Medieval Matters: Week 4

We are now half-way through the term, and all the way through October! With the hour change last weekend the days are now feeling quite dark and chilly. For anyone feeling cold and tired this week, here is some Old English wisdom from the Battle of Maldon:

Mod sceal þe mare, þe ure mægen lytlað.
The mind must be greater as our strength diminishes.

Luckily for us Oxford Medievalists, we have plenty of opportunities to make our minds greater if we are feeling a little diminished of strength! This week’s offerings are listed below.



Monday 1st November:

  • The Byzantine Graduate Seminar meets at 12.15-2pm on Teams. This week’s speaker is Thomas R. Langley (Cambridge), ‘Julian, Constantinople, and the Role of Civic Patriotism in the Fourth Century’. To register, please contact the organiser at or visit the eventbrite page.
  • The Medieval Latin Manuscript Reading Group meets at 1-2pm on Teams. Contact Matthew Holford, Andrew Dunning or Tuija Ainonen to be added to the Teams call.
  • The Medieval History Seminar meets at 5pm on Teams and in the Wharton Room. Attendance at the Wharton Room is by advance booking only as the room has a strict Covid-19 capacity limit. Bookings can be made at This week’s speaker is Sophie Ambler (Lancaster), ‘The Battle of Evesham (1265): Dark Trophies, the War of the Welsh Marches, and the Cult of Simon de Montfort’.
  • The Old Norse Reading Group meets at 5.15pm on Teams. Please email Olivia Smith ( to be added to the mailing list and Teams group.

Tuesday 2nd November:

  • The CMTC Postgraduate Lunchtime Colloquium meets at 12:30-2pm on Zoom. Attendance is free of charge, but sign-up is mandatory: you can sign-up here. The speakers this week will be Sarah Bridge (Mediaeval & Modern Languages, St Hilda’s College, Oxford), ‘The Role of Manuscripts in Creating the Author-Figure. William Herebert and Nicole Bozon in BL Add. 46919’ and Vittorio Danovi (Classics, Lincoln College, Oxford) ‘Servius or Servius auctus? Corrections ope codicum in Kassel, Universitätsbibliothek, 2° Ms. Poet. et Roman. 6”’.
  • The event Albrecht Pfister and the earliest printed books in German from Bamberg takes place at 2.30pm online on Zoom (Meeting Code: SBB#22 / Meeting-ID: 960 499 6049). This event comprises a virtual tour of Pfister copies in Bamberg, Berlin, Herzog August Bibliothek Wolfenbüttel, John Rylands Library Manchester, Oxford and Princeton.
  • The Islamicate Manuscripts and Texts Reading Colloquium 2021 meets at 3pm on Zoom. This week’s speaker is Meia Walravens, Ph.D. candidate, Department of History, University of Antwerp, ‘Letters from the Bahmani Sultanate (ca. 1450-1480)’.
  • The Medieval Book Club meets at 3.30pm in Magdalen College, Old Law Library. This week’s topic is ‘Samhain’
  • The Early Slavonic Webinar meets at 5pm on Zoom. This week’s speaker is Timur Khajdarov (Kazan Federal University), ‘The Black Death and its consequences for the Jochi ulus and the successor states (The Tatar Khanates, Moscowand the Grand Duchy of Lithuania)
  • The Medieval Church and Culture Seminar meets at 5pm in Old Dining Hall, Harris Manchester College. This week’s speaker is Virginia Bainbridge (University of Exeter), ‘The Brothers of Syon Abbey: patterns of vocation from the Syon Martiloge and other records c. 1415-1539’.
  • The OCTET Lectures: An Introduction to Digital Scholarly Editing meets at 5pm at Jesus College Ship Street Centre. To book your place on this workshop, please email . Please let the organisers know if you require assistance with mobility and if you have any dietary requirements or food allergies.
  • The Oxford Numismatic Society Seminar meets at 5pm online via Teams. This week’s speaker is Dr. Peter van Alfen (American Numismatic Society): ‘Payment, Profit, or Prestige? The Political Economy of Achaemenid Royal Coin Production’. To receive meeting links and further updates, please email the Secretary at

Wednesday 3rd November:

  • The Medieval German Seminar meets at 11.15-12.45 in New Powell Room, Somerville College. If you are interested to be added to the mailing list for the seminar, write to Linus Ubl.
  • The Medieval Trade Reading Group meets at 1-2pm in Mertze Tate Room, History Faculty, and Online. To be added to the mailing list and team please email Annabel Hancock.
  • The Medieval English Research Seminar meets at 5.15pm in Lecture Theatre 2, Faculty of English. This week’s speaker will be Ciaran Arthur (NUI Galway), ‘Ideas on Language and Biblical Heritage in Early Medieval Insular Thought’. For further information, contact
  • The Late Antique and Byzantine Seminar meets at 7pm at Corpus Christi College for drinks. (Please note that there is no speaker this week).

Thursday 4th November:

  • The Archives de l’Athos reading group meets at 3-4pm at Corpus Christi College. All interested in Byzantine history, non-Latin diplomatics, Greek palaeography or diplomatic edition are welcome. Contact or to sign up and receive the texts in advance.
  • The Greek and Latin Reading Group meets at 4pm in St Edmund Hall. Room TBC: contact John Colley or Jenyth Evans to be added to the mailing list. This week’s text will be Sappho, Fragments 1 and 31.
  • The Celtic Seminar meets at 5pm on Zoom. For Zoom link, contact This week’s speaker is Ken Dark (University of Reading), ‘Royal burial in fifth- to seventh-century western Britain and Ireland’.
  • The Oxford University Heraldry Society meets at 6.15pm. This week’s speaker is Jeremy Hodgkinson FSA, ‘The Heraldry on British Fire backs‘. For Zoom links, please email Priscilla Frost (

Friday 5th November:

  • Pre-Modern Conversations meets at 11am-12pm on Teams. For more information and to be added the the PMC Teams Channel, email lena.vosding AT

Saturday 6th November:

  • The Church Monuments Society Lecture Series: Whose Dead in Vaulted Arches Lie meets at 5pm on Zoom. This week’s talk is ‘Grounds for Grave Concern’: Helen Frisby & Stuart Prior on Gravedigging. Attendance is free, but places must be booked via Eventbrite.


  • The Medieval Mystery Plays are now recruiting! Would you like to take part in a medieval dramatic experiment? Directors, actors, costume and prop makers and musicians wanted! Click here to find out more.

I leave you this week with a reminder to make sure that all of your watches are set to the correct time following the time-change this weekend. Afterall, as the Old English Boethius tells us:

Eall þæt mon untiidlice onginð, næfð hit no æltæwyne ende.
Nothing that one begins at the wrong time will have a good end.

A manuscript illumination of a night heron
Panic as a medievalist realises that he forgot to set his watch back this weekend and has consequently arrived to the seminar an hour early
Merton College, MS 249, f. 10v.
View image and text in the Taylor Edition by Sebastian Dows-Miller

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