Template talk:Ancient Mesopotamia topics

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Should the template be rearranged?

If meticulous, Susa was an Elamite city, Nuzi was a Hurrian city, and Babylon should hardly be counted among the cities of the Akkadian empire, if not being Agade itself. Cities of Assyria could be supplemented by Khorsabad/Dur-Sharrukin.

Perhaps it is not so important where the article names occur in the template. --JFK 14:31, 22 March 2006 (UTC)

Does Nibiru belong in the template?

The last named article in the Mythology section, Nibiru, seems an odd choice. The ancient name for the planet Jupiter does hardly belong in the top four selection of articles about Mesopotamian mythology.

The choice of Nibiru is made from the books by the author Zecharia Sitchin where it is identified with the tenth or twelth planet X. The theories surrounding this aspect of Mesopotamian mythology is at best described as pseudo-science. No institutes in the world do any research regarding his concept of Nibiru.

Since this template:Ancient Mesopotamia is used as reference in articles with scientific contents Nibiru does not belong there. --JFK 14:31, 22 March 2006 (UTC)

Changes made

I replaced Nibiru with Mesopotamian Mythology, and replaced Nuzi with Dur-Sharrukin. If you disagree with these changes please leave your comments here. --JFK 12:00, 10 April 2006 (UTC)


Should Urartu be included in the template? Urartu was the archnemesis of Assyria and held some territories in Mesopotamia but so did the Hittite Empire.--Eupator 00:06, 3 May 2006 (UTC)

There is little justification including Urartu but excluding the Hittites, or the Medes and Persians for that matter. --JFK 20:21, 8 May 2006 (UTC)

That's exactly my point. Either exclude Urartu or include the aforementioned.--Eupator 15:25, 16 May 2006 (UTC)

Bold proposal for reorganization

I think that there are several issues with the template as it is now.

  • The most important would be that it only deals with Bronze and Iron Age periods, and neglects all prehistoric periods, as well as post-Assyrian Empire periods (which, based on the definition you choose, should either run up to Alexander the Great or the Islamic conquest, with most modern definitions going up to the latter).
  • Furthermore, the emphasis on king lists, individual sites and individual aspects of religion (e.g. Gilgamesh) in this template is, in my mind, too big - especially since many other sites (especially prehistoric sites) could be included here as well. This is especially unfortunate since the template does not link to several pages about Mesopotamia that are just as important (Art of Mesopotamia, Architecture of Mesopotamia are just two that come to mind).
  • Inconsistencies: under the Akkad and Sumer sections, it links to cities (with some weird choices; why is Mari under Akkad?), but under Babylon, it links to an area (Chaldea). Also, in the headings starting with Sumer, Elam, Akkad, there is also Amorites, which is neither a geographical or chronological entity like the others.
  • As a more personal note, I think that a sidebar is not the best way to present this template. It limits the amount of information that can be displayed, it is harder to add new pages and it often conflicts with other sidebars, making pages look messy.

In order to 'remedy' these 'issues', I have made a bold proposal to reorganize this template (which would turn it into a footer, rather than a sidebar). The proposal can be found here. The main points are:

  • Geography section linking to ancient areas (Akkad, Sumer, Babylonia, etc) and the modern names for these areas/geographical features (Euphrates, Zagros, Jezirah, etc) and a link to Cities of the ancient Near East to get a quick overview of relevant Mesopotamian cities.
  • History section with subsections for prehistory and history, and linking to all period pages (Uruk, Jemdet Nasr, Early Dynastic, Akkad, etc) in the correct order.
  • Language section linking to languages that have been in use in Mesopotamia.
  • Culture section linking to Mesopotamian religion, Cuneiform writing and things like that.
  • Archaeology section linking to some relevant articles to understand the archaeology of Mesopotamia.
  • It would include material from the Template:Predynastic Mesopotamian Culture Groups, which could then be merged with this one.

While I think that this new template would be a significant improvement over the older one (and it could for example also be used as a guide to (re-)organize/improve (sections of) the page on Mesopotamia, I would like to gather comments/suggestions before implementing.--Zoeperkoe (talk) 18:40, 30 October 2011 (UTC)

Looks like an improvement over the old one and I'm glad to see that it can be set to be closed by default (important for small articles and some templates don't seem to obey this.) A couple minor points. The Conquest entry may be out of scope at, what, circa 700AD. And I would feel better with something there in the way of chronology or kings lists, but that could just be my personal interest. :-) Those are minor issues and I am ok with the template as proposed.Ploversegg (talk) 20:30, 31 October 2011 (UTC)
Good points. The reason why I included the Muslim conquest is that it is, in my mind, the best point in history to make a division, and it is also a point that is endorsed by the literature. Alexander the Great does not really constitute a break in history in Mesopotamia - and neither does the coming of Islam, but at least there won't be any periods that fall 'in between' two periods that are better treated. And to include a link to the actual Islamic conquest is just for completeness to show people where to go if they are finished reading on Mesopotamian history ;) I also put it in there to synchronize the template with how I defined Mesoptamia - both chronologically and geographically - in the page on Mesopotamia. I think WP could greatly benefit from that kind of standardization (and making it explicit); as is the case with the middle/short chronology issue. But if you think it is too much, it can be left out.
As for the king lists, we could include a link in the Culture and society section, or one at the end of the history section. I would prefer a single link to an overview page, for example Mesopotamia Dynasty list, but that page is relatively new and very incomplete (and it is in desperate need for a new name, something like List of Mesopotamian dynasties). Do you have any suggestions?
Btw, this template is also far from perfect. Some of the Ancient geography links do not link to regions because the articles do not exist (Akkad links to Akkadian Empire, as does Akkadian in the history section). But in this template it is easier to fix such shortcomings once someone decides to make a separate page on Akkad (region).--Zoeperkoe (talk) 00:56, 1 November 2011 (UTC)
Agree totally. The perfect is the enemy of the good. Chrono - tough one. Chronology of the ancient Near East is a background type article. There are indeed a number of specialized "king lists". the Short chronology timeline is the most complete/referenced, but may end a bit early and be a bit wider area for what you want. The Sumerian King List is best known. None of those are ideal for this.Ploversegg (talk) 21:33, 1 November 2011 (UTC)

I agree the template can use some attention, but I would advise strongly against expanding its scope. It anything, the scope should be narrowed. By "Ancient Mesopotamia", I submit that we should understand Ancient Near East. Not the Chalcolithic, and not Hellenism. What would be the point of a template allowing you to navigate between topics of the Neolithic, and topics of the Roman Empire? Exactly: no point. The ANE spans the Bronze and Iron Ages, say 3000 BC to 330 BC (Sumer to Persian Mesopotamia). This is a perfectly reasonable time-span to cover under "Ancient Mesopotamia": for earlier times, say "prehistoric Mesopotamia", and for later times say "Hellenistic / Roman era Mesopotamia" (and finally Asuristan for the Sassanid period). --dab (𒁳) 07:27, 4 November 2011 (UTC)

Hi Dab, thanks for your input! However, I disagree on some points. First of all, the scope of "Ancient Near East" should (technically) also be extended to include all of prehistory. There is nothing in the word "ancient" that limits it to historical Iron/Bronze Age periods only (3000-330 BC), and it is certainly not used that way in (all of) the scientific literature. Second, cut-off points between the 4th and the 3rd millennium and at Alexander the Great are extremely arbitrary in the (pre)history of Mesopotamia, since there is no cultural break whatsoever there. If there is any such break, it is with the coming of Islam (and even there it is somewhat disputable). Third, if you look at the template as I proposed it, there are links to all general period-pages (Jemdet Nasr, Old Babylonian etc), and links to other general topics (Art of Mesopotamia, Music of Mesopotamia, etc). So I think that your worry that it links between "topics of the Neolithic" and the Roman Empire is a little bit of an overstatement; this is only the case in the history section of the template. Further, while one might indeed not want to navigate between the Acheulean and the Sassanids, I can see that people would want to navigate between, say, Ubaid and Early Dynastic or the Akkadian period. Finally, if you would split up the template in the 3 subdivisions you suggest, you would have to repeat a lot of information in all of them. So, in my opinion my template would still be the more elegant (and definitely an improvement over the current template), since it pulls together a lot of different pages (geography, languages, history, culture) that highlight the many different aspects of Mesopotamia in a coherent way. And it is not like the template as I propose it is unwieldy or difficult to understand (in my opinion at least). At least based on my editing and reading experience at WP, I would find a template like this a lot more useful than the ones that you propose. What do you think?

Recent changes

Urartu is named Urartu, not Ararat. That's why the article on Urartu is also called, well, Urartu. Can you please explain why you don't agree with that name, and why you want it so desperately changed to Ararat? Let's start with this one, and we after that is settled, we can move on to the language issue.--Zoeperkoe (talk) 19:04, 23 November 2011 (UTC)

Too large and not specific

Isn't the template too large? I guess the template must concentrate on article whose "main" topic is Mesopotamia related. I can not understand why the template is not called "Ancient Near East". For example the link "cities" in the template is a link to "cities of the ancient near east".Xashaiar (talk) 20:39, 23 November 2011 (UTC)

Interesting that you think it is too large, and then you go on by adding even more information... But anyway, I don't think it is too large; I have merely tried to make the template consistent with definitions of Mesopotamia in both time (prehistory until Islamic conquest) and space (roughly the Euphrates-Tigris basin). It is bigger than what the template previously was, but that is mainly because the previous version was completely inconsistent in what was in there and what was not. But I am happy to suggestions to improve the template. So if you think it is too large, how would you reduce its size?--Zoeperkoe (talk) 21:39, 23 November 2011 (UTC)
I added one word and a "(" and a ")" to make it more organized exactly because it is too large and reader gets lost! To reduce the size: I would prefer making few links to ancient near east and remove some links here (like "cities", and some of empires which ruled not exclusively over Mesopotamia.. Old and Neo Babylonian should stay but not all others). When "Tigris–Euphrates river system" is linked why link "tigris" again..when "Akkad" is linked (to Akkadian empire) why link "Akkadian empire" again? Xashaiar (talk) 22:40, 23 November 2011 (UTC)
First, we actually disagree on whether grouping the languages in language families makes the template more organized, especially since many of the languages are isolates, or their affiliation is unsure. Also, I think that info on language families is way too specific for this template, which serves - at least in my eyes - to provide quick links to the main topics.
Second, leaving out empires results in an incomplete overview of what Mesopotamia is; that is exactly why I revised the template. And if you look at how the template was before, you will note that not even one of the Iranian languages was in there at that time; it is only because I use a relatively wide-ranging definition of Mesopotamia that they are in there now. So if things have to go, all the Iranian and Turkish stuff would probably be the first (including the languages). So I feel that you might be a little bit inconsistent here; you want to throw out fundamental links like the Akkadian Empire, but keep ephemeral ones like the Parthian language or the Iranian language family in there.
Third, the page on Tigris-Euphrates river system should theoretically provide very different information from those on the individual rivers so I think a link would be very useful.
Fourth, the reason Akkad is in there is because there should be a page on Akkad (region) but there isn't at the moment. So it is the only one that is linked twice. But again, leaving out Akkad in the list of regions is just providing incomplete information.
Finally, I must admit that I am somewhat disappointed that you make some half-hearted change (group the Iranian languages) without discussion, and then say "someone else can do the rest" (again without discussing with that person) and leave the template half-finished, but at the same time do not accept that it is reverted back to its more consistent stage.
If you want to make a template about Mesopotamia, you have to do it right, and not just cherry-pick some topics, wouldn't you agree? As I said, I am happy to reduce the size of this template, but the result would still have to be consistent. I hope we can find common ground there!--Zoeperkoe (talk) 22:49, 23 November 2011 (UTC)
I guess you have misunderstood certain things. Secondly I did not say Akkadian empire should be de-linked. I proposed having no double links. I did not quit the discussion so don't worry not all works are left to you. First we discuss the "languages" OK? What do you think about something like this line:
Semitic (Akkadian • Amorite • Aramaic • Eblaite) • Indo-European (Hittite • Proto-Armenian • Luwian • Old Persian • Parthian • Middle Persian) • Other (Elamite • Gutian • Urartian • Sumerian).
If we can not reduce the size we can make it readable. I guess we should group things, but if you disagree please let us see what other editors have to say. Thanks.Xashaiar (talk) 23:54, 23 November 2011 (UTC)
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