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General notes

Figures and images should not exceed the number of 5, should be formatted as tiff or jpeg files, and should be 300 dpi or greater with a width of at least 4.5 inches. All images should be accompanied with reproduction permissions. If you also wish to submit a hard copy, it should be sent to Olivia Holmes, Editor-in-Chief of Mediaevalia, CEMERS, Binghamton University, Binghamton, NY, 13902-6000. In general, a manuscript should have a minimum of 15 pages and a maximum of 40.


  • Use American punctuation: commas and periods go inside terminal quotation marks.
  • Use double quotation marks; only use single quotation marks when a quotation is inside another quotation.
  • When using dashes as punctuation, use em-dashes with no spaces on either side.
  • Use series comma (e.g., “red, blue, and green.” Or “red, blue, or green.”).
  • To indicate individual ownership or authorship when more than one name is cited, ’s is added to both names (“Alter’s and Sokoloff’s conflicting studies”); to indicate joint ownership or authorship, ’s is added to the last name only (“Virgil and Sordello’s embrace”), thus indicating the shared nature of the gesture.
  • No comma should precede et al. Thus, Lewis et al., not Lewis, et al. Furthermore, al. is an abbreviation (et is not), and thus should be followed by a period.



  • Use MS and MSS, not Ms or ms.
  • Spell out all acronyms at first mention. Depending on the subject matter, some may be commonly used and may not need to be spelled out. Check on common abbreviations for the field.Change all subsequent instances to only the abbreviation or the acronym with no further spelling out, but do not begin a sentence with an abbreviation or an acronym.
  • Avoid abbreviations of states, countries, etc. as nouns (in the United States, but US economy).
  • “Versus” should spelled out, except in court cases or within parentheses.



  • When referring to chapters, books, cantos, etc., capitalize only when referring to a specific section as a proper noun (e.g., “Canto 5,” but “the fifth canto”).
  • Do not use Roman numerals for book sections (e.g. Purgatorio 8, not Purgatorio VIII)
  • For Bible verses, use a period instead of a colon (e.g., Job 19.1-4, not 19:1-4).  Also, Bible is capitalized, but biblical (adj.) is not.
  • Give the full reference in the notes the first time you cite a work.  For subsequent citations, use the author’s name with abbreviated title (plus page number), generally in a note.  Do not use “op. cit.” Use “ibid.” to refer to the same work as that cited in the endnote directly above.  Also, please do not italicize “ibid.”  If more than one work was cited in the previous note, don’t use ibid., but rather the author’s name with abbreviated title. A bibliography/works cited page is not necessary.
  • Leave out p. or pp.  If it is necessary for clarity, use p. or pages.
  • For citing verse, do not use vv, only use the line numbers.
  • When citing primary text, put the numerical citation (whether it be page, chapter, canto, line, etc.) within the text.  The first citation should have a footnote with the full bibliographic information; for all citations thereafter, only the in-text numerical citation is necessary.
  • In general, leave out ellipses at the beginning of citations (unless you are citing poetry and are starting mid-line). Do not put brackets or parentheses around ellipses.
  • Generally, citations longer than 3 or 4 lines should be set off from the text as block quotes.
  • “ff” means “and folios forward.” As a general rule, 259ff, for example, means p. 259 and what follows. It is not a substitute for “pp.”  A page range is preferable (see below).


Citing a book

Elizabeth Casteen, From She-Wolf to Martyr: The Reign and Disputed Reputation of Johanna I of Naples (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2015).

Citing a chapter from a book:

Cynthia J. Brown, “Reconstruction of an Author in Print: Christine de Pizan in the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Centuries,” in Christine de Pizan and the Categories of Difference, ed. Marilynn Desmond (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1998), 215-35.

Citing a journal article:

Bridget Whearty, "The Leper on the Road to Canterbury: The Summoner, Digital Manuscripts, and Possible Futures," Mediaevalia 36/37, no. 1 (2015/2016): 223-61.

Citing electronic sources:

  • When citing URLs (Uniform Resource Locators, i.e., computer “addresses”), no underlining is required. Further, it is unnecessary to omit following punctuation or bracket the URL for fear of typographically corrupting the citation.



  • All quoted material in foreign languages should be followed by an English translation, with SQUARE BRACKETS around the English; both the original and the translation go within one set of quotation marks:

“Quae vero pestis efficacior ad nocendum quam familiaris inimicus? [And what plague is more able to hurt a man than an enemy who was once a familiar friend?]” (Consolation, 3.5).
The translation may be provided in the notes for the purposes of a more streamlined text, if you prefer, but please keep in mind that we have a diverse readership and that many readers may need the translation to make sense of your text. (You are also welcome to cite only the translation in the body of your text and put the original in your notes, if that better serves your purposes.)


Foreign Language Words

  • Put foreign language words in italics rather than in quotes.
  • If translating a title, put the translation in italics, as well.  In this case only, the translation goes in parenthesis, not brackets: e.g., Philosophiae Consolationis (The Consolation of Philosophy).
  • For most foreign-language titles, only the first word should be capitalized, although the translation should be capitalized as an English language publication would be: e.g., Philosophiae consolationis (The Consolation of Philosophy). An exception to this rule is German-language titles, in which all nouns should be capitalized, as is normal in German.
  • Avoid overuse of quotation marks for defining terms.  Generally, use quotation marks the first time the term is introduced and defined, and no punctuation thereafter.  However, if discussing etymological distinctions, words should be italicized (e.g., suffrance has various uses in Middle English texts; the use of meretrix in Latin has a muddled history).



  • Spell out all numbers under 100, except with units of measure
  • 5 million people
  • $50
  • 2,000/20,000/200,000
  • Compress inclusive number ranges as follows:

If the first number is 1–99 or 100, 200, and so on: the second number is given in full (e.g., 5–37, 66–68, 200–201).
If the first number is 101–109, 201–209, and so on: only the changed element of the second number is given (e.g., 108–9).
If the first number is 110–199, 210–299, and so on: the second number uses two or more digits (e.g., 145–48, 1324–27, 1265–1321).



  • 1990s, mid-1990s, from 1990 to 1999
  • thirteenth and early fourteenth centuries
  • for life dates, both numbers should be given in full (e.g., 1304-1374, not 1304-74).
  • The names of centuries should be spelled out in full, in lower case. Thus, the nineteenth century, rather than the 19th century or the Nineteenth Century.



  • In accordance with Chicago, all whole numbers between one and ninety-nine should be spelled out.
  • Percentages and decimal fractions should be set in numerals rather than spelled out. However, except in scientific or statistical copy, the percent sign (%) is not used; instead, percent should be spelled out.
  • All ordinal numbers should be spelled out. Thus, one thirty-second, not a 32nd.
  • When writing out fractions, the correct form is hyphenated. Thus, one-third rather than one third or a third.



  • Use American spelling.
  • Use English names for cities (Milan, not Milano, etc.).
  • Do not use contractions.
  • The possessive of proper nouns (names) ending in s, x, or z is formed by adding ’s. Thus, Boethius’s, de Troyes’s, etc. This convention is followed even when the final s is silent (Descartes’s, Camus’s) and in the case of names that end in an eez sound (Socrates’s).

Word Usage

  • With regard to examples, such as is preferred to like.* use which with restrictive clauses and that with nonrestrictive clauses.  Which is generally preceded by a comma, and the information that follows is considered additional, parenthetical, or nonessential.  That is not preceded by a comma, and the information that follows is considered essential or related to a specific preceding object in the sentence.
  • Farther is used with regard to physical distance; further is used with regard to quantity or degree, and means “additional.” This holds even when the realm of usage is metaphorical, e.g., “The farthest reaches of the mind’s domain.”
  • Insofar as is used, rather than in so far as.
  • When indicating quantity, more than is preferred to over, which denotes physical position.
  • Also regarding quantity, fewer than should be used, rather than less than, which denotes quality. Thus, fewer than a dozen but less than perfect.


  • Modifiers ending in LY do not take a hyphen.
  • self-  is always hyphenated.
  • Compound nouns formed by combining a noun and a participle should not be hyphenated. Thus: decision making, rather than decision-making; problem solving, rather than problem-solving; child raising, rather than child-raising. This applies as well to related compound nouns such as decision makers, etc.  However, when these same compounds are used as modifiers that directly precede their objects (the decision-making process), they should be hyphenated. When detached from their objects, they may be left open.
  • All compound words are only hyphenated when used as an adjective BEFORE the noun (she is a well-known scientist; the scientist is well known; short-term effects, nineteenth-century art, decision-making process, ten-year plan).
  • Use English rather than Latin, when possible.  For example, use namely rather than viz.  However, etc. is acceptable, and e.g. and i.e. are acceptable in parentheses.  Note that a comma is needed after e.g. and i.e.  Also, note that the “et” in et al. is not an abbreviation, and therefore needs no period (et al., not et. al.).  Also, i.e. and e.g. may be used in parentheses, notes, and references, but within the text, they should be replaced by the whole phrases they represent, such as that is, namely, for example, and the like.
  • Adjectives formed by combining with ‑based should be hyphenated. Thus: theory-based, uncertainty-based, etc.
  • Compounds formed by combining with self should be hyphenated. Thus: self‑interest, self-sufficient, etc.
  • In general, adverbs that end in ly do not invite a hyphen when they are included in a compound adjective. Thus: dearly beloved, not dearly-beloved.
  • So-called should be hyphenated. The words or phrases referenced by so-called should not be placed in quotes.
  • When well is used in a compound adjective that adheres directly to its object, that adjective should be hyphenated (“the well-tempered clavier”); when the modifier is detached from its object, however, well should be treated as an independent adverb, and not hyphenated (“Your clavier has been well tempered, Johan”).


  • The names of academic courses should be lowercased except in the context of an official department title. Thus: “He was appointed to the Department of Religious Studies,” but “He taught religious studies.”BC (or BCE) and AD (or CE) should be written in full capitals, without punctuation or spacing. Further, AD should precede the year number, while the others follow.
  • Referring to the Scriptures, Bible should be capitalized. However, biblical should not.
  • As geocultural or geopolitical designations, North, South, East, and West (and Northern, Southern, Eastern, and Western) should be capitalized. As purely geographical designations (southern Italy, the western mountains), they are lowercased.
  • Periods and movements in history should be initial capped. Thus, the Enlightenment, the Renaissance, etc.  Concerning artistic and cultural periods and movements, Romanticism (and Romantics) should be capitalized, but it is an exception; others (modernism, pointillism, bebop) should not.
  • Prepositions are lowercased in all titles.
  • Civil, military, religious, and professional titles, as well as titles of nobility, should be capitalized when they append directly to a person’s name, as part of the name (President Fillmore, General Grant, Pope Pius, Justice Brandeis, King Arthur). When such titles are used in apposition to a name they are not considered part of the name and so are lowercased (Boston mayor James Michael Curley, American general Black Jack Pershing). When such titles are used independently of a name they are lowercased (the mayor, the duke, the pope, the secretary of state).


  • The following should be italicized: titles of books; names of newspapers, magazines, journals, and periodicals; titles of movies.
  • Do not italicize foreign words or phrases if they are common in Standard English usage, and which can be found in the English dictionary (e.g., par excellence, quid pro quo, per se).
  • Do not italicize Ibid (but do capitalize it).

Commas, Colons, and Semicolons

  • Commas generally appear after introductory words and phrases, including, although not restricted to: Now, Thus, Rather, Indeed, However, In fact, etc.
  • i.e. is followed by a comma, as is e.g.
  • When a colon is used within a sentence, the first word following the colon is lowercased unless it is a proper name. However, when the colon introduces two or more sentences, or when it introduces a question, a speech in dialogue, or an extract, the first word following is capitalized.

Parentheses and Brackets

  • When one or more independent sentences are enclosed in parentheses, final punctuation belongs inside the closing parenthesis; otherwise not.
  • Brackets are used to signify an insertion into quoted material (viz., [sic]). Parentheses appear within a quote only if they appear in the source material.
  • Parenthetical material that appears within already delineated parentheses should be bracketed; parenthetical material within these brackets should appear in parentheses; and so forth.

Last Updated: 1/29/18