Amateur Tip: A Few of My Favorite Things

26 Sep

I’ve highlighted some of my favorite blogs before. Thought it might be helpful if I did the same for some websites.

On the left of this page, part way down, are some links I consider useful for folks like me without access to some of the academic resources historians have access to. Actually, I have a lot of that access since I work for a University – I just don’t know how to use all of it. In any case, I have over a hundred medieval and ancient sites bookmarked for my use but including all of those on my blog wouldn’t help anyone. The ones I’ve included on my blog page are those leading either to online journals or source material.


If you’re into maps, these sites may be of interest:

  • Euratlas is the map site I visit most frequently. It has dozens of maps of interest ranging from the 4th millennium BC to now. I particularly like the century-by-century progression of Europe myself.
  • The Ancient World Mapping Center goes well beyond providing some free maps (which you may find through a link on the left of the main page). It also includes information and links related to current research into mapping and cartography.
  • The Collaborative Numismatics Page has much, much more than just maps. I’ve linked to the map page here but you’ll want to check out the Numiswiki main page for loads of information, primarily ancient.

Art and Images

One of my very favorite, recently discovered sites is Kornbluth Photography. I probably shouldn’t call this a “discovered” site so much as one I was led by the nose to. Genevra Kornbluth gave a very interesting paper on archaeological finds in 5th-7th century Western Europe at the 2010 International Congress for Medieval Studies in Kalamazoo. She provided her website address there. After looking through it, I was hooked. If you’re into Art History – or, like me, just like looking at very old pretty stuff – she has bushels of images with accompanying descriptions. And if you’re an academic and looking for an image for your current book project, you may find something of use (this is what she does for a living so there will likely be a fee – these images are NOT public domain or for indiscriminate use). I also love the fact that when; in addition to never bathing, indiscriminately killing one another and nobody reading; someone throws the old, “after the fall of Rome nobody did any art” at me, I have a wonderful site to point them to that illustrates that no, this is very, very wrong.

Texts and Source Material

I’ve mentioned before how I like to do my reading. Generally, I read several secondary works covering a topic at the same time. While taking my notes, on a separate sheet of paper I also write down a list of materials I want to find; additional secondary works, journal articles, etc., and; primary and contemporary or near-contemporary source materials. The following sites are those I’ve found very useful when looking for sources:

  • The Medieval Sourcebook is such an astonishingly useful site that I have a hard time describing it. Dozens of sources translated into English, or links to them. Paul Halsall, the author, is a God – at least when it comes to his contribution to access to Medieval resources. Even though he is no longer (I don’t believe) actively maintaining the Sourcebook, it remains a wonderful resource.
  • I’d call Roger Pearse a God too except I know he’d prefer some other term. So I’ll revert to Steve Muhlberger’s characterization of him as a Benefactor of Humanity. The Tertullian Project is his main page (he has others) where the results of his effort to translate public domain source material into English are displayed. If you’re looking for materials on early Christianity, this is a wonderful site.
  • Another excellent source covering the same general area (and one I know Roger has contributed to) is the Christian Classics Ethereal Library. This site contains a treasure of source material related to Early Christianity and the Early Church, translated into English. Downloading materials requires a small fee however you may read them online for free.
  • The final site I’m going to point out today is Fordham University’s Bibliography of Medieval Sources Page. When I start looking for source materials, this is one of the first places I look. The bibliography is searchable and easy to use. Generally I only input the medieval author name, the original language, and that I’m looking for materials translated into English. It includes materials available online as well as those that have been translated and published. Obviously, it’s not 100% complete but it’s a great starting point and, if you happen to go there and notice they’re missing something, use their feedback page to help them update the site.

So these are just a few of the sites I consider useful for finding source materials for those without access to a university or comprehensive public library system. This is just the tip of the iceberg and most of my links here are to other collections of sources, or online journals. If you have other sites to add, please either e-mail me or include them in comments on this page.

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Posted by on September 26, 2010 in Amateur Tips, Resources


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