Wikipedia:Featured article candidates/Attalus I

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Attalus I[edit]

Sort of a self-nom, since I created the first stub ages ago. Fantastic new work by Paul A.; now feature-worthy. +sj+ 23:32, 11 Oct 2004 (UTC)

  • Egads, that's a good reference section! Support! [[User:Neutrality|Neutrality (talk)]] 23:59, Oct 11, 2004 (UTC)
  • Support; the footnotes are mindboggling. Makes me feel inadequate on my own articles. :) --Golbez 01:16, Oct 12, 2004 (UTC)
  • Support. Shorne 03:08, 12 Oct 2004 (UTC)
  • Object. Lead section does not even tell who he is to someone that does not already know what Pergamon is, much less why he is important, notable, or what he did or accomplished. Otherwise seems well researched and written. I certainly prefer inline citations (it makes it so you don't have to move to the bottom of the page and back to check the footnote every time), but that is definitely not something to object over. - Taxman 03:14, Oct 12, 2004 (UTC)
    • I thought about that, but how different is it from saying Babylon, or Crete, or Rome, or Gaul? It's an extinct kingdom. But I agree, it could be phrased just a tad bit better. --Golbez 03:22, Oct 12, 2004 (UTC)
    • I've rewritten the lead section and added an "Early life" section Paul August 18:43, Oct 12, 2004 (UTC)
      • Sorry, but still object on basically the same grounds. Is who his second cousin is really one of the several most important things about him? Why was the fact that he was the first in his dynasty to take the title king important? Also, what was important about the victory over the Gauls? Did it have any impact? A two paragraph lead section summarizing all of the most important things about him would not be out of the question for an article this size. - Taxman 17:07, Oct 13, 2004 (UTC)
        • No need to be sorry, I think your comments are constructive ;-) His relationship to the previous ruler Eumenes I (he was also his adoptive son - which I've now added) as well as him being the first king of Pergamon, are in my opinion fairly important. Do you think these facts should come later in the article? I've added some content regarding the significance of his victory over the Gauls, do you think this is sufficient? I'm hesitant to add much more content which would essentially duplicate what comes almost immediately below. Paul August 20:08, Oct 13, 2004 (UTC)
          • I don't know if they need to come later. I just don't know what is important and why and the intro certainly doesn't tell me. It should. Any good intro needs to be a summary of the most important points of the subject with an eye towards why they are important. That neccessarily will duplicate some information. Nothing wrong with that. Having the overview eases the reader in, then the details in the article are more comprehensive. And yes the significance of beating the Gauls is helpful. - Taxman 03:13, Oct 14, 2004 (UTC)
            • Ok I've considerably expanded the lead section. Is this any better? Paul August 06:09, Oct 14, 2004 (UTC)
  • Object. Good article, needs a few changes to get my support though. 1) As Taxman indicated, the lead section is inadequate. Instead of telling why Attalus I was so important, it adds unimportant facts about who his mother may have been. The lead section should give a short summary of the article, and introduce the subject of the article. See Wikipedia:Guide to writing better articles#Lead section. 2) It is hard to understand the article, or even the lead section, without some context. This doesn't take a lot of work or text. E.g. "ruler of Pergamon, a Greek city state in present-day Turkey" makes the article much more readable. Adding such context is necessary for the entire article. 3) I don't think it is necessary to footnote each and every fact mentioned in the article. Any fact coming directly from any of the listed references (Livius, Polibius, etc.) shouldn't need footnoting, since these it is silently assumed that most information in the article comes from these sources. Furthermore, it makes the article look overly "messy" in my opinion. I would say to only footnotes when quoting sources otherwise not used (such as note nr. 7) or when sources are contradictory or exceptional in their remarks. 4) The article, after mentioning his relatives in the opening, immediately starts with Attalus's victory over the Galatian Gauls. I would like to see some more about his early life, or how he became king (he was not the son of his predecessor). I can image there's little information about his childhood, but I would expect something available aobut how he succeeded Eumenes I. If there's nothing known about that either, I think mentioning that is also useful. 5) I don't mind using direct quotations in articles, but the entire "Wife and sons" section consists of quotations. I personally prefer more of Wikipedia's own prose here. (This is not part of my objection.) 6) Another image would be nice as well (Again, not part of my objection). Jeronimo 06:33, 12 Oct 2004 (UTC)
    • I've rewritten the lead section and added an "Early life" section Paul August 18:43, Oct 12, 2004 (UTC)
    • I agree that the text would look cleaner without the footnotes. But I'm opposed to removing most of the footnotes. I think the "messy" look is far outweighed by the value of the information contained in the footnotes. (for example, I can't tell you how many times i've referred to the text mentioned in these footnotes when editing other parts of this as well as several other articles.) Yes, without the footnotes, the reader would still know that the article was based on the sources listed in the "references" section, but they wouldn't know which part of the article was based on which part of which sources. These texts comprise a couple of thousand or so pages, and believe me, it's not particularly easy (for me at least) to find the text upon which a given statement in the article is based. I think there is a strong analogy here with regard to links. I also find links visually distracting, but this is, of course, more than compensated for by the information they provide. I think that one of the reasons, the footnotes look "messy", is because they are so uncommon on Wikipedia (but I don't think they should be), and I think, just as in the case of links, one can, with familiarity, train one's eyes to ignore them. I believe that Wikipedia is weak in the area of source citation. And I think we should encourage citation of sources (the more detailed the better ;-) rather than discourage it. If the consensus is that a "featured article" shouldn't have so many footnotes, then I'd vote to keep the footnotes and have it be an "unfeatured article" ;-). (Bias alert: I'm the main contributer to this article ;-) Paul August 20:01, Oct 12, 2004 (UTC)
      • Besides, how do you think I keep my edit count so high? If we do decide to remove all my precious footnotes please let me do it, one-at-a-time ;-) Paul August 20:11, Oct 12, 2004 (UTC)
    • As to footnotes, I want to say two things. 1) I believe strongly that we should have as much detail in footnoting as possible -- see the recently started fact-checking project for a discussion of why highly granular references are useful. 2) A well-footnoted article is more beautiful to me than its counterpart; like a little stamp of guaranteed information density. There will eventually be better footnote support, allowing users to jump directly to them, to show/hide them, etc. I would hate to see the work that went into these lavish footnotes undone for the sake of temporary aesthetic. +sj+ 06:25, 13 Oct 2004 (UTC)
      • Re footnotes: I agree (now) that these should not be removed because they look ugly, they should only be removed if they are unnecessary, and I currently think many of these are unnecessary. Personally, I think that we only need footnotes when: 1) directly quoting somebody 2) when listing somebody's opinion on the article's subject 3) when the fact mentioned is disputed by other sources.
For example, it seems to me that "Attalus was the son of Attalus and Antiochis" needs no footnote, just like there is no source for the information on who his brother was. However, the sentence "According to Pausanias "the greatest of his achievements" was the defeat of the Galatian Gauls" should get one.
If there is a problem with the fact that the references works are very large (thousands of pages), mention the page numbers or chapters that were used to narrow it a bit down. Jeronimo 12:25, 13 Oct 2004 (UTC)
I agree, that "Attalus was the son of Attalus and Antiochis" doesn't need to be footnoted, but I still find it useful to have the footnote. Every statement in this article is a summarization and/or an interpretation of someone else's words. I think it is useful to let the reader know whose words, and where they were written, so they can judge for themselves if the summaries and interpretations are accurate. (The reason I haven't yet included source information for the newly added content is because I wanted that content and this issue to be settled first ;-) by the way you haven't yet said whether the new content is satisfactory. Is it?) Paul August 17:19, Oct 13, 2004 (UTC)
As for the other objections: they are solved. Jeronimo 07:38, 16 Oct 2004 (UTC)
  • Support. This is the kind of article I always hope to find when browsing the 'pedia. {Ανάριον} 11:50, 14 Oct 2004 (UTC)
  • Support. Markalexander100 05:33, 15 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Could Taxman, and Jeronimo please respond as to whether any of there of their objections have been addressed by the recent edits? Or if they haven't been addressed adequately, could they please say what else needs to be done? (Jeronimo: I realize that the footnote are still there, I'm still pondering that question and I'll have more to say on the matter - I don't suppose you've been swayed at all by my last comment have you ;-) Thanks in advance Paul August 15:18, Oct 15, 2004 (UTC)

  • Ok the lead section still needs some work. The sentence "He was the second cousin and the adoptive son of Eumenes I2, whom he succeeded, and was the first of the Attalid dynasty to assume the title of king" seems like it could be removed since the second part is now repeated later in the intro and the first does not seem all that important (and is covered later in the article). 2). There are a number of one sentence paragraph, which need to be expanded or merged with another paragraph. 3.) Overall the article has the typical ancient Greek POV that the Greeks were good and everyone else was bad. An example is "Galatians had posed a problem for Pergamon, indeed for all of Asia Minor." So the conquests of Attalus are glorious, but the other side is a problem for everyone? The section headings of defeat and conquests promote this too. 4.) Overall the writing is very difficult to follow, but because it is mostly due to apparently correct, albeit complicated sentence structure, I will not object only on a basis such as that. Specifically the Early life section though, has too many clauses in each sentence and would not lose anything if it were simplified a bit. - Taxman 16:09, Oct 15, 2004 (UTC)
  • 1) As I said above, his relationship to the previous ruler of Pergamon, and his kingship are of considerable importance. He became important because he was king, and he became king because of his relationship to Eumenes. Encyclopedia Britannica and The Oxford Classical Dictionary seem to agree. Both, include this information in their first two sentences in their articles about him. These facts are part of the "definition" of who he is. They answer the question: "Which Attalus was that?" (there were more than one); answer: "The successor to Eumenes I" or "You know, the first king of Pergamon"; response: "Oh yeah that guy." Yes the relationship to Eumenes is mentioned again in the "Early life" section, but as you said above "Any good intro needs to be a summary of the most important points of the subject with an eye towards why they are important. That neccessarily will duplicate some information" I agree the repetition of the phrase 'the title of "king"' (I've changed this slightly) in the first paragraph and second paragraphs, was not good. But the reason for mentioning his kingship in the second paragraph was to explain how he gained the title, and to answer, in part, your question: "… what was so important about the victory over the Gauls".
Some good points, but the intro still doesn't say who Eumenes is or why he is important to anyone that doesn't already know. But if it is that standard, fine. In general just because two sources do it one way does not mean it can't be improved to say why this guy is important.
But the intro does say who Eumenes I is and why he is important, specifically it says that Attalus I "was the second cousin and the adoptive son of Eumenes I, whom he succeeded,". Thus Eumenes is identified as the predecessor to Attalus as ruler of Pergamon, which is also why he was important. Paul August 16:16, Oct 16, 2004 (UTC)
  • 2) I found two one sentence paragraphs, and have eliminated them.
  • 3) According to Livy:
A large body of Gauls, induced either by want of room or desire for plunder … marched …into the country of the Dardani … Fighting with those who opposed their progress and exacting tribute from those who asked for peace …they went further into Asia. Out of the 20,000 men not more than 10,000 were carrying arms, yet so great was the terror they inspired in all the nations west of the Taurus, that those who had no experience of them, as well as those who had come into contact with them, the most remote as well as their next neighbours, all alike submitted to them. They levied tribute on the whole of Asia west of the Taurus, but fixed their own settlement on both sides of the Halys. Such was the terror of their name and the growth of their numbers that at last even the kings of Syria did not dare to refuse the payment of tribute.
The Gauls were a "problem" for Pergamon (as I am sure Pergamon was a problem for the Gauls). This statement is not meant to (nor as far as I can tell does it) indicate that the Pergamene were in any way superior to the Gauls. Would you please offer alternative, less POV wording for "Galatians had posed a problem for Pergamon, indeed for all of Asia Minor." As for the section titles "Defeat of the Gauls" and "Conquests in Seleucid Asia Minor" the first is meant to describe the event whereby Attalus met the Gauls in battle and won, the second is meant to describe the expansion of territory, (not at the expense of the Gauls by the way) in that part of Asia Minor previously controlled by the Seleucid empire. Why are these headings POV? Can you think of better ones? Paul August 01:52, Oct 16, 2004 (UTC)
Well I couldn't think of much better titles right away or I would have changed them. Conquest connotes ideas like valor and superiority. Defeat is fine, it is more factual. I can't even figure out what is going on and follow who is who in the Conquests section, so I don't know what a better title there is. I think I fixed a bit of the "Gaul problem", by noting what made them a problem closer to the sentence in question. Don't forget Livy was a Roman and Rome had been sacked by the Gauls, so he is hardly unbiased himself. - Taxman 04:35, Oct 16, 2004 (UTC)
I don't think the word "conquests" is anymore POV, than "defeat". Webster: Conquest: 1. The act or process of conquering, or acquiring by force; 2. That which is conquered; possession gained by force, physical or moral. In the section heading "Conquests in Seleucid Asia Minor", the word is being used in both the above senses (which I rather like). I don't think that "conquest" connotes a "valorous superiority" any more than it connotes a "brutal subjugation". Rather it's the action itself which is POV laden. In any victory or defeat, there are the victorious and the vanquished and they each will naturally enough have their own POV. Of course the word then inherits the POV, but it inherits both a positive and a negative one. In my opinion, the POVs are symmetric, and thus (more or less) balance out. To rule out the use of such words as "conquest" and "defeat" as too POV, is to impoverish the language.
Having said all that, if nevertheless "conquests" must go, then I propose: "Hostile takeovers in Seleucid Asia Minor". Just kidding ;-) this came to mind as i was considering the phrase "territorial acquisitions" as a possible alternative to "conquests". Seriously though, if you can't abide "conquests" how about "Territorial expansion in Seleucid Asia Minor"? It's less concise, dryer, more boring and contains (unfortunately) only the first meaning of "conquest" given above - but it probably is less POV.
Yes, of course, Livy is biased, but the collective scholarly judgment would be, I think, that he's not so biased as to fabricate that the Gauls were extracting tribute and plundering throughout Cis-Tauric Asia Minor. But anything's possible ;-), (Jeronimo: that's one of the reasons for citing the source of this in the footnotes ;-). I think his bias would extend only so far as to characterize such actions as "brutal" or "barbaric" say. Paul August 17:36, Oct 16, 2004 (UTC)
  • Support: Livy is biased, and the view you hit in some historians is that Atalus was a toady of Rome who was really out to take Macedonia out of the picture and balance against Antiochus. At any rate, it's great to see a Hellenistic topic nominated, and this is a well researched article. Quarrels over minor wording are somewhat beside the point. This is a good balance to some of the contemporary events (which should be there, but as part of a mix) in the FA's. Geogre 18:20, 18 Oct 2004 (UTC)