Medieval Matters: Week 3

Welcome to Week 3. Some timely advice from Alcuin for the stormy weather we had this weekend:

Hodie tempestas inminet, sed cras serenitas arridet
[Today a storm hangs over us, but tomorrow pleasant weather will smile upon us, Ep. 173]

I would like to draw particular attention to an especially pleasant event that will be smiling upon us this time next week, when we will be hosting the long-awaited termly OMS lecture / Astor Visiting Lecture by Prof. Ardis Butterfield. The lecture will take place on Monday 31 October, 5.15pm, in Lecture Theatre 2, English Faculty (St Cross Building). For full details, please see our blog post. This said, we are not fairweather Medievalists, and come rain or shine this week, there will be plenty of events and opportunities to enjoy. Please see below for everything happening this week:


  • Sign-ups Now Open for the Medieval Mystery Cycle! Just follow this link to propose a play and to join one of the highlights of the Oxford Medieval Studies calendar, which will be held on Saturday 22 April 2023 at St Edmund Hall. For full details on the kinds of play that you can put on and a wealth of inspiration from past years, see our blog post here.
  • OMS Small Grants Now Open: The TORCH Oxford Medieval Studies Programme invites applications for small grants to support conferences, workshops, and other forms of collaborative research activity organised by researchers at postgraduate (whether MSt or DPhil) or early-career level from across the Humanities Division at the University of Oxford. The activity should take place between the beginning of November 2022 and end of March 2023. The closing date for applications is Friday of Week 4 of Michaelmas Term = 4 November). Grants are normally in the region of £100–250. For full details, see our blog post here.
  • Meet your OMS Team 2022/23! Oxford’s medieval studies community continues to get bigger and better every year. This year we have our largest OMS team to date to help keep you informed about Medieval goings on in and around Oxford. To meet the team, please visit our blog post here.


Monday 24th October:

  • The Byzantine Graduate Seminar takes place at 12.30-2pm online via Zoom. This week’s speaker will be Joaquin Serrano (University of Edinburgh), The reliquary-cross of Saint Constantine and the military use of holy relics. To register, please contact the organiser at
  • The Medieval History Seminar takes place at 5pm in the Wharton Room, All Souls College and on Teams (Teams link here). This week’s speaker will be Ildar Garipzanov (Oslo), ‘Early Medieval Minuscule Texts: What, where, and why?‘. 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: 
  • The Old Norse Reading Group meets at 5.30-7.30pm. Please email Ashley Castelino ( to be added to the mailing list.

Tuesday 25th October:

  • The Medieval English Research Seminar takes place at 12.15pm in Lecture Theatre 2, English Faculty. This week’s speakers will be John Colley (Oxford), ‘Skelton and the Commonweal: Greek History in Quattrocento England’ Lucy Fleming  (Oxford), ‘ “A Racket at the Mill”: The Reeve’s Tale for a Century of Young Readers’. The paper will be followed by lunch with the speaker. All welcome.
  • The Governability across the medieval globe Discussion Group meets at 12:30 in the History Faculty. Everyone welcome, staff, students and researchers, of all historical periods. We encourage you to bring lunch along. This session we will be discussing ‘What is governability and how can we study it?’.
  • GLARE (Greek and Latin Reading Group) takes place at 4-5pm at Harold Wilson Room, Jesus College. Please meet at Jesus College Lodge. This week’s text will be Sophocles, Antigone. All welcome to attend any and all sessions. For more details and specific readings each week, or to be added to the mailing list, email or
  • The Medieval Church and Culture Seminar takes place at 5pm at Charles Wellbeloved Room, Harris Manchester College. The theme for this term is ‘Women’. This week’s speaker will be Philippa Byrne  (Somerville): Making Germans Sicilian in the Twelfth and Thirteenth Centuries. Everyone is welcome at this informal and friendly graduate seminar.

Wednesday 26th October:

  • The Medieval German Graduate Seminar meets for a paper by Luise Morawetz on the ‘Hildebrandslied’ at 11:15am in Somerville College – ask at the Lodge for directions. If you want to be added to the medieval German mailing list, please contact Henrike Lähnemann.
  • The Codicology and the Material Book Seminar takes place at 1.30-3.30pm, in the Weston Library. Today’s seminar is on Paper & Parchment/Inks & Pigment. The seminar is open to all current Oxford students. To attend: email Please note that this takes place at 1.30pm, not at 2pm as previously advertised!
  • The Medieval Latin Document Reading Group meets on Teams at 4-5pm. We are currently focusing on medieval documents from New College’s archive as part of the cataloguing work being carried out there, so there will be a variety of hands, dates and types. A document is sent out in advance but homework is not expected. Contact Michael Stansfield ( for further details and the Teams link.
  • The Late Antique and Byzantine Seminar takes place at 5pm at the Ioannou Centre for Classical and Byzantine Studies, 66 St Giles. This week’s speaker will be Ine Jacobs (Oxford), The Byzantine Dark Ages at Stauropolis/Karia (FKA Aphrodisias).

Thursday 27th October:

  • The Seminar in Medieval and Renaissance Music will take place on Zoom at 5pm. This week’s speaker will be Laurie Stras (University of Southampton): Music, musicians, and community at the Florentine convent of San Matteo in Arcetri (1540-1630). If you are planning to attend a seminar this term, please register using this form. For each seminar, those who have registered will receive an email with the Zoom invitation and any further materials a couple of days before the seminar. If you have questions, please just send me an email (
  •  The Launch of The Palgrave Encyclopedia of Medieval Women’s Writing in the Global Middle Ages takes place at 5pm via Zoom. To celebrate the launch of this exciting volume, there will be a round table on Women’s Writing in the Global Middle Ages, featuring Diane Watt (University of Surrey), Ruth Lefevre (Palgrave), Michelle M. Sauer (University of North Dakota), Liz Herbert McAvoy (Swansea University), Ayoush Lazikani (University of Oxford), Kathryn Maude (American University of Beirut), Will Rogers (University of Louisiana at Monroe), and Alexandra Verini (Ashoka University). A Q&A will follow the roundtable. For full details, and to sign up, see the eventbrite page.
  • The Celtic Seminar will take place at 5.15pm via Zoom and The History of the Book Room, English Faculty. This week’s speaker will be Jon Morris (Caerdydd), ‘The interplay between social structures and language variation in Welsh-speaking communities‘. Please contact if you need a link.
  • At 9:20pm, the St Edmund Consort will sing Compline at Candlelight in the Norman Crypt under St-Peter-in-the-East, the library church of St Edmund Hall, Queen’s Lane, featuring a hymn written in 1522 by Elisabeth Cruciger.

Friday 28th October:

  • The Medievalist Coffee Morning takes place at 10:30-11.30am in the Visiting Scholars Centre in the Weston Library (access via the Readers Entrance on Museum Road: straight ahead and up two floors!).
  • The Anglo-Norman Reading Group meets at 5-6.30pm at St Hilda’s College, in the Julia Mann Room. The text will be extracts from the Chronicle of Langtoft; pdf will be provided. For access to the text and further information, please email: or

Finally, here is some parting wisdom from Alcuin to keep in mind as you venture around town this week:

Non sis harundo agitata, non flos aura tempestatis decidens
[Do not be a reed shaken by the wind, a flower blown down by the storm, Ep. 72]

I interpret this to mean: be careful of your umbrella choice when navigating Oxford in the autumn winds!! In less literal understanding: don’t give up if you hit stormy seas in your research. Wishing you a week of sunny skies both literally and metaphorically.

[Medievalist struggles with an umbrella whilst on the way to the library]
Ashmole Bestiary, Bodleian Library MS. Ashmole 1511, f. 19 r.
Viewable in full at Digital Bodleian

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