Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Ancient Near East

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Question about fonts Edit

I've been having trouble reading all of the fonts in various articles about the ancient Near East (e.g., 'Enlil', the article about the Sumerian wind lord). I have the fonts Akkadian from and Sumerian from installed. Can someone tell me what other fonts I need? Thanks for your help

Infobox issues Edit

Recently the infoboxes of many articles of Ugaritic and/or Canaanite deities (Shahar, Shalim, Kothar-wa-Khasis, the list goes on) have been a target of disprutive editing, courtesy of a single user who seems to have a poor grasp of the purpose of these templates; in addition to the usual routine of adding equivalents based on superficial similarities with 0 concern for what sources have to say, this batch of them includes nonsensical addition of empty sections with "??" given as value. It is admiteddly difficult for a single person to keep up with similar issues - which do pop up periodically - which is why I feel this should be brought up on the project talk page. HaniwaEnthusiast (talk) 11:07, 13 January 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I took a quick look. I would say that yes, the question mark thing is not helpful. You want to keep infoboxes to the minimum necessary to hold the needed info. The equivalents thing is more nuanced. Like they added Hermes to a messenger god in the Equivalents" section which Hermes is a messenger god so that seems equivalent to me. Maybe the problem is the header. Are you thinking it should be more like "gods derived from" or some proper words for that? In mean, to the casual Wikipedia reader they ARE equivalent. So I guess I;m saying maybe the infobox structure needs to be poked to make it clearer what is meant. Unless I totally missed your point. :-) Ploversegg (talk) 14:57, 13 January 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think the equivalents section should reflect what primary sources offer - what actually arose through Mesopotamian god lists, interpretatio graeca, and the like. Ex. Philo of Byblos uses Pontos as stand-in for Yam, not Poseidon; Shapash's equivalent rather obviously wasn't Hermes, either. They shouldn't come from imagination of random editors. HaniwaEnthusiast (talk) 18:36, 13 January 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I agree with @HaniwaEnthusiast:. "Equivalents" in these infoboxes should be restricted as much as possible. It should include equivalents that are stated in ancient texts (e.g. bilingual inscriptions and the like), and perhaps cases where gods' names are revealed by modern research to be etymological cognates (e.g. Greek Zeus and Vedic Dyaus). In either case, citations to reliable sources are necessary, of course.
The alternative of including every god that seems similar is unsustainable: there are tens of thousands of "messenger gods" in religions around the world, for example, and it would be completely impractical and unhelpful to include them all in the infoboxen. Furius (talk) 18:56, 13 January 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Actually I agree with both of you. We know there are definite processes by which deities develop from other deities (Syncretism etc). The average Wiki editor will not know this. So if you have an "Equivalents" section then sooner or later someone will say "Hey, Mercury is a messenger god too!". And given how much baseless speculation there has been about gods in the literature I'm sure they could find a source for that. So I guess what I'm saying is that is having an Equivalents field in the Infobox really worth the long term hassle? If it is, consider changing the header to maybe Derived Deities or something.Ploversegg (talk) 19:21, 13 January 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I see your point and I agree with you that we should aim for a high bar on this. I do think that the field is useful when equivalents are firmly established (e.g. Greek-Roman equivalents like Minerva = Athena, Zeus = Jupiter). I understand that the Akkadian-Sumerian-Hittite equivalents are often similarly stable and the field is probably also useful in that case. But you're right that in many cases things are complicated or disputed or speculative and that sort of information belongs in main text, not the infobox. Furius (talk) 19:59, 13 January 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I must admit I am personally not a huge fan of infoboxes and focusing on "equivalencies" in the first place, no matter how hard one tries they present a synthetic, overly simplified image of the deity. Given that we are talking about figures which often were the topic of theological speculation for thousands of years it's virtually impossible to claim they can be accurately summarized this way (try doing that with all traditions regarding Nergal's wife, or with every area of influence attributed to IShara, or with all deities ever attributed as children to Enlil, or with every deity who got to be represented by the same logogram as Ishkur without the infobox starting to look unwieldy). Simply writing a paragraph with a historical overview of related phenomena is always the better solution.
The only worse trend in the deity articles were/are family tree templates typically synthesizing completely unrelated traditions.
This is digression but I guess it saddens me greatly how often basically the only venue where some of the oldest writing of the world can reach a bigger audience also puts it at the mercy of people simply unprepared to properly engage with this sort of material. Simplifications of the sort we are discussing here are nothing compared to articles written relying on sources from the 19th century or hoaxes, sadly, and these are plentiful in ANE categories still. HaniwaEnthusiast (talk) 21:30, 13 January 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Also, on the approach to equivalents @Ploversegg mentioned - just spotted a pretty awful case of that n the ʿAṯtar article. The actually attested equivalents (Aštabi, Lugal-Marada) left out in favor of dumping every vaguely Venus-related figure there... including Amatsu-Mikaboshi. Early Japanese royal chronicles are known for their influence on bronze age Ugarit and iron age South Arabia, after all, truly a cultural koine at work. I'm honestly not sure if there is a point in even trying to keep ANE articles credible, honestly. It's virtually all I've been trying to do since the middle of 2021 but to put it lightly it does not feel like much changed, I guess. HaniwaEnthusiast (talk) 21:43, 13 January 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
That's strange - I thought I had fixed that one in the last few hours; I've reverted it now. If I may, when I find myself thinking like that, it generally means that I'm approaching burn out and need to take a break for a little while. There's nothing wrong with that. On the other hand, while one is always fighting fires and there is always more to be done, the long-term trajectory really is towards improvement (however glacial). I mean, look at Aštabi - that didn't even exist two years ago! Furius (talk) 02:23, 14 January 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
As Furius said, maybe take a Wiki-break, or do what I just did and take a palette cleansing trip to some other area of Wikipedia you have an interest in. I just finished a diversion in early North American archaeology, wrote a site article Cooper's Ferry site, completely redid a couple like Clovis point, and generally poked around. I'm refreshed and also got an appreciation of how good things really are in the ANE area of Wiki. Serious, it was a hot mess where I was the last couple weeks. :-)Ploversegg (talk) 03:08, 14 January 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Requested move at Talk:Naqiʾa#Requested move 16 January 2023 Edit


There is a requested move discussion at Talk:Naqiʾa#Requested move 16 January 2023 that may be of interest to members of this WikiProject. UtherSRG (talk) 13:27, 16 January 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Dubious identification of images Edit

I wanted to bring up two related cases of images being labeled incorrectly, either on wikimedia commons or directly on wikipedia; in two cases I started discussions on related talk pages (one long ago, one very recently)

The first one is the Kumarbi article (see talk here), and by extension coverage of Kumarbi in at least one more article. A long time ago, while still relatively new to editing, in good faith I decided to add a Tell Halaf relief which is labeled as Kumarbi on wikimedia commons. The area and time period did seem to fit, but upon reexamination it would appear that the identification of the relief is the work of an editor not well versed in Hurrian mythology, who took the parallels between Hesiod's Theogony and Kumarbi myths as an indication that Kumarbi would necessarily have iconography similar to descriptions (not even depictions) of Kronos - ie. sickle and what they assume are cut off genitals (which isn't even how the parallel event happens in Hurrian mythology). Rather obviously this is not Kumarbi, but due to lack of good photos of the only certain depiction of him I am aware of, from Yazilikaya, I am not sure what to replace it with.

The other case is even more troublesome - in the Astarte article the photo isn't Astarte at all, it's a statue from Mesopotamia rather obviously depicting a Mesopotamian, not Levantine, goddess (see discussion, with link to a source discussing identification, here). I cannot figure out how did it end up misinterpreted as Astarte, and its addition to infobox predates my wiki activity altogether.

While obviously it is preferable for infoboxes of major deities to have images, I would like to consult other ANE contributors in particular - what do you think is the right course of action here? As far as I am aware, in both cases just removing the images would be preferable to keeping them for now. HaniwaEnthusiast (talk) 14:23, 24 January 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

In both cases, I'd remove the image first and worry about what to replace it with later. If there is no image of Kumarbi, then we must do without. Or perhaps one could use an image of an object/inscription/location associated with him? I don't know whether you edit on commons. If not, I'm happy to update the image descriptions there, as you direct. Inaccurate uncited image descriptions are a common commons (ha!) problem. Furius (talk) 14:48, 24 January 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I've already done so with the Kumarbi image in both cases, I'll wait a few more days with Astarte as I did not raise the issue anywhere previously.
I plan to fix the commons issue myself in a few days with regards to the not-actually-Kumarbi, but the wikimedia commons Astarte category is such a mess that I do not think it's possible to fix it without just starting from scratch, which obviously isn't possible. HaniwaEnthusiast (talk) 07:08, 26 January 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Messy state of weather god articles - request for help Edit

Would anyone be potentially interested in working collaboratively on brining the articles of individual broadly "Syro-Mesopotamian" weather gods to an acceptable level reflecting modern consensus? At the moment, while Teshub and Wer thankfully do have their own articles (I'm done with the latter - which tbf did not require much due to limited attestations - and will soon, probably in 2-3 weeks, work on the former), Hadad and Adad/Ishkur were merged a few years ago which seems rather unreasonable. German wiki seems to have a much better division of the material, with a "weather god of Aleppo" treated separately from the Mesopotamian weather god, ie. Sumerian Ishkur = Akkadian Adad = Aramaic Hadad. I'm pretty sure Polish wiki and a few other editions also treat Ishkur separately though that's much more nebulous and English wikipedia is not consistent on the Sumero-Akkadian names issue. I would be in favor of separation due to analogy with cases such as Nergal and Erra, Hendursaga and Ishum, or the individual medicine goddesses, since Ishkur's low position in the early sources sets him apart from his northern peers, but it's not a pressing issue and it could be remedied just with splitting the article into Mesopotamian and "Aleppo-focused" ones, similarly to how there's 0 need for splitting Utu and Shamash (on the other hands, separate articles for Gibil and Girra - with the latter not even using the common spelling - feel like an elaborate joke, especially when as late as 2021 there were distinct arguably more major deities like Ilaba with no articles). I've outlined some issues with the Hadad article on the talk page, but they were not met with any response there, sadly. There's also the matter of entire major sites which are left out as is - Adad had 1500 years worth of Elamite evidence due to introduction to Susa (with attestations as late as in the Persepolis Fortification Archive; recently treated by Wouter Henkelman), and let's not even get into Ebla and Emar.

There's also an incredibly nebulous Baal article which is all over the place and, at least for my liking, does not exhaust the topic even with regards to sites as major as Ugarit, while the Phoenicia-focused section is a sad joke (where are the well attested Phoenician "Baals" with own wiki articles? The only statement there seems fringe to me, El is pretty rare in Phoenician sources, the various Baals obviously are not). Some of the sources used are from the 19th century, and the article as a whole, at least to me, seems to have a generally biblical (in at least some paragraphs - distinctly protestant), rather than Assyriological, flair which I would argue goes against the neutrality principle. There'a also obviously no such a thing as a singular "Semitic religion" contrary to the heading used there indicates; this creates a false sense of homogenity between every non-Abrahamic source, and an equally false sense of distunity between Abrahamic and non-Abrahamic ones. I suppose doing something about that would also be in scope of the proposal.

The reason why I am asking for help is because I am under the impression the sheer volume of material is simply too much for one person to handle, but the current state of affairs is difficult to bear with. Of course, I am not asking if anyone is ready to commit an enormous amount of time right away, I'd be aiming more at the second half of this year or so if anyone would be interested with working together on this project. I'd be willing to provide the sources and even do the bulk of the work needed, especially on the early attestations or "peripheral" sites like Susa or Emar or circle of deities linked with Adad or his western counterparts, but sadly I can't viably do everything (especially when it comes to material I'm not very fimilar with, like the first millennium BCE Aramaic evidence which is a big deal in this case). HaniwaEnthusiast (talk) 12:36, 2 February 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Template discussion Edit

I've noticed that in contrast with ancient Egypt or Greece, Mesopotamia has no particularly good footer to add to deity articles; there is an awkward "Sumerian mythology" template which presents a completely artificial image of the region, based on popular understanding of 1960s publications which elevates Babylonian school texts to the rank of some primordial wisdom and creates an artificial distinction between "Sumerian" and "Akkadian" culture. My proposal is to rename and overhaul it, making it fully comprehensive (we have over 2000 articles on Mesopotamian deities, most of which are, at this point, at least serviceable; a problem is that some of the weakest ones, ex. Enki, are the most major deities, but that's another topic). I've started a discussion on the matter on the relevant talk page (Template talk:Sumerian mythology#"Sumerian" mythology or Mesopotamian mythology), I'd be happy to hear out the thoughts of other users contributing to articles on ancient Mesopotamia. HaniwaEnthusiast (talk) 11:23, 10 February 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I actually have never used or even knew about this template but looking at it yes it needs work. One problem I see is that there are SO many gods in the ANE space that if you widen the scope very far the template would get huge. BTW, I would support just deleting the Template:Sumerian_Gods_Genealogy. I also don't know how Template:Middle Eastern mythology and Template:Middle Eastern deities and Template:Mesopotamian myth and etc fit into this but perhaps some consolidation would be in order. And I have wondered before if some of the tiny articles for tiny deities should be consolidated into single "minor gods of X" articles to make them easier to maintain. As before, Religion is not my strong suit but if I can be of assistance to review or whatever feel free. PS The deity categories are a mess too Category:Middle Eastern deities.Ploversegg (talk) 19:01, 10 February 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I am against having a single "Middle Eastern mythology" template because that would be a wastebasket. I am merely arguing for "Mesopotamian" over "Sumerian". I would argue a single Mesopotamian one is hardly more daunting of a task than existing, well maintained templates for Egyptian or Greek deities were. It's perfectly doable and can easily cover everything wikipedia has atm.
I personally do not see many articles which would be fit for consolidation other than Gibil and "Gerra" (nobody credible spells it this way afaik) and maybe Sisig and Zaqar (both incredibly minor, a "Mesopotamian dream deities" article would be preferable, with Mamu kept separate). Also, Nunbarsegunu should be a redirect, not an article, it's just an epithet of Nisaba and hardly a major one at that. If anything, there was too much merging in the past (see my comment on weather god articles in another discussion here). I considered making a single "Mesopotamian craftmanship deities" article initially but I went with multiple individual ones due to different cult centers, individual associations, and because if random one note personified virtues and vices from Greek mythology have articles whose existence nobody questions, I do not think deities with more actual material history behind them deserve less. Plus some already had articles long before I started working on wikipedia at all. I would also argue Mesopotamian mythological creatures category is mostly consolidation-worthy tbh.
Merging aside, after a close examination I think there are many single line stubs from ages ago which are basically deletion-worthy due to the subjects being either tentative readings of poorly preserved theonyms present only in one, not exactly major at that, text, Dynasty of Dunnum (Kus (god), Ua-Ildak; this is just some coffee table book treating Jacobsen as gospel, nvm that Foster's or Lambert's restorations differ), outdated (Nintulla is just Kramer's botched 1940s reading of Ninsikila = Meskilak, not to be confused with the other Ninsikila; Belit Ilani is a vintage rendering of an epithet which should be covered under Ninhursag), misinterpreted ("Agasaya" is a misspelling of the title of a poem courtesy of a disreputable author; note the text itself has a proper wiki page, Agushaya Hymn; Emesh and Enten are only characters in a single short "disputation poem", Debate between Winter and Summer - waiting for the "date palm" and "tamarisk" articles!) or outright made up (worst offender is Manu the Great, but there are also Ma (mythology)) There are a few which are miscategorized (Urshanabi wasn't a god; Al Basty has nothing to do with Mesopotamia; Ashima is not attested in Mesopotamia but only in western Aramaic sources).
Last but not least: I think most individual categories are fine (ie. Mesopotamian deities, Hurrian deities, Hittite deities, Hattian deities, Luwian deities, Ugaritic deities, Eblaite deities, Elamite deities) but yeah, that one and "West Semitic deities" are nightmarish. Another awful case is how many things related only to Ugarit are categorized as "Phoenician" on wikipedia which makes no sense spatially or temporally. Let's starting calling Ebla and Mari Phoenician while at it (the Enki article comes close btw, with Eblaite finds labeled as "Canaanite" but then the whole thing is a nightmare, anyway). HaniwaEnthusiast (talk) 20:25, 10 February 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thanks for clarifying. I would say that the deletion or uncontested merging away of the articles like Nintulla makes a lot of sense. And given just the template focus on Mesopotamian deities the scope is reasonable, though I don't envy the task of defining the edges of Mesopotamia the way gods oozed into Elam and Anatolia and Syria/Levant and back again. :-)Ploversegg (talk) 20:36, 10 February 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yeah, there are certainly problems like how to treat Susiana, Arrapha (and Hurrian deities in general - rn the ones who are in the "Mesopotamian" category are only these directly attested in Sumerian or Akkadian texts, like Shaushka and Shuwala who have a plenty from Ur III, or Kumarbi thanks to his takultu cameo, but I think there is a valid point to be made that Nuzi is no less of a "variant" Mesopotamian pantheon than Lagash or Der) or where does the scope of "Mesopotamian religion" end for the west (Mari is obvious, so Itur-Mer, Shalash or Ikshudum are not an issue, but how to treat Emar? Tell Leilan? Harran?). I think a core of "Major deities" and functionally sorted minor ones (sea/river, agriculture, war, underworld, courtiers of major deities, etc) is doable without much of a problem though, I will try to produce a draft of some sort next week. HaniwaEnthusiast (talk) 20:49, 10 February 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
As an aside, I just checked the ANE Project most popular list and Anunnaki was 6 out of 1000. Never ever heard of it. The next non-biblical deity was Inanna which is an article that I have looked at several times and thought "needs work" if I knew what I was doing with this.Ploversegg (talk) 20:55, 10 February 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It's ancient aliens stuff sadly, note how high nephilim are too. Sadly the average person browsing these articles is not actually interested in their subject in the way you or me are, they just want more of what they saw on History Channel and fringe facebook sites.
I tried working on the Inanna article long ago but I think it's a lost cause and I do not plan to ever come back to it. Last I checked it had astrology websites among sources. I maintain that the good article status was awarded to it prematurely, same as in a few other cases (Enlil...), but there are simply too few people with even just basic knowledge about the region on wikipedia to properly judge, I guess. HaniwaEnthusiast (talk) 21:10, 10 February 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Assistance required to end deadlock in merger proposal discussion Edit

I've been editing the articles relating to the Scythians over the course of several months, and since most editors tend to favour splitting pages after they reach a certain size, I split two further pages, Iškuza and Scythia, covering the phases of Scythian history respectively in West Asia and in Europe, out of the main page covering the Scythians.

However, trying to split it has resulted into three articles, with both Iškuza and Scythia requiring large amounts of material regarding the role of the prior and subsequent histories of the Scythians in the creation and destruction of those states copied from each other and from the Scythians page to exist since they are both about immediately preceding/succeeding states created by the same continuous population group. And because Iškuza and Scythia both cover immediately preceding/succeeding but also partially overlapping parts of the history of the Scythians, multiple sections and sub-sections of each page covering the culture, population, external relations, etc of these states also had to be copied from the Scythians page (e.g. the "Background" sub-section and "Society" section in Scythia, and the "Origins," "Impact," and "Legacy" sections of Iškuza). Moreover, the Scythia page as it exists now also functions as a WP:Semi-duplicate, given that most of the information relating to this polity also is also the same basic information that is required on the Scythians page.

Given this resulting situation, I have started a merger proposal to resolve this issue, per WP:MERGEREASON: Overlap, Context, not because I support a merger for the sake of merging itself, which I do not favour, but because Iškuza and Scythia require too much context and the information on these pages is too intertwined with each other.

The problem is that, despite months having passed, the discussion for the merger proposal is still at a deadlock, with three users opposed to the merger, and three users (including myself) in favour of it. In this difficult situation, I have been advised to bring this issue to the various WikiProjects which are relevant to Scythians as a way to possibly resolve the deadlock, and all good faith assistance to reach a consensus would be much welcome. Antiquistik (talk) 18:11, 12 February 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Project-independent quality assessments Edit

Quality assessments are used by Wikipedia editors to rate the quality of articles in terms of completeness, organization, prose quality, sourcing, etc. Most wikiprojects follow the general guidelines at Wikipedia:Content assessment, but some have specialized assessment guidelines. A recent Village pump proposal was approved and has been implemented to add a |class= parameter to {{WikiProject banner shell}}, which can display a general quality assessment for an article, and to let project banner templates "inherit" this assessment.

No action is required if your wikiproject follows the standard assessment approach. Over time, quality assessments will be migrated up to {{WikiProject banner shell}}, and your project banner will automatically "inherit" any changes to the general assessments for the purpose of assigning categories.

However, if your project decides to "opt out" and follow a non-standard quality assessment approach, all you have to do is modify your wikiproject banner template to pass {{WPBannerMeta}} a new |QUALITY_CRITERIA=custom parameter. If this is done, changes to the general quality assessment will be ignored, and your project-level assessment will be displayed and used to create categories, as at present. Aymatth2 (talk) 13:56, 9 April 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Pressing issues with multiple articles Edit

I did not really notice this before, since I mostly edit articles pertaining to deities and only started branching out into cities, rulers and individual texts recently, but it would appear we have an absolutely dire original research issue when it comes to articles about kings. For years someone (it seems to largely be the work of a single person) was apparently not only treating Sumerian King List and similar texts as an actual objective record of history rather than a literary composition (you'd think the references to flood myths and hilariously exaggerated reigns would be an obvious giveaway, not to mention the well known theories about ideological motivation behind king lists), but also inventing regnal dates for kings known from it. There are quite literally dozen articles like that, I think to fix this issue a concentrated effort and perhaps the creation of categories explicitly separating the strictly legendary rulers, the Kubabas and Ziziz and Alanagars and so on, from actual historical figures whose existence is backed by material evidence.

It also strikes me as an issue that virtually every legendary king with an entry in king lists, even ones who are nothing but names with no actual legend behind them (ex. almost everyone but Didanu in the Assyrian King List) has an article but many well documented historical rulers of major states like Eshnunna do not but this is not the core problem right now. HaniwaEnthusiast (talk) 08:23, 13 April 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Yes, this has been a problem for years. As you might have seen, the article on Sumerian King List itself has been cleaned up to a large degree, but the discussions there show that it continues to be really, really hard to get rid of the information about all the kings that aren't mentioned anywhere else. Apart from rewriting the SKL article, I have also done a lot of work to relink other history articles away from the SKL article to the article with the list of actual, attested Mesopotamian rulers (here, a great work by @Ichthyovenator:, who unfortunately doesn't seem to be active anymore). But as long as the SKL and the legendary kings also continue to show up on various widely-used templates and categories, this continues to be a mess. I have actually successfully submitted one legendary king article for deletion, so with reference to that one it might be possible to delete more of them. But I would not be surprised if there was going to be (some) disagreement there. Zoeperkoe (talk) 13:36, 13 April 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I did notice, yes. I do appreciate your effort, I've noticed you either succeeded or tried in many of the individual articles too.
I obviously do not think all legendary ruler articles need to be deleted, some of them are quite significant as literary characters after all; I stumbled upon the discussed issue precisely because I worked on some (Alulim and Didanu) and actually created one (for Bazi, since I am interested in the Emar text corpus). I just think we need a healthier balance. I think having an actually function template related to Mesopotamian religion and literature, something I mentioned in another discussion here, could help a lot, since that's the natural place for the actually significant legendary kings. Sadly, right now we have the nightmarish Template:Family tree of the Babylonian gods which I plan to nominate for deletion since it breaks WP:NOR (and one actually cannot in good faith claim such a thing can be prepared anyway since as already pointed out ex, by Lambert in the 1990s, most deities had fluid genealogy), Template:Sumerian mythology which I already mentioned here (fellow hobbyists are often still stuck in the land of vintage fantasies where speakers of Sumerian and Akkadian basically exist on separate planes of existence) and Template:Mesopotamian myth which seems to confuse "present in a myth Kramer translated or Enuma Elish" for "major" including baffling picks like Enkimdu or Kingu (curious where these implicit Kingu worshipers were, and how many temples this "major" deity had according to the editors responsible), but not actually, well, major local deities like Tishpak, Ishtaran or Nanshe (note also the anachronistic obsession with "seven gods who decree") etc.
To go back to the main topic: I think the obvious solution would be to gradually aim towards the deletion of all articles of rulers only present in king lists and turn their names into redirects to relevant articles, but keep the rest - as long as someone would expand the article to rigorously cover the other attestations in literary or religious texts. I would not be opposed ex. to an article about Hadanish being created, because despite being fictional, he did rack in a plenty of attestations as a minor deity paired with Lumma. Same goes for keeping, say, Ur-Nungal, who does have some importance as a literary character (which his article does not mention, though). HaniwaEnthusiast (talk) 17:17, 13 April 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Yes, there are a number of tiny articles, created back in the day, that should be reaped. The non-attested kings of the SKL are the most obvious

but there are also a number of no-account towns mentioned in some obscure text, and people like "the assistant cushion fluffer of King X" that should also be reaped. I have never actually gotten an article deleted though I have garbage collected a few via merging away. Clearly there are more of those to do, like Puranda. Anyway, I agree with the above and would be ok with occassionaly picking away some low hanging fruit given guidance on how to do an actual deletion. Caveat, I am on the record as predicting that inscriptions will turn up for at least 2 of the mythical SKL rulers someday. :-) Ploversegg (talk) 16:22, 13 April 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I have not gotten anything deleted yet save for a few articles which were doubles resulting from low quality books used by way too many editors over a decade ago misspelling names, but I plan to try soon with some obvious cases of outdated fabrications (Manu the Great, probably the worst "deity" article the wiki has to offer rn), original "research" or irrelevance - I will let you know if it worked afterwards, and if our argument about limited relevance in these cases holds true. I think we might get somewhere with this eventually, even if there's maybe half a dozen of us actually working on related articles. HaniwaEnthusiast (talk) 17:22, 13 April 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
As an outside observer, I would be on the fence about deleting Manu the Great, since he is mentioned in secondary sources (although not many and mostly old). It would be better to have articles that discussed him and similar figures as fabrications/errors... if sources exist discussing the fact that the figure is a fabrication/error. This would be desirable both because that process is part of the history of Assyriological scholarship and so that readers who encounter Manu and similar figures in unreliable sources can consult wikipedia and see that he is a fabrication/error. The key words there are "if sources exist." If they don't, then deletion is a reasonable outcome. Furius (talk) 18:59, 13 April 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
These "sources" are two 19th century publications, one of which depends on the other, and a non-academic 1970s book which just quotes the first of the above uncritically. He is absent altogether from any credible publications - no entry in the Reallexikon, search for "Manu the great" on De Gruyter, Brill, JSTOR, virtually anywhere will just bring up a very different figure, the Hindu Manu, notably not made up by a single Frenchman who was not rigorous even by the standards of his era. I fail to see how a single author's fabrication from a time when cuneiform wasn't even really deciphered is significant in any shape or form. Pretty sure notability criteria exist for a reason. I also feel there is something, dare I say, morally heinous about the fact that "Manu the Great" had a page for years but multiple major deities like Ilaba or Ninisina or somehow even Gula, the second most commonly worshiped Mesopotamian goddess through the entire first millennium BCE, either didn't or their names were redirects to unrelated pages prior to me getting fed up with this. Imagine if for years the Greek category had no pages about Athena and Helios and Apollo was a redirect to Sol Invictus, but there was an article about some hoax like Mesperyian which failed to inform the reader they are looking at a fabrication and also used completely outdated terms ("Chaldean" deity?) - that was roughly comparable to the state of affairs in the Mesopotamian deities category as late as 2020. Weird priorities on display imo. HaniwaEnthusiast (talk) 19:51, 13 April 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
There are plenty of articles on Greek and Roman topics like this (more places than gods, to be fair, but it is extremely common to look up a well excavated site and find something copy-pasted from an early 19th C gazeteer or similar). It is the nature of the project that a lot of material is public domain trash put up in the early 2000s by amateurs and it is great that experts like you, Zoeperkoe, and Ploversegg are fixing things. My point is only that being an "outdated fabrication" does not necessarily mean that something is not notable (we have articles on far more nonsensical things, like Lemuria, after all). Furius (talk) 21:26, 13 April 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Good points. The comparison between 19th-century sources on places and people is interesting, though. For places you are quite right that many 19th-century sources are invaluable, because they are the only sources we have on them, or because they provide a contexct for more modern material (the massive scale on which sites were excavated back than will never be achieved again and is therefore just as valuable as the small-scale, high-precision excavations that are done today on the same sites). However, for people this usually does not work the same way. In the 19th century, understanding of ancient languages was absent, lacking, or just wrong, and I feel that, in this case, not having an article at all is better than having an article with wrong information. I think @Ploversegg recently mentioned somewhere else how WP still suffers from the material that was once copied from the Encyclopedia Britannica as a case in point. I feel that some of these 19th-century sources should just be labelled as being of not sufficient quality (anymore) to be used on Wikipedia. Our readers (few as they may be for this obscure part of WP) deserve better... Zoeperkoe (talk) 07:24, 14 April 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
And I completely agree that it's perfectly fine to have articles about made-up stuff; otherwise things like Superman would have to go as well. But when I rewrote the SKL article, I did so from the perspective of it being a written text. So I looked at how WP writes about novels, and took clues from there about how to structure the article. And for (major) novels, it's perfectly fine to have separate articles about its main characters (for example Galadriel), but not about every named character in it. Not even for a literary composition/historical text as important/influential as the Bible do we have separate articles about every named character in there. So why should we have those for an insignificant text such as the SKL? Zoeperkoe (talk) 08:36, 14 April 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Worth noting that this is also seemingly one of the only Mesopotamian literary texts treated this way on wikipedia. We do not have articles for random characters briefly appearing in the Epic of Gilgamesh (with the exception of entirely unnecessary Silili, an obvious candidate for deletion/turning into a redirect), let alone in less well known works; nobpdy is out there making an article for Ra'im-kini-Marduk from Ninurta-Pāqidāt's Dog Bite who is about as well attested as many SKL rulers. I think the only figures awared similarly inflated importance are deities exclusively appearing in Theogony of Dunnu (or rather - deities T. Jacobsen though appear there, seeing as other restorations ex. by Lambert or Foster vary) a text nowadays basically treated as an irrelevant oddity by most authors as far as I can tell. I suppose a similar phenomenon is the baffling attempt at turning figures from debate poems into deities, like Enten and Emesh, and whatever is going on in the category for mythical creatures (do we need "articles" like Lord Saman-ana or Battle Bison beast?). Once again a case of weird priorities - Gula had no article until 2021 as I already highlighted, despite being a well attested goddess with entire monographs dedicated to her.
I know I am repeating myself but I will note it is overall peculiar that fictional kings or personified debate poem concepts with no broader significance or random one off monsters from a single poem were seen as worthy of articles, but major goddesses either were not or were notoriously turned into redirects (it took me months to untangle the mess that medicine goddesses-related redirects were). I do think gender plays a role in this, honestly, especially since many of the missing yet well attested goddesses did not neatly fit the beloved hobbyist (and vintage researcher) molds of "mother goddess" or "fertility deity" (and many which did have pages were treated as such - Ninimma was a "fertility" deity somehow). Thankfully I think that is a problem which has already been solved in most cases or at least is in the process of being solved. I think the Inanna article is still low quality, though, and tbh I see no real hope for it; same goes for a small number of other major deity articles, though I do want to eventually try to bring Enlil (vintage, severly lacking in material evidence of worship) and Adad (a wastebasket article) to an acceptable level, like I did with their Hurrian counterparts already. HaniwaEnthusiast (talk) 10:25, 14 April 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Interesting, your point about gender. My take has always been that it also has something to do with (modern) nationality/ethnicity/religion. If you read many of the articles about Sumer, there's always been this weird distinction and focus on Semitic vs non-Semitic/Sumerian that is not borne out by actual (modern) research (it's not so bad as it has been say 10 years ago, but it's still bad). A similar fight is going on in Wikipedia surrounding other nationalistic/cultural/ethnic/religious labels in the Near East, to make them as old as possible ("We Have Always Been Here!"). Also, I wouldn't be surprised that the (former) focus on the SKL being "historical" has something to do with the discussions about the bible being historical (i.e. creationism): the flood is in the SKL, therefore the bible must be true.
So, to get this discussion somewhere; why aren't we going to be bold and actually turn some of these needless king articles into redirects to, for example, the SKL article, and just see what comes of it? Zoeperkoe (talk) 10:39, 14 April 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Terribly sorry for the very late response, but I'm in favor of this solution. HaniwaEnthusiast (talk) 18:36, 30 April 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

To tie some threads together, yes the reason there was so much attention to the SKL, and the creation of kings articles, was that when it was found we were in the Biblical Archaeology phase of archaeology so the SKL was smushed together with the narratives of the Hebrew Bible. Ever noticed that LOTS of ANE articles are also in the Bible project? Wikipedia:WikiProject Ancient Near East/Popular pages Archaeologists also thought every tablet they pulled out of the ground was History. They didn't yet understand the whole literary forms of Sumerian writing (or the semi-literary nature of the Hebrew Bible for that matter). Even worse, the Neo-Babylonian and Neo-Assyrian stuff was on top so it was stuff that was like 5 hand, passed down thru the millennium. Anyway, thats the context. PS I am not mocking the old archaeologists. Imagine if you are Bible focused and you found a doc the mentions a flood and even rulers named in the Bible. They must have been gobsmacked.Ploversegg (talk) 14:13, 14 April 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Moloch Edit

This discussion on whether/how to include an IP's addition to the article Moloch might be of interest to members of this project.--Ermenrich (talk) 13:30, 30 April 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Weighed on the issue on the talk page, naturally in favor of your approach as opposed to the anonymous user's. Seems like another issue which could be avoided if many articles on wikipedia didn't have a decade+ of basically unrestricted use of long outdated sources, tbh. I think especially the fact that early on it was common to just have users copy paste from vintage religious encyclopedias or Britannica editions from over a century ago contributed to this state of affairs, but this is naturally a digression. HaniwaEnthusiast (talk) 18:49, 30 April 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I suspect that the first two paragraphs of their addition are from the old Encyclopedia Britannica 11th ed., but I haven't bothered to check.--Ermenrich (talk) 19:17, 30 April 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Requested move at Talk:Tamaz V. Gamkrelidze#Requested move 26 April 2023 Edit


There is a requested move discussion at Talk:Tamaz V. Gamkrelidze#Requested move 26 April 2023 that may be of interest to members of this WikiProject. SkyWarrior 19:18, 3 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

One of your project's articles has been selected for improvement! Edit


Please note that Bible, which is within this project's scope, has been selected as one of the Articles for improvement. The article is scheduled to appear on Wikipedia's Community portal in the "Articles for improvement" section for one week, beginning today. Everyone is encouraged to collaborate to improve the article. Thanks, and happy editing!
Delivered by MusikBot talk 00:05, 5 June 2023 (UTC) on behalf of the AFI teamReply[reply]

Move discussion about ancient Ascalon Edit

Please see the project-relevant RM at Talk:Tel_Ashkelon#Requested_move_20_June_2023. Iskandar323 (talk) 06:52, 21 June 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Wiktionary issue Edit

I am not sure if this is within the scope of our project, but I've recently noticed that some wiktionary entries focused on specific cuneiform signs uncritically promote the ridiculous "Proto-Euphratean" theory which assigns Indo-European (sic) etymologies to sumerian words, an example is ex. the gud entry. The state of such articles is generally poor across wiki projects (ex. describing a sign with phrases like "it has many uses in the Epic of Gilgamesh" is a recurring peculiar choice) but this stands out to me as what seems like an attempt at pushing a very specific, largely forgotten and irrelevant fringe theory. I'm not sure what can be done but this seems like a huge problem. A user in the edit history of the gud article specifically claims that there's no consensus in the field but that's a brazen lie, Jerrold Cooper affirms in the Reallexikon (p. 295), which is generally meant to reflect consensus at the time of publication (in this case - the 2010s) that this baffling speculation "won few adherents" and I can't think of a single credible modern Assyriologist who subscribes to it. It seems like the sort of thing you'd mostly see among hobbyists obsessed with Proto-Indo-European reconstructions for less than noble reasons, tbh, much like in the case of some of the more famous Mitanni hot takes. HaniwaEnthusiast (talk) 07:40, 10 July 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Zechariah/Zacharias Edit

There is an RM at Zechariah (New Testament figure) of relevance here. Iskandar323 (talk) 07:25, 23 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Women in Green's 5th Edit-a-thon Edit


Hello WikiProject Ancient Near East:

WikiProject Women in Green is holding a month-long Good Article Edit-a-thon event in October 2023!

Running from October 1 to 31, 2023, WikiProject Women in Green (WiG) is hosting a Good Article (GA) edit-a-thon event with the theme Around the World in 31 Days! All experience levels welcome. Never worked on a GA project before? We'll teach you how to get started. Or maybe you're an old hand at GAs – we'd love to have you involved! Participants are invited to work on nominating and/or reviewing GA submissions related to women and women's works (e.g., books, films) during the event period. We hope to collectively cover article subjects from at least 31 countries (or broader international articles) by month's end. GA resources and one-on-one support will be provided by experienced GA editors, and participants will have the opportunity to earn a special WiG barnstar for their efforts.

We hope to see you there!

Grnrchst (talk) 14:23, 21 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]