By-laws of De Re Militari: The Society for Medieval Military History

The full name of this organization shall be De Re Militari:  The Society for Medieval Military History (hereafter abbreviated DRM). Its purpose shall be to promote education and scholarship concerning military affairs during the Middle Ages. Among its other functions, DRM will attempt to make available through its website extensive materials dealing with medieval warfare including articles, book reviews, and documents in order to aid scholars, teachers, and students in their educational and scholarly pursuits. The society also produces the Journal of Medieval Military History (JMMH) whose editors shall number among the officers of the organization.

  1. History, Resources and Functions:

DRM was founded in 1992 during the annual International Congress for Medieval Studies meeting in Kalamazoo, Michigan.  The society takes its name from the military treatise by Flavius Renatus Vegetius, the most famous such work produced by the Romans late in the history of the Empire and a work which proved highly influential during the Middle Ages.

Since its beginning, the society has had its most significant presence at the International Congress in Kalamazoo where each year it has held its annual meeting and sponsored a number of session composed of 15 to 20 minute papers as well as a special lecture delivered by a distinguished medieval military historian.  In addition, DRM has sponsored sessions at other conferences including the International Medieval Congress in Leeds, UK, and at the annual meeting of the Society for Military History (SMH). 

DRM maintains a website which has become a principal online source for information about warfare in the Middle Ages utilized not only by practicing scholars in a variety of disciplines, but also by numerous students.  Here the organization hosts many primary sources, articles, dissertations, as well as an extensive book review section. 

Since 2003, DRM has produced the JMMH, in the form of a handsome, hard-cover volume published annually by Boydell & Brewer, a company widely-recognized for its medieval military publications.

  1. Organization:

DRM shall be headed by an Executive Committee that may meet either in person or through email in order to examine, discuss, and if necessary vote upon matters that concern the society; e.g.  revisions to the bylaws, nomination of officers, the society’s presence at conferences, the location of the annual general meeting, etc.

Such matters may then be raised before the society’s membership at its annual general meeting which is to be held at an appropriate and convenient venue such as an international conference (the International Congress  in Kalamazoo being one example.) 

The Executive Committee can approve sponsorship of sessions at conferences at its discretion.

The Executive Committee shall be composed of the following members:

  • the president of DRM
  • past presidents of DRM (with the approval of the executive committee)
  • an executive secretary (aka mayor of the palace)
  • a DRM treasurer
  • a DRM membership secretary
  • a DRM program chair
  • the webmaster of the DRM website
  • all current editors of the JMMH
  • a book review editor
  • a chairman of the prize committees

Members of the Executive Committee may serve in several capacities. Members may recruit as needed other individuals to aid them in accomplishing their functions.

In the event of any vote being held within the Executive Committee, each member shall have only a single vote, even if that member currently occupies several positions.

Others, in particular past officers of the society, may be consulted and/or invited by the Executive Committee to participate in its deliberations.

  1. Officers: their Functions and Period of Service:

A president elected by the membership will serve as the official head of DRM.  He /she will serve one three-year term which will be non-renewable except in the event of an emergency and then only until a new president can be duly selected.  It shall be the president’s function to conduct and/or oversee all business relevant to the working of the society and to represent the society as necessary.

The president and the executive secretary shall jointly preside over the society’s annual meeting.  In the absence of either one, the other shall conduct the meeting.  In the absence of both, a senior member of the Executive Committee present shall assume their functions.

It shall be the immediate past president’s function to aid the president and the executive secretary in all business relevant to the working of the society and to represent the society as necessary, especially on occasions when neither of the other two is present.

In the event that they wish to do so, any other past presidents of DRM may (with the approval of the DRM Executive Committee) continue to serve as members of that committee. With the approval of the Executive Committee, past presidents may occupy other positions within the executive committee; e.g. treasurer, membership secretary, program chair, etc.

The executive secretary of DRM will be appointed by the Executive Committee and approved by the membership. The executive secretary shall aid the president in overseeing the regular functioning of DRM and help the program chair arrange for panels that will participate in academic conferences.

The treasurer of DRM will be appointed by the Executive Committee and approved by the membership. He/she will collect the dues, help maintain the membership list, and deal with the printer of the JMMH [Journal of Medieval Military History]. He/she will also file IRS Form 990-EZ by April 15th each calendar year, in order to maintain our status as a 501(a) non-profit entity.

The membership secretary will be appointed by the Executive Committee and approved by the membership. He/she will (with the help of the treasurer) compile and maintain a membership list as well as compose and circulate email solicitations for membership.

The program chair shall have principal responsibility for putting together DRM panels at academic conferences and recruiting the annual lecturer.

The webmaster shall maintain the DRM website.

The editors of the JMMH shall gather, accept or reject, and edit articles to be published in the journal. They shall also be responsible for selecting the winner(s) of the annual Gillingham Prize for the best article in each issue of the journal.

The book review editor shall gather and edit book reviews to be published on the website.

The chairman of the prize committees shall see that those committees are properly staffed and that they select the annual winners of prizes and awards conferred by DRM.

Aside from the president of DRM, all members of the Executive Committee will serve for an indefinite term (normally until they decide to resign or, in exceptional cases, until removed by a vote of the Executive Committee) after which the Executive Committee will name their successor(s) who may then be approved at the annual meeting of the membership.

Officers and Members of the Executive Committee may be replaced either by a vote of the members present at the annual meeting or by a vote of the Executive Committee at any time.  In the latter case, the action must be ratified by the membership at the next annual meeting.

There will also be an Editorial Board for the Journal of Medieval Military History appointed by the president of DRM, acting with the advice and consent of the editors of the JMMH and approved by the Executive Committee.  The board will ordinarily consist of ten members who will aid in the process of gathering and reviewing articles for possible publication in the journal.  Members of this board will be charged with seeking out potential articles, encouraging their authors to submit such articles for consideration, and, if asked by the authors, affording them advice on how they might improve the article, thereby increasing the likelihood of its acceptance.  Any or all of the members shall also review articles submitted to the journal if requested to do so by the editors; in particular, articles that are in their area of expertise.


  1. Prizes Awarded by DRM:

At the discretion of the Executive Committee, and in consultation with the appropriate prize committees, the society may award any or all of the following prizes:  (1) the Bernard S. Bachrach Prize for Distinguished Service to the Discipline of Medieval Military History, (2) the J. F. Verbruggen Book Prize, and (3) the John Gillingham Article Prize.  (Each prize has been named for a distinguished scholar in the field of medieval military studies.)  Prizes will be announced at the annual DRM meeting by either the chairman of the prize committees or the chair of the committee making the selection or, in their absence, another member of the executive committee acting for them.

Winners of the Bernard S. Bachrach Prize for Distinguished Service to the Discipline of Medieval Military History will be determined by a committee appointed by the chairman of the prize committees with the approval of the Executive Committee.  Distinguished service to the discipline shall be broadly defined, with scholarly publication constituting only one of the possible qualifications.  Other qualifications for which the prize may be awarded include promoting and/or raising the visibility of medieval military studies, mentoring students and junior scholars in the field, supporting and promoting organizations devoted to medieval military history, etc.  This prize will ordinarily be conferred either annually or biennially.

Winners of the J. F. Verbruggen Prize will be determined by a committee appointed by the chairman of the prize committees with the approval of the Executive Committee.  The Verbruggen Prize Committee may, but does not have to include the chairman of the prize committees.

The Gillingham Prize will be awarded annually to the best article in (that year’s edition/the previous year’s edition) of the Journal of Medieval Military History written by a member of DRM. (Note: to be eligible for the Gillingham Prize, the author/s of an article must currently be a member/s of the Society for Medieval Military History.  Consequently, it is recommended that authors whose articles have been accepted for publication and who wish to compete for the prize make certain that their membership is current.) Selection of the winner will be made by the editors of the journal who may also award honorable mention to other articles.  At their discretion, the editors may name other members of DRM to participate in the decision.  (Note also: the special annual lecture which is regularly published in the following year’s issue of the JMMH will not be eligible for the prize.)

  1. Privileges of Membership in DRM

A DRM membership will include:

  • one hardcover copy of the annual Journal of Medieval Military History
  • the right to serve as an officer of DRM
  • the right to vote in all elections of officers and on all issues relevant to the society
  • preference in participating on panels sponsored by DRM
  • the right to compete for the Gillingham Prize for best article in the JMMH
  • the right to purchase earlier copies of the JMMH at the reduced price of $45 (while such copies remain available)
  1. Why should one become a member of DRM?

It is very much in the interests of both the field of medieval military history and all producing scholars in that field to support DRM and to keep the JMMH alive and well.  Not only has the DRM website become an increasingly significant research tool for both students and producing scholars, but in the twelve years of its existence, the JMMH, produced by the society, has become the major outlet for original articles on all aspects of medieval military history, articles written not only by well-established authors, but also by younger members of the profession seeking to get their work into print.  While journals dedicated to the history of the crusades will print articles on that topic and other medieval journals will accept the occasional piece on medieval military matters, no other publication is dedicated entirely to such offerings.  The works that have appeared in JMMH range chronologically from the early Middle Ages to its closing centuries and geographically include Britain, Western and Eastern Europe, the Near East, North Africa, and Central Asia.  On top of all this, the turn-around time on articles tends to be faster than most other potential outlets and one cannot beat the price!

Consequently, scholars in our field are strongly encouraged to take out a membership in DRM. Those teaching at colleges and universities are also encouraged to get their libraries to purchase the JMMH.  These actions will help keep both the society and the journal strong.

  1. Distribution of Funds in the Event the Society is Dissolved

In the event of the Society for Medieval Military History being dissolved, any remaining funds in its treasury will be donated to the Society for Military History, a kindred organization  to which many members of this association also belong.

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