Talk:Lucius Licinius Crassus

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Future links

This came to my attention first, naturally, with the link to Gaius Marius' projected Page. I've actually got something for that, although as with my Livy piece it is less an article than an essay. But calling it "Gaius Marius cos 107"? Nobody's going to type that... (not to mention that wasn't the only year he was consul)

But I do see the problem. There was a younger Marius, son of the first and also a consul. Other historical figures mentioned in this and other articles also share a name. How to distinguish between Romans with the same name in the Roma Antiqua portion of the Wiki, while maintaining at least some degree of intuitiveness and ease-of-use? Some suggestions, using the Many Mariuses as an example (there were a historian, a would-be emperor, and a friend of Cicero's too):

  • A "Marius" disambiguation page. Drawback: We hate disambiguation pages.
  • Links to other Marius pages at the bottom of the one people are most likely to search for.
  • Only writing one Marius page, for the Great One, mentioning the others in brief. (How likely are we to write full-blown articles for the not-so-famous ones?)

Thoughts, rationales, other ideas? -- Marius Peregrinus 19:35, 6 October 2007 (CEST)

It's a good point and one I struggled with briefly (though only long enough to decide on a temporary solution pending further discussion and thought). I'll go through your options:
    More natural article names: Gaius Marius and Marius the younger, perhaps.
You've pointed out one drawback. A more serious drawback is that any solution along those lines will quickly prove unsustainable. There were at least 11 Roman magistrates named Marcus Claudius Marcellus, and that's only during the republican period. In cases like that we would have to have articles called Marcus Claudius Marcellus who fought in the Hannibalic war and Marcus Claudius Marcellus the early republican dictator and so on. Not only would the titles become ridiculously long but we would get into very subjective exercises in picking the single most important thing about each person.
    A Marius disambiguation page.
I had assumed that we would have to do this. There were so many identically named people in Roman history that it would be very hard to avoid. But why do we hate disambiguation pages? ineptum; I was under the impression that we did. Maybe something somebody said way back in the never-yon...or I might have pulled that notion out of thin air. OK...if we don't mind 'em, then obviously they are an alternative--and one I'd much rather see or use than trying to directly find a long, awkward article name. -- Marius Peregrinus 19:00, 15 October 2007 (CEST)
    Links to other Marius pages at the bottom of the one people are most likely to search for.
Three problems here. First, it's all very well when it's clear who is most likely to be searched for, but while that's true of Marius it's certainly not true of, for example, the eight republican magistrates named Appius Claudius Pulcher, most of whom were very important in their own time and none of whom really stands out as dramatically more important than the rest. Secondly, someone who arrives at an article and finds it's not what he wanted is unlikely to read all the way to the bottom to find links to articles he does want: he's more likely to assume the information he wants is not on the website and either go away unsatisfied or else create a new, duplicate article himself, with whatever name he thinks relevant. Thirdly, it doesn't answer the question 'what do we call the other articles?'
    Only writing one Marius page, for the Great One, mentioning the others in brief.  (How likely are we to write full-blown articles for the not-so-famous ones?)
My ambition for this website is to make it the internet's most comprehensive repository of information about the Roman republic. That is an easily achievable goal because, frankly, there's not all that much competition, but it's still a goal which requires us to aspire to be comprehensive.
No competition? Umm...on whose Internet? I've been at this since ROMARCH was just a Listserv. I saw the birth of Armamentarium, Maecenas, the Atrium and the Perseus Project. Considering the preponderance of attention Nova Roma lavishes on internal affairs, I do not see this site becoming a, let alone the, premier source of information about Ancient Rome. That's been getting done much better, for much longer, in many other places. The best NR could do towards that goal, I think, is to link to those resources. That'd be in addition to any original contributions its members might make to the Wiki; but in the fields of classical studies, even broadly defined, this organisation has a lot of catching up to do. -- Marius Peregrinus 19:00, 15 October 2007 (CEST)
I think perhaps you've misunderstood. I didn't say there is no resource on the Internet which is better than our website is now. I said there is no resource which is competing with us for the goal of being the most comprehensive (and, I should add, academically sound) repository of information about the Roman republic. I stand by that statement.
OK, I see the distinction now. -- Marius Peregrinus 04:18, 17 October 2007 (CEST)
ROMARCH looks to me like a collection of links. Collections of links are very useful tools for finding information, but they do nothing to increase the quality or quantity of information available. The Armamentarium is solely concerned with military equipment and is therefore not competing for the goal of being comprehensive; it also, so far, has no footnotes or other citation of sources, which makes it useless to the academic or even the serious amateur. Maecenas looks like a fine collection of pictures, but again it seems to have no intention of being anything more than a collection of pictures, so it's no competition. Perseus is an excellent resource, as are the Latin Library and umpteen other sites which contain texts and translations of ancient sources, but they're just collections of primary sources and therefore not very useful to people who haven't already got a pretty good idea what they're doing. I've never found any online resource which is attempting to be a comprehensive, academically rigorous secondary source on republican Rome. So if we set that as our goal, then we'll have no competition.
Perhaps I erred in listing long-standing sites instead of comprehensive ones along the lines of vroma. That's got enough of most things to get someone started, cites ample primary (especially pictorial) and secondary (written) sources, and it's still easy to navigate. It meets the needs of someone looking for basic info and further leads, without overwhelming the budding author who just wants an accurate background for his story. The sites I named are specialised, I admit; which just goes to show that enough can be written or gathered about even a very narrow aspect of ancient Rome that the idea of any one site being the Ultimate on Everything just strikes me as...hubris.
But that's not what you're proposing. You want to have a particular kind of site about a particular era. That's doable. There are certainly people here who are capable of academic rigor, yourself plainly among them. Te saluto, mi Corde; more power to you, and to anyone else who can contribute.
Were you thinking of building a resource mainly in Republican Roman religious and political institutions, in which fields Nova Roma is already making an impression? Or are there also plans to delve into non-biographical history, cultural institutions and daily life? -- Marius Peregrinus 04:18, 17 October 2007 (CEST)
I'm not familiar with VRoma, and I have the impression that there are parts of it I can't get to without registering as a member, so I can't really say how it compares to what I have in mind. In reply to your comment about being easy to navigate and not overwhelming the amateur, I should mention that I'm aware that this article about L. Crassus is becoming rather unwieldy. That's because it contains a lot of information which is more to do with Roman politics in general than to do with Crassus in particular, and my current plan is that once I've finished I shall remove a lot of that to separate articles (one on the trial of the Vestals, another on this or that trial, and so on). But that's an aside.
To answer your question, I'll say that ideally I would like to see us covering every aspect of republican life, but I don't personally expect to contribute on all fronts. My special interest is in republican law and politics (and therefore legal and political history), so that's what I expect to make headway on. I hope other people will work on other areas. I don't want to suggest that we should have some sort of ten-point plan to systematically cover every aspect of everything, but I am very keen that we should make contributors feel that there is no item of knowledge about the ancient republic which is too small or obscure to be put on the website somewhere.
- Cordus 16:45, 18 October 2007 (CEST)
Of course it will take a long time to achieve the goal, but since no one else on the Internet is trying to achieve it at all, we're not in a race with anyone. The important thing is the quality of the content; quantity will follow in due course. We can score small victories very very quickly. Our website is already the Internet's most comprehensive and academically rigorous source of information on L. Crassus cos. 95, for example. I can say that with all humility, because it's not a sign of the high quality of my own writing, it's just a sign of the fact that the Internet's knowledge of L. Crassus is absolutely rubbish. Similarly our website is also the Internet's most comprehensive and academically rigorous source of information on oaths of office in the Roman republic, on the procedures of the republican senate, and umpteen other things, not because our information has been provided by the world's greatest experts, but because there's no other serious source on these topics. If we had just 20 or 30 articles like this one on Crassus we would probably already be the Internet's best source for republican biography and prosopography. It's really not difficult: the Internet's current best source for republican biography and prosopography is 140 years out of date. I think it's entirely realistic to imagine that within 10 or 20 years we could be the Internet's best source on republican Rome.
But even if I'm completely deluded, let's remember the original point of the conversation. You asked whether we were ever likely to have a biography of C. Marius cos. 82 on the website. Yes we are, because in pursuit of my possibly lunatic goal of making this website comprehensive I am likely to put it there. So unless the magister aranearius adopts a deliberate policy of making the website non-comprehensive and therefore decides that we should not have a biography of Marius cos. 82 on the website, we'll have one sooner or later, and the only question is what we should call it.
- Cordus 14:07, 16 October 2007 (CEST)
Which brings us back around to my Marius essay; I'd still like to know what to call it. >({|;-) -- Marius Peregrinus 04:18, 17 October 2007 (CEST)
Well, based on what I've heard so far I still think the best bet is Gaius Marius cos. 107, with a disambiguation page called Gaius Marius.
- Cordus 16:45, 18 October 2007 (CEST)
A system of article-naming which restricts our ability to expand and deepen the site's content would be inimical to that aspiration. Also, on a more personal note, my modus operandi at the moment is that whenever I research any Roman topic for my own interest, I also add the results of my research to the website simply because it's a way of expanding the site's content without any significant extra effort on anyone's part (since I've already done the research anyway). And I sometimes research some pretty odd things. So if it were left to me it's entirely possible that an article on the younger Marius would appear before an article on the elder, if that's what I happen to be looking into at the time. Perhaps one day when the site is brimming with content somebody will feel the need to remove some content because it's not sufficiently interesting to merit space on the server, but at the moment the amount of content about ancient Rome is pitiful and I tend to think that it's worth adding anything at all.
So I can't at the moment see an alternative to disambiguation pages, and I'm not entirely sure why we dislike that solution in the first place. As for what the individual articles should be called, it's important that we have a simple and objective rule which all editors can follow, to avoid duplication and confusion. It's also important to choose a system which doesn't make titles too long. And of course the most important thing is that it be a system which minimizes the risk of producing two identically-named articles on different individuals. With all that in mind, the best I can think of at the moment is the one I've been using, which is to identify each individual with the year of his first consulate or, if he was never consul, with the first year in which he held whatever was the highest magistracy he did hold. This has the additional advantage that it is the standard way of 'disambiguating' individual Romans in academic texts. It's more or less guaranteed never to produce two identically-named articles about different individuals. The problem is that it doesn't provide a solution in the case of women and of men who never held any magistracy. In the case of women the best solution is likely to be based on the Roman practice of identifying them by father or husband; for men who never held office we may have to resort to the rather unsatisfactory solution of a "floruit" date. At the moment that's the best I can think of.
- Cordus 14:05, 14 October 2007 (CEST)
I think that your idea using the first year consulate or the year of the highest magistracy will work well. We'll have in the same time a chronology which can be developed in the future with more informations.
- Sabinus 16:19, 14 October 2007 (CEST)
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