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Internet Discussions of
There are a number of Internet discussion forums, or maillists [see below] where Byzantine studies are discussed. Some of these discussions are rather lightweight, but others deal with issues in some depth. To experience them can be like being in a good roundtable seminar. In some cases these discussions have been collected together and lightly edited for continuity. This page will provide links to such reports.
Compendia of Discussions
- Byzantium: A European Civilization? Discussion of issues raised by a paper given by Philip Shasko at the 1995 Byzantine Studies Conference in New York.
Mail lists and Byzantinists
For those who are unfamiliar with a mail list, gathered here are
- Byzantine related Mail lists
- An introduction to academic networks - by Edwin Duncan
- An explantion of how to subscribe to an academic maillist - by Paul Halsall
Byzantine Related Mail lists
The basis of this list is the general guide to medieval studies lists made by Prof. Edwin Duncan, modified and updated for Byzantinists. I have left out "BITNET" addresses because this network is rapidly disappearing as the Internet replaces it.
The list here is organized in order of interest to Byzantinists!
Note 1: The address of the mail list is the same listserver address, but with the name of the list, not the word listserv [or variants]. For the first item on the list, Byzans-l, the address is, accordingly, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Note 2: some of the lists are managed not by the LISTSERV program, but by an alternate called LISTPROC. This now includes BYZANS-L, the most important Byzantine studies list. The various subscribe commands for LISTSERV given below will work for LISTPROC, but make sure to keep the instructions send when you first subscribe to a LISTPROC managed list.Maillist: LISTSERVER ADDRESS: SUBJECT AREA: BYZANS-L email@example.com Byzantine Studies *The* list most dedicated to Byzantine studies. ROMIOSINI firstname.lastname@example.org Byzantine Studies ROMIOSINI Mailing List concerning discussions about various aspects of the Eastern Empire, Byzantium, as history, politics, military strategy, arts, and sciences. To subscribe you need to send a mail (without any subject) to: email@example.com including only the following line in the main body of the message: subscribe romiosini First_Name Last_Name LT-ANTIQ firstname.lastname@example.org Late Antiquity Dedicated to the explosively popular study of the late antique period [roughly 200-700 CE]. MEDIEV-L email@example.com Medieval History An active and civilized list, with over 1000 members. It does discuss Byzantine topics on occasion. BMMR-L firstname.lastname@example.org Medieval Book Reviews BMCR-L email@example.com Classics Book Reviews BMR-L firstname.lastname@example.org Medieval & Classical Book Reviews BMMR-L, BMCR-L the Bryn Mawr Medieval Review and the Bryn Mawr Classics Review, post scholarly reviewa of books on classical and medieval topics. Members are not only automatically sent reviews of new books as they become available but may also retrieve older reviews from the archives. Reviewed authors are allowed to reply, but these are not discussion lists as such. If you subscribe to BMR-L, you get both medieval and classical reviews - probably the best for Byzantinists. MEDIEVALE email@example.com Medieval History (in French) MEDIEVALE is a new medieval history network from Canada whose postings are all in French. LATIN-L firstname.lastname@example.org Latin Language & Studies CLASSICS email@example.com General Classics list CLASSICS is an unmoderated list for discussing ancient Greek and Latin subjects. This list is open to everyone interested in Classics, and prospective members are warmly welcomed. The discussions assume a background in ancient Greek and/or Latin and postings are expected to remain within the confines of these subjects. Only list-members are permitted to post or reply to CLASSICS messages. ELENCHUS firstname.lastname@example.org Christianity in Late Antiquity DEREMI-L email@example.com Medieval Military History EARLYM-L firstname.lastname@example.org Early Music MDVLPHIL email@example.com Medieval Philosophy MDVLPHIL, devoted to medieval philosophy, does not have many postings. MEDART-L firstname.lastname@example.org Medieval Art MEDFEM-L email@example.com Medieval Feminist Studies MEDFEM-L is a fairly high-volume discussion group which covers a wide range of issues related to medieval feminist studies. MEDGAY-L firstname.lastname@example.org Medieval Gay Studies MEDGAY-L is variously active, and often covers debates between those who think there have always been gay people and those who believe in a "social constructionist" model. MEDIBER listSTAR@humnet.ucla.edu Medieval Iberian Studies MEDIBER is a discussion group devoted to medieval Iberian literatures, languages, histories, and cultures. It is fairly active. Many of its postings are in Spanish. FICINO email@example.com Renaissance Studies RENAIS-L firstname.lastname@example.org Renaissance History
Please send additional suggestion to me at
A Word about Academic Networks - by Edwin Duncan
[note: The location of the original of this document is at Prof. Duncan's homepage]
In the past couple of years medievalists have been joining academic discussion groups (also known as academic networks or lists), devoted to any number of specialized fields of study. The number of these networks is constantly increasing; their rapid growth is due in part to the increasing number of people who are on-line, but also because they offer some distinct advantages for the scholars who use them. Being a member of one of these academic networks--which, by the way, cost nothing to join--means several things.
First, it means that you will receive on a daily basis (or almost daily, depending on the popularity of the network) all of the messages sent to that network by other members. The messages vary in length from less than a line to several screens full, but most are generally a paragraph or two, and the topic will have something to do with the subject matter covered by that network. On Chaucernet, for example, one member may ask a question or make a comment pertaining to the Prioress's Tale and attitudes toward Jews in fourteenth-century England. Then, in the following days this member's query may evoke one or more responses by other members; and messages on this topic will run concurrently with other questions and comments on different Chaucer topics: how much memorization to include in a Chaucer course, questions about Chaucer's travels in Italy, and so on. Sometimes the discussion may be something you are interested in, sometimes not. When it isn't, you just delete the message and go on to the next one.
In a way, reading the network mail is something like reading the Letters to the Editor section of your local newspaper. The main difference is that instead of the newspaper discussions of political and civic matters sent in by local citizens, the networks focus on the issues and interests of your scholarly discipline with postings from academics from all over the world. The quality of responses varies of course, but most contributors to the networks take pains to be accurate and logical. These networks also post job openings, calls for papers, and other announcements dealing with their field. Many also maintain an archive with files and software available to members upon request. If, for example, you join Ansaxnet, the Anglo-Saxon network, you may obtain such varied offerings as OE vocabulary drills, Latin drills, a runes font for Macintosh, and calculation software for the Julian calendar. Since these files are normally donations from members who want to share what they have, the selection is going to be eclectic and only occasionally helpful, but when you do find something you need, it can be a real help.
But perhaps the greatest reason for the growing popularity of these networks is that with them you have at your fingertips one of the greatest resources imaginable--a group of academic specialists in almost every field you could ever be interested in--and all of them willing to share their expertise to help you solve whatever problem you might have. Let me give you an example. Not too long ago, a person working on an early exegetical text hit a snag because he wasn't sure if his translation of a medieval Latin passage was correct. So he presented his problem to the subscribers of Medtextl, the Medieval Language and Literature network. In the next two days he received several responses, a couple of which discussed the Latin translation he was having trouble with, a couple more from Greek scholars, who discussed the same passage as it appeared in the original Greek, and another which provided bibliographical references to some little known discussions of the same passage. Even if you were on the faculty at Oxford, you probably would not have been able to obtain such a complete and learned response in such a short time. And, when you subscribe to one of these academic networks, you are under no obligation to remain a member. So if you have a question you need answered in any field, you could theoretically join the appropriate network one day, pose your question the next, read the responses that come in for as many days as you think necessary, and then unsubscribe from the network, taking with you all the information you've received. But even if you never go to such lengths but just subscribe to a network in your own field, the access it provides can be especially helpful, particularly if you work at a smaller school where you are likely to be the only specialist in your area.
Property of Edwin Duncan. All rights reserved. This document may be distributed as long as it is done entirely with all attributions to the author. Commercial distribution is prohibited. Portions of this document copyrighted by the Medieval English Newsletter.
How to Subscribe to an Academic Mail list - by Paul Halsall
[note: This is updated and adpated from an original document by Prof. Edwin Duncan. Since he wrote the original, the BITNET network to which he referred has faded from the scene, and a number of addresses have changed.]
If you have a computer account at your university or with a commercial Internet access provided, you can become a member of an academic maillist, or discussion group, free of charge simply by "subscribing". The word "subscribe" here does not imply any charge will be made to you.
How to Subscribe and Send Mail
To subscribe, do the following:
- Log in to your account and go to your MAIL program.
- Address a message to LISTSERV@[address of maillist you want to join] or LISTPROC@[address of maillist you want to join]..
- For instance to joing the byzans-l list, you send a message to email@example.com
- In the body of the message type:
sub listname your name
sub byzans-l Paul Halsall
Put nothing on the "subject line" of your mail. Some services [AOL for instance] will not send mail without a "subject". In this case, just type a few space, or random letters. Although the when you send a one-line command, the subject line should be left blank, the command will probably be be accepted even if there is a subject.
- If you have done everything correctly, within a few minutes, you will receive a reply from the listserver informing you that your request has been accepted and that you are now a member of the network. This initial reply will usually also include instructions on how to access files and other information that the network makes available to its members. It will also explain how to unsubscribe and how to postpone or resume receiving mail sent to the network by other subscribers. With most networks, you will also receive introductory information about the network, including its scope, its aims, and its protocol. You will also immediately begin to receive messages sent to the network by other members.
- You can get a list of other members by sending the command review [name of list] to the Listserv/Listproc address.
For instance, sending
will get you a list of all members. You may be surprised who is connected.
- You can now send mail to the mail list. To do this you usually have two options:
- To reply to an ongoing discussion, it is usual to just use the "reply" command of your mail program. That will send a message with the subject "Re: title of discussion". You can often set your mail program to include the item you are discussing. When you use "reply", the message will usually be automatically addressed back to the whole list. Occasionally, it will be sent only to the original sender [it all depends on how the original sender set up her mail program]. In that case you will have to "cc" your reply to the whole list by adding the address of the list to the "cc:" option offered by all mail progams. [If you do not know how to use your mail program consult your local systems manager.]
- To begin a new subject for discussion: send a message to the address of the list, not to the "listserv". For byzans-l this means you send it to firstname.lastname@example.org
In Sum: Send Program commands to the "listserv" address. Send messages to the address of the list.
REPEAT: This is important: The biggest mistake newcomers make is to send subscribe and other "program" command to the entire list. You must send such commands to the address which begins "Listserv".
Volume of Mail
Many of the networks are quite active. The daily volume of mail on all of them drops off during the summer and on holidays, but during the fall and spring semesters, some may handle as many as twenty to thirty messages a day, which, if you read them all word for word, may take over a half-hour to finish. This is fine if you have the time for it, but we all go through periods when we cannot afford to waste a minute, and in these times the best thing to do is to send a one-line command to the appropriate listserver to stop the messages from coming until further notice.
The wording of the command varies from one network to another, but all can be stated on a single line, and the exact wording is usually provided in the introductory information you get when you join the network. Then, when the deadline has passed, or when you have returned from your trip out of town, you can just as easily resume receiving the network mail with a resume mail command.
The author and maintainer of this site is Paul Halsall [a picture!] . He can be contacted by email at Please do not hesitate to mail comments or suggestions.