RFD soc.history.ancient (fwd)

Dominik Wujastyk ucgadkw at ucl.ac.uk
Mon Aug 12 15:15:14 UTC 1996

The person who is spearheading the creation of a new Usenet group on
ancient history asked me to circulate this on INDOLOGY, since it is likely
to be of interest.

Dominik Wujastyk 

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Mon, 12 Aug 1996 08:10:11 -0600
From: Michael Martinez <mmartin at basis.com>
To: "Dominik Wujastyk (at UCL)" <d.wujastyk at ucl.ac.uk>
Subject: Re: RFD soc.history.ancient (fwd)

The following article was posted to news.groups on the Usenet.  We are
distributing it to mailing lists with an interest in history to invite
discussion of the proposal in the Usenet news group news.groups.  I and the
other proponents will be unable to discuss the proposal outside that forum.
The purpose of the proposed news group is to provide intuitive location for
ancient historical discussions on the Usenet, which currently are scattered
across several other news groups and are off-topic for those groups.

                     REQUEST FOR DISCUSSION (RFD)
                unmoderated group soc.history.ancient

Newsgroup line:	soc.history.ancient	Ancient history (up to AD 700)

This is a formal Request For Discussion (RFD) for the creation of
a world-wide unmoderated Usenet newsgroup soc.history.ancient.  This
is not a Call for Votes (CFV); you cannot vote at this time.  Procedural
details are below.

RATIONALE:	soc.history.ancient

Ancient history already is a topic of much interest on Usenet,
where it is discussed in multiple newsgroups, and many mailing
lists (some of which are named in the distribution section) are
also devoted to it. However, the discussion on Usenet is often
fragmented, and/or off-topic in the groups where it occurs.
This proposal seeks to create an intuitively obvious central
place for such discussion.

Existing Usenet newsgroups where ancient history is discussed
include sci.archaeology and its offshoots; soc.history.medieval;
and sci.classics.  In sci.archaeology, this discussion is at
best marginally on-topic, to the extent that it concerns
questions subject to archaeological investigation.  Recent
threads whose appropriateness by this criterion is questionable
include ones about the historicity of Jesus, Josephus'
account of Masada, the alleged salting of Carthage, Roman legions,
and Celtic knowledge (from the classical period).

In soc.history.medieval, where much of the current discussion
takes place, ancient history is strictly off-topic; the charter
defines the group's scope as beginning at approximately AD 500.
Nevertheless, recent threads with enormous activity have
included ones about Celtic religion and early Christianity.
The connection between these subjects and popular images of
the Middle Ages is obvious, but soc.history.medieval is mainly
intended for discussion of later eras, and this proposal
originated as an attempt by some of its regulars to
address this problem.

Sci.classics (which may become humanities.classics) is the most
problematic case.  The newsgroup's charter specifically includes
the history of the Greco-Roman world and neighbouring regions as
far as India.  All the same, it's hardly an intuitively obvious
place to look for such topics, and in practice, sci.classics is
dominated by linguistic/literary discussions which are not
immediately welcoming to the Greek-less and Latin-less visitor.
While sci.classics is a thriving and worthwhile newsgroup, we
submit that this aspect of its topic could be better served

No rigid boundaries can be drawn among these topics.
Discussions of Egyptian hieroglyphic inscriptions, for
example, are intrinsically both archaeological and
historical in character; a sixth-century figure like
Gregory of Tours is strictly on-topic in
soc.history.medieval and sci.classics as well as the
proposed soc.history.ancient.  But with such important
and intriguing topics of its own as the rise and fall
of Rome, the Vedas and Buddhism, and with personalities
like Caesar and Alexander, Jesus and Buddha, Asoka and
the First Emperor of Chin available to it,
soc.history.ancient is obviously a newsgroup with
good prospects.

CHARTER:	soc.history.ancient

This is a news group for discussion of ancient historical
cultures existing up to circa AD 700.

Appropriate types of articles would include discussions of
ancient cultures, FAQs, booklists, personal insight essays,
announcements of new publications and research, analyses
of historical patterns (i.e., styles of warfare, travel,
agriculture, etc.), and reviews of current research and
television series or specials.  Short, non-hype, commercial
announcements of books, seminars, etc. are also acceptable.

Inappropriate types of articles would include commercial
advertisements, non-historical or pseudo-historical
discussions (what if, alternate history, fantasy cultures,
etc.), topics outside the date range of the news group,
binary files, and articles concerning legendary cultures,
individuals, and events.

Discussion focuses more on historical aspects (what we
know from contemporary textual sources) of these cultures
and less on the literary and archaeological aspects.

Articles on topics for which textual evidence is scant
or non-existant should be posted to sci.archaeology.moderated.
While discussions of the Maya, the only known American culture
with surviving texts from our period, are welcome, posters
should be aware that sci.archaeology.mesoamerican is more
likely to be read by informed specialists in that subject.
And for postings on topics *primarily about* Old World texts
and/or languages of the texts themselves, sci.classics (or
humanities.classics) will be a better place to go.

This group will be unmoderated, allowing anyone with the
proper access to create or participate in message discussions.



This is a request for discussion, not a call for votes.  In this
phase of the process, any potential problems with the proposed
news group should be raised and resolved.  The discussion period
will continue for a minimum of 21 days (starting from when the
first RFD for this proposal is posted to news.announce.newgroups),
after which a Call For Votes (CFV) may be posted by a neutral
vote taker if the discussion warrants it.  Please do not
attempt to vote until this happens.

All discussion of this proposal should be posted to news.groups.
This RFD attempts to comply fully with the Usenet newsgroup
creation guidelines outlined in "How to Create a New Usenet
Newsgroup" and "How to Format and Submit a New Group Proposal".
Please refer to these documents (available in
news.announce.newgroups) if you have any questions about the


This RFD has been posted to the following newsgroups:


This RFD has been posted to the following mailing lists:

aegeanet at acpub.duke.edu
anahita at lsv.uky.edu
ane at oi.uchicago.edu
ancien-l at ulkyvm.louisville.edu
arch-l at tamvm1.tamu.edu
aztlan at ulkyvm.louisville.edu
classics at u.washington.edu
eaan at ccat.sas.upenn.edu
earlyscience-l at listserv.vt.edu
ethnohis at nic.surfnet.nl
h-africa at msu.edu
h-asia at msu.edu
h-world at msu.edu
history at ukanvm.cc.ukans.edu
histonwr at ubvm.cc.buffalo.edu
indology at liverpool.ac.uk
world-l at ubvm.cc.buffalo.edu

  ++   ++   "Well Samwise: What do you think of the elves now?"
  ||\ /||                 --fbaggins at mid.earth.com
  || v ||ichael Martinez                    (mmartin at basis.com)
  ++   ++------------------------------------------------------

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