Bylaws of De re militari

The full name of the organization shall be De re militari:  The Society for the Study of Medieval Military History (hereafter abbreviated DRM).

A. History:

DRM was founded in 1992 during the annual International Congress for Medieval Studies meeting in Kalamazoo, Michigan.  The organization takes its name from the military treatise by Flavius Renatus Vegetius,  the most famous such work bequeathed by the Romans.   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, the society 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 scholarly information about warfare in the Middle Ages.  Here the organization hosts many primary sources, articles, dissertations, as well as an extensive book review section.  Since 2003, DRM has also produced the Journal of Medieval Military History (hereafter JMMH), in the form of a handsome, hard-cover volume published annually by Boydell & Brewer.

B. Organization:

DRM is 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, etc.

Such matters may then be raised before the society’s membership at its annual general meeting to be held at an appropriate and convenient venue such as an international conference.  The executive committee can approve sponsorship of sessions at conferences at its discretion.

The executive committee is composed of the following voting membeers:

  • the President of DRM
  • the past presidents of DRM
  • an Executive Secretary (aka mayor of the palace)
  • a treasurer/membership secretary
  • the webmaster of the DRM website
  • all current editors of the JMMH
  • the book review editor
  • a chairman of the prize committees

In the event of any ballot being held within the executive committee, each member shall have 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.

C. Officers: their Functions and Period of Service:

A president elected by the membership will serve as the official head of DRM.  He or 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 selected.  It shall be the president’s function to aid the executive secretary in all business relevant to the working of the society and to represent the society as necessary.

The immediate past president of DRM shall continue to serve as a full voting member of the executive committee throughout his successor’s three-year term as president. 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 the others are not present. When a new presidential election is held, the immediate past president shall be replaced by the newly out-going president. Other past presidents with the approval of of the DRM executive committee may remain as non-voting members of that committee if they wish to do so they wish to do so.

The executive secretary will be appointed by the Executive Committee and approved by the membership. The executive secretary will oversee the regular functioning of DRM and arrange for the panels that will participate in academic conferences.

The treasurer/membership secretary will be appointed by the Executive Committee and approved by the membership. He/she will collect the dues, 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 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, the senior member of the Executive Committee present shall assume their functions.

Aside from the president, all members of the Executive Committee will serve for an indefinite term (normally until they decide to resign) after which the Executive Committee will name a successor 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.

D. 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 awarded at the annual DRM meeting by either the chairman of the prize committees or the chair of the committee making the selection or 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.)

E. Membership Requirements and Privileges

The dues for DRM membership are $40 annually.  Payment should be made to the treasurer (or his/her delegate) by check or cash.

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
  • the right to buy earlier copies of the JMMH at the reduced price of $40 (while such copies remain available)

F.  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.


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