Medieval Matters: Week 3

Somehow it is week three already, which means that term is well underway. As we move into February, the days are beginning to get a little lighter, but the evenings are still dark and cold. For those looking for something to bring joy through the last full month of winter, the Old English Instructions for Christians gives us some advice:

Wisdom is leoht wera æghwilcum / to habbanne her on weoruldæ.
[Wisdom is a light for everyone here in the world]

May the wisdom of Oxford’s medievalists light your way this week! See below for full details of the seminars, reading groups and events on offer. This Tuesday also marks Lunar New Year: wishing a very Happy New Year to all who celebrate!


Monday 31st 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 Palaeography Seminar: Medieval Manuscripts Masterclass 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 Matthew Cheung Salisbury, ‘A late medieval English noted breviary (MS. Lat. liturg. b. 14)’. Register here:
  • The Medieval History Seminar meets at 5pm online on Teams. This week’s speaker is Jonathan Shepard (Oxford) ‘The Rhos guests of Louis the Pious: not just a flash in the pan?’. Please note that this seminar will be virtual, with no physical attendance, via the standard seminar Teams link. 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 1st February:

  • The Medieval English Research Seminar meets at 11.30pm in Lecture Theatre 2, Faculty of English. This week’s speakers will be Llewelyn Hopwood (Corpus Christi College), ‘“Sounding different” in medieval Wales according to its poets’, and Micah Mackay (Balliol College), ‘Song and space: movement, navigation, and the fifteenth-century English carol’. For further information, contact
  • The Medieval Book Club meets at 3.30pm in Magdalen College, Old Law Library. This week’s topic is ‘Sadness’. 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 French Research Seminar meets at 5pm at Maison française d’Oxford and Online on Teams. This week’s speaker is Daron Burrows (St Peter’s College, Oxford): ‘The Anglo-Norman Verse Psalter: from Pandemic Panacea to Critical Edition‘. To join a session remotely via Teams, please contact to receive the link.
  • The Medieval Church and Culture Seminar meets at 5pm in Warrington Room, Harris Manchester College. This week’s speaker is Mary Carruthers (NYU & St Hilda’s), ‘What does meditation have to do with geometry?‘.
  • The Late Medieval Europe Seminar meets at 5pm on Zoom. This week’s speaker is Roland Betancourt (University of California, Irvine), ‘Byzantine Camp Aesthetics: A Queer Reading of Nikephoros Basilakes’s Bagoas’. To join the zoom meeting click here: Join Zoom Meeting. Meeting ID: 987 7500 2179 / Passcode: 032874.

Wednesday 2nd February:

  • The Medieval German Seminar meets at 11.15-12.45 in Oriel College, Harris Room, discussing Reinbot von Durne: Georg. If you are interested in attending 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 speaker is Efthymios Rizos (Serres): ‘Long Walls and Linear Barriers in the South Balkan Provinces‘. Register in advance for this on-line series: After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Thursday 3rd February:

  • 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 Zoom at 5pm. This week’s speaker is Seimon Brooks (in Welsh), “Ashton boy yn estyn bys”: Llenyddiaeth Gymraeg sir Gaer a sir Gaerhirfryn, yn yr ail a’r drydedd genhedlaeth yn enwedig‘. Please contact for the link.
  • The Old English Reading Group takes place at 5.30pm. For more information and to receive the text in advance email

Friday 4th February:

  • 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 Laura Cleaver, Senior Lectures in Manuscript Studies, The University of London: ‘Henry White (1822-1900): Collector of Second-Rate Manuscripts?‘. 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.


Finally, some more wisdom from the Instructions for Christians, which reminds us to share our talents:

Se forholena cræft and forhyded gold
ne bið ællunga ungelice.

[Hidden skill and hidden gold are not altogether unalike ]

I hope that you enjoy some of our goldmine of cræft on display in this week’s seminars and reading groups. May your week be brightened by the light of their wisdom!

[some medievalists enjoy the light of wisdom on a chilly February Day]
Merton College, MS 249, f. 7v.
View image and text in the Taylor Edition by Sebastian Dows-Miller

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