Disputatio Vicipaediae:De orthographia/en



From Alex nihil: I'd like to express my disagreement about the dates format: I'm sure the whole point of a Latin encylopaedia is to express the content like it was used, not as it is used today. Then, why put the dates in arabic format? I'd think that's wotrhless job, why, to see the arabic dates of an event, I'd rather check the English Wikipedia or whatever else. I also think thay all the contributors to Latin Wikipedia are conoisseurs of the language, so they can easily understand that Pridie Kalendam Quintilem/Julium is June 30th. I leave open the discussion and maybe we get an agreement on this topic.

CalRis25 11:03 iun 29, 2004 (UTC)
Hello Alex!
First of all thank you for thinking about the "Auxilium pro edition" and discussing it. My opinion: I think that a modern approach to dates is better than using the ancient date format. Why?
  1. I doubt that many users of la.Wikipedia are really connaisseurs of the Latin language. Most (like me) seem to be either in the process of learning or want to brush up their knowledge. The old system you propose to use is rather complicated. Pridie KalendAS is a comparatively easy case. There are many other more complicated instances. Just have a look at Calendarium Romanum and this web-site.
  2. If we wanted to be really strict and "express the content like it was used, not as it is used today", we wouldn't be allowed to use many other things as well: kilometres (instead we would have Roman miles or leagues or whatever), kilogrammes. Actually we wouldn't be allowed to use "'June 30th" either, as "'30" was unknown to them. Dates and quantities get very, very unwieldy if we stick to Roman numerals. What about zero, the Romans didn't even have an equivalent to 0. And what about years? The Romans counted ab urbe condita or beginning with the current emperor's reign (or just indicated the current consul). The Romans changed their habits of indicating years during their history, several times.
  3. Your conception of la.Wikipedia seems to be somewhat different to mine. We are not Romans, two thousand years have passed since emperor Augustus. This is an enciclopedia written in Neo-Latin. None of us (as far as I can see) is able to write pure classical Latin (i. e. without contamination by neologisms and medieval Latin). This enciclopedia isn't restricted to classical content (perhaps a bit more concentration in that respect might be useful, however), and even if it were, we would need modern Latin expressions.
  4. You write: "to see the arabic dates of an event, I'd rather check the English Wikipedia". Hm, you're right there. But I'm not really interested in the date but in the article/description which belongs to the date. An article consisting solely of dates would indeed be rather boring (in en.Wikipedia as well). I want to read/write Latin just for the sake of the language not only because of the content. If I didn't want that I would stick with en.Wikipedia. To a certain degrees la.Wikipedia is l'art pour l'art or ars gratia artis.
What do you think about my arguments, Alex?

Alex_nihil 5:32 UTC, June, 30th 2004

I've just read your message, and like I'd said, we can get an agreement on the topic (This is not a casus belli to start an edit war like is used in en.wikipedia)So, to business. I propose some alternatives for edition in la.wiki:
1. For measurement, I agree on arabic format (specially when we're not used with the famous Mille passum, and that the roman step was counted as double, that is about 1.6 meters). However, it would be a good job — and also for informative purposes — to make an article detailing the roman measures and a conversion table, annexing the data in an article when the measure is relevant — just a fictitious example: The Rome Pantheon was 190 meters/yards long and in parenthesis (near 1 stadium long). That way utentes (and visitors to the la. wiki) can also learn new information and get familiarized with roman mesaure units.
2. After seeing your arguments on the date (and just for confort of users), I have to concede on this topic. But once again, I'd insist that for relevant events (Dates of some consules, emperors, remarkable dates — as the UN foundation, September 11th, end of some wars and things like those) we put both formats: arabic and latin date format ab urbe condita used as standard.
These are my alternatives, take a look on them and tell me what do you think about them.

CalRis25 13:57 iul 1, 2004 (UTC): Hello Alex!

Re: Measurements: An article about this subject definitely would be worthwhile. Some respective thoughts:

  • Possible title: Mensurae Romae antiquae
  • Covers ALL measures for lengths/distances, areas, volumes and weights used by the Romans.
  • Users could link to it when using Roman measurements.
  • Redirects from the single units?
  • Needed: standardisation of terms like kilometre. I've seen both kilometrum and chiliometrum (I prefer the latter one because it is used by the Finnish Nuntii Latini).
  • Needed: Decide when to use old measures (always additional to, never instead of the new ones)

Are you interested in writing it?

Re: Dates: This problem is a bit more complicated. Before thinking about how to include dates in the old Roman system we should standardise the "normal" date format. Look at the following articles to see some of the formats used right now: Adamus_Bremensis, Ambrosius, Anna_Francea, Augustinus, Marcus Iunius Brutus, Gaius_Iulius_Caesar. You see, right now there is complete and utter chaos in that respect. Let's have a look at Octavianus Augustus for the way Adam Episcopus indicates dates.

  • 23 Septembri 63 BC - 19 Augusti AD 14: beware 23 Septembri is itself a link, just as is 63 BC. 63 BC is obviously wrong as BC means before Christ. I believe that ante Christum natum is the traditional way of expressing dates before the Christ era.
  • 15 Martio 44 BC: in my opinion that's not completely right either. Shouldn't it rather say 15 Martii 44 a.C.n. or something like that (cp. the way the Nuntii Latini use the genitive of a month when indicating a day). Also the link should point to a date article using the nominative, shouldn't it?

In my opinion we should try to involve Adam in finding a solution for this problem (he seems to be on vacation right now). By the way, have a look at Usor:CalRis25/Temp_2 and its talk-page where we are trying to create templates for year-, number- and letter-articles.

The en.Wikipedia's Manual of Style (dates and numbers) might be useful as well. We'll probably have to completely convert it to our needs, but we should get some more help/advice (e.g. from Adam).


  • Write article about measures
  • Write la.Wikipedia-specific Manual of Style (dates and numbers)
I recognize that I am writing dates incorrectly in the emperor articles - to be honest I usually just forget to look up the proper way (or I am too lazy). I have mostly left the dates in a semi-English form (where the day and month are a link, because there are individual articles for them on en:, and where BC is especially meaningless in Latin). There are probably also a lot of errors in grammar (like Martio for Martii - that's just an inexcusable error on my part). Sorry about that. Adam Episcopus 18:24 iul 1, 2004 (UTC)

CalRis25 09:40 iul 5, 2004 (UTC): Hello Adam, I would be happy if my Latin were as good as yours! So please don't get me wrong, I didn't want to criticise you. The date format you're using seems good to me. We just have to translate it into Latin, e.g.

  • 23 Septembri 63 BC: what about replacing BC with a.C.n. (=ante Christum natum)?
  • 19 Augusti AD 14: I'm against using AD as dominus is a bit too religious. What about p.C.n. (= post Christum natum) or no addendum at all when it's a Christian-era date?

Some suggestions:

I know that a.C.n and p.C.n. are pretty long, but right now I've got no other idea. Any other suggestions for translating/replacing BC/AD? Bye.

Alex_nihil Iul 18, 2004 0:07 (UTC) Up to now I could begin working on the article you suggested (sorry about that, but I hadn't had holidays for a while). It's quite big to put all the roman measures but I'll be working on that as fast as I can master the use of tables here and make a research on the topic (in order to avoid mistakes and all that). Would be a good idea to discuss the problem of dates (although a.C.n and p.C.n look useful, it could be said that is still quite religious — or maybe I´m a llitle bit confused about what you mean with that adjective) since your solution — except for that bit — seems to be easier to manage than other systems in the modern way to write dates (and also we can include in the discussion the problem about the Roman standard: ab urbe condita or other one). About the last line in your suggestion, how about using NA (Nostra Aetate) and aNA for dates before Christ?, that way I think is shorter — at least for AD dates — and also we supress the religious element (although, culturally speaking, we are inmersed in that tradtion, volumus nolumus). I put this on the discussion table and also,as I think we're close to an agreement,the lines about "The section of numbers is disputed" could be eliminated. Finally, all this work is not for us, but for all the visitors and users of la. wiki.

CalRis25 10:30 iul 20, 2004 (UTC): Hello, Alex! I've invited Adam Episcopus, Iustinus and Constantinus to join the discussion. "a.C.n"/"p.C.n." is in my opinion a somewhat less overtly religious way to indicate a date than "AD", but it IS still clearly Christian, but that's the way it is. The system introduced by Dionysius Exiguus is a system inspired by the idea of a Jesus Christ. "NA" (Nostrae Aetatis) and "aNA" (ante Nostram Aetatem) still reflect this cultural heritage. I think that we shouldn't be overly politically correct. Have a look at Claudius which uses 10 AC (= 10 ante Christum (natum)). It may take some time to get used to, but it is shorter than a.C.n. Bye, CalRis.

Hi! I like a.C.n. and p.C.n., that's similar to some other languages (like French or German, I think)...maybe we could use a.C.n. for BC dates, and nothing but the year for AD dates (which is how the English Wikipedia works, but I realize that may not be the best solution here). I don't think we should invent a completely new way that has never been used in Latin, though (or in any other language). Adam Episcopus 19:41 iul 20, 2004 (UTC)

CalRis25 10:50 iul 22, 2004 (UTC): Hello! I would also prefer using dates like 15 Martis 44 a.C.n.. I think that not using p.C.n. for "recent" dates is also okay. Could we agree or vote on this. I propose again the date formats I suggested further above.
Alex_nihil Iul 22, 2004 22:20 (UTC) I agree on the point; however it is still without resolution the point about the old format (just for cultural purposes as the Mensurae Romae antiquae article) Which of the roman formats for the date we will choose in the really necessary cases we wish to emphazise the relevance of an event? Any suggestions other than aUc format?
Aphaea I agree with a.C.n; p.C.n seems to me a bit embarassing, if we need follow this way whenever, though 10 a.C.n - 21 p.C.n is OK for me. Roman calender is for me too complicated but it would be nice if a contributer write down a certain date in both way (not compulsory).

Myself, I tend to use a.C.n. and A.D. I don't think I've seen p.C.n. much, but I don't object to it. I sometimes use C.E. and B.C.E. in English, but I don't feel any need (despite my own religious scruples) to import this to Latin – I kind of prefer to use the established idioms, even if they are Christian in nature. When I speak Latin, I quite frequently exclaim Di Immortales, but that doesn't mean I'm a polytheist! --Iustinus 03:52 iul 23, 2004 (UTC)

I think that I am way late for this comment but would anyone consider using the date format on the Journal Latinitas as being valid. It is a journal published 4 times a year completely in Latin.--Billiot 11:14, 14 Iunii 2007 (UTC)Reply

CalRis25 07:09 iul 23, 2004 (UTC): Hello, post Christum natum isn't all that infrequent, just make a respective inquiry using Google, but I would suggest using it only when combining pre- and post-Christian dates. Can we vote on the following (obviously I vote yes for all of them)?

  • Year only before Christ: 44 a.C.n.
  • Year only after Christ: 44 (no p.C.n. as most other Wikis don't use any abbr. for modern dates)
  • Complete date before Christ: 23 Septembri 63 a.C.n.
  • Complete date after Christ: 7 Aprilis 1971
  • Range of years with both pre/post-Christ-dates: 63 a.C.n. - 14 p.C.n. (= [[14|14 p.C.n.]])
  • Range of years (only pre-Christ dates): 149 a.C.n. - 146 a.C.n.
  • Range of years (only post-Christ dates): 1618 - 1648
  • Century before Christ: saeculum 1
  • Century after Christ: saeculum 1 a.C.n.
  • Traditionals years (if wanted): 234 ab urbe condita or 234 a.U.c. (probably no hyperlink as we should use the above formats to link to the respective year-articles)

The reason for choosing aUc as the traditional way of indicating years is simple: the Romans didn't really have any other convicing system. Indicating the ruling consul, the year of the reign of an emperor, or the financial year would be possible in some cases, but not really easy to understand, would it?

Alex_nihil Iul 24, 2004 21:30 (UTC) It seems, at least for me, that discussion on this topic has ended. I agree on the format proposed by you. Maybe if users require aUc format, they can put a redirection to the year article in the now-adopted format (that way we'll avoid unnecesary articles and more confussion, but they'll need to be adviced on the article about this). I think we'll just have to wait for other points of view, in order to reflect the agreement on the topic in the Auxilium pro editione article (the latin and english versions). I do not know who the la. wiki administrators are, but it will be a good a idea to warn at Pagina prima all the users who wish to cooperate with la. wiki, to visit the Auxilium pro editione (because with all this, we'll have a good job changing all the dates to new format)
Agreed. The format for years was established. Thank you for CalRis25 and all. It's a good idea a.U.c format will be redirectiosn and we have the standard on the above in Auxilium pro editione. For changing all the dates, will we able to use a bot? Some bots visit la.wp for example, Suisui. We can ask if they are willingly to corraborate with us. --Aphaea 12:36 aug 2, 2004 (UTC)

Anthony Appleyard 16:09 nov 4, 2004 (UTC)

About the instruction not to use j: there is at least one case where keeping j for consonantal i distinguishes two words: Tro-ja (2 syllables) = "Troy" / Tro-i-a (3 syllables) = "Trojan woman".

Is it allowed to use macron or circumflex for long vowel where a distinction is needed? For example, "other": alius nominative / alîus genitive.

You are right that the claim that j and i can always be distinguished from context (as opposed to v and u which allegedly can't) is a bit shakey, but this is the rationale usually given. The fact is that "u, v, i but not j" is just how Latin is usually written today. It's a convention, and nothing more, but still one I think we should follow.
Generally we're not supposed to mark long vowels, even where they are distinctive. However, I try to mark long vowels in the headword of an article (for an example see tritorium), and so long as I use actual macrons rather than circumflexes no one seems to object. --Iustinus 21:28 nov 5, 2004 (UTC)

AUC, Macrons


It seems to me that instead of recommending that AUC dates be unlinked (as the guidelines currently stand) we should suggest that they be linked to the appropriate year AD, e.g. [[44 a.C.n.|A.U.C. 709]], [[79|832]].

I'm happy with that idea. May not always remember, of course! Robin Patterson 09:43 ian 31, 2005 (UTC)

We might also want to formalize the policy on macrons and breves. As I have mentioned countless times before, although we generally seem to frown on their use, I recommend them in headwords (i.e. the boldfaced first occurrence of a word, for an example, see tribulum), and in unusual, medieval or foreign words and names when they appear in an article as a gloss, since they are unlikely to occur in any dictionary (see, for example, the long list of classicized Indian names given at Index regum Indiae). --Iustinus 20:01 ian 29, 2005 (UTC)

OK but bear in mind that not all browser systems can read macrons. The chief contributor to mi.wikipedia.org, for example, which makes much use of them, can't read them on his home computer. Robin Patterson 09:43 ian 31, 2005 (UTC)

Not sure if my opinion on this matters as I don't see many macrons on the site but I really don't like them. They are unsightly and difficult to actually put into an article. I like stress marks a lot better if we are to use anything but as I don't see macrons it may be moot. I intend to use stress marks where I think it helps understanding when I actually get around to writing.--Billiot 11:11, 14 Iunii 2007 (UTC)Reply



"Category:..." aut "Categoria:..."?

Or doesn't it matter? (It should, if only to look tidier when someone looks at two or three and/or to avoid duplication.)

And this may not be the place to discuss them, but it should at least have a link to them, eg Category:Italia

Robin Patterson 01:04 feb 1, 2005 (UTC)



I suggest that Vicipaedia use SI or metric units for measurements. The Roman measurements are too outdated (even for a site in Latin). They would make the creation of scientific pages harder.

I also suggest that the spelling kilometrum be used. It is more closely related in spelling to the official term and kilo- corresponds to the SI prefix, "k". Davus618 00:06, 25 Martii 2006

For the most part SI is what is already used. The letter K was outdated (even for the Romans) but was used in abbreviations, so that's not unprecedented; the italians say chilometro as well. From there to chiliometrum is just going with what's etymologically preferable. For a similar debate see Talk:crypton. —Myces Tiberinus 14:18, 25 Martii 2006 (UTC)Reply
Kilometer does not come from Italian. It comes from the greek χίλια 'thousand' and μέτρο 'measure.' The transliteration of kilometer needs to be justified as coming from those greek words (or arguably, from French or English because those are the languages used by BIPM). Davus618 13:50, 27 Martii 2006
I'm sorry, did I claim anything about the word coming from Italian? No, I said Latin disprefers K and Italian doesn't use it in this word either: the Italian use is precedent for not spelling it with a K, not the source of the word. I said we used 'chiliometrum' because the etymology justifies it, and if we were pointing to Italian 'chilometrum' as the etymology, 'chiliometrum' wouldn't be justifiable. —Myces Tiberinus 23:07, 27 Martii 2006 (UTC)Reply
You did not claim that the word comes from Italian but you are using the Italian version of kilometer to get to a Latin version. That is a justifiable way but I still believe a version based on the origional SI prefix is better. Also, why would you make the prefix chilio- rather than cilio-. The h is only there to keep the c from being pronounced /tʃ/ (that is a long s if the browser doesn't read it). And finally, sarcasm does not work well in written form. Davus618 23:46, 28 Martii 2006 (UTC)Reply
Neither does your impetuous tone. What instance, can you show me, shows the mere possibility let alone preference for tansliterating χ as k? SI is a modern thing, transliterating from Greek is an ancient one. As in most things apud Vici, we take the traditional approach. Ch is certainly the form we should use.--Ioshus Rocchio 00:11, 29 Martii 2006 (UTC)Reply
I mean, really, are you suggesting psykologia as an acceptable transliteration? or Iesus Kristus? Seems utterly absurd to me.--Ioshus Rocchio 14:35, 29 Martii 2006 (UTC)Reply
I believe that it is best to get the name from the origional source, which in this case would be the French or English words that were a result of the creation of SI. Could you please show me that ch is the actual way to transliterate χ. Davus618 19:41, 3 Aprilis 2006 (UTC)Reply
Vide etiam: Χριστός => Christus, Χίος => Chios, Χορός => Choreographia, et alia. Sinister Petrus 20:59, 7 Iulii 2006 (UTC)Reply

I think the current international system of measure is best as I am sure that this site's goal is to be understood by as many people who can read Latin as possible and not be understood by the ancient Romans, of whom all are currently dead. I really want to support making the site as understandable to as many Latin readers around the whole of the planet at possible. --Billiot 11:11, 14 Iunii 2007 (UTC)Reply

Pauces Res


A few things about this article: First, in the section on Js, it states that we don't want redirects for every variant spelling; it seems to use a rather bad example, though, because Ursa Major does in fact redirect to Ursa Maior! I'm also a bit confused about what it says regarding names; it says Js can be used in names, but Jimmy Wales redirects to Iacobus Wales.

More generally, in terms of style, how do we handle word order? Should verbs go at the end of sentences where possible, etc.? --Emufarmers 06:16, 7 Iulii 2006 (UTC)Reply

I try, where possible to use a Subject Object Verb (SVO) order (Think about the order of "[Ego] Arma virumque cano"}. It doesn't always make sense (oratio obliqua, ablative absolute) to do so, so I take advantage of the flexible word order. I also try to use Subject (esse) Compliment order as well. But again, sometimes something needs emphasis, so it gets dragged out of order. Or there is some other complicating feature. You asked, and that is my answer for my style. Sinister Petrus 16:49, 7 Iulii 2006 (UTC)Reply
Js for last names, not first names. There should not be a redirect for every variant spelling, no, but we want somebody to be able to search for Jimbo Wales, certainly, and be directed to a proper spelling. This way they don't need to know Iacobus is latin for James a priori, and can quickly learn the proper latin name for the chap. Of course, old Iacobo is a noteowrthy exception to many rules of style, simply because this is a wikipedia. We try to enforce proper style, but many of us are, like you, relative newcomers to Vicipaedia.
As for style, I tend to, as Petrus said, take advantage of the flexible word order. For instance if I can break up two consecutive blue links by putting in a linking verb, like "est animal mythologicum" or "animal est mythologicum", I will (it looks better, to my eye, and the language allows for it, so why not?). Other things, too, just like in english where we shift "normal" syntax for proper emphasis. I'd advise just write well grammatically, and let syntaxis take care of itself. (Obviously taken with a grain of salt).--Ioshus Rocchio 19:17, 7 Iulii 2006 (UTC)Reply
Euge! I hadn't thought of using the flexibility of word order to allow me to split links. Sinister Petrus 21:51, 7 Iulii 2006 (UTC)Reply

I learned Latin using the letter J and many words just seem wrong without it. I can understand the arguement about the search engine so it may very well be a good idea to remove all Js from the Titles of Pages but I don:t think it hurts allowing different writers to choose to use cujus as I learned it or cuius which I actually had to look up the first time I saw it. I am not trying to cause an arguement and I know that Cicero or Caesar didn:t use J nor macrons or U but I think we can all strive to make the Language on this site as readable as possible to as many readers as possible in this language. Many later writers of Latin used J including many Mathamatical and Scientific works published as recent as 200 years ago. Newton I believed wrote his original thesis for calculus in Latin that used the letter J. I know a lot of Latin litterates learned from Wheelock but it isn:t the only primer out there. I am just a guest here so I don:t have a name stamp as yet.

Hmmm, getting a "name stamp" isn't so hard and even if you don't like the site you should get one just to put your name on the comment. You won't get junk mail from doing this, at least I don't. De Wheelocke, opinionem meum non dicam ut illi qui Wheelockem amans-sunt me esse in peccatum non sciam. Personally I agree that J should be used and I have even been warned to change the places where I have used it. I really wasn't that hard even if I wasn't completely happy about it. There is also the issue of Wikipedia guidelines to think about. I don't know this to be true but it could be the case that the Wikipedia Foundation allows the Latin Vicipedia only under the condition that the letter J not be used. Again, I don't know that to be true but it is something to think about before asking us all to go through and cange every article. Not that I am telling you to do this, but you could just go and Be Bold and start writing articles that does include J and let the Gammatarians fix it later. Again, I am not telling you to be a rebel as we are all here trying to get along and it is hard at times but if you really want to contribute and feel that we need to include the letter J then discuss, make contacts with people and see if you can get the policy changes. Latin like any language does change over time and anyone who has had dealings with me knows I stress the modern way, but even in doing that it means that I won't stick to the Caesar, Cicero way but neither will I copy the Newton, Pius X way. I have my way and you have your way and it could mean that the new modern way is to not use J but again, discuss. --Billiot 11:11, 14 Iunii 2007 (UTC)Reply
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