History and Purpose – University of Copenhagen

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CIMAGL > History and Purpose

History and Purpose

Cahiers de l’Institut du Moyen-Âge Grec et Latin, or Cimagl for short, was founded in 1969 on the initiative of Jørgen Raasted (1927–1995) with the strong support of Jan Pinborg (1937-1982). Both of them were classicists by training and both of them worked in the tiny research research unit called Institute for Greek and Latin Medieval Philology, which had been founded in 1958 under the aegis of the Faculty of Philosophy (later: Humanities) of the University of Copenhagen with the main purpose of creating a framework for two great editorial projects: Monumenta Musicae Byzantinae and Corpus Philosophorum Danicorum Medii Aevi. Byzantine music and medieval philosophy have been the core disciplines served by the journal since its foundation, although quite a few other disciplines with a relation to Greek and/or Latin have also made an occasional appearance in Cimagl.

The aim was to create an easy, cheap and fast outlet for research done at the institute by using the latest technology, which was then off-set printing from sheets prepared on electric typewriters. This would save the time- and money-consuming intervention of typesetters. It was also part of the idea that the publications could have the character of test balloons, preliminary results of research that might, perhaps, later receive a definitive formulation worthy of being presented to the world in the traditional way as a nicely printed book or as an article in a traditional scholarly journal.

Until 1972 the official editor of the journal was Professor Povl Johannes Jensen, who was the director of the institute. He was the man responsible for the journal’s French title. Although holding a degree in English (having majored in Classics and minored in English), he held that there were only two noble languages of scholarship: Latin and French. A Latin title for the journal was vetoed by the young initiators, and so it became French.

In 1972 Jan Pinborg took over the directorship of the institute, and with it the editorship of Cimagl, although in the latter case the change was purely nominal. He had been de facto editor almost from the beginning. During his editorship publications by foreigners began to appear in the journal. Part of the reason was that he and Raasted attracted younger scholars from abroad who would come to Copenhagen for extended periods, at the end of which it became customary to publish at least one paper or edition by each in the journal. Pinborg also began to invite contributions when he knew somebody had some material that he considered interesting. With time, the defining criterion for what the journal could publish became “work done in Copenhagen or in collaboration with scholars there.”

After Pinborg’s untimely death in 1982 Sten Ebbesen took over both directorship and editorship. The institute disappeared in 1990 by being merged with the Institute of Classics, to form a new Institute (i.e. department) of Greek and Latin., which in turn disappeared in 2004 in a merger with archaeology, ethnology and history to form the present Saxo Institute. Those institutional changes did not, however, change the journal, which kept its old name as well as its editor.

The last paper issue (No 78) appeared in 2008. For information about contents and availability of Cimagl 1-78, see Back Numbers from the Paper Era

As a sign of a new age, the sole editor had now become editor-in-chief with two co-editors and an advisory board in order to be able to comply with modern peer-reviewing demands. To see the list of editors and board members go to Organization and Editorial Board.

A slightly more detailed sketch of the history of CIMAGL may be found in vol. 78 (2008) 205-207.