Medieval Matters: Week 5

Where did the term go? Somehow we are already at fifth week. This is an infamous week in the Oxford calendar, rumoured to bring stress and tiredness as we begin the second half of term. Here’s some advice on self-care from Alcuin if you are feeling the fifth week blues:

Cui largus eris, si tuae animae tenax; vel quis tibi fidelis erit, si tu tibi ipse infidelis erit?
[To whom will you be generous, if you are miserly to your own soul? Who will be loyal to you if you are disloyal to yourself?, Ep. 23]

Luckily fifth week also brings many gifts and joys: we are generously supplied with many wonderful events this week to keep your spirits up! It’s cold and it’s dark, but there are plenty of inspiring talks and papers to keep your spirits warm. If you’re feeling that winter is coming, this week’s Book at Lunchtime on Wednesday 9th at 12.30 focuses on Professor Carolyne Larrington’s All Men Must Die; if you’re dreaming of somewhere warmer, the Seven Sages of Rome as a Global Narrative Tradition Oxford-Berlin Workshop takes place on 11-12 November 2022; if you want to see new life breathed into Old English, make your way to WOOPIE at 5.15pm in New College, Room LR4 for Prof. José Luis Martínez-Dueñas (Universidad de Granada)’s lecture on ‘Jorge Luis Borges’s Old English Poetics; and if you want a taste of things to come in the summer months, see ‘Old Frisian, a Gem of Old Germanic Studies’ by Dr Anne Popkema at 5.15pm on Wednesday 9th, a taster session for the Old Frisian Summer School that will run later in the year. And that’s only a small sample of the many delights on offer this week! Here is the full roundup:


  • Medieval Latin Manuscript Reading Group is back! Mondays 1-2pm, starting 14 November (i.e., next week) on Teams. Sign up here for the mailing list to receive details of each week’s sessions. Contact Matthew HolfordAndrew Dunning or Tuija Ainonen for further details.
  • This year the British Archaeological Association Postgraduate Conference will be hosting a fantastic array of papers by Early Career Researchers from across the world on topics ranging from medieval art, architecture, and archaeology. It will take place online on Tuesday 22 and Wednesday 23 November 2022.  Here is a pdf copy of the programme and you can also see it on the Medieval Art Research website. Register for the conference here:
  • Violent Victorian Medievalism exhibition, Voltaire Room, Taylor Institution Library, 7th and 8th week (21 Nov-2 Dec): This exhibition tells part of the story of how ‘medieval’ often becomes synonymous with ‘violence’ in later responses to the Middle Ages. It brings together some of the Bodleian’s collection of Victorian and Edwardian English-language adaptations of the Nibelungenlied and related material. These publications are accompanied by eye-catching images, often focusing on some of the more violent aspects of the narrative. The digital exhibition is now live, as is registration for the closing reception on 2nd December, 17:00-18:15 (Friday of 8th week). Registration closes 24 Nov or when places are filled. 
  • The Seven Sages of Rome as a Global Narrative Tradition: Workshop and Talks. The workshop will start with a session in the Weston Library on Friday morning where the group will meet other Oxford medievalists at the Coffee Morning, followed by a view of special collections in the library. While this is for speakers only, their is limited capacity to attend the following talks at the Ioannou Centre. If interested, please contact the workshop co-ordinator Josh Hitt. For full details, please see our blog.


Monday 7th November:

  • The Byzantine Graduate Seminar takes place at 12.30-2pm online via Zoom. This week’s speaker will be Niels De Ridder (KU Leuven / Universität zu Köln), Representations of Jews in Middle-Byzantine hagiographical apocalypses. 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 Lucia Akard (Oxford SU), ‘Rape and Survival in Late Medieval France and Burgundy‘. 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 8th November:

  • The Medieval English Research Seminar takes place at 12.15pm in Lecture Theatre 2, English Faculty. This week’s speaker will be Brittany Schorn (Oxford), ‘Reading the Codex Regius of the Poetic Edda‘. The paper will be followed by lunch with the speaker. All welcome.
  • The Centre for Manuscript and Text Cultures meets at 3.30pm at Memorial Room, The Queen’s College and on Zoom for a Work in Progress Colloquium. The speakers will be Benedetta Bessi (Venice/Stanford): ‘Towards a Digital Edition of the Liber insularum by Cristoforo Buondelmonti’ and Joseph Mason (New College, Oxford): ‘Oral and Written Transmission in Old French Song: a reassessment’. Please register here (whether you are planning to attend in person or online)
  • 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 French Research Seminar takes place at 5pm at the Maison française d’Oxford ( Presentations begin at 5.15pm. This week’s speaker will be Dr David Murray (Universiteit Utrecht): ‘The Crusades and Flemish Literary History: Home and Away?’. For more information and to be added on the seminar’s mailing list, contact 
  • 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 Alice Spiers (St Anne’s): Situating the Visionary:  the politics of Mechthild of Magdeburg and Henry Suso. Everyone is welcome at this informal and friendly graduate seminar.

Wednesday 9th November:

  • The Medieval German Graduate Seminar meets for a paper by Marlene Schilling on Personification in the Dietrichsepik 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.
  • Book at Lunchtime with Professor Carolyne Larrington meets at 12.30pm (Lunch), 1-2pm (Discussion) in Radcliffe Humanities Seminar Room. For full details, see our blog.
  • 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 Federica Scognamiglio (Scuola Normale Superiore), Before isometry: metrics and style of Ignatios the Deacon (and Pseudo-Ignatios).
  • Special Lecture: ‘Old Frisian, a Gem of Old Germanic Studies’ by Dr Anne Popkema will take place at 5.15pm in Taylor Room 2. The lecture is also a taster session for the Old Frisian Summer School which will run in July 2023 in St Edmund Hall. For full details, see our blog.

Thursday 10th November:

  • 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 Charlene Eska (Virginia Tech), ‘Let’s do it in the garden: A tale of temptation and redemption in NLS MS 72.1.26‘. Please contact if you need a link.
  • WOOPIE (Oxford Old English Work-in-Progress) takes place at 5.15pm in New College, Room LR4. The speaker will be Prof. José Luis Martínez-Dueñas (Universidad de Granada): ‘Jorge Luis Borges’s Old English Poetics‘. The paper will be followed by drinks reception. All welcome. For further details, contact:

Friday 11th November:

  • The Medievalist Coffee Morning takes place at 10:30-11.30am in the Visiting Scholars Centre in the Weston Library and the presentation will feature the launch of the edition of a Douce collection of material relating to St Margarete of Antioch by Lucian Shepherd plus the showing of this and two further books (Douce 155: Marcolphus and Douce S 195: Bidpai) demonstrating Francis Douce’s “cut-and-paste” approach to pre-modern books (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: Stephanie Hathaway or


  • The Department of Medieval Studies at Central European University (Vienna) is pleased to announce its call for applications for the 2023/2024 academic year. The deadline is February 1, 2023. Central European University is a graduate-level, English-language university with a multi-disciplinary Medieval Department that offers the following programs: 1-year MA in Late Antique, Medieval and Early Modern Studies; 2-year MA in Comparative History: Late Antique, Medieval and Renaissance Studies; 2-year MA in Cultural Heritage Studies; PhD in Late Antique, Medieval and Early Modern Studies. CEU provides a variety of need- and merit-based scholarships and various other types of financial support available to students at all levels and from any country (tuition waiver, stipend, housing awards, health insurance coverage): Interested applicants can contact us at For further information, visit:

Finally, some more advice from Alcuin on self-care to see you through the perils of fifth week:

Cur in alium spem ponis et tu tibi ipsi benefacere non vis?
[Why are you willing to put hope in another but not to do good to yourself?, Ep. 23]

May you be willing to do good to yourself and to others this week!

[A Medievalist is feeling the 5th week blues sneak up on them]
Ashmole Bestiary, Bodleian Library MS. Ashmole 1511, f. 30 r.
Viewable in full at Digital Bodleian

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *