Ancient History

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Studying History Human Origins Mesopotamia Egypt Persia Israel Greece Hellenistic World Rome Late Antiquity Christian Origins
IHSP Credits
Internet Ancient History Sourcebook:

See Main Page for a guide to all contents of all sections.

Although associated primarily with the Internet Ancient History Sourcebook, this Help! page is designed to be of use to any user of serious online resources who is looking for more information.


What you can find help on here

Because of the large scale usage of the various Internet History Sourcebooks,  I do not have time to answer the ten to twenty emailed requests for help I get each day. This page is designed to answer most of your questions. I have done more than my bit  in providing and making information available. Now you need to look elsewhere.

I particularly apologize for this response to the various high school students [and their parents] who contact me each day for help with homework. To those who ask me simply to do their homework, let me say, 'Do it yourself!', but to those who want more general help or guidance, again, I simply do not have the time. Still, if you follow the guidelines below you will find something of use to you.

Suggestions for Bibliography and Web Sites

If I know of a web site it is already linked to from one of my pages. For History in general see the suggestions below.

If I know of a useful or available online text, I link to it already. There is no point in writing and asking me for a text if it is not here! [On the other hand, if you want to scan and edit a text, then I do want to hear from you.]

If you are after books or bibliography suggestions, many libraries are now on the Net. Try searching Melvyl - the University of California Library system - probably the best place for bibliographic searches. It is available via telnet at telnet:// [give your terminal type as "VT100"] There is no general search engine for academic journal articles, but   through Melvyl you can link to CARL, which lists recent periodical literature. See also:

History discussion on the net

If you are engaged in a specific project, or have a particular topic you need to know more about, it makes far more sense to ask many people rather than just one:- you may find real experts, and you may find people who have time to give very specific answers. The best way to do this is to join a history mailing list, or access the Usenet groups which discuss such issues.

  • H-Net
    H-Net is by far the largest maintainer and provider of high-quality history discussion lists. Go to the H-Net website to locate a group that covers areas of interest to you.
  • soc.history
    Is the main Usenet disussion group for history, but the soc.culture.* hierarchy is also useful. Frankly, much of Usenet is now a sewer of bad information and ideological posturing, but if you want to see if a particular topic has been discussed try the Usenet search engine at


You can do bibliographic research on the net better than in almost any given library. But you cannot do real original research on the net - that requires going to libraries. The information on the net is distinctly "middle-brow" - translations, English versions, and selections, rather than original texts, original languages, and complete collections. This may change in the future, but only with extensive funding.

Remember: If all else fails, try asking a librarian!

About the Internet History Sourcebooks
Searching the Internet

The Web is vast and now that it contains more, and more diverse information, than any single printed source. This availability of information will only increase and is a truly splendid new tool to help in your research. To use the Web efficiently, the various search engines are essential. It is important to form your query words as clearly as possible. For instance, if you are interested in finding information on a particular musician, do not search for "music", but for a style [eg "jazz" or "gregorian chant"] or even a name ["abba", "charlie parker", "hildegard"].

Here are links to the best "wide area" search engines on the Web. Yahoo is best, I think, if you are looking for specialized websites. Altavista, Excite, and Hotbot all index many more documents. These engines will always turn up more references, but far more will be dross than with Yahoo. It is useful to start with Yahoo since it has a nice feature - once it tells you everything that it has found, it will automatically plug you in to the other search engines.

  • Yahoo!
    The best for web sites as opposed to specific documents.
  • HotBot
    The most flexible of the search engines - it lets you get 100 hits at a time.
  • AltaVista: Main Page
    Competes with Hotbot to be the most comprehensive search engine on the web.
  • LookSmart
    A sort of combination of Yahoo and Hotbot. It has its own list of commented on websites, but also plugs into Altavista.
  • Excite
    Some people love this search engine. I think it loads too much advertising onto your system.
  • Lycos
    Lycos seems to have lost much of its early lead.
  • Google Groups
    Allows you to search messages to usenet/netnews.
  • Reference.COM Search
    This lets you search the past postings of mailing lists [rather the usenet newsgroups] Since a higher quality of discussion takes place on such lists, this can be very useful.
  • Search for Lyrics
  • Other Engines
    The following are all online, and you might something useful there. I never do.

Reference Sources on the Net
  • from Electric Library
    This lets you search for date in the online Columbia Encyclopedia. Its great for checking dates, etc. It ties into to the pay-for-access Electric Library, which can give your, for a fee, access to online articles from a wide variety of sources.
  • Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable 1894
    A searchable compendium of all sorts of information.
  • My Virtual Reference Desk - My Facts Page
    A hierarchical guide to where to find information on the net.
  • AltaVista: Translations
    Provides an online translation service to/from English and French/Spanish/German/Italian.
  • The WWW Virtual Library
    A searchable and comprehensive co-operative annotated guide to the net by scholars in each subject area.

History (and Related Subjects) Net Guides
Writing and Citation Guides
Online Bookstores
Other Online Text Sites
Critiques of Net Information
Common Questions
  • Additions as necessary!


Dates of accession of material added since July 1998 can be seen in the New Additions page.. The date of inception was 4/8/1998.

Links to files at other site are indicated by [At some indication of the site name or location]. Locally available texts are marked by [At this Site].

WEB indicates a link to one of small number of high quality web sites which provide either more texts or an especially valuable overview.

The Internet Ancient History Sourcebook is part of the
Internet History Sourcebooks Project

The Internet History Sourcebooks Project is located at the History Department of  Fordham University, New York. The Internet Medieval Sourcebook, and other medieval components of the project, are located at the Fordham University Center for Medieval Studies.The IHSP recognizes the contribution of Fordham University, the Fordham University History Department, and the Fordham Center for Medieval Studies in providing web space and server support for the project. The IHSP is a project independent of Fordham University.  Although the IHSP seeks to follow all applicable copyright law, Fordham University is not the institutional owner, and is not liable as the result of any legal action.

© Site Concept and Design: Paul Halsall created 26 Jan 1996: latest revision 26 January 2023 [CV]