I’m not Ralph Mathisen and I don’t even portray him on TV – though I’d give it a shot if that meant I’d lose about 30 lbs and grow hair on the top of my head – and yes, I realize the weight thing’s my own fault (though I’d be interested in knowing how male pattern baldness fits into natural selection). I want to put a plug in for the Journal of Late Antiquity (JLA), which Dr. Mathisen is the editor of.
I try to read three Medieval History Journals – or at least mostly read them. Those are Speculum, Early Medieval Europe and JLA. I also try to scan The English Historical Review and The American Historical Review. For these last two, mainly for reviews so I can add books to my ever-growing “to buy” list.
I subscribed to JLA for two reasons. First, last year at Kalamazoo Dr. Mathisen promoted it at the Society for Late Antiquity Sessions. Second, it’s cheap – $30 annually for an individual subscription, which gets you two issues. And the reason I’m writing this post is because, after having received three issues, I’m very impressed by the quality. For 30 bucks, it’s been well worth it.
The latest issue (Vol 3, No 1) arrived a couple of weeks ago. Among the articles is one by Bernard Bachrach discussing fortification building in 3rd and 4th century Gaul and the implications this has for the degree of financial distress of the Empire in the late third century and articles by Walter Goffart and Guy Halsall discussing Goffart’s taxation theory regarding the settlement of Barbarians on Roman lands in the Fifth century. And Mark Handley has provided another addition (274 of them actually) to Prosopography of the Later Roman Empire. Earlier issues have included articles by Adam Becker, Timothy Barnes, Peter Heather, Neil McLynn, Bryan Ward-Perkins, Michael Richter and many others.
The articles are quite good and the price is very reasonable. The one area it is lacking in, so far, is that it does not contain the number of book reviews as the other journals I mention above. For subscription info, go to the JLA page at Johns Hopkins University Press.
So if you attend a Society of Late Antiquity Session at Kalamazoo and Dr. Mathisen mentions JLA; for whatever it’s worth, I also give it a thumbs-up.