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Bill Thayer

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Behind each of these little logos that flew here out of the ether, there's a person who appreciated my site and was kind enough to let me know it. I hope I'm not being ungracious by adding to them the dozens of warm letters of thanks or appreciation from others who just don't happen to have designed attractive awards!

On June 6th, 1999, I actually got this in my e‑mail: I wish I had a nice logo to place on your page as sign of my appreciation (muito obrigado Izabel).

Another of my favorite pieces of e‑mail:

I recommended your diary to three Mississippians who were going off to spend 3 weeks in Italy. They liked the diaries a lot, but didn't have time to read the entirety before leaving, so they printed out the entire thing and took it with them. Although they were traveling a different area from most of your travels, they said they used your attitude and approach, which they, and I, found valid, to keep from making their trip a scurrying disaster, therefore spending more time wandering and eating than most first time visitors do. They read the diaries as entertainment when they were too tired to move on. These folks are all in their 60s‑70s, I believe. Anyway, northwest Tuscany was much nicer for the inspiration provided by you, is what I hear.

Yet another type of "award" I cherish is whenever one of you finds it worth your time and effort to improve my site in some way, making it a collaborative effort in the best ideals of the Internet.

I don't have much else to say then, except . . .

Thank you!


For completeness sake, here, as I accessed it on 15 Nov 99 (it is no longer generally available online to non-subscribers, and a check in May 2009 shows no further updates), is a review of "LacusCurtius: into the Roman world" in the May 1998 issue, Vol. 35, No. 9, of Choice, a librarians' resource journal:

"William Thayer, a classicist with some academic expertise, is the proprietor of this electronic curiosity shop, wherein visitors may browse among many odd items whose value and use are not immediately apparent — e.g., photo albums of selected ancient sites and stray documents on stone — with captions ranging from informed to bewildered. But, as in an antiquarian collection, rare gems gleam among the debris. There is an intelligently organized and classified (by region, topic, resource) hot list of many (more than 1,250) pertinent Net sites; a scholarly Latin text of the Elder Pliny's Natural History (three books to date of the eventual 37) linked by logical icons to bibliographic and illustrative sites — a splendid project and an instructive example of how hypertext can function. Thayer will perform a service of surpassing value if he can enhance and complete these two aspects of his site. This site has a number of advantages: it is frequently updated; users may select (more or less accurate) text in English, French, Spanish, and Italian; the photo graphics are clear; satellite data-mapping imagery is frequently used effectively in a (selective) Gazetteer of ancient Roman locales. However, users should employ Netscape 4.0 (or equivalent) or higher. The University of Kansas server is obviously overworked and extremely intolerant; many links produce faults, and connecting/downloading speed can be frustratingly slow and incomplete. General readers through graduate students."

P. B. Harvey
Pennsylvania State University, University Park Campus

I probably don't need to point out that a lot has been added and improved onsite: for example, all of Pliny is online now, as well as all of Ammian, Cassius Dio, Cato, Celsus, Claudian, Curtius, Dionysius, Frontinus, the Historia Augusta, Polybius, Velleius Paterculus, and Vitruvius; plus the principal works of Isidore, Macrobius, Quintilian and Suetonius; and much of Appian, Plutarch, Procopius, and Strabo. In 2004, once a good Web search engine had finally proved itself (Google), I removed the hot list and reorganized parts of my site to direct readers to the best external sites where needed; and, in the interest of getting as many useful resources onsite, I've more or less dropped all translation: it was just too time-consuming.

I do need to point out that I'm not a classicist but a lover of old stones with almost no knowledge of the haunts of classicists (Vergil and so forth), that I haven't the slightest shred of academic expertise, and that I never had a single item of satellite imagery anywhere onsite until Google Maps was born. In 2004, the site moved to the University of Chicago, with an immediate marked improvement in speed; users' computers have also become much faster.

On the other hand I'm very rarely bewildered. Ignorant, sometimes; but my constant reminders on this site that such and such is simply not known should not be taken as bewilderment, but rather as a corrective to a prevalent view out there that of course we in the 21c now know everything! In fact, in the study of Antiquity and even more recent monuments, there are very many things that are just plain not known, by anyone.


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Page updated: 15 Dec 10