that it would be cumbersome and unnecessary to list all consulships in the article title; he is surely right that when no ambiguity exists, no parenthesis of explanation is required. We all know what consistency is the hobgoblin of — and that's the reason you're not satisfied with any one of these, P Ac., because you do not have a small mind and consistency is not the most useful principle here. It makes no sense to name the most visited articles in a manner consistent with the least visited. This is again an instance where common sense and the general-interest purpose of Wikipedia (hence the principles of naming that Akhilleus cited above under Seneca) apply. If a man held multiple consulships, he is likely to be the most famous bearer of the name; therefore, the article is just called Gaius Marius. (I might've argued that Marius should've been the title, but that ship has sailed.) You cannot remove subjectivity from these issues; we are not bots, and we're dealing with subjects in the humanities, not science or mathematics, the methodologies of which I respect enormously, but not by privileging them above the virtues of our own discipline.
Redirects with each consular year can take a researcher directly to the page; it would be more than silly to call the article Gaius Iulius Caesar (consul 59 BC), but perhaps not entirely useless to have a redirect thus, since it might not even occur to the young student who sees such an oblique reference to J.C. that this is the Julius Caesar. (This is only the most absurd example I can think of.) Please keep in mind that Wikipedia is, can, and should be used by my 7th-grader, who may look up Julius Caesar but is not at all likely to look up our friend Quinctius Barbatus. The lesser-known the subject, the greater the knowledge of the person who looks it up. (In fact, Haploidavey, you are being modest when you call yourself a "non-expert", when compared to the general public.) So let us not insert our collective caput too deeply into our collective culus.
Last, I would suggest not making rash changes for the sake of one's personal notion of consistency or need for order without feeling certain that you understand the issues involved with the particular page at hand — it's possible that the editors who created the article were thinking of something that hasn't yet occurred to you, something that warrants an exception. Use the talk page to propose your change: find out whether the article is tended (that is, watchlisted) by other editors who have thoughts on the subject. (I have failed to do this recently myself; I made an important redirect change that so far no one has caught or bashed me for.) Wikipedia is a collaborative venture, not a war game. I go on at length about this because I would like it to be a more pleasant place to work. Cynwolfe (talk) 16:21, 10 January 2010 (UTC)
I agree with Cynwolfe in general; some comments on the forms proposed follow.Septentrionalis PMAnderson 03:47, 11 January 2010 (UTC)
So, how I should disambiguate new pages? May I summary up the consensus with "do as you please"? --TakenakaN (talk) 09:08, 11 January 2010 (UTC)
I don't think it's fair to say that there is a consensus. At least two people would like greater uniformity than there is now, and at least two people are more concerned that imposing a uniform standard would make pages hard to find and contravene general Wikipedia policy. It's not clear that these two opinions are mutually exclusive, since the more famous people, the ones who any layman might look up just by typing a partial name, usually have entries already. So we can probably apply one solution to the majority, if not quite all, new pages.
Allow me to suggest the following convention, which I hope will satisfy all concerned:
  • 1. If the person is very famous, compared with his relatives with similar names (or he has no relatives with similar names), title the article either with his complete name or the name by which he is best known, whichever seems likelier to come up in a search: i.e. Marcus Cucumbrius Flabbinosus, Cucumbrius or Flabbinosus, assuming that there aren't any other pages with those titles.
  • 2. If the person is not very famous, but he has a well-known agnomen that helps distinguish him from his relatives, use that as disambiguation: Marcus Cucumbrius Flabbinosus Dalmaticus.
  • 3. If name alone is not enough to distinguish a particular individual, give the year of his highest curule magistracy, as in example number 1 in the original post: Marcus Cucumbrius Flabbinosus (consul 278 BC). Begin with consulships, or, from 444 to 367 B.C., consular tribunates; then if there are none, but the person served as Dictator or Magister Equitum, then that, then Praetorships (no need to distinguish between different types of Praetor in the title), Tribune (of the Plebs, military tribunes should be distinguished), Military Tribune, Quaestor, Aedile, etc.
  • 4. If there are other persons with similar names, and the person held no magistracies whatever, or the person's primary interest to history is his (or her) relationship with another person, then use something like this: Marcus Cucumbrius Flabbinosus (legate of Regulus), Aulus Maculatius (painter), Bippitia (wife of Quintus Thalassius), or Gaius Apricotius Severus (put to death by Axidentius).
Does this seem acceptable to everyone, as a general framework for new pages? P Aculeius (talk) 14:31, 11 January 2010 (UTC)
This seems sensible; I would tweak it slightly to subdivide 3. If there are only two Marci Cucumbri Flabbinosi known to history, the consul and his son who attempted to sell Rome to Pyrrhus, it suffices to distinguish them as (consul) and (traitor). Part of this is such cases tend to hold office in the early centuries of the Republic, when chronology is doubtful; but there's also WP:NC: Even when disambiguation is necessary, keep that part brief. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 14:55, 11 January 2010 (UTC)
Concur with P Ac. But must flog PMA for his non-neutral POV: surely Marcus Cucumbrius Flabbinosus (traitor) was a victim of Augustan propaganda; see Ovid's Fasti 15.967. And subsection to follow pertaining to T's original post at top. Cynwolfe (talk) 15:47, 11 January 2010 (UTC)
Anyway everyone knows hat they are best distinguished as Cucumber the Elder and Cumcumber the Younger ;-) but a serious point in there.--Peter cohen (talk) 22:39, 11 January 2010 (UTC)
I neglected to make clear in part 3 above that only the first year of the magistracy in question ought to be used. I realize this is hopelessly inexact where someone held the magistracy multiple times, and in some cases there may be reason to vary from this policy; for example if Lucius Apricotius Magnus was consul in 357 and 352 B.C., but is best known to history for his triumph over the Pruni during his third consulship in 343, it might be reasonable to use 343. But in general, a shorter title is better, and it's impossible to list all magistracies for many people, so limiting it to one office and year is probably the best policy. P Aculeius (talk) 16:15, 11 January 2010 (UTC)
  • First consulship seems fine for page naming, since a man with multiple consulships is likely to be by far the most famous bearer of the name and will probably not even need disambiguation in the first place. I like adding the date mainly because when I'm typing in a name, the date helps me know if it's probably the guy I'm looking for, whereas plain "consul," pace Septentrionalis, doesn't help me much. Again, a redirect could be created for each consular year, in case someone actually learns the arcana and looks for people that way. Cynwolfe (talk) 17:20, 11 January 2010 (UTC)
That seems very well thought out. I'm all for commonsense and ease of use over rectitude; and "reasonable" gives me hope. Haploidavey (talk) 16:22, 11 January 2010 (UTC)
WOW! If the intent is to change the naming convention, don't you think the discussion should likely be taking place at Wikipedia:Naming conventions (ancient Romans), not here. If not for ensuring the record of decision is recorded but that those in WP:NAME are involved. The current guidelines is to add a dated biographical detail, such as the date of a position, if the full name is shared by several individuals. I suspect there would be parties at WP:NAME that would certainly have an opinion about any changes to the naming convention. --Labattblueboy (talk) 06:05, 12 January 2010 (UTC)
I think you've overstated the nature of the discussion; all these forms of article titles already exist, and none of them really violates naming policy per se. These are refinements specific to Roman prosopography, and deal with how to be more consistent without being too rigid or unhelpful. By the way, I see you spotted an article called Publius Furius Sp.f. Philus and have now renamed it; good example of what I'm talking about under the subhead below. Cynwolfe (talk) 16:06, 13 January 2010 (UTC)
So, if I have an Anatolius Consul in 440 and an Anatolius Praetorian prefect in 360, the correct names would be Anatolius (consul 440) and Anatolius (praetorian prefect), right? --TakenakaN (talk) 17:26, 11 January 2010 (UTC)
I think that's the gist of it, except that because Roman magistracies straddle the line between B.C. and A.D., and all of the B.C. entries are listed as in "Anatolius (consul 440 BC)", the better practice would be to title the article, "Anatolius (consul AD 440)". P Aculeius (talk) 22:11, 11 January 2010 (UTC)
Especially for the early first century, like M. Aemilius Lepidus, above. That 6 is 6 AD, a year, will not be obvious to many people. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 06:06, 12 January 2010 (UTC)
My impression is that Anatolius (consul) would be more appropriate. Unless of course there is another consul named Anatolius, in which case disambiguation by year would be appropriate. --Labattblueboy (talk) 06:19, 12 January 2010 (UTC)
I think that Anatolius (consul 440) is more clear. --TakenakaN (talk) 18:32, 12 January 2010 (UTC)
Excessively so; we could put the entire article into the title, and that would be clearer still. Use names and terms that are precise, but only as precise as is necessary to identify the topic of the article unambiguously is policy. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 20:56, 12 January 2010 (UTC)
I did not propose something so ridiculous as to put the whole article in the title, could you please avoid mocking those who don't agree with you? The policy you linked must be applied with "common sense", as the policy itself says, and the core of the policy does not bar the possibility to add three characters to the title for more clarity. --TakenakaN (talk) 22:09, 12 January 2010 (UTC)
Please read reductio ad absurdum; the common sense here is not adding anything to disambiguators without necessity. The phrase from WP:NC is already the application of common sense to a conflict between two desirable qualities; that's why it's phrased as it is. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 22:35, 12 January 2010 (UTC)
The tone of this debate has rapidly deteriorated, and it's time to remember that we're supposed to be coöperating to find a policy that seems reasonable and acceptable to everybody. I don't think it's helpful to direct people to other pages and absolute statements of policy when we all know that, as a practical matter, one size does not fit all when it comes to Wikipedia policy, or for that matter, in most circumstances of life. Past debates on this subject and related subjects make it clear that there is room for differing opinions, and that few if any of us find ourselves in complete agreement with all of the policy decisions that have been set forth as general guidelines.
Naturally, these issues can be deeply personal to each person; what we think is reasonable, practical, and even necessary is something we derive from many years of experience. Just as each person's experiences are different, so are our perspectives. Some of us believe that the general policy regarding the formatting of dates is unnecessarily restrictive; others think that the standards for disambiguation pages are too limiting; personally I both understand and agree with both arguments, but that's not the point.
We all need to take a step back and consider whether the work we're trying to do requires us to agree on these things, or merely to take the opinions of others into consideration when deciding how best to write and revise our articles. There's no need to belittle one another or minimize the value of opinions that we disagree with; rely on the pedantic recitation of policy statements, when we all know that some of these policies ought to be changed; imply that an opinion flies in the way of common sense; or that including even a little subject-specific terminology in the appropriate articles will cause readers endless confusion and frustration. If we won't acknowledge the validity of differing opinions, then the entire concept of a user-edited and user-friendly encyclopedia has already been frustrated. P Aculeius (talk) 23:02, 12 January 2010 (UTC)
@Septentrionalis: please read straw man argument. The common sense is that the increase in clarity is worth the increase in length; the fact that the same policy refers to common sense means that it does not claim to be perfect. --TakenakaN (talk) 10:25, 13 January 2010 (UTC)
There's a difference between attacking a practice or opinion or modus operandi, and attacking the person. Nobody has called you a name, T., or said you aren't contributing to the discussion in a positive way, or told you to bugger off. I don't even see where Septentrionalis addressed you with a second-person pronoun, so I don't understand the degree to which you have taken offense. I, for instance, confess that on one occasion elsewhere I thought PMA presented an argument on a minor point in uncharacteristic defiance of reason. But I wouldn't address a joke to someone that depended on knowing Ovid's Fasti doesn't have a 15th book unless I respected that person's intelligence and knowledge. If I said, "What are you, 12 years old?", now that would be an ad hominem insult. I happen to agree with you on the consular year, T., but you sure do make it hard to. (As for 'common sense,' would that it existed — but I think in these discussions it means "looking at a problem from a non-specialist POV." I hope we don't have to banish Common Sense along with Justitia.) Cynwolfe (talk) 16:06, 13 January 2010 (UTC)
Ok, let me rewrite it: Septentrionalis' argument (20:56, 12 January 2010) is a straw man argument, not a reductio ad absurdum, so it demonstrates nothing. As regards the application of common sense to WP:NC, "the common sense is that the increase in clarity is worth the increase in length; the fact that the same policy refers to common sense means that it does not claim to be perfect". --TakenakaN (talk) 22:54, 13 January 2010 (UTC)
This argument is going nowhere. Instead of pointing each other to other pages, or attempting to analyze each other's arguments (something more than one of us has been doing), let's just try to implement the solutions we've mostly agreed on without antagonizing one another. Clearly most of us prefer to add both the magistracy and year, which makes sense when you recall that we don't always know how many individuals with a given name might eventually need separate articles. And we all agree on certain things not to include in article titles (such as a filiation). The best thing to do here is move forward. Even if we don't agree completely on every point or article, we'll still be writing better articles because we discussed these questions first. P Aculeius (talk) 03:14, 14 January 2010 (UTC)
Well said. In terms of moving forward, Labattblueboy certainly is, which gives me pause only in regard to what you said about adding "both the magistracy and year, which makes sense when you recall that we don't always know how many individuals with a given name might eventually need separate articles." And concerns about double or triple redirects, the 'dangers' of which I know little about. Cynwolfe (talk) 16:22, 14 January 2010 (UTC)
The problem with a double redirect (A redirects to B, which redirects to the article at C) is that someone who clicks on A will be dumped at B, rather than C - and a reader may well be frustrated by this. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 17:40, 14 January 2010 (UTC)

Two other naming issues

In his useful catalogue of naming vagaries, TakenakaN has omitted a couple of practices that I've found problematic, and while we're on the subject I thought I'd bring them up so that the prodigious P. Aculeius (if this is indeed the will of the council) can be on the lookout for them.

  1. Roman numerals to distinguish individuals with the same tria nomina. Here's a page that troubles me: Lucius Julius Caesar. The various Lucii Julii Caesares are distinguished by Roman numerals that refer to I-don't-know-what. Chronological order of entry in some dictionary (Smith's?), maybe? There is even, horribile dictu, an article called Lucius Julius Caesar III, presumably on the model of John D. Rockefeller III. To confuse matters, this same form of notation is used for a different purpose at List of Roman consuls — there correctly, to my mind, with the Roman numeral indicating that this entry is the man's second, third, fourth etc. term as consul. (At "List of Roman consuls" we also see evidence of the dangers of mindlessly transcribing lists, with entries such as C. Plautius Venno (oder Venox). Any reason we can't just say "or"?)
  2. Names with filiations. There are maybe a few pages titled with nomenclature dear only to the heart of a numismatist or genealogist. Needing an example at the moment, I naturally cannot find one, so let's take an example that isn't an article title: Marcus Baebius Q. f. Cn. n. Tamphilus. Official nomenclature or not, only initiates know what that string of letters means, and so the article is called Marcus Baebius Tamphilus, but I assure you that I've seen such concatenations used as titles. I also don't think these filiated forms ought to be used as the main name in the lead section, or as the main name in prosopographical lists or indices. In such a list, the entry could read Marcus Baebius Tamphilus, official nomenclature Marcus Baebius Q. f. Cn. n. Tamphilus. Or is this just modern genealogical notation to show filiation, rather than a form of the name as preserved in an official decree of the senate or such? In which case, "genealogical nomenclature". At any rate, official/inscriptional nomenclature can and should be included in the article (an example, though handled inadequately, is Metellus Scipio, the actual title of which violates our principles), but treated as a foreign phrase that needs to be translated or explained. It seems more useful to me just to explain that he was the son of Quintus who etc (or in cases where the father's name is known, but nothing known of him, a Quintus). Thoughts? Cynwolfe (talk) 17:20, 11 January 2010 (UTC)
I agree completely that listing different people as "Lucius Julius Caesar I, Lucius Julius Caesar II, Lucius Julius Caesar III", etc. is completely unwarranted, since that's a modern practice that the Romans never employed, and doing it thusly suggests that it's part of their official nomenclature, which it's not. It also creates more confusion when it turns out that there are more people than that named "Lucius Julius Caesar" who lived before or between the people in that list. These entries should certainly be changed to more appropriate titles, of the sort we were discussing earlier. When Roman numerals are found in lists, they mean "consul for the third time", never "the son of a man with the same name and one lower number".
I also agree that filiations should not be included in article titles (except in the sense that someone might be called Lucius Apricotius (son of Barbatus) when that's the best way to disambiguate multiple people with the same name). Marcus Baebius Tamphilus (consul XYZ BC) should be the format for an article title, instead of Marcus Baebius Q. f. Cn. n. Tamphilus. That should also be followed for writing the name of the person in article text, for instance, "In 56 B.C. he was quaestor for the second time with Sextus Robotius Argentarius", with no filiation. An exception may be warranted for the first occurrence of the subject's name. If the article is clearly titled Marcus Baebius Tamphilus, then the text could reasonably begin with "Marcus Baebius Q. f. Cn. n. Tamphilus, surnamed Reticulatus, was ambassador to the Herpetes..." You could, of course, mention that he was the son of Quintus Baebius and grandson of Gnaeus Baebius, but I would only do so if seems necessary or relevant to the article.
However, in lists of members of a gens, the filiation should be included, if available, and the disambiguating phrase excluded, using pipes; that is, [ [Sextus Robotius Argentarius (quaestor 56 BC)|Sextus Robotius Q. f. Sex. n. Argentarius] ]. This was the usual Roman practice, followed in official records and the consular fasti (which could even be augmented by adding two more generations and the voting tribe to whom the person belonged, although there's no need to do that here). For an example of how this is treated in the DGRBM, click [1] and look at the original scanned image of page 729. Pauly-Wissowa frequently goes into greater detail. P Aculeius (talk) 22:11, 11 January 2010 (UTC)
Yes, I know perfectly well how this nomenclature treated in specialist publications; I have Broughton's three volumes of MRR by my bed. That isn't the point. The point is that most users don't know how to read the abbreviations. These are merely confusing in the first sentence of an article. You, my accomplished P. Ac., read these with ease because, as I recall, you've been working on Roman gentes for 10 years. It looks like alphabet soup to a an amateur military historian who just encountered this chap in Livy. He doesn't know what Q. f. means. (Well, OK, some do; but we can't assume, and must offer explanation at the introductory level.) And how could it not be relevant to the article, and to placing your figure in the socio-political context of his time, to mention the father of two sons who were the first in their stirps to hold the consulship and a rare instance of two brothers holding sequential consulships? For instance. Biographical articles always have a family section, and the purpose of a gens article is surely to discuss family relationships. Nomenclature is its own subject; see, for instance, the problems of Metellus Scipio, an article that still needs a lot of work. What's interesting about Metellus Scipio isn't his long and complicated name; that's just something that needs elucidation. Cynwolfe (talk) 02:24, 12 January 2010 (UTC)
I'm not saying that including filiation should be the norm for most articles. On the contrary, it has specific places where it belongs and in which it can readily be understood from context... or ignored, since it's apparent from the context that it isn't necessary to understand the name. We're not talking about something found only in "specialist" publications like The Magistrates of the Roman Republic, or which anybody needs to be "accomplished" to understand. This is the kind of information that anyone who consults highly specific articles (which account for maybe 99% of the topics in Greek and Roman biography, if perhaps only 25% of the volume) is going to encounter constantly, and at the very beginning of the study. It makes no sense to hide the information on pages concerned only with onomastics.
Once again, nobody's saying that filiation should be used everywhere and in all contexts. But if the title of an article makes clear that somebody's name is "Lucius Julius Caesar", and he's referred to that way throughout the article and in other articles linking to him, it isn't going to hurt anybody to give his name as Lucius Julius Sex. f. L. n. Caesar once in his biography and once in a list of all the other Julii Caesares.
My point about including information about somebody's parents in the body of an article wasn't intended to refer to a specific person, such as the aforementioned Tamphilus. I realize that a person's family can be important enough to include in a biographical article. But in a very short article it may not be particularly important to mention that the grandfather of Aulus Maculatius, the celebrated general during the war against Hannibal, was Marcus Maculatius, of whom nothing is known except that he was Aulus' grandfather. And if there is enough information to warrant a description of the family, it should probably form a separate sentence or paragraph. I see no reason why it would be preferable to begin an article with "Aulus Maculatius, the son of Publius Maculatius, and grandson of Marcus Maculatius..." That may be alright in one or two articles, but not as a standard opening for hundreds of them, which must be used in preference to filiation. P Aculeius (talk) 04:01, 12 January 2010 (UTC)
There is one good, and really quite common, reason, to begin an article with "Aulus Maculatius, the son of Publius Maculatius, and grandson of Marcus Maculatius...": If they held curule offices themselves, or are otherwise notable (and for most nobiles they will be), they should have articles themselves. This is as good a place to have links to them as any. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 06:01, 12 January 2010 (UTC)
Hm, I'm missing something. I'm not saying an official or genealogical form of the name shouldn't be provided. I'm saying it's offputting as the first bold name in an article or a list, because relatively few people know the code. If it's important enough to include the filiations, the abbreviations need to be explained on the page. If there's a list, this explanation could come at the top. Something like: "The following list of Baebii includes filiations where known; i.e., Q. f. = "son of Quintus." Keep it clean and readable. Cynwolfe (talk) 23:08, 12 January 2010 (UTC)
That sounds much better than not including it at all. I'll give it some thought and see if I can come up with the ideal wording in the next day or so. P Aculeius (talk) 01:22, 13 January 2010 (UTC)
In the article with the family tree of the Julii Caesares, a connection is made between this family and the family of the Julii with the surname Libo. I'm not aware of any such connection. Nor of any individual named Numerius Julius with either cognomen (or any other). I just found my index of Romans from Pauly-Wissowa last night, and there isn't anybody by this name mentioned there. The rest of the links in this family tree don't check out either. The person listed as Sextus Julius Caesar I is said to have been born in 137 B.C. and can't possibly be the great-great-grandfather of Gaius Julius Caesar, the dictator, who was born in 100 B.C. Does anybody know where this family tree comes from? It's an unsourced article.
<joke>I knew it! Caesar's ancestor was really named Lucius Julius Libowitz! I bet he was a cousin of mine somewhere...</joke> P Aculeius (talk) 15:09, 12 January 2010 (UTC)
At last, the real explanation for Suetonius, Divus Iulius 84.5. Cynwolfe (talk) 23:08, 12 January 2010 (UTC)
As Suetonius explained in the missing chapters before §1.1. (Why did you think they were missing?) Septentrionalis PMAnderson 00:05, 13 January 2010 (UTC)
To that I can only cry "uncle." Cynwolfe (talk) 16:06, 13 January 2010 (UTC)

Example of article name with filiation: The enterprising Labattblueboy found an article named Publius Furius Sp.f. Philus, which he has moved, sans filiation. Don't know whether this was the one I saw, or whether there are others. As for Caesar's family tree (discussed above), how bizarre. Shouldn't be hard to find a reliable one, though. Cynwolfe (talk) 16:06, 13 January 2010 (UTC)

And that brings up another point; we don't use P. Furius Philus, although that is the normal inscriptional form - because we don't expect our readers to understand the abbreviation - especially C. and Cn. Expecting the same readers to understand Sp. f. is unreasonable. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 23:02, 14 January 2010 (UTC)
We sometimes do: L. Petronius Taurus Volusianus. --TakenakaN (talk) 12:08, 15 January 2010 (UTC)
I believe the consensus here is that praenomina should not be abbreviated in the title of an article. I find it's generally better not to abbreviate them in narrative text, either. It seems better suited for lists, where space is at a premium, and you can prefix an explanation or link to an explanation, or the name itself links to an article with the unabbreviated name in the title. In the articles about Roman gentes I've been working on, all of the praenomina are written out, except in filiations, which appear only in the list of members (and per Cynwolfe's suggestion, I've started to add an explanatory note with links to these).
If you find an article with praenomina abbreviated in the title, I suggest moving it to a new article without that abbreviation. Check first to make sure there isn't already an article with that title. Please remove any filiation in the title of an article. That can go somewhere in the text of the article, where it can be explained as needed. P Aculeius (talk) 14:07, 15 January 2010 (UTC)
Agree about not using abbreviations in the article title or first (bold) reference. However, it's useful for reasons of space in tabular material, such as List of Roman consuls (which gives a key for praenominal abbreviations at the top), or the consul info box, which provides a link for clicking, rather than requiring the user to type anything in, and takes you to the page that has the full name. Also, if you have an article where you're dealing with Gaius Valerius Flaccus and his brother Lucius Valerius Flaccus, flexibility is advisable. (Isn't it? One never knows.) That is, you might distinguish between the two by calling them "Gaius" and "Lucius," or it might be better to call them "C. Flaccus" and "L. Flaccus," depending on what makes for better prose. Once the full name has been stated, the meaning of the abbreviation is evident; this is not true, as pointed out above, for Sp. f. and the like when left unexplained. And if you say "son of Spurius," which sounds so Pythonesque, I don't see the purpose of including the filiation unless you're creating a genealogical list that explains the system of abbreviation at the top, or unless you're saying "the official form of his name as evidenced in a decree of the senate was such-and-such," plus translation. We don't expect our users to read Latin (that is, we would translate the phrase Spurii filius), so why should they be expected to read Latin abbreviated? I think I'm overstating what we've already agreed upon. And of course there are many editors interested in this subject matter who don't read Latin but make excellent contributions. Cynwolfe (talk) 15:52, 15 January 2010 (UTC)

Ambiguating Pages

The last couple of days I've found several pages that used to be named according to the convention agreed upon above, such as Servius Sulpicius Galba (consul 144 BC), which have been renamed and "ambiguated" by moving them to things like Servius Sulpicius Galba (consul). The pages of the gentes on which they were listed have not been updated and now point to redirect pages. But since there were multiple consuls with this name, and many more with similar names, this only makes it harder to identify the correct individual.

Unless it's known that there were no other individuals with the same (or a very similar) name who held the same magistracy, this kind of "ambiguation" is not helpful. For that matter, as the term "consul" could mean any time over a period of a thousand years, it's not particularly helpful without the year even when there's only one. I think we need to stop making articles more ambiguous than they were in the first place, when the original article titles were justified by existence of other individuals to whom the same title might apply. P Aculeius (talk) 15:15, 16 January 2010 (UTC)

  • We have the entire Consular Fasti; it's easy enough to check whether there is another consul of the same name. (I do not think we should disambiguate the title for similar names; that's what hatnotes are for.) Note that we do not include date at all - and should not - when the name is actually unique, as with Lucius Volesianus above. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 17:58, 16 January 2010 (UTC)
  • Over the past number of days I have been doing a large number of moves myself or listing what possibly controversial ones at WP:RM. I was working with the current guidelines of WP:PRECISION and WP:ROMANS for direction. The general intent of the naming convention is to only disambiguate as far as is necessary. As a result, some of my edits have involved inserting the year, where multiple people share the exact same name, or removing the date (or the qualifier altogether) if they do not and expanding the name if that would removed the necessity of disambiguation. At the same time I have been making an effort to insert the projects banner on the talkpage, for project tracking purposes. I found most contain the wikibio banner but not that of this project. I also did my best to leave increased disambiguation if red links existed demonstrating that an article is likely to be created for an individual sharing the same name and title as another. Likwise, I've been periodically consulting the Oxford to periodically check, verify or disprove assumptions. However, it is entirely possible that I did make errors. As additional articles are created I would certainly support increased disambiguation, as it becomes necessary. If any of my actions resulted in any blatant errors let me know. I'll ask an admin over at WP:RM to reverse my edit. --Labattblueboy (talk) 18:56, 16 January 2010 (UTC)
The Oxford what, Labattblueboy? Cynwolfe (talk) 20:32, 16 January 2010 (UTC)
Oxford Classical Dictionary.--Labattblueboy (talk) 20:59, 16 January 2010 (UTC)
There are seven different individuals named Servius Sulpicius Galba listed on Sulpicia (gens), covering a period of over three hundred years. Three of them were consul at least once, and three of the others held other curule magistracies. Including the year makes it easier to figure out which is which than saying, in effect, the one whose highest office was praetor, the one whose highest magistracy was quaestor, the one who never rose above curule aedile. Especially when one considers that many consuls had previously been praetor, quaestor, or curule aedile. The dates here would be 208, 187, 108, and 54 B.C., and A.D. 33, and in my opinion are much more useful than knowing the highest office each one attained. There are also three men named Publius Sulpicius Galba, including one consul, five men named Gaius Sulpicius Galba, including one consul, and fourteen other men named Servius Sulpicius without the cognomen Galba, of whom five were consuls. And once again, if there are multiple consuls with the identical name, which there are in this case, surely the date needs to be there.
As for the Fasti on Wikipedia, I have found numerous errors and several instances where people have been inserted without any apparent source, particularly in imperial times; and there appear to be instances of multiple people being rolled into one. The article needs to be totally overhauled. Instead of relying on that, I suggest the chronological table of Roman History in the appendix to the Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology, and also The Magistrates of the Roman Republic. At least between these sources we know we have something basically reliable to work with. You can see the DGRBM on-line at AncientLibrary, although I prefer to use the physical volumes. P Aculeius (talk) 22:27, 16 January 2010 (UTC)
I didn't mean Wikipedia's Fasti; we're not a reliable source (once it's right, again, should we consider protection? It's not likely to change). Septentrionalis PMAnderson 02:27, 18 January 2010 (UTC)