Medieval Matters: Week 1

Hilary term is finally upon us! I hope that everyone is feeling well rested and ready for the term ahead. January can feel a little anticlimactic after the excitement of the Christmas vac, and indeed, this email comes to your inbox on so-called ‘Blue Monday’ – supposedly the saddest day of the year! But have no fear: here is some wisdom from the Old English Instructions for Christians on how we can cope with this phenomenon:

[Leornunge] mod gedeþ mycle ðe bliðre
[Learning makes the mind much happier]

Luckily for us all, we have a whole host of exciting events and seminars for you to learn at this week to beat the January blues, both online and in-person! Please be aware that many in-person events are taking place in rooms with strict capacity limits in order to comply with covid regulations: do check the listings below and make sure that you book in advance if necessary.


  • A reminder that you are all warmly invited to dinner with Lucy Pick, at your own cost, after the OMS Lecture on February 8th. We have reserved eight places for graduate students at a discounted price of 10GBP. These places are strictly first come, first served. Non graduate students will pay 30GBP. All payment is in cash on the day. Please contact me by 20 January if you would like to come to dinner, including any dietary requirements and whether or not you drink wine. It will be a great evening, and we look forward to seeing many of you there. 


Monday 17th January:

  • The Medieval Latin Manuscript Reading Group meets at 1-2pm on Teams. Sign up here for the mailing list to receive details of each week’s sessions: Contact Matthew Holford, Andrew Dunning or Tuija Ainonen for further details.
  • The Medieval History Seminar meets at 5pm at The Wharton Room, All Souls College and online on Teams. This week’s speaker is Julia Smith (All Souls), ‘In Search of Charlemagne’s relic collection’. Attendance at the Wharton Room is by advance booking only as the room has a strict Covid-19 capacity limit. Seats will be released 1 week before each seminar. Bookings can be made at The Teams session can be accessed by logging in to Teams with your account and joining the group “Medieval History Research Seminar” (team code rmppucs). If you have any difficulties please email:

Tuesday 18th January:

  • The Medieval English Research Seminar meets at 11.30pm in Lecture Theatre 2, Faculty of English. This week’s speakers will be Glenn Cahilly-Bretzin (Lincoln College), ‘Flickers of past practice: The poetic lexicon of cremation in Old English’, and Tom Revell (Balliol College), ‘The composition of Old English hagiographic verse: the Old English Metrical Calendar (Menologium) as micro-library’. For further information, contact
  • The Late Medieval Europe Seminar meets at 2pm at Saint John’s College, seminar room 21 St Giles. This week is an introductory reading session. Please try to read these articles in advance of the session: Burger, Glenn, and Steven F. Kruger. “INTRODUCTION.” In Queering the Middle Ages, edited by Glenn Burger and Steven F. Kruger; Reeser, Todd W. “How to do Early Modern Queer History.” GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies 26, no. 1 (2020): 183-196.
  • The Medieval Book Club meets at 3.30pm in Magdalen College, Old Law Library. This week’s topic is ‘Anger’. If you want to join us, or would like more information, please contact Option to join virtually via Google Meet as well, please send your contact details.
  • The Medieval Church and Culture Seminar meets at 5pm in Warrington Room, Harris Manchester College. This week’s speaker is Amy Ebrey (St John’s) ‘Correcting Aquinas?  William de la Mare on Poverty as an Instrument

Wednesday 19th January:

  • The Medieval German Seminar meets this term Wednesdays 11.15-12.45 in Oriel College, Harris Room. The text for this term is Reinbot von Durne’s Georg legend. This week will be an organisational meeting – welcome to come along! If you are interested in being added to the teams channel and the mailing list for the seminar, email Henrike Lähnemann For further information, follow MedGermOx on Twitter.
  • The Late Antique and Byzantine Seminar meets at 5:30pm on Zoom. This week’s speakers are M. Whiting, E. Turquois, M. Ritter (Mainz and Halle) Introduction to the DFG project “Procopius and the Language of Buildings”, and Marlena Whiting (Mainz and Halle): ‘Networks and the City: Building a network-based model of De Aed. I.’ Register in advance for this on-line series: After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Thursday 20th January:

  • Middle High German Reading Group meets at 10am at Somerville College Productivity Room (Margery Fry). This week’s text is Das Osterspiel von Muri. If you have any questions or want to participate, please send an e-mail to
  • 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.
  • The Celtic Seminar will take place on Teams at 5.15pm. This week’s speaker is Hugh Brodie (University of Oxford), ‘1257 and all that: The Battle of Cymerau revisited‘. Please contact if you need a link.
  • The Old English Reading Group takes place at 5.30pm. For more information and to receive the text in advance email

Friday 21st January:

  • The Seminar in the History of the Book will meet online at 2.15pm. You must be registered 24 hours before the seminar to receive a link to attend online. This week’s speaker is Mercedes García-Arenal, Centro de Ciencias Humanas y Sociales – Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas, Madrid: ‘The European Quran: the role of the Muslim Holy Book in writing European cultural history – Presentation of a project‘. Register here:
  • The Anglo-Norman Reading Group meets at 5pm on Zoom. For texts, joining instructions, and further information, please email Stephanie Hathaway or Jane Bliss.
  • The first of this year’s James Ford Lectures take place online at 5pm. This year’s lectures will be given by Professor Robin Fleming (Professor of Early Medieval History, Boston College). This week’s lecture is ‘Why Roman Britain? Why Material Culture? Why Dogs?‘. To watch this lecture, please visit this webpage, where the link will be posted at 5pm on Friday.


  • Call for Papers: Medieval Germany Workshop. A one-day workshop on Medieval Germany is being held on 6 May 2022 in the splendid surroundings of the German Historical Institute in Bloomsbury. The workshop will maintain the traditions of friendliness and informality familiar to those of you who have attended before. We expect to be face to face and, on past tradition, to maintain the sociability and discussion in the pub afterwards. Papers of 10-15 minutes are invited, with those exploring problems of work in progress particularly welcome. Chronology and geography generously defined. There will be invited guest papers by Prof. Eva Schlotheuber (Düsseldorf) and Prof. Wolfram Drews (Münster). Attendance is free. Please note that the deadline for submitting proposals, to Dr Marcus Meer at GHIL (, has been extended to 31 January. Please see the call for papers also for funding support available for North American (US and Canada) and UK doctoral students wishing to attend.
  • Meet the Manuscripts: Call for Proposals: Meet the Manuscripts is a popular series of online events run by the Bodleian Libraries’ curatorial and public engagement teams. (For last autumn’s events see We’re keen to increase the involvement of graduate and postgraduate students and early career scholars in these sessions from autumn 2022 onwards. If you’re working on a Bodleian manuscript that you’d like to present to a general public audience, please contact Andrew Dunning (, or Matthew Holford ( for more information.
  • Workshops on Manuscript Description and Cataloguing: Trinity Term. Sessions for this term are already fully booked but to be added to the waiting list, or to express interest in sessions next term, contact Andrew Dunning (, or Matthew Holford (
  • Call for Participation: Indian Ocean Figures that Sailed Away. A range of archaeological finds of South Asian manufacture from sites in the Horn of Africa, and in the Italian and Arabian peninsulas—some long known and some newly excavated—can expand our knowledge of the Indian Ocean cultural milieu.  ISAW is pleased to announce an online seminar series in Spring 2022 to reconvene an international conversation on these figures that sailed out of India to points west during the early first millennium CE. If your area of research interest overlaps with this project, we invite you to join us by filling out this registration form. Please include a short abstract describing your research interests and key conference papers and/or publications. For any additional information, or if you have any questions, please email:
  • The Oxford Medieval Mystery Cycle are still recruiting play groups for the 2022 performance! Most importantly, we are still looking for people to take on THE CRUCIFIXION PLAY. If you would be up for the challenge, we would love to hear from you. Please contact for more details.
  • Call for Performers: The Execution of John the Baptist in Medieval French. This will be a contribution to the festival of 20-minute medieval plays performed in the gardens of St Edmund Hall on Saturday April 23, with a subsequent performance in Iffley churchyard on the morning of Sunday April 24. Rehearsals will be one evening a week through term. Some of the cast will be actors from Iffley village. If you’d like to join in, and bring to life a text that has probably not been played for 500 years, please e-mail the director David Wiles at, or come along to St Edmund Hall on Thursday 20 Jan at 6.00 (where the porter will direct you).

Finally, for those of us feeling the cold, here is some reassurance from the Old English Maxims I:

Winter sceal geweorpan, weder eft cuman/ sumor swegle hat
[Winter shall leave, good weather will come again: summer hot in the sky]

Unfortunately, we have a while to wait before the promised heat of summer, but we have lots of great medievalist events to enjoy in the meantime. Make sure to check out the updated copy of the Medieval Booklet, attached to this week’s email as a pdf, to see all of the lovely things that we have to look forward to this term. In the meantime, I wish you all a happy, warm, and productive first week!

[A Medievalist chases off the winter blues with a fantastic selection of lectures (and also a horn)]
Merton College, MS 249, f. 5v.
View image and text in the Taylor Edition by Sebastian Dows-Miller

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