Medieval Matters: Week 6

June seems to have snuck up on us: already we are fast approaching the end of the academic year! One very nice aspect of this is that the days are getting so much longer and lighter. The Old English Menologium or ‘Metrical Calendar’ tells us that the reason for this is that the sun wishes to spend longer regarding the earth:

Wyle syððan leng
grund behealdan and gangan lator
ofer foldan wang fægerust leohta,

[Then the fairest of lights and of things in this world wishes to behold the ground longer and go more slowly over the earth]

I interpret this to mean: no matter how busy and important a person might be, it is still important to take a moment to slow down and ponder! Take time this week to ‘behold’ some of the events that we have on offer:


  • Save the date: on Thursday 9th June 2022, Dr Charlotte Cooper-Davis will give a lecture entitled “Christine de Pizan: Guilty Feminist?”. The lecture will take place in the New Seminar Room in St. John’s College, 13:00-14.30. All are very welcome, and please do not hesitate to get in touch with any questions at We look forward to seeing many of you there!
  • New Seminar Series:Forgotten Christianities‘ is a seminar series exploring critical theories of identity formation, communal memory, and intellectual exchange. Each session will bring together doctoral students and ERCs from various fields such as history, archaeology, theology, and the social sciences. Spanning Late Antiquity, the early Islamic era, and the Middle Ages, they will provide a diachronic and kaleidoscopic view of these historical communities and their self-representation. Seminars will be held on Zoom. For further details, and to sign up for events in advance, please click here or contact


Monday 30th May:

  • The Oxford Byzantine Graduate Seminar will take place on Zoom at 12.30-2pm. This week’s speaker is Luca Farina (Tübingen), ‘Arabo-Greek Astrological Manuscripts: The Vind. Phil. Gr. 115 and Its Anonymous Chapters‘. 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 Audrey Southgate, ‘Experiments in Openness: Reading the Wycliffite Interpretations of the Psalms’. 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 Fanny Bessard (Trinity), ‘Riches and Respect. Baghdad’s robber barons (892-945)’. 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 31st May:

  • The Oxford Numismatic Society meets at 5pm. This week’s speaker is Dr. Elena Baldi – works on Ostrogothic coinage, title TBC. 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 Diana Myers (St Benet’s Hall), ‘Gendered authority in the Barking Abbey Ordinal (Oxford, Univ. Coll. MS 169)‘ and Barbara Pinto De Almeida Lima (Wolfson), ‘Sexual Agency and Violence: the construction of female sexuality in the 13thc pastourelle‘.

Wednesday 1st June:

  • There is no meeting of the Medieval German Seminar.
  • 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 Ine Jacobs (University of Oxford), ‘The Byzantine Dark Ages at Aphrodisias‘.
  • The Medieval English Research Seminar meets at 5.15pm in Lecture Theatre 2, Faculty of English. This week’s speaker will be Vincent Gillespie (University of Oxford), ‘Preaching to the choir: a sceptical look at English Carthusian transmission of vernacular spiritual writings’ (chaired by Laura Ashe). For further information, contact

Thursday 2nd June:

  • 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) 18-19. 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 Auditorium). This week’s speaker is Alberto Riggolio (Durham), ‘Towards a History of Syriac Rhetoric in Late Antiquity’. Zoom meeting link.

Friday 3rd June:

  • Because of the bank holiday, there will be no Medievalists Coffee Morning this week. But do return next week when Chris Fletcher has promised we will be shown one very recent  acquisition and one which had been ‘hiding in plain sight’ for almost 100 years and is effectively new! 


  • CFP: The Great Medieval Feast, c.1050-1500: We ask for paper submissions covering topics on European feasting cultures and practices between c.1050–c.1500. These include papers that cover works or portrayals of courts outside Europe, but have some basis in European literature, art, or practice. Please send abstracts of up to 250 words to Paper presentations should last 20-minutes. Papers can cover material from any language, but sources not in English should be presented with translations. Presenters can be at any stage in their career; we particularly welcome early career researchers. For full details please see the full CFP here.

Finally, for days when it isn’t as sunny, some wisdom on a more metaphorical kind of light:

Wisdom is leoht wera æghwilcum
to habbanne her on weoruldæ.

[Wisdom is a light for all to have here in this world]

Of course, I hope that you get to enjoy the light of wisdom and of the sun this week!

[A very busy Medievalist carves out a little time for themselves]
Merton College, MS 249, f. 8v.
View image and text in the Taylor Edition by Sebastian Dows-Miller

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