This article is from the soc.history.medieval FAQ, by Stephan Schulz firstname.lastname@example.org with numerous contributions by others.
Some newsreader software allows a search for keywords in your Internet
service provider's database; GNN's news-server at last count had some
23,000 newsgroups. Amazingly, the Internet standard-maker, Netscape
Navigator 2.01 (the latest), does not have a find feature, so users
have to spend some time browsing in the database. The list is
alphabetical and hierarchical, so like a Windows 95 directory, you can
click on + and - to expand and contract headings. The maingroup "soc"
has society, social sciences, etc.
Here is a selection of newsgroups which deal with medieval material.
Some of these, like soc.history, can be very noisy and unruly, but
sometimes deal with medieval topics of current interest
(e.g. the "Braveheart" movie).
[Perhaps some regular readers could write a short (one or two
paragraphs) introduction to each group?]
This newsgroup deals with all aspects of the Arthurian legend,
from quite complex historical issues relating to both the 5th
century itself and the later transmission of the legend, to
discussions of the latest Arthurian fantasy epic from Stephen
Lawhead. It is moderately quiet, with perhaps 60-65 posts a
week; flame wars are very infrequent. There are enough
knowledgeable people subscribed for questions to be accurately
answered and discussions to be interesting
rec.arts.books.hist-fiction Historical fictions (novels) in
rec.arts.books.hist-fiction deals with all sorts of historical
fiction from Greece and Rome up to the present day. It
specifically does NOT deal with the 'what-if' novels such as
Deighton's SS-GB, Gingrich's 1945 and the ilk or historically
based fantasy novels such as Katherine Kurtz's Deryni series.
With this broad scope it covers quite a bit of medieval
material from the Jean Plaidy historical romances to all kinds
of slush about the Crusades.
rec.heraldry Discussion of coats of arms.
rec.martial-arts Discussion of the various martial art forms.
rec.org.sca Society for Creative Anachronism.
This newsgroup, also called "The Rialto" among its readers, is
intended for use by members of the Society for Creative
Anachronism, a group engaging in re-enacting (medieval) history.
See section 5 for more details.
Note that several Scadians also read soc.history.medieval.
SCA-specific topics should not be discussed on
soc.history.medieval but should be taken to rec.org.sca.
rec.sport.fencing All aspects of swordplay.
sci.archaeology Studying antiquities of the world.
sci.archeoology.moderated All aspects of archaeology. (Moderated)
sci.archaeology.mesoamerican The field of mesoamerican archaeology
sci.classics Studying classical history, languages, art and
humanities.classics Discussion of ancient Greece and Rome
soc.genealogy.medieval Genealogy in the period from roughly
AD500 to AD1600
soc.history Discussions of things historical.
soc.history.ancient Ancient history (up to AD 700).
soc.history.early-modern is a newsgroup for the discussion of
early-modern history from about 1500 to about 1800. Topical
relevance to early-modern history is more important than the
dates with quite a bit of medieval material being on-topic so
long as it is closely linked to events occurring during the
early-modern period. For example, discussions on the beginnings
of the European Voyages of Discovery, the Italian Renaissance,
or the influence of late Medieval heresy on the Reformation are
soc.history.living Living history and reenactment, issues and
soc.history.moderated All aspects of history. (Moderated)
soc.history.science History of science and related areas.
soc.history.war.misc History & events of wars in general.
soc.history.what-if Alternate history.
soc.history.what-if and alt.history.what-if are newsgroups to
discuss history divergent from that of our own. A very common
example thread would be "What if the South won the U.S. Civil
In general the what-if newsgroups discuss what might have been
the outcome of history had key events turned out differently;
a favorite topic being how dramatically different the results
might have been had an event we now consider minor have been
different. Alternatively what would have been the effect on
history had key individuals died younger/lived longer. (For
instance how would Victorian England have been different had
Prince Albert survived to the 1880s or "What if Frederick had
been Kaiser longer than 91 days?")
Additionally, the what-if newsgroups discuss literature in the
alternate history genre such as victorious Third Reichs (Dick,
"The Man in the High Castle, Deighton "SS-GB"), failed
Pizarros & Cortes, victorious Spanish Armadas and victorious
Napoleon Bonapartes (usually either against Britain or
Russia). All these are discussed in greater detail in the FAQ
The newsgroups do NOT discuss historical revisionism (see
alt.revisionism), future history or alternate history in
The original alt.history.what-if group has theoretically been
superseded by the new group in the soc-hierarchy (which, as a
rule, receives wider propagation and has a formal procedure
for the reation and deletion of groups). However, the old
group still receives a lot of traffic. Using the new group
exclusively is strongly encouraged.
Some topical discussion can sometime be found in the following groups: