Medieval Matters: Week 4

The weekend saw the glitz, glam, and questionable music of the Eurovision song contest! Whether you tuned in or not, here is some wisdom on songs, from the Old English Maxims:

Longað þonne þy læs þe him con leoþa worn.
[He who knows many songs is less troubled by longing]

But what, I hear you ask, does Eurovision have to do with Medievalists? Well, this week we have not only musical events like Singing the Reformation: With Living Stones, but also a whole range of languages and cultures! Our schedule for the week includes Greek, Old High German, French and Middle English, and takes us all around the medieval world. The After Rome and Further East seminar takes us to the Caliphate and Byzantium; the Medieval Commentary Network gives us a glimpse into the Carolingian Empire; and the Medieval History Seminar lets us explore migration in the Viking North. And this is only the tip of the iceberg! Have a look at all of our offerings this week:



Monday 16th May:

  • The Oxford Byzantine Graduate Seminar will take place on Zoom at 12.30-2pm. This week’s speaker is Alice van den Bosch (Exeter), ‘Creating the Female Martyr in Late Antiquity‘. To register, please contact the organiser at Please note that there is no need to register if you have previously subscribed to the seminar mailing list.
  • 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 Oxford Medieval Commentary Network meets at 4pm at Lecture Theatre 2, Christ Church. This week’s speaker is Zachary Guiliano, ‘Biblical Commentary and Royal Patronage in Carolingian Europe’. For further information, email
  • The Medieval History Seminar meets at 5pm online on Teams. Please note that there is no in-person seminar this week. This week’s speaker is Pragya Vohra (York), ‘Feminising Migration in the Viking North‘. 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 17th May:

  • The Oxford Numismatic Society meets at 5pm. This week’s speaker is Dr. Aneurin Ellis-Evans & Dr. Leah Lazar ‘Early silver coinage of Lampsakos’. For further information please contact the secretary:
  • The Medieval Church and Culture Seminar meets at 5pm in Warrington Room, Harris Manchester College. This week’s speakers are Jonah Skolnik (Trinity), ‘Impeachment, Treason, and Good Governance in the Age of Richard II: 1386-1397‘ and Gabrielle Samra (St John’s), ‘Anthropophagous Predation: An Examination of the Middle English Richard Coer de Lyon in the Framework of Medieval Anti-Jewish Blood Libels‘.
  • The Lyell Lectures From Memory to Written Record: English Liturgical Books and Musical Notations, 900-1150, by Professor Susan Rankin (University of Cambridge) takes place at 5pm in Weston Library Lecture Theatre. This is Lecture 5: Assimilation or change? Normans at Winchester. Registration is essential for attending in person, and booking is for the whole series, for the sake of simplicity. Your booking entitles you to attend as many lectures in the series as you are able. Book here.

Wednesday 18th May:

  • The Medieval German Seminar meets at 11.15-12.45 in St Edmund Hall, Old Library. We are going to discuss Seuse’s ‘Büchlein der ewigen Weisheit’. For more information, please email
  • The Medieval Trade Reading Group meets at 1pm in the Mertze Tate room of the History Faculty and online. Anyone interested in any element of medieval trade and its study are very welcome to join, from any department. To be added to the mailing list and team please email Annabel Hancock at
  • The Late Antique and Byzantine Seminar meets at 5pm at Ioannou Centre for Classical and Byzantine Studies, 66 St. Giles. This week’s speaker is Matthieu Cassin (CNRS-IRHT), ‘From Princes Islands to Oxford: Greek Manuscripts from the Holy Trinity of Halki‘.
  • The Medieval English Research Seminar meets at 5.15pm in Lecture Theatre 2, Faculty of English. This week’s speaker will be Anne Mouron (Regent’s Park), ‘“In pious hearts, a tree must grafted be”: Mechthild of Hackeborn’s The Boke of Holy Grace and The Desert of Religion’ (chaired by Ayoush Lazikani). For further information, contact

Thursday 19th May:

  • The Middle High German Reading Group meets at 10am at Somerville College Productivity Room (Margery Fry). This term’s topic is ‘Maeren’. 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 Harold Wilson Room, Jesus College – meet at Jesus lodge. This week’s text is Lucian, The Dream (or, the Cock). Contact John Colley or Jenyth Evans to be added to the mailing list.
  • The After Rome and Further East Seminar takes place at Trinity College (Levine Garden Room). This week’s speaker is André Binggeli (CNRS, IRHT), ‘Neomartyrs between the Caliphate and Byzantium: around the publication of “Les nouveaux martyrs à Byzance”’. Zoom meeting link.

Friday 20th May:

  • The Medievalists Coffee Morning makes its triumphant return! Meet at 10.30-11.30am at Visiting Scholars Centre of the Weston Library (access via the Readers Entrance on Museum Road: straight ahead and up two floors!). The coffee mornings feature the opportunity to meet other Medievalists as well as a) coffee, tea, and biscuits, b) access to the roof terrace, c) sneak previews of new acquisitions. Here a link to last-but-one’s week’s presentation by Andrew Honey of a very early curious copying machine. All welcome!
  • The Germanic Reading Group meets at 4pm. This week will focus on Old High German: A few minor monuments (lead by Will Thurlwell) Anybody interested in joining the discussion, please email

Saturday 21st May:

  • Singing the Reformation: With Living Stones takes place in Iffley from 3pm. Come and explore with Henrike Lähnemann some of the music that may have been sung by church-goers in Iffley during the 16th century, and trace developments in the music that was sung in churches, homes and royal chapels while major theological debates and liturgical changes were taking place. Tickets for the afternoon with tea and coffee cost £10 and are available online at or on the door. The service of Evensong is, as always, free


  • Conference: The conference “Margins at the Centre – Practices of Annotation. Scholarly Networks, Teachers and Audiences in ninth-century East Francia” will take place in hybrid form at the Viennese Institute for Medieval Research on Monday 23 and Tuesday 24 May 2022, starting at 9.00am CEST (Vienna time). Further information, the programme of the conference and the forms for registration (via Zoom or in person) can be found here on the conference website.

Finally, some further wisdom on song from Maxims I:

Ræd sceal mon secgan, rune writan, leoþ gesingan, lofes gearnian.
[One should talk sense, write down secrets, sing songs, and earn praise]

This reads like something of a to-do list for the week ahead. I hope that your week is filled with talked sense, written down secrets, lots of songs, and earned praise!

[A Medievalist unsure what to make of the questionable musical talent of Eurovision]
Merton College, MS 249, f. 2r.
View image and text in the Taylor Edition by Sebastian Dows-Miller

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