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1. You want to contact me because you feel something is seriously wrong with my site (unexpected windows popping up, chunks missing or you can't seem to get anything to work). Thank you very much for taking the time to let me know of the problem. Go here.
2. You just can't find something. Go here.
2a. You need help finding websites on topics dealing with Roman antiquity, or want to know what happened to "RomanSites", the annotated weblist that was my first involvement on the Internet and eventually led to this site. I maintained RomanSites as an e‑mail list from 1994 to 1997, then migrated it to the Web: but the search engines (i.e., mostly Google) became so good that RomanSites had become pretty much useless, certainly in terms of the work required to maintain it. I deleted it in mid-August 2004, and recommend you sharpen your searching skills.
3. You want to know my credentials. Go here.
4. You want to know who is the translator or editor of a text on my site, or who holds the copyright and whether you may reproduce it. This information is almost always onsite. The copyright status is indicated by the number of asterisks in the URL of the photo or the page (and see the footer link on copyright). Further details will almost always be found on that text's orientation page: if you have landed on a chapter or section of something, you need to go there; the link should be found at the top of the page, marked by
Here and on some few other pages it will just send you to my homepage, but usually you can climb to the level with the information you need. If (a) there is no "up" button, or (b) I've failed to provide the information on the orientation page — please let me know, including the URL of the page in question: I goofed, will want to improve my site, and will be grateful to you.
Otherwise, if the information is onsite — if for example someone asks me about "[my] translation of Dio" when the Dio orientation page is quite clear about who translated it, about the source or copyright status of an engraving in Smith's Dictionary, etc. — I categorically will not answer their e‑mail. It is pointless writing to someone who can't read.
5. You've fallen on one of my pages that mentions an ancestor of yours, and you believe I may be able to help you with your genealogical researches. Unfortunately I have no interest in genealogy, and therefore don't know anything about the subject, and tend to avoid genealogical material onsite. In nearly 30 years that this site has been online, I've never been able to help anyone with a genealogical query.
6. You want a textfile for one or more of my webpages. Sorry to disappoint you, but there is no underlying textfile for any of them, since I work directly in HTML. At that point, it becomes just as easy (or, in some cases, hard) for you to extract a textfile from the webpages as it would be for me. The simplest thing is of course to copy the entire contents of the webpage into a blank file in your preferred word processing format, and go from there.
6a. You want a textfile of something not on my site. (And usually, you want me to send it to you by e‑mail.) If it's not onsite, then I don't have it; it just doesn't exist yet. I may eventually put it up, but I'm not your own private short-order cook: anything available is available to everyone, not just to some privileged persons who get it in their in-box.
7. You're looking at a page of mine in some foreign language, and would like it translated. Go here.
8. You want to report a broken link, fix it, or correct any of the many errors I must surely be making, add useful or interesting information, or just send along some encouragement. Thank you! — and go here. (If on the other hand you're in a mood to insult or threaten me, see below.)
9. You have a suggestion for some neat resource to add to this site; or maybe you're even thinking of some type of joint venture.
9a. Thank you. I'm open to suggestions of this type, and sometimes I've taken up offers of joint collaboration: good examples are my Herodotus with Jona Lendering and Dr. Ilya Rushkin's paper "Note on Water Measurements by Frontinus".
9b. I have a fairly full plate at all times. If you succeed in tempting me with something really good, be prepared still for a lag time of two or three months while I clear out the To‑Do queue ahead of your project.
9c. Online reputation notwithstanding, less than half my site is concerned with Graeco-Roman antiquity (the "LacusCurtius" section), in which I'm no longer very interested: while I gladly continue to correct small mistakes in existing stuff on LacusCurtius, I'm at present very unlikely to get involved in any further project in that field, and much more likely to be receptive to projects in happier areas: central Italy, American history, World War II history, Egypt, etc.
10. You're going on a trip to a part of the world I know well — most likely central Italy — and have questions or need advice. You're in luck: I'm by no means as curmudgeonly as some of the previous answers might make me seem, and of all the mail I get, this is what I like the best. Go here.
11. You believe we are related, or you're interested in some other member of the Thayer family. Go here.
12. You hope I will be able to advise you on finding, buying, authenticating or assessing books, coins, artworks, or other old artifacts. Unfortunately, such a hope would be misplaced: I have no expertise at all in this kind of thing, and recommend you hit the used book stores and online auction or sales houses, or seek out an appraiser specializing in that particular type of object; or your local museum or university library.
I don't participate in mutual-link schemes. If I don't like your site, there is no allurement you can offer to make me override that; conversely, if your site is good, I need no bribery.
14. You want to send me political petitions and the like. Spare yourself: I will throw them away, as little read as possible. Usually such petitions are resorted to because the viewpoint is that of a small minority anyway. If they are outright offensive, I will adjust my filters so that all further mail from you, regardless of the subject, is automatically filtered to trash.
15. I don't answer anonymous, unsigned, or blatantly pseudonymous mail (e.g., from Queen of the Night or FriedEggsInHell); actually, most of it I usually don't see, since it's automatically trashed with the spam.
Abusive mail of any kind (almost always a sign of stupidity) will not usually be answered either; and by sending it, you authorize me to publish it onsite.
Threatening e‑mail is very rare, thank goodness; it gets sent to the FBI.
If you get no answer from me: see this page for possible explanations, and what to do about it.
Images with borders lead to more information.
The thicker the border, the more information. (Details here.)
A page or image on this site is in the public domain ONLY if its URL has a total of one *asterisk. If the URL has two **asterisks, the item is copyright someone else, and used by permission or fair use. If the URL has none the item is © Bill Thayer.
See my copyright page for details and contact information.
Page updated: 5 May 15