Medieval Matters: Week 6

Week 6 is here, which means that we are more than half-way through the term. Where did all of that time go? As we are all busy with our seminars, research, admissions, deadlines and teaching commitments, a little piece of advice from the Durham Proverbs:

Betere byþ oft feðre þonne oferfeðre.
It is better to be often loaded than overloaded.

For those looking to often-load their calendar, we have a smorgasbord of delights this week, from a workshop on Medieval and Biblical models of gender and sexuality to a lecture on Christian Ethiopian and Eritrean manuscripts! This week’s events are listed below:


  • Online Conference: British Archaeological Association Postgraduate Conference, 24–25 November 2021. The British Archaeological Association are excited to present a diverse conference which includes postgraduates and early career researchers in the fields of medieval history of art, architecture, and archaeology. This postgraduate conference offers an opportunity for research students at all levels from universities across the UK and abroad to present their research and exchange ideas. Register for the conference here.


Monday 15th November:

  • The Byzantine Graduate Seminar meets at 12.15-2pm on Teams. This week’s speaker is Nicola Ernst (Exeter), ‘The Athanasian Emperors: Reconsidering Orthodox and Heretical Emperors in the 340s‘. 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 Continental Old French Reading Group meets at 3pm at St Hilda’s College. Anyone interested in joining should send an email to
  • The Medieval Archaeology Seminar meets at 3pm at Institute of Archaeology Lecture Room and Online via Teams. This week’s speaker is David Petts, ‘Recent work on the early medieval monastery at Lindisfarne‘.   Please note: Attendance at the Lecture Room is by advance booking only as the room has astrict Covid-19 capacity limit. Bookings can be made here.
  • The East of Byzantium Lecture (Mary Jaharis Center for Byzantine Art and Culture) takes place at 5pm on Zoom. The speaker will be Sören Stark, Institute for the Study of the Ancient World, New York University, ‘Eternal ‘Silk Road’? The Rise of Sogdiana during the 3rd–4th Centuries A.D‘. As per last week’s email, advance registration is required. Registration closes at 2pm on November 15, 2021. Register here:
  • 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 Janet Burton (UWTSD Lampeter), ‘Cistercian? How Cistercian? The Example of late medieval Wales’.
  • 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 16th November:

  • The Islamicate Manuscripts and Texts Reading Colloquium 2021 meets at 3pm on Zoom. This week’s speaker is Ofir Haim, Postdoctoral Fellow, Mandel Scholion Research Center, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, ‘Judeo-Persian Correspondence from Buyid and Ghaznavid Territories (10th-11th Centuries)‘.
  • The Medieval Book Club meets at 3.30pm in Magdalen College, Old Law Library. This week’s topic is ‘The Green Man and Other Creatures’
  • The Early Slavonic Webinar meets at 5pm on Zoom. This week’s speaker is Nicholas Mayhew (University of Oxford), ‘Reinterpreting Russian Orthodox Canons Against Homosexuality‘.
  • The Medieval Church and Culture Seminar meets at 5pm in Old Dining Hall, Harris Manchester College. This week’s speaker is Roy Flechner (UCD), ‘The moral economy of burying your dead: some early medieval attitudes towards burial and memorializing‘.
  • The Oxford Numismatic Society meets at 5pm on Teams. This week’s speaker will be Chris Howgego (Heberden Coin Room / Wolfson College, University of Oxford), ‘Alexandria and Rome: The Special Relationship?‘. To receive meeting links and further updates, please email the Secretary at
  • Bibitura Dantis Oxonensis meets at 6pm at The Anchor. Today’s text will be Purgatorio 2. For enquiries, please email Lachlan Hughes.

Wednesday 17th 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 Workshop on Manuscript Description and Cataloguing: Types and levels of description; describing textual content and decoration takes place at 1-2pm in the Weston Library Horton Room. Places strictly limited: email or
  • 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 CMTC Lecture, ‘Christian Ethiopian and Eritrean manuscript culture’ meets at 5pm on Zoom. The speaker will be Alessandro Bausi (African/Ethiopian Studies, University of Hamburg). This paper aims at providing non-Ethiopianists with an overview of the development of textual studies in Christian Ethiopian and Eritrean manuscript culture thanks to some new research trends from the last few years. Attendance is free of charge, but sign-up is mandatory: you can sign-up here. We will send a Zoom link to all participants on Monday 15th November. If you cannot access Google Forms please sign up by sending an email to
  • The Medieval English Research Seminar meets at 5.15pm in Lecture Theatre 2, Faculty of English. This week’s speakers will be Colleen Curran (CLASP, Oxford), ‘The Manuscripts of Alcuin’s Carmina’, and Patricia O Connor (CLASP, Oxford), ‘Drawing the Reader’s Attention: Dryhthelm’s Vision of the Otherworld and the Archangel St Michael in CCCC, MS 41’. For further information, contact
  • The Late Antique and Byzantine Seminar meets at 5pm on Google Meet, followed by drinks at 7pm at Corpus Christi College. This week’s speaker is Luisa Andriollo (Pisa), ‘Writing and reading anti-Islamic polemics in Byzantium: the ‘Conversation of the monk Euthymios with a Saracen philosopher’ (12th c.)‘.

Thursday 18th November:

  • The Middle High German Reading Group meets at 9-10.30am on Zoom. This week’s topic is ‘Tristan (Gottfried von Straßburg)’. If you have any questions or want to participate, please send an e-mail to
  • 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 Thucydides, History of the Peloponnesian War, 2.37-39.
  • The Celtic Seminar meets at 5pm on Zoom. For Zoom link, contact This week’s speaker is Eirian Alwen Jones, ‘‘Tua Gloddaith, tŷ gwleddoedd’: Tomos Mostyn, Ysgwïer, a’r traddodiad barddol‘.

Friday 19th 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
  • The ‘Body, Gender, Purity, and Sexual Pleasure: Biblical and Medieval Models’ Workshop takes place at 1-2.30pm at Saint John’s College, New Seminar Room. This workshop brings together expertise from the early, central, and late Middle Ages (respectively, Conrad Leyser, Neta Bodner, and Alice Raw), in conversation with Laura Quick’s expertise in the Hebrew Bible. Participants are invited to read with us to question how the body was treated, even used, as a vehicle for “correct” piety in ways that both differ and intersect across the Middle Ages. Spaces are limited to 30 participants; please sign up here.
  • A public celebration of Oxford Castle at 950 years takes place at 6-10pm. all welcome! For the first time, town and gown come together to tell a shared and diverse history of inclusion and exclusion of Oxford’s Castle, with a stunning projection onto the Castle and socially-distanced interactive games. This event is free, but participants should register in advance via Eventbrite.

Saturday 20th November:

  • The Church Monuments Society Lecture Series: Whose Dead in Vaulted Arches Lie meets at 5pm on Zoom. This week’s talk is  ‘Beneath the ledgerstone: Vaults and their contents’ : A lecture by Dr Julian Litten on the contents of burial vaults. Attendance is free, but places must be booked via Eventbrite.


  • Call for Papers: New Visions of Julian of Norwich: Somerville College, Oxford, 15th and 16th July 2022. This international hybrid conference will be the first academic event to focus solely on Julian’s writing, life, contexts, and influence long after her death. We invite papers from any or multiple disciplines and deploying a wide range of methodologies, focusing on all aspects of Julian’s writing, life, contexts, or afterlife. We especially encourage proposals from graduate students and early-career researchers. Please submit abstracts (up to 300 words) for a 15-minute paper or 10-minute round table contribution, accompanied by a short biography, to by 1 February 2022.
  • Call for Papers: CCASNC 2022, ‘Marvels and Miracles’. The Cambridge Colloquium in Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic is an annual interdisciplinary graduate conference encompassing all aspects of the British Isles, Ireland, and Scandinavia in the Middle Ages. A selection of the papers will be published in the departmental journal Quaestio Insularis. This year’s theme will be ‘Marvels and Miracles’. We invite graduate students and recent graduates to submit abstracts of 250 words for papers no longer than 20 minutes to by the 1st of December 2021.
  • Calling all those interested in manuscripts! The ‘Handschriftenportal’, a database-in-the-making for all manuscripts held in German libraries, is asking for volunteers to test their beta version of the platform. It is crucial that this information is also going to be accessible for an Anglophone audience, so it will be hugely helpful if you were willing (and it should be fun) to do a think-aloud zoom exploration of the amazingly rich collection of metadata, catalogue information and images, giving feedback on usability (and English terminology!). All information here.

And finally, some advice for anyone feeling more oferfeðre than oft feðre at this stage of the term:

Þæs ofereode, þisses swa mæg.
That thing passed; so will this.

In other words: hold on in there!

A manuscript illumination of an ibex eating something that has been trimmed away
A medievalist, feeling somewhat oferfeðre, attempts to hide from an oncoming deadline
Merton College, MS 249, f. 10v.
View image and text in the Taylor Edition by Sebastian Dows-Miller

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