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about golden threads

When the internet became something available to folks other than physicists, folks in classics and ancient history rather quickly embraced it as a means of communication. Quite early on, lists such as Classics-l and Ancien-l came into existence and they became rather high quality fora for discussions of various things about the ancient world. They also became fora for idle chit chat and assorted other conversations which are probably less useful. Whatever the case, these (and other) lists had the foresight to archive the conversations but, unfortunately, in their current form, such archives are much underutilized, both by professionals and by layfolk who are interested in the ancient Mediterranean world. Perhaps even more disturbing, however, in recent years we have seen some portions of archives simply disappear as servers or owners change. And so, one day while contemplating my navel I thought how wonderful it would be if some of these conversations were made available on the web, with some sort of editing involved to make them more readable and useful. Thus the concept of the 'golden thread' was born.

editing principles
For the most part, anything presented is pretty much as originally posted, save that I've trimmed the headers to include just the date (in case you want to track it down in archives somewhere or in case you're wondering how up-to-date a bibliography might be), the name of the author where known (not always apparent) and the subject (which might change during the course of a thread). I've taken out email addresses to protect privacy of individuals (and, in any event, in many cases they are no longer valid). Also taken out are quotations of previous messages, except in very long threads when a quotation of a few lines might be necessary to understand context. All signatures, thank yous, me toos, and any other passing comments which don't really add anything to the conversation are removed as well. If I see a spelling mistake along the way, I've usually corrected it, but this really hasn't been a priority. The overall goal, as stated above, is to present useful conversations in a readable format.

Wherever possible, I've included a note on where I've culled a particular conversation from. Generally, these are hyperlinked in some way so if you click on the reference, you should be taken to the unedited conversation or to instructions on how to get there. Of course, you'll have to wade through everything else that was going on at the same time, but it seems that something like this is necessary for intellectual honesty reasons.

how to navigate
On the main golden threads page you are presented with some rather broadly-defined topics. Below the heading for each topic will appear a box with a light background like this one which lists the latest subjects (in the sense of a subject line from an email list) to be added to that section. You can either click on the subject itself and be taken directly to it in a new browser window, or you can click on the topic heading (in the darker grey box) to be taken to that topic's main page, where all subjects for the topic are listed with a brief synopsis of what each conversation is about. This will also open in a new browser window. To return whence you came, of course, just close the browser window.

n.b.: Because some subjects might fit into more than one topic, you might find them listed under more than one topic.
Copyright © 2001 David Meadows
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