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[FAQ] Welcome to soc.history.medieval (Mini-FAQ)

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See reader questions & answers on this topic! - Help others by sharing your knowledge
[Last changed: Tue Apr 10 18:56:35 MEST 2007
               Updated contact address.           ]

          Welcome to soc.history.medieval (Mini-FAQ)

This document is intended as a primer to the newsgroup
soc.history.medieval. It describes the purpose of this group and
contains pointers to interesting resources and general netiquette
documents. It is not intended as a resource on the middle ages in
itself. Only time will tell us what frequently asked questions we will
have to answer in the future.

Please feel free to suggest changes, additional topics and
corrections. Comments and requests are enclosed in [square brackets].

The last posted version of this FAQ will be available on the WWW under,
and an HTML version (sometimes slightly out of sync) can be found at

Table of Contents

1 What is the charter of this group?
2 YOU D00DES ARE STOOPID!!! B1FF is c00l!!!
2.1 Suggested Score/KILL file entries
3 Resources about the middle ages on the net
3.1 Related Usenet Newsgroups
3.2 Mailing lists
3.3 Web sites     (incomplete)
4 Literature Suggestions
4.1 Individual Suggestions
4.2 Suggested Reading List from the MEDIEV-L mailing list
5 Assorted Topics
5.1 What is the SCA?
5.2 What is a "Crakow Vote"?
5.3 Can you help me answer a genealogical question?
6 Credits

1 What is the charter of this group?

soc.history.medieval	The historic period of the middle ages

soc.history.medieval is an unmoderated newsgroup for the discussion of
the historic period known as the Middle Ages. For the purposes of this
group, the term "Middle Ages" is interpreted broadly as the period of
European History ranging from the fall of the Western Roman Empire up
to the Renaissance, the Reformation, and the beginnings of European
overseas expansion. This corresponds roughly to the thousand years
from  about 500 AD to 1500 AD. This broad interpretation is open for
revision if other newsgroups groups dealing e.g. with the Dark Ages or
the Renaissance are added.

It is expected that the geographical range of discussion will focus on
Europe and the Mediterranean. Discussion about European interaction
with other cultures is appropriate as well. Questions on the Crusades,
the Viking voyages to North America, the influence of Arabic
philosophy and science on Europe, the Mongol conquest of Russia,
etc. are welcome on the group, as well as for example the post-Roman
developments in Britain and France, the Byzantine Empire, the empire
of Charlemagne, the development of the Italian city states, the War of
the Roses, the 100 Years War, the Reconquista and so on.

Commercial posts and advertisements, except for short, non-hype
announcements of books and other media on the topic of Medieval
history, are not appropriate. Also, current politics as rooted in past
events are not an appropriate topic. For such topics use either
soc.history (which deals with all of history) or an appropriate
politics newsgroup. However, all factual posts on historic events in
the Middle Ages are welcome.

[Joe Bernstein asked to to clarify on the second paragraph of the
 charter. The following is not part of the charter, but rather
 explains what I tried to say with it:]

Some people seem to read the first sentence of the second paragraph
above as restricting discussion to European topics. This was not my
intention at all. I am a computer scientist, and a my native language
is not English, but German. Hence I try to use language rather
precisely, and usually take it at its face value. I did not mean to
say "...and you should better conform to this expectation here". Of
course I do not own the group, and the charter has to stand on
itself. However, as far as "original intend" is concerned,
soc.history.medieval should be open to topics from all over the world.

2 YOU D00DES ARE STOOPID!!! B1FF is c00l!!!

Usenet is an entirely open medium. Everybody can read this group and
everybody can post to it. This means that the groups will occasionally
see trolls (strong worded postings intended only to provoke a lot of
replies), flames, and off-topic posts. The best way to deal with this
kind of postings is usually to ignore it. In case of repeated and
significant violation of the charter you can send a polite email to
the offender, perhaps with a copy to the postmaster at his site.

If you personally object to some people or some subjects, most news
readers allow the use of a KILL-file that can be used to filter out
undesirable postings. Check the documentation of your news reader or
look at the FAQ sheets in

In order to improve the communication on this group you might want to
keep the following in mind:

- Extensive cross-posting (posting to more than one group) often leads
  to different threads on the same topic. Consider to use a
  Follow-Up header to confine discussion to the most appropriate group.

- People hate to read things again and again. Thus, try to avoid large
  quotes. Quote only what you respond to. Mark deletions with three
  dots or a short summary of what you deleted, if you think the
  context is important. In particular, don't quote large amounts of
  text and add "me too" at the bottom. More particularly, don't quote
  large amounts of text and add "me too" at the TOP!

- Use descriptive Subject lines. "History", "Test" or "Hi there" are
  not particularly useful.

- If you change the topic of a thread, or if it has drifted until it
  has nothing to do with the Subject header line, you should consider
  a new subject line as well. Add "(was: _old_subject_)" to the new

- Try to format your lines to 72 characters. Most terminals and
  windows are 80 characters wide, and quoting will often indent your
  text a couple of times. Lines wrapping around on the screen are very
  hard to read.  

- Don't try to pass on your homework assignments. Requests like
  "Please tell everything about the Crusades, my paper is due
  tomorrow!" are usually met with well deserved sarcasm. Try to be
  specific and to give enough information to allow the reader to
  anticipate your problems.

- Do not post binaries in the group. While the charter does not
  explicitly forbid it (it apparently slipped past both me and the
  news.groups crowd), binaries belong only in the hierarchies
  explicitly intended for them. The reason for this is to allow news
  servers with limited resources to avoid these (very expensive)
  postings. Post pointers to the Web instead. Web space is now
  included with most internet access products, or can be found online
  for free.

For more information on the appropriate behaviour on and the structure
of Usenet check out the introductory postings in
news.announce.newusers. This might pay off even if you think you are
an experienced user or if you read them a couple of years ago. You
might also want to check out the excellent alt.atheism FAQ on logical
arguments. It is regularly posted to alt.atheism and
alt.atheism.moderated (and, of course, to news.answers), and a
sligthly reworked copy ("The Atheism Web: Logic and Fallacies") can be
found on the WWW at

2.1 Suggested Score/KILL file entries

In recent months, off-topic traffic in soc.history.medieval has been
rather bad. Most of the off-topic threads start as a massive
cross-post, initiated by one of a very small group of
people. Depending on your newsreader, you might be able to filter out
most of the off-topic articles.

In early 2006, the group becomes very readable if you exclude all
articles cross-posted to any off the groups alt.books.tom-clancy,
us.military.*, alt.atheism, and soc.culture.scotish. Especially with
the last group, you may lose some legitimate traffic. But it seems to
be miniscule compared to the amount of off-topic traffic you avoid

If you use slrn, the following entry in your Score file will filter
out most unwanted traffic.

Score:: -9999
	  Newsgroups: alt\.books\.tom-clancy
	  Newsgroups: us\.military
	  Newsgroups: alt\.atheism
          Newsgroups: soc\.culture\.scottish

I'll gladly include improved versions and instructions for other
newsreaders in future versions of the FAQ.

3 Resources about the middle ages on the net
[Note: This section has been seriously updated and improved by Al
 Magary, <>. He is working on further
 improvements at the moment.]  

3.1 Related Usenet Newsgroups

Some newsreader software allows a search for keywords in your Internet
service provider's database; GNN's news-server at last count had some
23,000 newsgroups.  Amazingly, the Internet standard-maker, Netscape
Navigator 2.01 (the latest), does not have a find feature, so users
have to spend some time browsing in the database.  The list is
alphabetical and hierarchical, so like a Windows 95 directory, you can
click on + and - to expand and contract headings.  The maingroup "soc"
has society, social sciences, etc.

Here is a selection of newsgroups which deal with medieval material.
Some of these, like soc.history, can be very noisy and unruly, but
sometimes deal with medieval topics of current interest
(e.g. the _Braveheart_ movie).

[Perhaps some regular readers could write a short (one or two
 paragraphs) introduction to each group?]  


   This newsgroup deals with all aspects of the Arthurian legend,
   from quite complex historical issues relating to both the 5th
   century itself and the later transmission of the legend, to
   discussions of the latest Arthurian fantasy epic from Stephen
   Lawhead. It is moderately quiet, with perhaps 60-65 posts a
   week; flame wars are very infrequent. There are enough
   knowledgeable people subscribed for questions to be accurately
   answered and discussions to be interesting

rec.arts.books.hist-fiction	Historical fictions (novels) in

   rec.arts.books.hist-fiction deals with all sorts of historical
   fiction from Greece and Rome up to the present day.  It
   specifically does NOT deal with the 'what-if' novels such as
   Deighton's SS-GB, Gingrich's 1945 and the ilk or historically
   based fantasy novels such as Katherine Kurtz's Deryni series.
   With this broad scope it covers quite a bit of medieval
   material from the Jean Plaidy historical romances to all kinds
   of slush about the Crusades.

rec.heraldry            Discussion of coats of arms.

rec.martial-arts        Discussion of the various martial art forms.             Society for Creative Anachronism.

   This newsgroup, also called "The Rialto" among its readers, is
   intended for use by members of the Society for Creative
   Anachronism, a group engaging in re-enacting (medieval) history. 
   See section 5 for more details.

   Note that several Scadians also read soc.history.medieval.
   SCA-specific topics should not be discussed on
   soc.history.medieval but should be taken to       All aspects of swordplay.

sci.archaeology		Studying antiquities of the world.
sci.archeoology.moderated All aspects of archaeology. (Moderated)
sci.archaeology.mesoamerican The field of mesoamerican archaeology

sci.classics            Studying classical history, languages, art and
humanities.classics     Discussion of ancient Greece and Rome

soc.genealogy.medieval	Genealogy in the period from roughly 
			AD500 to AD1600 

soc.history             Discussions of things historical.

soc.history.ancient     Ancient history (up to AD 700).


  soc.history.early-modern is a newsgroup for the discussion of
  early-modern history from about 1500 to about 1800. Topical
  relevance to early-modern history is more important than the
  dates with quite a bit of medieval material being on-topic so
  long as it is closely linked to events occurring during the
  early-modern period. For example, discussions on the beginnings
  of the European Voyages of Discovery, the Italian Renaissance,
  or the influence of late Medieval heresy on the Reformation are
  encouraged.      Living history and reenactment, issues and

soc.history.moderated   All aspects of history. (Moderated)	History of science and related areas.

soc.history.war.misc    History & events of wars in general.

soc.history.what-if     Alternate history.

  soc.history.what-if and alt.history.what-if are newsgroups to
  discuss history divergent from that of our own. A very common
  example thread would be "What if the South won the U.S. Civil

  In general the what-if newsgroups discuss what might have been
  the outcome of history had key events turned out differently;
  a favorite topic being how dramatically different the results
  might have been had an event we now consider minor have been
  different. Alternatively what would have been the effect on
  history had key individuals died younger/lived longer. (For
  instance how would Victorian England have been different had
  Prince Albert survived to the 1880s or "What if Frederick had
  been Kaiser longer than 91 days?")

  Additionally, the what-if newsgroups discuss literature in the
  alternate history genre such as victorious Third Reichs (Dick,
  "The Man in the High Castle, Deighton "SS-GB"), failed
  Pizarros & Cortes, victorious Spanish Armadas and victorious
  Napoleon Bonapartes (usually either against Britain or
  Russia).  All these are discussed in greater detail in the FAQ
  for soc.history.what-if.
  The newsgroups do NOT discuss historical revisionism (see
  alt.revisionism), future history or alternate history in
  fictional 'worlds'.

  The original alt.history.what-if group has theoretically been
  superseded by the new group in the soc-hierarchy (which, as a
  rule, receives wider propagation and has a formal procedure
  for the reation and deletion of groups). However, the old
  group still receives a lot of traffic. Using the new group
  exclusively is strongly encouraged.

Some topical discussion can sometime be found in the following groups:


3.2 Mailing lists

[This seems to be quite complete now - thanks to Edwin Duncan for
 letting us borrow his pre-compiled list. If you know of any additional
 mailing lists, or can contribute more information to one of these,
 please let me know. Please note that some entries have been updated
 or corrected compared to previous postings.]

The most efficient way to find one of the some 32,000 mailing lists
(email discussion groups) is to use your Web browser and go to

Those who have access only to email have a workaround to search for
lists; for info, send a blank message to

Liszt is a search engine that will search for keywords in a database
of list names and *one*-line descriptions, electronically compiled by
a bot or spider.  My last search for "medieval" found 23 lists, some
very local (Student Medieval Recreation Club, U of Manitoba), some
very specialized (Medieval Feminist List), some transient (class
forums).  You may want to search for related words to pick up pre- or
post-medieval (eg, Anglo-Saxon, Renaissance) or more general but
certainly inclusive of medieval (eg, philosophy, language).

A similar list searcher is organized by hierarchical, browsable

Listserver software looks after the routine administrative stuff on
mailing lists, so you have to be accurate in your typing and precise
in command language.  In the list below, the addressee--e.g.,
Listserv--is the listserver robot's address.  Later, after you
subscribe and want to post, the addressee is the _name of the list_--
e.g., ansax-l; and you will have to be careful not to embarrass
yourself by sending listserver commands to the entire mailing list.

As a starter, it's helpful to get basic info on using mailing list,
subscription commands etc. from at least one computer run by each of
the software bots.  Listserv answers to the command

        info <listname>

Mailserv, Listproc, Majordomo, and Mailbase answer to the command


In email to the listservers, leave the "Subject" line blank, and put
in the message only the commands the listserver understands.

Here is a list of medieval discussion lists (partially taken from the
Texas Medieval Association page on "Medieval Academic Discussion
Groups". You can find the original Web page at Please note that the
original list and parts of this compilation are the property of Edwin
Duncan and are used with permission. Edwin also maintains an
additional list of groups more loesly related to the topic of this
group and offers a lot of advice on using academic discussion
lists. Portions of the original list are copyrighted by the Medieval
English Newsletter. Al Magary deserves to be mentioned as well - he
checked most addresses and added quite a lot of lists.

Some mailing lists have two distinct addresses - a Bitnet address
(ending in ".bitnet") and an Internet address. If you are not on
Bitnet (and probably if you do not know what Bitnet is) you should use
the Internet address.

Mailing list information does change occosaionally. If you note any
incorrect or incomplete information in the FAQ, please drop me a

List Name       List-server                      Topic

AARHMS-L	Academy of Historians
						of Medieval Spain

ANSAX-L		listserv@wvnvm.bitnet		Anglo-Saxon Studies

   ANSAX-L is the discussion group for ANSAXNET, the Anglo- Saxon
   Network. It has over 600 members from fifteen or twenty
   different countries and, as one would expect from such a large
   membership, has a fairly high volume of mail. Discussions
   cover not only Old English language and literature, but also
   Anglo- Saxon archaeology, history, philosophy, and the arts. As
   with other networks, one also runs across calls for papers,
   job listings, announcements of new journals, new computer
   services, and the like.

ARTHURNET	Arthurian Studies

   ARTHURNET, a network devoted to all subjects relating to King
   Arthur and the knights of the round table, has apparently
   replaced an older and less successful one called CAMELOT, an
   English network. ARTHURNET is based in Canada, and the
   commands for setting options with the list-server are slightly
   different from most of those based in the U.S. The command for
   subscribing is the same, though.

BMMR-L	Medieval Book Reviews

   BMMR-L, the Bryn Mawr Medieval Review, is, as its name
   implies, devoted to the review of books on 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. They may also contribute their own
   reviews to the network.

BYZANS-L   Byzantine Studies

CADUCEUS-L      [Address unknown]               History of Medicine

CARMED               North Carolina
                                                medieval scholars
                                                discussion list
  This is an open, unmoderated discussion list. 

CHAUCER		listserv@uicvm.bitnet		Chaucer and Medieval		Literature 

   CHAUCER, the discussion group for Chaucernet, is, like
   Ansaxnet, consistently active in terms of mail. It generally
   confines itself to Chaucer studies, although related
   fourteenth-century works such as Piers Plowman and Sir Gawain
   and the Green Knight also get discussed here. Last fall when I
   was teaching a Chaucer course, I found some of the pedagogical
   discussions on this network to be especially helpful.

   [Normal "subscribe" is insufficient to get on the list. The
    listowner at needs to approve
    your subscription.] 

DEREMI-L	Medieval Military

EARLYM-L	listserv@aearn.bitnet		Early Music

   EARLYM-L, a discussion group for those interested in early
   music, is a relatively high-volume network with postings from
   musicians both inside and outside academia.

EARLYMEDNET-L		Early Medieval Studies
                                                (300-700 AD )

   A network and discussion for information and queries on Early
   Medieval historical and archaeological studies in
   Europe. (Chronological range late 4th to late 11th centuries
   AD). At least in the initial stages of its existence, it
   has seemed to have more of an archaeological bent to its

EARLYSCIENCE-L        Early Science History

EMEDCH-L                Early Medieval China

GEN-MEDIEVAL        Medieval Genealogy 

   [NB--Apple is giving up eworld so, address may change soon.]

GERLINGL	listserv@uiucvmd.bitnet		Older Germanic Languages	(to 1500)

   GERLINGL, a discussion group for older Germanic language
   studies, is a low-volume group, but some good information is
   presented on it from time to time. If one has interests in
   this area, then one may wish to subscribe to it in addition to
   a related higher volume group like Ansax-l.


   GERMANIC-L is an E-group for the discussion of the early
   Germanic peoples from Prehistory to circa 800 AD. To
   subscribe, and for more information, go to the above web

H-ALBION          HNET British & Irish

   [NB -- To subscribe, you have to fill in a brief survey, and
    the listowner must approve subscription.]

HEL-L	History of the English

   HEL-L, a discussion group devoted to studies in the history of
   the English language, is primarily but not exclusively
   pedagogical. Postings are infrequent with bursts of activity
   (i.e., 3-6 messages per day) followed by periods of relative
   silence. There is a WWW page for the list at

INTERSCRIPTA	Directed Medieval

   [According to Al Magary, this list is hard to reach. Try mailing to to communicate with the
    list owner.]

LT-ANTIQ        LISTSERV@VM.SC.EDU              Late Antiquity

   LT_ANTIQ is an unmoderated list that provides a discussion
   forum for topics relating to Late Antiquity (c. AD
   260-640). For the purposes of this discussion list, "Late
   Antiquity" will cover the Late Roman, Early Byzantine, Early
   Medieval, and Early Islamic periods. Geograph-ical coverage
   will range from western Europe to the Middle East, and from
   the Sahara to Russia.

MDVLPHIL	listserv@lsuvm.bitnet		Medieval Philosophy     & Political Thought

   MDVLPHIL, devoted to medieval philosophy, does not have many
   postings. [Note: The new internet address has been confirmed.]

MED-AND-REN-MUSIC       Music of the Medieval
                                                and Renaissance

MEDART-L	Medieval Art

   [According to Al Magary, the bitnet address is reachable by
    internet mail, and the internet address only forwards to it. Also
    note that the internet address changed recently]

MEDEVLIT        listserv@siucvmb.bitnet        Medieval Literature
  [No internet address given]

MEDFEM-L	listproc@uwavm.bitnet		Medieval Feminist	Studies 

   MEDFEM-L is a fairly high-volume discussion group which covers
   a wide range of issues related to medieval feminist studies.

MEDGER-L		Medieval German Studies

   [This list seems to be unaccessible at the moment. Any
    more information?] 
   MEDGER-L is a very low volume discussion group for medieval
   German studies on all topics besides linguistics. Messages
   here are typically few and far between.

MEDGAY-L		Medieval Gay Studies 

MEDIBER	Medieval Iberian Studies

   [The listserver at the given address responds with an erro
    message. What became of the list?]
   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

MEDIEV-L	Medieval History

   [The address for this list has changed recently!]
   MEDIEV-L is a discussion list for medieval history and
   topics relating to the teaching of the middle ages,
   ca. 500AD-1500AD.  Circulation is approximately 2,000,
   unmoderated. Anyone with an interest in the middle ages is
   welcome to join; most subscribers are faculty or graduate


   MEDIEVAL-RELIGION is a forum for discussions related to
   religious life and thought in Europe from late antiquity to
   the early modern period.  Its mail archives are located at

MEDIEVALE		Medieval History (in

   MEDIEVALE is a new medieval history network from Canada whose
   postings are all in French.

MEDLIT-L                 Medieval Literature

MEDLITERACY-L	 Medieval Literacy

MEDSCI-L       Medieval Science

   [This list seems to have been closed down.]

MEDTEXTL	listserv@uiucvmd.bitnet		 Medieval Languages &
   MEDTEXTL, the discussion group for medieval languages and
   literature, also has a large number of messages. In contrast
   to ANSAX-L and CHAUCER, it has more postings for continental
   languages, literature, and the arts, and perhaps for that
   reason has a rule that any postings or quotations in any
   language other than English include translations along with
   the originals. This can be a real help for, say, a Germanic
   scholar trying to follow a conversation quoting medieval
   Italian or for a Romanticist trying to decipher something from
   Old Norse.

						Medieval (& Ancient)

OLDNORSENET	Old Norse Studies

   The aim of OLDNORSENET is to provide a forum for discussion of
   problems that concern the medieval Scandinavian and North
   Atlantic societies. The network will be open for contributions
   from researchers in all branches of medieval studies
   concerning the Nordic area. Our hope is to start a lively and
   open discussion of new and old problems within the subject,
   and that ideas and suggestions will be presented and discussed
   by the members of the network.

PERFORM	Medieval Performing

RENAIS-L	Renaissance & Early
                                                Modern History 

SIEGE	Medieval Siege

   [Please note that this list has moved!]

3.3 Web sites

[To be completed - suggestions welcome. If possible please
 include a short text with each suggestion - the transatlantic
 links are awful, and checking even a single site can be quite a
 trial for me. Please note that Patrick Tingler <>
 posts a more complete list of sites (organized by topic)
 semi-regularly. It is available on the WWW at] 

As a complement to the mini-FAQ, you can find "soc.history.medieval's
Question and Answer Pages" at the following link:

Two places to get going quickly in finding medieval resources on the
Web are Catholic University's NetSERF and Georgetown's Labyrinth:

A directory/search homepage that's always on top of what's new in
medieval resources is:

Labyrinth has hotlinks to some Internet search engines (nowadays many
can search the Web, Usenet newsgroups, and gopher/ftp resources).  Good
collections of the 250 or so general and specialized search engines are:
Many people consider Google to currently be the best general purpose
search engine. In any case, try one of the following:

Here is a list of some WWW pages with medieval material on it. Some
descriptions have been provided by the page providers or associated
persons, and many have been slightly edited.

Welcome to the Call to Arms Website

   Introductory page for the Call To Arms project. Call to Arms is
   an international directory of historical re-enactment. It is
   essentially an address book, a telephone directory, a resource
   guide, a suppliers list, a recruiting arm, a major events guide and
   much more besides. 

Classical Resources (J. Ruebel)

   This page tries to give an overview over classical resources
   on the net. At the moment it only covers Greek and Roman
   material that could be of borderline interest to medieval

The "Confessio" of Saint Patrick

   A English translation of the autobiographical confession
   written by Patrick himself, in Latin, around the year 450. It
   offers a unique record of life in the British Isles during
   those times. The page also has some links to Irish and
   Celtic culture.

The Decameron Web

   A new Hypertext project at Brown University, dedicated to
   Boccaccio's Decameron and to Medieval Studies in general.  It
   is of general interest to anyone interested in Italian
   literature at large and in Medieval society.  Further
   information about the creation of the project and about the
   goals of those in charge of its growth is available at the

Historical Reeneactment in the United Kingdom

   A page which links to various resources for hitorical reenactment
   and reenactment societies, with particular emphasis on the scene in
   the United Kingdom.

Historical Reeneactment - Welcome from the Mining Co.

   A general reenactment site with, among other things, sections on
   medieval and ancient history, clothing, crafts, etc.

The Knights Templar Preceptory Portcullis

   A Finish site with a good introduction to the Templar
   military order. Contains a couple of book reviews and a

Labyrinth Home Page at Georgetown University

   The Labyrinth is a global information network providing
   free, organized access to electronic resources in medieval
   studies through a World Wide Web server at Georgetown
   University. Highlights include a couple of online
   bibliographies and text, image, and archival databases.

Medieval History Resources

   This page is a quite complete entry point for medieval
   items on the WWW. It contains a lot of link to other sites
   with indices.

Medieval Sourcebook

   The Medieval Sourcebook is a collection of links to public
   domain and copy allowed texts of interest to medievalists. It
   includes excerpts suitable for use in survey courses as well
   as full texts of many works. The site also provides links to
   other medieval studies pages as well as sites devoted to
   Byzantine and Classical Studies.

Medieval Studies Home Page at Harvard

   The site is small but growing. We now have information about
   the committee, its professors, and its classes, as well as
   about Harvard in general, plus a whole bunch of links to other
   medieval Internet resources. Coming soon: Calendars of
   upcoming events.

The Medieval Technology Pages

   The Medieval Technology Pages are an attempt to provide
   accurate, referenced information on technological innovation
   and related subjects in western Europe during the Middle

Medieval Technology -- Reading List

   A quite extensive and commented bibliography on many aspects
   of medieval live. Most books are seconday works and
   overviews, and most are accessible for a casual reader with
   some basic knowledge of the era.

Military history: Medieval

   This is a bilingual (English/French), regularly updated guide
   to Internet resources on military matters during medieval
   times.  This page also contains links to separate pages on
   wars of the period, currently comprising:
           100 Year's War (1339-1453)
           Norman Conquest (1066)

ORB--Online Reference Book for Medieval Studies

   ORB is an academic site, written and maintained by medieval
   scholars for the benefit of their fellow instructors and serious
   students. It offers a large collection of peer-reviewed essays on a
   wide variety of medieval topics.

Ramon Llull (Raymond Lull/Lully) resources

   A timeline (with links to various sources on the life of a 13th
   century philosopher).

Ravensgard Medieaval Homepage

   The page is a large collection of links and resources
   organized by general subject.  The major categories include
   research resources, arts and crafts including a page on
   costume, cultures including a separate page on Old Norse
   culture, and cultural background material.

The Realm of Chivalry

   The Realm of Chivalry is a social and educational organization
   located primarily in the Pacific Northwest which is based on
   the precepts of Chivalry and Honour as evidenced in the
   History and Legends of the Dark and Middle Ages. We strive to
   re-create the times of the Heroes, i.e. Richard the Lion
   Heart, King Arthur, Beowulf, and in doing so we take on the
   personae of one who might have lived in that era

The Richard III Society Homepage

   This site offers an introduction and aids to Ricardian
   studies, links to medieval resources, and information about
   the Society, whose members hold diverse opinions on King
   Richard III, the Yorkist era and the Wars of the Roses.
Society for Creative Anachronism, Inc.

   A home-page for the Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA),
   offering a very complete introduction to the society. Please note
   that this site has moved again.

Timber-Framed Houses

   A web site for "The History and Construction of Medieval
   Timber-Framed Houses."  This site describes, for the lay
   reader, the development from about 1200 AD in England and
   Wales of the cruck and box-frame house from the earlier hut
   made from earth-fast posts, and the invention of the chimney,
   tiles and window glass.  A Bibliography is included.

WebPages von potentiellem Interesse auf dem Gebiet "Geistesgeschichte" 

   These two German page try to collect links to resources of
   potential interest to people interested in intellectual
   history. Their main focus is the renaissance, but there are
   links to "truly medieval" material as well. Part of the links
   are commented upon. The second page is more up to date.

4 Literature Suggestions

4.1 Individual Suggestions

In this section I try to collect a list of interesting books. If
possible, I try to include a short (or even longer) review, however,
individual titles are usually printed as they had been submitted to

I particularly try to compile a list of books that can be read
without formal training in history. If you want to submit
information on a book please try to follow the standard format
and try to provide a text that can be copied to the FAQ
without much editing.

Brown, R. Allen, _The Normans_

   Brown gives a good overview on the impact on the Normans from
   the time of the establishment of the Normandy as a Duchy under
   Rollo and Charles the Simple to the end of the
   Crusades. Apart from the well-known invasion in England the
   participation of multiple generations of the family Hauteville
   in the conquest of southern Italy and the Crusades is
   stressed. The book is well researched but does not offer much
   detail on the era.

Contamine, Philippe, _War in the Middle Ages_, trans. Michael Jones
   (London, Basil Blackwell, 1984) ISBN 0-631-13142-6; xvi+387 pages,
   24 b+w illustrations, 10 tables, 7 maps, 4 line-drawn figures.

      A welcome translation of the author's "La Guerre au moyen
   age" (originally published 1980) this book is the essential
   starting place for any serious study of medieval military
   institutions and affairs.  It is divided into three parts.
   "The State of Knowledge," reviews what scholars know about
   warfare in the Middle Ages in four chronological chapters: the
   "Barbarian" period (500-900), the "Feudal Age" (900-1150), the
   High Middle Ages (1150-1325) and the transition to gunpowder
   warfare (1325-1500).  Chapter 1 is the weakest part of the
   book because Contamine does not properly evaluate the survival
   of Roman practices in the early Middle Ages.  Chapter 4 is the
   best, because it covers the era in which Contamine does his
   own research.  The second part, "Themes and Perspectives",
   examines six specific issues like strategic theory and the
   'laws of war.'  Chapter 9, "Towards a History of Courage" is
   the most interesting.  The third part is a 51 page
   bibliography of work on medieval warfare.

      Readers who are looking for narrative accounts of battles
   and campaigns will be disappointed -- Contamine emphasizes
   institutions, practices, and the nature of the evidence that
   medieval military historians have to work with.  As a result,
   this book works best when it is used as a reference or as a
   place from which to start reading on a particular topic.  As
   such it excells.

DeVries, Kelly, _Medieval Military Technology_, (Lewiston NY,
   Broadview, 1992), ISBN: 0-921149-74-3; xi+340 pp., numerous b+w
   pictures and line drawings. 

      This book reviews of technology of warfare in the western
   european middle ages.  It is divided into four sections: one
   on arms and armor, the second on artillery (both
   stone-throwing and gunpowder varieties), the third on
   fortifications, and the last on warships.  In each case,
   DeVries describes the chronological development of specific
   technologies, with special emphasis on the military and
   economic reasons that medieval people chose to develop them.
   Since he often uses examples drawn from specific battles and
   campaigns to support his points, this book is easy to read and
   gives a clear picture of what was going on in each technology
   at specific times.

      At appropriate points, DeVries interrupts his narrative to
   describe what modern historians think about controversial
   issues.  A good example is his chapter on the great "Did
   Stirrups cause Feudalism" debate.  DeVries says "No" and his
   explanation of why is clearer and easier to read than the
   original research he is summarizing. De Vries bibliography is
   up-to date and should be preferred over the corresponding
   section in Contamine.  DeVries also gets credit for properly
   emphasizing the continued use of Roman military technology in
   the early medieval era.

France, John, _Victory in the East: A Military History of the
   First Crusade_, New York, Cambridge University Press,
   1994, 425 pages, maps

   [No review available yet - *you* are invited to write one ;-)]

Maalouf, Amin, _The Crusades through Arab Eyes_, translated from the
   French _Les Cusades vues par les Arabes_ by Jon Rothschild,
   Schocken Books, New York, 293 pages, 2 Maps, US$ 16

   Maalouf gives us yet another account of the Crusades. While the
   book follows the general outline of most overview works on the
   era, it adds a new perspective. His book concentrates on the
   Crusades as experienced by the Arab inhabitants of the Near
   East. The struggles between the different Muslim factions and
   rulers are described in unusual detail, as are the social and
   religious movements that eventually resulted in a revigouration
   of the "Jyhad" concept and thus the destruction of the Frankish
   states in Outremer. There is little new material on the
   main Frankish/Muslim conflict, but a lot of information about
   the dealings behind the scenes. Although Maalouf often cites
   long passages by Arab chroniclers verbatim, this book should not
   be confused with a collection of original sources. However, the
   appendix contains a short and helpful discussion of these
   sources. With a price tag of $20 for the paperback edition, this
   book should be well worth the price for everybody interested in
   the Crusades.

Norwich, J.J., _The Normans in the South_, _Kingdom in the Sun_

   In these two volumes the author gives a very readable
   introduction to the Norman achievements in southern Italy and
   Sicily. The first book describes the deeds of Robert Guiscard
   and Roger, Count of Sicily, in some details, including the 
   conflicts with the German imperator and the Pope. The second
   volume describes the Norman history of the Kingdom of
   Sicily. While the historic account is less detailed, Norwich
   takes some time to describe the remains of Norman buildings on

Strayer, Joseph R., _The Albigensian Crusades_, Ann Arbor Paperbacks,
   A classic.  If you think that western Europe was
   monolithically Catholic and that crusades were waged only in
   the Holy Land, think again.  This is the story of the 13th
   century destruction of Occitania, an event that has had
   repercussions down to our own day.

4.2 Suggested Reading List from the MEDIEV-L mailing list

The following list of influential works on medieval history was
collected on the MEDIEV-L mailing list. Readers were asked for
suggestions, entries which recieved multiple suggestions have the
number of votes recorded right after the title. I have slightly
reformatted the list to make it more readable and to give it a more
uniform look.

Aries, Philippe:       
   _Centuries of Childhood_
Barraclough, Geoffrey: 
   _The Medieval Papacy_
Barraclough, Geoffrey: 
   _The Origins of Modern Germany_
Bloch, Marc: 
   _Feudal Society_ (5)
Bloch, Marc: 
   _Royal Touch_
Boswell, John: 
   _Christianity, Social Tolerance, and Homosexuality_
Braudel, Ferdinand: 
   _Structures of Everyday Life_
Brentano, Robert: 
   _Rome Before Avignon_
Brown, Peter: 
   _World of Late Antiquity_ (2)
Brown, Peter: 
   _The Cult of the Saints_
Brown, Peter: 
   _Augustine of Hippo_ (2)
Brunner, Otto: 
   _Land and Lordship_ (2)
Burckhardt, Jacob: 
   _The Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy_
Bynum, Caroline Walker: 
   _Holy Feast and Holy Fast_ (3)
Campbell, James: 
   _The Anglo-Saxons_
Carruthers, Mary: 
   _The Book of Memory_
Cheney, C.R.: 
   _ Hubert Walter_
Cohn, Norman: 
   _The Pursuit of the Millenium_
de Beauvoir, Simone: 
   _The Second Sex._
Douglas, David: 
   _William the Conqueror (2)_
Duby, Georges: 
   _La societe aux XIe et XIIe siecles dans la region maconnaise_
Duby, Georges: 
   _Warrior and Peasants_ (2)
Fawtier, Robert: 
   _The Capetian Kings of France._
Ganshof, Francois: 
Geary, Patrick: 
   _Before France and Germany_
Gilson, Etienne: 
   _Reason and Revelation in the Middle Ages_
Grundmann, Herbert: 
   _Religiose Bewegungen im Mittelalter_ (2)
Hanawalt, Barbara: 
   _The Ties That Bound: Peasant Families in Medieval England _
Haskins, Charles Homer: 
   _The Renaissance of the Twelfth Century_ (3) 
Herlihy, David and Christiane Klapisch-Zuber: 
   _Tuscans and Their Families_ 
Hilton, R.H. and T.H. Fagan: 
   _The English Rising of 1381_
Hodges, Richard and David Whitehouse: 
   _Mohammed, Charlemagne, and the Origin of Europe._ 
Huizinga, Johan: 
   _The Waning of the Middle Ages_ (3)
Kantorowicz, Ernst: 
   _Frederick II_ (3)
Kantorowitz, Ernst: 
   _The Kings Two Bodies_ (3)
Keen, Maurice: 
Kelly, Amy: 
   _Eleanor of Aquitaine and the Four Kings_
Kern, Fritz: 
   _Kingship and Law in the Middle Ages_
Knowles, David: 
   _The Monastic Order in England_
Le Roy Ladurie, Emmanuel: 
   _Montaillou: The Promised Land of Error_ (2) 
Leclercq, Jean: 
   _Love of Learning and the Desire for God_ (2)
LeGoff, Jacques: 
   _Time , Work and Culture in the Middle Ages_
Lewis, C.S.: 
   _The Allegory of Love_
Leyser, Karl: 
   _Medieval Germany and its Neighbours_
Lopez, Robert: 
   _The Commercial Revolution of the Middle Ages_
Lord, Albert: 
   _The Singer of Tales_
Lovejoy, A. O.: 
   _The Great Chain of Being_
McFarlane, K. B.: 
   _The Nobility of Later Medieval England_
Mollat, Guillaume: 
   _The Popes of Avignon_
Moore, R. I.: 
   _The Formation of a Persecuting Society_
Nelson, Janet: 
   _Charles the Bald_
Ostrogorsky, George: 
   _History of the Byzantine State_
Painter, Sidney: 
   _William Marshall_
Perroy, Eduoard: 
   _The Hundred Years War_
Pirenne, Henri: 
   _Medieval Cities_ (2)
Pirenne, Henri: 
   _Mohammad and Charlemagne_ (2)
Raby, F. J. E.: 
   _Secular Latin Poetry_
Raby, F. J. E.: 
   _Christian Latin Poetry_
Riche, Pierre: 
   _Education and Culture in the Barbarian West_
Riche, Pierre: 
   _Daily Life in the Word of Charlemagne_
Runciman, Steven: 
   _History of the Crusades_
Skinner, Quentin: 
   _The Foundations of Modern Political Thought_
Southern, R. W.: 
   _Making of the Middle Ages_ (6)
Southern, R. W.: 
   _Medieval Humanism_
Southern, R. W.: 
   _Saint Anselm:  Portrait in a Landscape (2)_
Stenton, Frank: 
   _Anglo-Saxon England_
Straw, Carol: 
   _Gregory the Great:  Perfection in Imperfection_
Strayer, Joseph: 
   _On the Medieval Origins of the Modern State_
Tellenbach, Gerd: 
   _Church, State and Christian Society_ (2)
Tierney, Brian: 
   _Foundations of the Conciliar Theory_
Ullman, Walter: 
   _A History of Political Thought: The Middle Ages_
Ullman, Walter: 
   _A Shorter History of the Papacy_
Van Dam, Raymond: 
   _Leadership & Community in Late Antique Gaul_
Wallace-Hadrill, J. M.: 
   _The Long-Haired Kings_ (2)
Warren, W.L.: 
   _Henry II_
White, Lynn: 
   _Medieval Technology and Social Change_

5 Assorted Topics

5.1 What is the SCA?

   The Society for Creative Anachronism is an international
   organization interested in the research and recreation of the
   Middle Ages and Renaissance.  Most (but not all) of the people
   involved in the SCA are amateurs who are interested in one or
   more areas or topics of the Middle Ages.  At a SCA event you
   can see many people wearing clothing from different periods of
   time (most between 600 and 1600 A.D.) doing different
   activities.  Activities can include armoured fighting,
   fencing, heraldry, spinning, dancing, cooking, etc.  (that
   list could go on forever).  However, because of the long time
   period, and wide geographic range, most SCA events are not
   accurate recreations of any one time or place.

   The SCA does _not_ insist that people dress or act exactly as
   someone from the Middle Ages would, they just encourage it.
   Thus many Scadians prefer to focus on the "current middle ages"
   or the fun they have on the weekends without doing any serious
   research.  Other Scadians take the recreation aspect very
   seriously and can become quite knowledgeable on certain
   subjects. Some Scadians have difficulties separating historic
   research and experience from the reenactment. This sometimes leads
   to frictions in discussions with more serious-minded historians.

   If you would like to learn more about the group you should
   read the newsgroup (also called "The Rialto" among
   Scadians). People there can tell you how to get in contact
   with the Scadians nearest you. There also is a WWW page for
   the SCA listed in section 3.3.

5.2 What is a "Crakow Vote"?

    The concept of the Crakow (occasionally "Krakow" or "Cracow" --
    we are an international group with a flexible approach to
    orthography) Vote came up in the second half of 1999 in a thread
    on medieval Russia. The Crakow Vote is basically an appeal to
    authority ("Argumentum ad verecundiam"), only without the
    authority. The classical examples seem to be  

       "According to a poll taken among Krakow's cab drivers, Europe
        ends on Poland's Eastern border".


      "According to Cracow Vote, The Battle Which Can Not Be Named had
       been won by the Fried Templars and/or McWasherwomen".

    Crakow Votes can be used both seriously (but risking that people
    will stop taking the speaker serious) or humorously (which,
    unfortunately, does not automatically confer any special weight to
    the speakers opinion). 

    New research has indicated that the preferred spelling is indeed
    "Crakow". It is found in the oldest surviving documents, and has
    the added benefit of being equally wrong in all known languages.

5.3 Can you help me answer a genealogical question?


    (That's me, Stephan Schulz answering. I have little knowledge
    about genealogy, Schulz is about the third most frequent name in
    Germany, and, due to the extensive resettlement of my ancestors
    after WW2 I have lost nearly all contact to ancestors on the
    Schulz side of the family. Someone else in the group probably 
    can help you, but please check the soc.genealogy.* groups first).

6 Credits

The first version of this FAQ was written and posted by me (Stephan
Schulz). Since then I have received much support. Thanks are due to the
following people for contributing to the FAQ:

Jorn Barger, Laura Blanchard, Edgar De Blieck, Aaron Bradley, Donny
Chan, Lyle Craver, Edwin Duncan, Robert Eikel, Robert Elliot, Curt
Emanuel, Paul J. Gans, Antonio Gonzalez, Kathleen Gorman, Frank
A. Hanincik, Jeff Heinen (and the MEDIEV-L mailing list), Robert
Helmerichs, Bill Kent, Steve Kirkby, Ian Klinck, Heinrich C. Kuhn,
Greg Lindahl, Don MacLachlan, Al Magary, John Massey, Juho Mattila,
Todd M. McComb, Denis McKeon, Alex Milman, Michael Moore, Drew
Nicholson, Bob Peckham, Ninni M.  Pettersson, Edward J. Schoenfeld,
Lisa Scovel, Brian M. Scott, Kim Sheraton, Gary Walker, Doug Weller

Section 3 (Net resources) is now partially maintained by Al Magary,
<>. Patrick Tingler maintains a supplemental
FAQ on WWW sites.

-------------------------- It can be done! ---------------------------------
   Please email me as (Stephan Schulz)

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