Disputatio:Cypros (planta)

Active discussions

This is not the way to go about this, Iacobe. The page must be deleted first, and then you move the page you want (Cypros (arbustum), I gather) to the present title, thereby preserving the edit-history of the original page.--Fabullus 09:17, 10 Novembris 2009 (UTC)

My request for appropriate deletion was not acted upon for a couple of days, so I did the obvious thing and reversed the redirect and the article: the old redirect now had the contents of the article, and the old article now had the contents of the redirect. You may have reversed the reversal, restoring the status quo ante, which was & is entirely unsatisfactory, for reasons given below. IacobusAmor 10:48, 10 Novembris 2009 (UTC)

For the record, I do not agree with your wish to move/rename the page. 'Cypros' is an attested and unambiguous classical Latin name, which I think should be preferred to the botanical Latin name.--Fabullus 09:17, 10 Novembris 2009 (UTC)

If people want to have articles on the ancient usage of particular words, that's fine, and more power to them! Let there be an article on the ancient understanding of the concept of cypros! But that's not the same as the argument that certain species should not have articles under their correct scientific names. See below. IacobusAmor 10:48, 10 Novembris 2009 (UTC)

Thirdly, Alchanna is an obsolete medieval Latin name that can not be put on a par with either 'cypros' or 'Lawsonia inermis'. What is more, it is ambiguous: in the spelling 'Alkanna' it nowadays denotes an altogether different plant-genus. I intended Alchanna as a kind of disambiguation-page (which we might bring out more explicitly) to either Cypros (Lawsonia inermis) or Alkanna (a page still waiting to be written. --Fabullus 09:17, 10 Novembris 2009 (UTC)

The world of science has bestowed upon the Latin language the honor of being the language in which all forms of living beings are named, and in which, through those names, all forms are classified in systematic relationships with each other. Accordingly, a responsible Latin encyclopedia will have an article on each form, under its accepted scientific name. To omit certain of these articles might be considered equivalent to removing random bricks from a wall: the effect, indeed, if not too many bricks are removed, may not be drastic enough to bring the wall down, but the action will nevertheless weaken the wall and mar its appearance. Vicipaedia is an encyclopedia of the real world, not just an encyclopedia of the ancient one. In the evolution of science, newer is better; and for the purposes of science, scientific names therefore take precedence over names that represent ancient (mis)understandings. That's not to say, of course, that ancient (mis)understandings don't deserve their own articles! For example, we have an article on Flacourtiaceae (see en:Flacourtiaceae), a defunct family of angiosperms; to reassemble under this name the genera & species that have now been distributed into other families would be irresponsible, but to do so would be similar to the effect of placing modern species under old & sometimes vague or inexact names used in ancient times. IacobusAmor 10:48, 10 Novembris 2009 (UTC)
I've had little time to spare in the last few days so I haven't studied carefully yet, but I am worried, too, by some recent moves. Two questions are in my mind:
  1. Iacobus, are you consciously changing the older practice, which was (normally) to adopt classical and "common" Latin names for res naturales? Andrew Dalby (disputatio) 10:19, 10 Novembris 2009 (UTC)
See the remarks above. IacobusAmor 10:48, 10 Novembris 2009 (UTC)
You seem to have moved several such pages, privileging the botanical/zoological name. If so, I think this needs discussion. Botanical and zoological Latin are "dialects" of the language we are using here: they are often handy but they aren't our sole authority and up to now they haven't been our overriding authority.
  1. Have some page moves been made by copy-and-paste? That seems to be the case (I noticed it with Blitum last night). Are these moves being marked as "minor" by pure error, or for some other reason? As Fabullus says, this is not the way to go about it. Pages must be moved, not copy-and-pasted. If deletion is necessary first, then request deletion -- and don't mark the request as "minor". Again, if there's some problem here, it needs discussion. Andrew Dalby (disputatio) 10:19, 10 Novembris 2009 (UTC)
In at least one case, I requested deletion, but deletion didn't happen. The mark of "minor" slips in inadvertently from force of habit. You'll recall that when I published Cultura, Vicipaedia's longest article, I marked it "minor"! IacobusAmor 10:48, 10 Novembris 2009 (UTC)
It didn't happen because, if a trusted editor marks changes as minor, it's likely that no one will review or notice them. Up to now, if you or others have needed a deletion quickly, you've requested it on the Taberna. That is always noticed. Andrew Dalby (disputatio) 11:46, 10 Novembris 2009 (UTC)

Apart from the theme, I've been told by a zoologist that the recently named species Electrolux addisonii has got its name from a well-known washing machine, because the fish in question literally "sucks in" its food like a washing machine. Be that as it might -- and I do think it's very funny -- on a more serious note, what this tells to a Latinist is that, though modern zoologists without doubt haven't run out of ideas, it looks like they're running out of ability to express them in Latin, which may detract somewhat from their authoritativeness. --Neander 12:37, 10 Novembris 2009 (UTC)

They're authoritative by fiat! Electrolux is wonderfully inventive! Linnaeus named a singularly ugly bug after one of his enemies. My favorite weird-looking genus-name is Abudefduf, from the Arabic. IacobusAmor 13:48, 10 Novembris 2009 (UTC)

Nice one, Neander! OK, let's organise the issues mentioned above. I see four, and I'll try to set out where I stand on them. Andrew Dalby (disputatio)

Marking edits as minorRecensere

In my view, marking edits as minor is not appropriate if they involve adding facts or deleting facts -- even temporarily --; nor if they are preparation for a move. We may all do it occasionally; it's easily done. But we must try not to. If an editor wanted something noticed or acted on, and marked the request as minor, and no action resulted, it's that editor's fault. Andrew Dalby (disputatio) 12:57, 10 Novembris 2009 (UTC)

Copy/paste vs. moveRecensere

Wikipedia is potentially in breach of its license if the history of articles gets deleted, and this is a real risk in these circumstances: a redirect could at a later stage easily get deleted, complete with its history. By doing correct moves we avoid this risk. It is considerable labour to go back and re-do incorrect moves while trying to retain whatever later work has been done on an article. This labour should not be loaded unnecessarily on to others, so, we must not copy/paste to make a page move -- even temporarily --: we must do it the proper way, even if that leads to delay. Andrew Dalby (disputatio) 12:57, 10 Novembris 2009 (UTC)

Not having articles under scientific namesRecensere

Iacobus proposes this, above, in order to oppose it. No doubt we all oppose it. Of course we should have articles or redirects under relevant scientific names. Andrew Dalby (disputatio) 12:57, 10 Novembris 2009 (UTC)

Perhaps the argument wasn't clear. This is it: the lemma of an article that treats any scientifically named form (species, genus, family, etc.) should be or begin with the scientific name, and that should be title of the article. All other names are historical curiosities, and they should be treated as such, sometimes perhaps in their own articles, but always subsidiary to the currently valid name. IacobusAmor 13:53, 10 Novembris 2009 (UTC)

Moving articles from "common" and classical Latin names to scientific namesRecensere

This is the issue that really needs discussion. It's been discussed long before and I think that agreement was reached: perhaps it needs discussing again. The impression I have is that moves are being done hastily, without getting the views of earlier editors of the page, and sometimes hurriedly shifting the emphasis of the article. Discussion may be needed first. Sometimes the discussion will result in more articles (e.g. one about the plant, one about the product; or one about the scientific species, one about the nebulous but important classical concept) but where's the harm in that? Andrew Dalby (disputatio) 12:57, 10 Novembris 2009 (UTC)

If agreement was reached, it wasn't with my consent; or if I consented, I've reconsidered. :) IacobusAmor 14:00, 10 Novembris 2009 (UTC)
I agree with Iacobus that when when only one article is needed, that it would be better to organize the information under the scientific name, with the common names listed afterwards, with such phasings as vulgo, olim, saepe, melius, or corrupte indicating the status of the common name. Common names are often confusing and changing in meaning over time and between different cultures. The scientific name by contrast should be perfectly specific in aeternum.
More than one page are called for, however, when referring to an important fruit, seed, or vegetable (as distinguished from plant or species whereof they are obtained), especially when referring to an important cultural item or important economic commodity. An apple and a potato are distinct from an apple tree and a morning glory plant, respectively and they even have different economic uses, which are deserving of their own pages. Most apples in fact are even grown on apple trees today, because apple trees tend to be too tall for farming.
Also remember that "the species" or "genus" that may be referred to is not always identical to the plant or animal referred to by the common name. The two concepts overlap but the scientific name refers to a particular category, based on evolutionary, biochemical, or morphological comparisons, whereas the common name usually refers to the kind of that species often or commonly encountered. Remember the classic test that species are distinguished by whether they share a common gene pool.--Rafaelgarcia 21:26, 10 Novembris 2009 (UTC)
Macte, Rafael. I couldn't have written that better myself. I might emphasize that articles on classical taxonomy should also be welcome, because classical (mis)understandings of reality, being historical facts in themselves, may deserve recognition, but it seems axiomatic that they shouldn't replace the realities of modern science. ¶ Meanwhile, Andrew having deleted the article on Lawsonia inermis, where do we go to read about Lawsonia inermis? (Say, where's the history of the deleted page?) IacobusAmor 15:15, 11 Novembris 2009 (UTC)
Regarding the preference for common latin names over species names, I can see the argument on both sides. We all know the difference between a canis dog and a lupus wolf, so should we call the page on dog "canis lupus familiaris" or simply "canis"?
Vicipaedia so far has chosen to use the common names for these in preference to the scientific names. On the one hand, I can see why people interested in Latin rather than in science might rather choose to focus on the "concept" of a canis (man's best friend) and the "concept" of a lupus (dangerous forest carnivore).
But are these popular classications so important as to deserve an encyclopedia entry under the names canis and lupus or are these classifications better relegated to a dismabiguation page or dictionary entry?--Rafaelgarcia 18:56, 11 Novembris 2009 (UTC)
Probably the latter (as they are now, though inelegantly). Throughout the whole discussion, we should bear in mind that we don't want scientific articles, like the one treating the subject of "gravity," to begin this way:
Gravitas, vel pondus, est sociale virorum momentum, una ex nonnullis virtutibus quas hominum coetus honoratis honestisque tribuit singulis, inter eas pietas, dignitas, iustitia.
Gravity, or weight, is the sociable influence of men, one of several virtues that human society attributes to honored & honorable individuals, among them piety, dignity, and iustice.
If you're looking for the physical properties of gravity but get forced into a discussion of ancient Roman social status, that's more or less how it looks when you're seeking Lawsonia inermis and get forced into Alchanna. Perhaps parts of this discussion should be copied to Taberna. IacobusAmor 19:45, 11 Novembris 2009 (UTC)
From the scientific view, one should prefer separate pages on "canis lupus familiaris" the family pet, "canis lupus" the species, and "canis (genus)" because this classification lays bare the current scientific understanding of the dog and wolf comprising a single species. These are obviously different ways of classifying existents according to different criteria.
This should obviously be discussed more to obtain or reaffirm a prevailing consensus.--Rafaelgarcia 18:56, 11 Novembris 2009 (UTC)
A curious case, since the current definition of lupus begins in a strangely wordy fashion: "Lupus (binomen a Linnaeo anno 1758), (-i, m.) (binomen: Canis lupus) est animal mammiferum generis Lupi." Anglice: Lupus (two-name by Linnaeus in the year 1758), (-i, m.) (two-name: Canis lupus) is a breast-bearing animal of genus Lupus. IacobusAmor 19:33, 11 Novembris 2009 (UTC)
Not only that it mistakenly identifies the wolf as "canis lupus" whereas it is the subspecies "Canis lupus lupus". THis is surely a case where the biological species does not correspond to the concept named by the common name, for the wolf and dog are different subspecies within the same species. On the other hand, canis sensu latissimo refers to any animal of the genus canis. The right thing I think is to have a disambig page for canis which lists the genus canis, species canis lupus, the subspecies canis lupus familiaris, etc...--Rafaelgarcia 20:20, 11 Novembris 2009 (UTC)
Part of the trouble here is an inconsistency between the treatments of language-based taxonomy and scientifically-based taxonomy. "Wolf" and "dog" and "canis" and "lupus" are going to have different meanings in English and technical English and Latin and technical Latin and none of them are necessarily going to be "wrong" for being different. You say "mistakenly identifies the wolf as 'canis lupus' whereas it is the subspecies 'Canis lupus lupus'" — but in non-technical English "wolf" is any of thirty-seven or so subspecies of Canis lupus, not just Canis lupus lupus, as well as a couple of other Canis species, while in technical English 'wolf' is the grey wolf, Canis lupus, all subspecies included (and one would say a dog is a kind of wolf, as en:dog does). I don't know in detail what the referents of the Latin word 'lupus' used non-technically are yet, but in the taxonomic Latin it's certainly 'Canis lupus' and I doubt the non-technical use of the word is stricter than that (I'm pretty sure the jackal was a kind of 'lupus', at least). —Mucius Tever 01:01, 12 Novembris 2009 (UTC)
You have just made by point even stronger, en: like la: has been giving common names preference to scientific names, and this has resulted in terrible confusion in their articles.
Neither wolf or dog captures the same idea as the species canis lupus, so trying to mash together the article on canis lupus with either the wolf or dog article is necessarily going to cause a mess, and it has both for la: and en:.
For example en: identifies wolf with only the grey wolf and also canis lupus, but canis lupus is all of them, every kind of dog and wolf--they are all the same species. Evidently, a dog is not a kind of grey wolf, but rather the grey wolf and the dog are kinds of canis lupus.
In the narrow sense in both languages, "Wolf" = "lupus" mean "carnivore that howls and barks and hunts in packs common in temperate climates", and "dog" = "canis" ="domesticated variety of wolf bred for certain traits"; in the widest sense both dog and wolf refer to the species canis lupus. --Rafaelgarcia 04:38, 12 Novembris 2009 (UTC)
Again, though, not all wolves are Canis lupus—some are Canis rufus, for example, and there are a couple of wolf species in Canidae outside of the genus Canis. Canis lupus is the Gray Wolf [technical term]; it's not the same thing, it's just the wolf [nontechnical term] species κατ' εξοχην. Canis lupus lupus is the Common Grey Wolf; the subspecies typica, the 'most wolf-like wolf'. A dog [nontechnical term] is not a kind of wolf [nontechnical term], but the Domestic Dog [technical term] is indeed a subspecies of Gray Wolf [technical term]. Actually, in nontechnical language a wolf is a kind of dog, being a member of the dog family. —Mucius Tever 12:26, 12 Novembris 2009 (UTC)
Shome mishtake shurely. The page is [1]. The history is [2]. Andrew Dalby (disputatio) 15:41, 11 Novembris 2009 (UTC)
I suspected the historia might survive somewhere! In cases where the process of editing deletes it, though, perhaps it were better to direct your complaint to the programmers who made such deletion possible. Unfortunately, they seem lately to be an unresponsive lot, as none of them has responded to my requests (in Taberna) that they correct how taxoboxes are misprinting. IacobusAmor 17:53, 11 Novembris 2009 (UTC)
It is specifically to preserve and make easily available the history and the discussion of a page that we endeavor always to "move" a page and not simply create a new page and make a redirect from the old page name.--Rafaelgarcia 18:46, 11 Novembris 2009 (UTC)
I have no complaint! Neither the page nor the history has ever been deleted. Both remain accessible; they always have been. Andrew Dalby (disputatio) 18:16, 11 Novembris 2009 (UTC)
Lawsonia inermis should be redirected to Cypros (arbustum), or vice versa - as Iacobus wants -, not to Alchanna, which is a kind of disambiguation-page to either Lawsonia inermis or Alkanna tinctoria. -- 17:18, 11 Novembris 2009 (UTC)
Quite right, as alchanna, like many other old words, formerly lumped together plants of multiple species and even genera—biological forms that modern taxonomy carefully distinguishes and that I was trying to get Vicipaedia to distinguish (but the waters have become muddy again). IacobusAmor 17:57, 11 Novembris 2009 (UTC)
The page was marked "delete": I preferred to make it a redirect rather than delete it. Anyone is free to edit it, e.g. to alter the redirect. Andrew Dalby (disputatio) 18:16, 11 Novembris 2009 (UTC)
Maybe the "delete" was a mistake, as the article can reasonably be interpreted as a disambiguation page (as points out) and should therefore perhaps formally be made into one. But then Vicipaedia should have a separate article on Lawsonia inermis, a title that at the moment has been caused to redirect to Alchanna. Lawsonia inermis isn't, and never was, exactly the same thing as alchanna. IacobusAmor 19:10, 11 Novembris 2009 (UTC)
That makes very good sense, I think. Whenever you want to write that article, just go to the page (this link [3] may help) and edit. Andrew Dalby (disputatio) 19:26, 11 Novembris 2009 (UTC)

Cypros or Lawsonia inermis?Recensere

The discussion above has become so widely extended, that it seems useful to have a separate section concerning only the question whether this article should be called ‘cypros’ (classical), ‘alchanna’ (medieval) or Lawsonia inermis (scientific).

As I stated above, the name 'alchanna' should be avoided, because it is ambiguous: having first been borrowed from Arabic to refer to cypros / Lawsonia inermis, it has later been transferred to plants in the genus Alkanna (a spelling variant of ‘alchanna’). I will try to bring this out by turning Alchanna into a real disambiguation page. I therefore propose that the present discussion be moved from Disputatio:Alchanna to Disputatio:Cypros (arbustum) which - if it is so decided (I hope not!) – can be moved along with Cypros (arbustum) to Lawsonia inermis.

The only real question remaining is whether the article should be called Cypros (arbustum) or Lawsonia inermis. Personally, I prefer the name ‘cypros’, because it is the classical Latin name, as opposed to ‘Lawsonia’, and we have once decided to prefer classical Latin over Latin of other periods, unless there is no clear classical term. Besides, there is no chance of misunderstanding here, as there is no other plant species with which cypros could be identified. --Fabullus 09:46, 12 Novembris 2009 (UTC)

A good idea to get back to the original point: forgive me if I now get a little more general again (I hope it remains relevant!). What you propose may work very well in this case: I haven't studied it sufficiently. But, as a rule-of-thumb, I would argue that it's a good idea to plan for, or allow for, an article about the scientific species and about the plant as known and named by Roman (and/or medieval) plant users. Here's my reasoning:
  1. Scientific species are as defined by Linnaeus and followers. Actually they aren't fixed -- we know many cases where the names and hierarchies have changed. But the definition is what it is, it's easily quoted, and modern knowledge of the plant tends to link to it.
  2. Although you may be right about cypros, many ancient names are not easily, firmly, unambiguously and uniquely attached to a currently recognised species: they may wander across variety or species or even genus or family boundaries. Yet the name corresponded to a recognised concept in ancient (or medieval) texts, and to that name was attached knowledge of all kinds from agricultural to medical. It may be difficult for us (or indeed for a reliable modern source!) to define exactly what species or variety was referred to. Yet that ancient knowledge is actually useful and is often cited. If we attach it unambiguously to a modern species, when in fact there is doubt or vagueness involved, we're not helping. So I am for articles under common/classical Latin names as well, and I don't agree with Iacobus that such articles would be just about etymology. They should be about cultural concepts and uses in classical and medieval times. Andrew Dalby (disputatio) 10:13, 12 Novembris 2009 (UTC)
Etymology there is shorthand for "cultural concepts and uses," etc.: see the statement (above) that denies "that ancient (mis)understandings don't deserve their own articles." IacobusAmor 13:41, 12 Novembris 2009 (UTC)
Iacobus is absolutely right that there is terrible confusion in en:wiki, because of the rule there that the commonest English names must be used. We're in a different position, since Latin is our language and Latin includes botanical as well as classical. I think we could avoid that confusion by acknowledging the need for more than one article in these cases.
So, to bring the topic right back to your heading above, I suggest, maybe, "Cypros (arbustum)" and "Lawsonia inermis".Andrew Dalby (disputatio) 10:13, 12 Novembris 2009 (UTC)
I agree with you in general, but in the case of a non-ambiguous identification such as here, having two articles might result in an unnecessary doubling of articles, unless we define specifically what information belongs under which heading.--Fabullus 10:30, 12 Novembris 2009 (UTC)
By the way, Andrew, could you delete Disputatio:Cypros (arbustum), which is virtually empty, so that the present discussion may be moved there, where it really belongs? --Fabullus 10:30, 12 Novembris 2009 (UTC)
Yes, quite true, and I wouldn't press for two articles in this specific case.
OK, I'll move this as you suggest. Andrew Dalby (disputatio) 10:45, 12 Novembris 2009 (UTC)
Given, especially, the facts of the language we're working with it might be best in general to do as the Spanish Wikipedia does and put all species under their scientific Latin names; in each article we could discuss the names used (and other species those names referred to) whether "correctly" or not. (Even 'classical' names are not always accurately identified.) But I think the current state of affairs does prefer the non-technical term when we have one. —Mucius Tever 12:26, 12 Novembris 2009 (UTC)
It might be worth adding (whichever way we decide) that redirects can be put in a category. We don't often do it but it's perfectly possible. Thus, for example, if we decided in this case to put the article at Cypros and the redirect at Lawsonia inermis, it is still possible for Lawsonia inermis to appear in the category listing at Categoria:Lawsonia. Andrew Dalby (disputatio) 13:10, 12 Novembris 2009 (UTC)
If Cypros is indeed so important a classical reference and yet simultaneously ambiguous as to exact species, then I think this should argue for a separate short page cypros that states as much. Cypros is a plant or plants thought to be the same as the species Lawsonia inermis, bla bla...Then add the information why the species identification isn't unambiguous with a reference. And add a couple of quotes showing its important to ancient living.
And the Lawsonia inermis page can talk about the species itself, including all the possible ancient references. I realize that since the pages amount to stipula there is a wish to unite them into a larger page, but uniting such distinct creatures causes trouble. Especially this is the case if they are united under a non-scientific name whose referent is uncertain. That is why when there is only one page to be had on a species it should be under the scientific name, since the referent is unambiguous in the current state of knowledge.
The latinity of the scientific name is not the issue but rather the logic of what the page refers to.--Rafaelgarcia 13:49, 12 Novembris 2009 (UTC)
And it should be borne in mind that scientific description is just that: careful, usually minute, description of the material properties of plants & animals, with details of their origins, their geographic distribution, their habits & diseases, and so on. That's the basis, and should be the body, or at least the beginning, of articles whose titles & lemmata are "Linnaean" terms. In contrast, notions of what plants & animals are used for takes us into a wide array of anthropological concerns: the manufacture of houses, furnishings, clothing, and an almost inexhaustible number of utilitarian objects, including firewood, weapons, and ornaments; cuisine; symbolism; mythology, literature, poetry; history; and so on. Thus, there should be an article Cocos nucifera, titled in proper "Linnaean" style and described carefully; but there should also be articles on culturally useful products derived from the tree and the fruit, including coconut cream, coconut milk, coconut oil, coconut water, coconut candy, copra, and sinnet. If enough material existed, there could be a section on "the coconut in ancient literature," either at the bottom of Cocos nucifera or as a standalone article. There could certainly be an article "the coconut [or, at least, plants] in Polynesian mythology," a rich topic indeed. For example, here's a tiny sample of the motifs listed under the topic of "the origin of various plant characteristics" in Bacil [sic] F. Kirtley's catalogue (I'm not making these numbers up!):
A2751.1 Origin of bark on plants.
A2751.4.6 Why kava plant is grey.
A2755.1.0.1. Why certain trees have reddish wood.
A2758. Why the stalks of certain plants are hollow.
A2791.14. Why some plants are not edible.
And of course, under another section: "A2681.5.1. Origin of coconut tree." 14:19, 12 Novembris 2009 (UTC)


What's this arbustum business? According to Cassell's, the only sense of the singular is 'a plantation, a vineyard planted with trees'. Cassell's adds: "In plur., used by poets as a metrically convenient substitute for arbores." As (1) this title isn't part of a metrical utterance, and (2) arbustum isn't plural, perhaps arbustum should be replaced with planta. IacobusAmor 13:28, 12 Novembris 2009 (UTC)

Recte dicis. Multum versor in versibus Lucreti, qui - ut dictionarium Cassellianum memorat - arbusti verbo utitur pro arboris, et hoc in plurali numero tantum. Pro 'arbusto' 'fruticem' dicere oportebat. Sed melius fortasse 'planta', etiamsi non classicum esse videtur. --Fabullus 12:54, 17 Novembris 2009 (UTC)
Revertere ad "Cypros (planta)".