Medieval Matters: Week 1 HT21

Dear all,

Welcome (back?) to Hilary Term! We have a cornucopia of medieval delights for you over the next eight weeks, to brighten the winter dark and take the sting out of lockdown.

First, however, a hugely important and exciting announcement! The annual, interdisciplinary Hilary Term Oxford Medieval Studies Lecture is THIS WEEK! On Thursday 21 January at 5 pm, the OMS YouTube channel will be livestreaming Prof. William Chester Jordan (Princeton), giving a paper entitled ‘A Thirteenth Century Polymath Considers the Jews’. Watch it at this link. Questions will be moderated through the comments. This is an unmissable event and an opportunity to hear a brilliant scholar; we look forward to seeing you there.

Want to be an internet sensation? Pitch a blog post for OMS! Check out our latest posts here, and email and with your ideas.  

And now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for: the seminars.

‘When the words come, they are merely empty shells without [Oxford seminars]. They live as they are [presented at Oxford seminars], for the words are the body and the [seminars] the spirit.’ – Hildegard von Bingen, mostly


  • The Medieval Latin Reading Group meets at 1 pm today on Teams. Submit your email address here to receive updates and invitations. 
  • The Seminar in Palaography and Manuscript Studies meets at 2:15 pm on Zoom. Email for the link, and for this term you’ll need to email by noon on the Friday before the seminar. Mark your calendars! This week’s speaker is Julian Luxford (St Andrews), ‘The Tewkesbury Benefactors’ Book’
  • The Medieval History Seminar meets on Teams at 5 pm. This week’s speaker is Patrick Geary (Emeritus, Princeton), ‘The Challenges and Dangers of Integrating Genomic Data into Early Medieval History’.
  • Also at 5 pm on Teams is a new reading group, GLARE (Greek, Latin, and Reception). Email both and to join in and read Greek and Latin texts with an eye towards their use in medieval and later literature. This week’s text is Euripides, Iphigenia at Aulis.
  • The Old Norse Reading Group meets at 5:30 pm on Teams, continuing with Hervarar saga ok Heiðreks. Email to join.


  • The Late Medieval Seminar is back, and this term’s theme is ‘Textiles in the Later Middle Ages’. The seminar meets at 2 pm on Zoom (link here, meeting ID: 962 7053 8553, passcode: 078931). This week’s speaker is Amanda Phillips (University of Virginia), ‘Ottoman Textiles between the Mediterranean and Indian Ocean’.
  • The Medieval Book Club meets at 3:30 on Teams. This term’s theme is Food (glorious food), and this week’s theme is ‘Feasting: Arthurian Tales’. Email for more details and to join.
  • The Oxford Pre-Modern Middle Eastern History Seminar meets at 5:30 pm on Zoom (link here). This week’s speaker is Lena Salaymeh (Oxford), ‘The Beginnings of Islam’, with respondent Khaled Abou el Fadl (UCLA).


  • The Medieval German Seminar meets at 11:15 am on Teams, with a small reading group beginning at 11. This term’s focus is Arnold von Harff’s travel accounts.
  • The Late Antique and Byzantine Seminar meets at 5 pm on Google Meet (link here). This week’s speaker is Marek Jankowiak, ‘P.Lond I 113.10, the Tribute of Cyrus, and the Muslim Conquest of Egypt’.
  • The Medieval English Research Seminar meets at 5:15 pm on Teams. This week’s speaker is Samantha Zacher (Cornell), ‘Looking beyond the Lyrical “I”: the Wife’s Lament, Psalm Intertexts and Affective Technologies’.



  • The Seminar in the History of the Book meets at 2:15 pm on Zoom. Register to receive a link for each meeting by emailing This week’s speaker is Matthew Payne (Keeper of the Muniments, Westminster Abbey), ‘Follow the Money: Wynkyn de Worde, Jacques Ferrebouc and the Bardi’.
  • The Anglo-Norman Reading Group is continuing with the Life of Godric this term, at 5 pm on odd week Fridays. Please contact Stephanie Hathaway ( for details.

We’ve made it through the Kalends of January! All of term spreads before us, with EVEN MORE seminars starting up next week. Keep your heads up, medieval team: we’ll get through the winter yet.

All best wishes,


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