Wednesday, September 8, 2010


Version at BMCR home site
Editor Richard Hamilton

BMCR quietly changes its guidelines in small ways two or three times a year, and the long-awaited shift to Unicode (a shout out to Anne Mahoney!) allowed us to shorten them by 30%. In addition there has been one major change, necessitated by the increased volume of reviews, that may be of interest to all readers--the decrease in maximum length of reviews. When Jim O'Donnell and I started the review in 1990, we considered allowing only concise reviews of ca. 250 words, but the other view won out and reviews were any length (befitting the electronic medium, though in those early days a 5000-word review was printed on paper as well). As our annual productivity rose from 100 to 300 and then 400 reviews, we all had to work harder to maintain the flow. Now that it is over 700, something had to give, hence the new word limit (which moved from 3000 to 2500 and, we hope, will stay at 2000 since this seems to the senior editors sufficient space for a substantial assessment, especially if the blog is treated as the place for Gnomon-style small print comments). Exceptions may be made very rarely when the senior editors judge a particular review to be of unusual interest and importance.

Rick Hamilton

Some other BMCR statistics: 648,532 visits and 1,319,793 page views from September 1 2009-August 31 2010. (i.e., the blog): 14,963 visits in August 2010

Subscribers to our email list: 8384 5,576 to BMCR reviews only 2,763 to BMCR and TMR

Subscribers to RSS feeds from the blog: 639

Subscribers to emails from the blog: 328

Most visited fifteen reviews from Sep 1 2009-Aug 31, 2010:

1. BMCR 2000.12.08: Penelope J.E. Davies, Death and the Emperor. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000. Pp. xiv, 265; 117 ills. ISBN 0-521-63236-6. $80.00. Reviewed by Susan Wood, Oakland University

2. BMCR 2009.11.03: Response, Davidson on Verstraete on Davidson, The Greeks and Greek Love: A Radical Reappraisal of Homosexuality in Ancient Greece. Response to BMCR 2009.09.61

3. BMCR 96.04.05: Mary Lefkowitz, Not Out of Africa: How Afrocentrism Became an Excuse to Teach Myth as History. New York: New Republic and Basic Books, 1996. $24.00. ISBN 0-465-09837-1. Reviewed by Martin Bernal, Cornell University.

4. BMCR 2009.09.61: James Davidson, Also Seen: The Greeks and Greek Love: A Radical Reappraisal of Homosexuality in Ancient Greece. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 2007. Pp. v, 634. ISBN 0297819976. $42.00. Reviewed by Beert Verstraete, Acadia University

5. BMCR 2009.11.15: Response: Ormand on Davidson on Verstraete on Davidson, The Greeks and Greek Love: A Radical Reappraisal of Homosexuality in Ancient Greece. Response to BMCR 2009.11.03 Response by Kirk Ormand, Oberlin College

6. BMCR 2008.07.20: James Davidson, The Greeks and Greek Love: A Radical Reappraisal of Homosexuality in Ancient Greece. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 2007. Pp. v, 634. ISBN 0297819976. $42.00. Reviewed by Eric C. Brook, California Baptist University

7. BMCR 2003.12.15: David Mulroy, The War Against Grammar. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann, 2003. Pp. 144. ISBN 0-86709-551-2. $20.00. Reviewed by Jeremiah Reedy, Macalester College

8. BMCR 2005.07.69: Peter Heather, The Fall of the Roman Empire: A New History. London: Macmillan (to appear in US with Oxford University Press in October 2005), 2005. Pp. xvi, 576. ISBN 0-333-98914-7. £15.00. Bryan Ward-Perkins, The Fall of Rome and the End of Civilization. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005. Pp. 350. ISBN 0-10-280564-9. £16.99. Reviewed by James J. O'Donnell, Georgetown University

9. BMCR 1999.05.01: Ellen Greene (ed.), Reading Sappho: Contemporary Approaches. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1996. ISBN 0-520-20195-7. $40.00. Reviewed by Gregory Hays, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

10. BMCR 2009.07.23: S. J. Heyworth (ed.), Sexti Properti Elegi. Oxford Classical Texts. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007. Pp. lxxxi, 217. ISBN 978-0-19-814674-2. £18.50/$49.95/€20.32. S. J. Heyworth (ed.), Cynthia. A Companion to the Text of Propertius. Oxford: Oxford University Press, Pp. xvi, 647. ISBN 978-0-19-922870-6. £105/$250/€194.26. Reviewed by Antonio Ramírez de Verger, Universidad de Huelva

11. BMCR 96.04.19: Lefkowitz on Bernal on Lefkowitz

12. BMCR 1998.10.16 Judith P. Hallett, Marilyn B. Skinner, Roman Sexualities. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1997. Pp. 343. ISBN 0-691-01178-8. Reviewed by Craig A. Williams, Brooklyn College and the Graduate Center

13. BMCR 1999.10.03: Lucy Goodison, Christine Morris, Ancient Goddesses: The Myths and the Evidence. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press and British Museum Press, 1999. Pp. 224. ISBN 0-299-16320-2. $22.95. Reviewed by Mary R. Lefkowitz, Wellesley College

14. BMCR 2006.03.40: Victor Davis Hanson, A War Like No Other. How the Athenians and Spartans Fought the Peloponnesian War. New York: Random House, 2005. Pp. xviii. 397; maps. ISBN 1-4000-6095-8. $29.95. Reviewed by Stewart Flory, Gustavus Adolphus College

15. BMCR 2009.11.27: Michiel Arnoud Cor de Vaan, Etymological Dictionary of Latin and the Other Italic Languages (vol. 7 in the series "Leiden Indo-European Etymological Dictionary"). Leiden/Boston: Brill, 2008. Pp. xiii, 825. ISBN 9004167978. €229.00, $341.00. Reviewed by Wolfgang David Cirilo de Melo, Universiteit van Gent)


  1. I hope that the shift to Unicode you describe will be extended to individual reviewers, i. e., that we may be allowed to su bmit our cop y as Unicode text, ideally as MS Word or html files. I contributed a review within the p ast coup le of months and was still instructed to submit using the same old painfully awkward encoding scheme. That s hould be relegated to the trash heap of history a. s. a. p .

  2. Some other BMCR statistics also seem worth noting.

    Twelve of the fifteen most-visited pieces between September 1, 2009 and August 31, 2010 are reviews, as opposed to responses.

    Of these twelve, ten are over 2,000 words long (and not a few substantially so):

    Ramírez de Verger on Heyworth (#10): 12,944
    Bernal on Lefkowitz (#3): 9,832
    Williams on Hallett and Skinner (#12): 8,469
    Hays on Greene (#9): 2,955
    Wood on Davies (#1): 2,909
    de Melo on de Vaan (#15): 2,855
    Flory on Hanson (#14): 2,280
    Verstraete on Davidson (#4): 2,245
    Reedy on Mulroy (#7): 2,218
    Lefkowitz on Goodison and Morris (#13): 2,070.

    For the record, the remaining two are:

    O'Donnell on Heather and Ward-Perkins (#8): 1,997
    Brook on Davidson (#6): 1,860.

    Of the three responses, two are short (Davidson on Verstraete on Davidson (#2) and Ormand on Davidson on Verstraete on Davidson (#5)), but one is not:

    Lefkowitz on Bernal on Lefkowitz (#11): 3,166.

    In other words, eleven of the "top" fifteen pieces of 2009-2010 are over the new limit and would very likely not be published today.

    Notable, too, is that eleven of these pieces appeared before -- often long before -- September 1, 2009. The exceptions are the overlong review of de Vaan, the overlong review of Davidson, and the two short responses to which the overlong review of Davidson gave rise.

  3. Professor Sutton unfortunately received his book the week before we could accept Unicode reviews. The guidelines have since been changed:

  4. I would like to add to J. T. Katz's comments that while I can understand the need for strict word limits in paper journals, there is surely less need for them in online publications. As the author of one of the reviews that would now be considered too long (de Melo on De Vaan), I have to say that it is very difficult to review for instance a dictionary within the framework of 2000 words, unless one restricts oneself to very general comments that are not helpful to anyone.