Medieval Matters: sigelbeorhte dagas

Trinity Term has ended, and with it, the academic year! Since this is the final Medieval Matters of the year, on behalf of everyone at OMS I would like to take the opportunity to thank everyone who has enabled our many wonderful seminars, reading groups and events this year to happen. The Medievalist community at Oxford is incredibly fortunate to have such a diversity of scholarship and such a wealth of goings-on, and all of your contributions have made this year richer and more enjoyable! Here is some wisdom on doing good things, from Beowulf:

Lofdædum sceal
in mægþa gehwære man geþeon.

[By praiseworthy deeds one shall prosper among peoples everywhere.]

Wherever your summer is taking you, I am sure that your praiseworthy organisation, convening and paper-giving will lead you to prosper! Safe travels to those of you leaving Oxford and congratulations to our Masters students for finishing their studies. Please see below for the roundup of summer events, save the dates, and some important tasks to do:

Important To-Do:

  • For those leaving Oxford/changing college: if you would like to continue to receive Medieval Matters emails, please make sure to sign up with your new email address. You can do it yourself via or contact me. Please also alert any medievalist visitor or new student to this! For postgraduate course convenors: when your incoming students have their Oxford email addresses, please register them for the mailing list or contact me with a list of addresses and I can do this for you.

Summer events:

  • Coffee Morning with Professor William Chester Jordan, 23rd June 10.30-12 noon. The Faculty of History and Oxford Medieval Studies are pleased to invite you to an informal meet and greet coffee morning with William Chester Jordan (Professor of Medieval History, Princeton University) on the occasion of his reception of an honorary degree of the University of Oxford, in the garden of Harris Manchester College (Mansfield Road), or in the Warrington Room in the case of rain. Coffee and croissants will be provided. For catering purposes, please register your attendance if possible:
  • Mandeville 700 Conference, 30 June 2022. In 1322, Sir John Mandeville left his native England to travel through Europe, to the pilgrim sites of Jerusalem, and beyond to the Far East, where he served as a mercenary in the Great Khan’s army before returning home 34 years later to write an immensely popular and influential account of his travels. Or not: historical research has been unable to find any John Mandeville who can be firmly identified either as traveller or author, and the book itself was largely adapted from other sources. To mark the 700th anniversary of his supposed departure, this conference will bring together scholars working on one of the most striking and enduring inventions of the late Middle Ages. For further information and to book, please click here.
  •  Medium Ævum Annual Lecture taking place on Saturday, 2 July (4:30-6pm BST): Dr Ryan Perry (University of Kent) will deliver the annual lecture on ‘Middle English Books of Devotion and Liturgical Privatisation in Fifteenth-century England’, as part of the ‘Pfaff at 50’ conference at the University of Nottingham marking 50 years since the publication of Richard W. Pfaff’s ground-breaking New Liturgical Feasts in Later Medieval England. Registration details for in-person and online attendance are available at the following link:
  • The Oxford Festival of the Arts has a smorgasbord of exciting events of interest to medievalists:
    -The Art of Illumination: makers and users of medieval manuscripts (June 25, Lecture Theatre, Weston Library, 2pm – 4.30pm)
    -Illuminated Manuscript Workshop with Patricia Lovett MBE (June 26, Magdalen College School Studio, 10am – 5pm)
    -Professor Robert Bartlett: The Middle Ages and the Movies (June 27, Festival Marquee, 8pm)
    -Treasures from Around the World at New College Library (July 2, 11am-4pm, Lecture Room 4, New College)
    -British Society of Master Glass Painters Centenary Touring Exhibition (The Chapter House, Christ Church Cathedral (throughout the festival))
    -Dr Janina Ramirez in discussion with Peter Frankopan (July 5, 7.30pm, Festival Marquee, Magdalen College School, Oxford)
    -John Leighfield: Atlases and Maps (July 6, 5pm-7pm, Magdalen College School Studio)
    For full details of these events, and links for booking, please consult our blog here.

Save the Date:

  • Prof. Ardis Butterfield giving the Michaelmas Medieval Studies Lecture: ‘Do we mean lyric or song?’ We’re very pleased to announce that Prof. Ardis Butterfield (Yale) will give the Medieval Studies Lecture in Michaelmas Term, as part of her stay in Oxford as an Astor Visiting Lecturer. She will be here in week 4 of term (31 October to 4 November), taking part in a number of events and seminars and working with students in a number of medieval disciplines, in particular on medieval lyric and song. The lecture itself is planned for Monday 31 October, and its provisional title is ‘Do we mean lyric or song?’.
  • Medieval Mystery Cycle 2023. Following the successful Medieval Mystery Cycle 2.0, plans are underway for the third iteration of what has fast become an Oxford tradition. Please reserve the date of 22 April 2023 (Saturday before Trinity Term) and spread the word! 


  • Oxford Medieval Commentary Network Second Conference, 29 September 2022: Call for Papers and Sign-up. Proposals are invited for the second conference organised by the Oxford Medieval Commentary Network, following the successful launch of the Network last year. The one-day conference will take place at Christ Church, Oxford, on 29 September 2022. For full details, please see our blog.
  • Graduate Convenor for the Medieval Mystery Cycle 2023: we are looking for a graduate convenor who will take on the mantle of Eleanor Baker in masterminding the operation. Have a look at for getting a sense of the scope and watching the plays performed in 2019 and 2022. Please send expressions of interest for the Graduate Convenor by 30 June 2022 to Co-Directors Henrike Lähnemann and Lesley Smith under
  • CFP: Christian Political Cultures in Late Antiquity. We invite papers for a conference (and planned edited volume) on Christian Political Cultures in Late Antiquity. This conference is designed as a pre-publication workshop for a planned edited volume on Christian Political Cultures in Late Antiquity. The deadline for proposals is 30 June 2022. Please send a title and an abstract (no longer than 500 words) to If you have questions, do not hesitate to get in touch with one of the organisers. For full details, click here.
  • CFP: Early Book Society University of Limerick, 11th-15th July 2023: Meaning, Memory, and the Making of Culture: Manuscripts and Books, 1350–1550. The 18th biennial conference of the Early Book Society will be hosted by Carrie Griffin and Eleanor Giraud at the University of Limerick from 11th to 14th July 2023, with an excursion on 15th July. Confirmed keynote speakers include John Thompson, Emeritus Professor, Queen’s University Belfast, and Lisa Fagin Davis, Executive Director, Medieval Academy of America. Planned activities include an early music concert and hands-on use of the university’s printing press. Please mark your calendars.  We invite proposals for 20-minute papers, themed panels (three papers and a chair), roundtables, and 5-minute lightning papers (ideal for work-in-progress updates). Scholars at all levels, including graduate students and early career researchers, are cordially invited to participate. 

Finally: It has been an honour and a delight to be your guide to all things Medieval in Oxford this academic year. Here is my final piece of Old English wisdom for the academic year, taken from the Old English Maxims:

Ræd biþ nyttost,
yfel unnyttost.

Good advice is the most useful, bad the least useful.

I hope that some of this year’s Old English Wisdom has fallen into the former category! I am delighted to be remaining in my role as Comms Officer for 2022-23, so I will be back in your inboxes come September. Until then, I wish you all a productive and restful summer – may you enjoy these ‘sigelbeorhte dagas’ (sun-bright days)!

Medievalists leaving Oxford for the summer encounter some strange adventures…
Merton College, MS 249, f. 7r.
View image and text in the Taylor Edition by Sebastian Dow

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