Medieval Matters: Week 2 TT21

Dear all,

Happy May Day! Fun fact: the first recorded use of maypoles in Britain dates to the 14th century. Meanwhile, in the present day, it’s second week already and the seminar offerings are just getting more numerous. If you want to catch up with what happened last week, here’s the link to Jim Harris’ fabulous OMS Lecture ‘Museum in the Middle’. Anybody interested in writing a post about it or any other Oxford medieval topic for our revamped website, do get in touch! 

Announcements first:

Tomorrow, Tuesday 4 May, from 2-4 pm, the Bodleian will be hosting a special online event on ‘Dante 1481: the Comedia, illustrated by Botticelli’. Gervase Rosser (Oxford), Cristina Dondi (Oxford), and Tabitha Tuckett (UCL) will give talks on Botticelli’s engraved illustrations of the 1481 edition of La Comedia, on the surviving copies, and o the context of the book’s production. Book tickets here.

The Oxford Fantasy podcast is still taking pitches! Our line-up for the term already includes The Silmarillion, interviews with a variety of exciting authors, and explorations of Oxford’s fantasy archives (with visuals), but we want your ideas!

May, with alle thy floures and thy grene, / Welcome be thou, faire fresshe May, / In hope that I som [Trinity Term seminars] gete may’. – Chaucer, The Knight’s Tale, one can only imagine


  • The Oxford Byzantine Graduate Seminar meets at 12:30 pm on Zoom. Please register in advance by contacting This week’s speaker is Alessandro Carabia (University of Birmingham), ‘Defining the “Byzantine Variable” in Early Byzantine Italy: The Case of Liguria (500-700 CE)’.
  • The Medieval Latin Reading Group meets 1-2 pm on Teams. Improve your Latin, learn palaeographical skills, and engage first-hand with medieval texts by reading reproductions of manuscripts. Submit your email address here to receive notices.
  • The Medieval History Seminar meets at 5 pm on Teams. This week’s speaker is José Andres Porras (St Hugh’s), ‘Is Love in One’s Blood? Establishing Solidarities via Common Descent in Late Medieval Thought, 1250-1400’, with respondent David D’Avray (UCL).


  • The Medieval Book Club meets at 3:30 pm on Google Meet. Contact for the link and to be added to the mailing list. This week’s theme is Urban Legends, featuring Giovanni Villani’s Chronicle.
  • The Early Slavonic Seminar is back this week, meeting at 5 pm on Zoom. Register here. This week’s speaker is Petar Todorov (Institute of National History, Skopje), ‘History as a Source of Conflict Between Nations: Recent Macedonian-Bulgarian Controversies’. 
  • Medieval Church and Culture also makes a triumphant return this week on Teams, on the MCC channel in the OMS Team. The meeting begins at 5 pm and papers start at 5:15. This week’s speakers will be Pilar Bertuzzi Rivett (Lincoln), ‘Ten Names, One God: Exploring Christian-Kabbalistic Affinity in a Christian Hymn of the Twelfth Century’ and Samuel Heywood (St Peter’s), ‘The Finnish Product: Translation and Transmission of Luther’s Hymns in Finland and Sweden’. Special commendation for the pun.
  • Bibitura Dantis Oxoniensis meets at 5:30 pm on Zoom (link here). This week, Katie Bastiman reads Purgatorio 25. 


  • The Medieval German Graduate Seminar meets at 11:15 am on Teams, to continue discussing a variety of short texts.
  • Digital Editions Live returns from 3-5 pm on Teams (join the meeting here). This week’s project features Arnold von Harff’s travel manuscript MS. Bodley 972 presented by four generations of History of the Book students. The editors Eva Neufeind and Agnes Hilger are joined by Mary Boyle, Aysha Strachan and Jasmin Leuchtenberg. Sneak preview on Taylor Editions, including links to several blog posts. The recording of the launch of the fabulous beasts from Merton by Seb Dows-Miller and Julia Walworth is now online on the OMS Youtube channel.
  • The Medieval English Research Seminar, also on Teams, meets at 4:30 pm; contact if you need the link. This week’s speaker is Eric Weiskott (Boston College), ‘William Langland’s Apophatic Poetics’.
  • The Late Antique and Byzantine Seminar meets at 5 pm on Google Meet (link here). This week’s speaker is Christophe Erismann (Vienna), ‘Why Do Methods Change? On the Significance of 815 for Byzantine Thought’.


  • The Early Text Cultures research cluster is offering another seminar series on Astronomy and Astrology this term, at 3 pm on Zoom. Fill out this Google form to receive the link. This week’s speakers are Yossra Ibrahim (Mainz) and Peter John Williams (Cambridge), discussing ‘Text and Image’ in Egyptian and Hellenistic Greek astronomy.
  • GLARE (Greek, Latin, and Reception) Reading Group meets at 4 pm on Teams. Email or to be added to the list. This week’s reading will be Ovid’s Amores, III.2.1-42, 59-84.
  • The Aquinas Seminar Series continues on the theme of De Magistro: Aquinas and the Education of the Whole Person, at 4:30 pm on Zoom. Please register in advance here. This week’s speaker is Fáinche Ryan (Loyola Institute, Trinity College Dublin), ‘The Role of Intelligence in Good Human Living: Aquinas and the Teachability of Prudentia’.
  • This term’s Celtic Seminar kicks off this week at 5:15 pm on Teams. Contact if you need the link. This week’s speaker is Amy Mulligan (University of Notre Dame), ‘Moving into Chicago’s “White City”: Race, Celtic Iconography and the Construction of Irishness at the 1893 World’s Fair’.
  • The Medieval Trade Reading Group also returns this week at 7 pm on Teams. To be added to the team and have access to the reading materials, email


Doon your observaunce to May, and enjoy the bank holiday!

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