Medieval Matters: Week 6

Welcome to Week 6. We’re now well and truly into the second half of term, and even though it has been unseasonably warm, winter is clearly coming: the sun is going down horribly early! If emerging from the library or a seminar to find that it’s already gone dark is getting you down, here is some advice from Alcuin:

maneat vero in vobis lumen scientiae
[let the light of learning dwell amongst you, Ep. 88]

Luckily we have plenty of bright lights of learning to keep us going through these dark winter months! See below for many events and seminars that might brighten up your week:


  • Save the Date: Invisible East Lecture on 21st November. Injustice, Corruption, and Partisanship in the Eastern Seljuq Lands of the Early Twelfth Century – Lecture by Deborah Tor (University of Notre Dame). 21 November 2022, 3PM, Spalding Room, FAMES.
  • Norman Sicily and Ifrīqiya – Documents, Scripts and Islamic Law: Thursday 1st December 2022 14:00 – 18:30, at The Buttery, Wolfson College, University of Oxford. To reserve a place, please email before 26th November. Places are limited and entrance will be strictly limited to those holding confirmation of a reserved place. For full details, see here.
  • Online Seminar Group: Medieval Wales and the Marches: The Mortimer History Society is working in partnership with Professor Helen Fulton (Bristol), Dr Emma Cavell (Swansea), and Dr Sara Elin Roberts (Chester) to create an Online Seminar Group: Medieval Wales and the Marches, to provide a forum for academics and independent scholars to share research papers. The online seminar group, which will be multi-disciplinary, welcomes membership and papers on aspects of the social, economic, cultural, legal, and political history of medieval Wales and the Marches. A mailing list of members is being assembled this term, along with a call for papers, with a view to seminars starting in spring term 2023. Please email Philip Hume at if you would like to be added to the mailing list (indicating if you would be interested in giving a paper).


Monday 14th November:

  • The Medieval Latin Manuscript Reading Group led by Matthew Holford, Andrew Dunning, and Tuija Ainonen is back! Matthew writes: We reconvene until the end of term, meeting as usual via Teams on Mondays from 1-2pm. Tuija will lead the first session – in keeping with Luisa’s emails we’ll read some passages from the early 13th century Ashmole bestiary (MS. Ashmole 1511), starting with Elephant (f. 15v).
  • The Byzantine Graduate Seminar takes place at 12.30-2pm online via Zoom. This week’s speaker will be Elvira Miceli (University of Oxford)The Byzantine Heritage of the Liber ad honorem Augusti. To register, please contact the organiser at
  • The Medieval Archaeology Seminar takes place at 3pm in the Institute of Archaeology, Lecture Room. This week’s speaker will be Helena Hamerow, ‘Women of the Conversion Period’. A biomolecular investigation of mobility‘.
  • The Queer and Trans Medievalisms Reading Group meets at 3pm at Univ College, 12 Merton St Room 2. This week’s theme is Transmasc sainthood: Euphrosyne/Smaragdus. All extremely welcome! To join the mailing list and get texts in advance, or if you have any questions, email   
  • 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 Jane Kershaw (Institute of Archaeology), ’A new look at silver in the Golden Age of Islam’. 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 English Reading Group takes place at 5.30-7.30pm. Please email for more information and to be added to the mailing list.

Tuesday 15th November:

  • The Medieval English Research Seminar takes place at 12.15pm in Lecture Theatre 2, English Faculty. This week’s speaker will be Megan Cavell (Birmingham), ‘Before Attenborough: Early Medieval Natural History, Animal Diversity and “Edutainment”‘. 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 ‘Mountains and Uplands’.
  • 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 Seneca, Thyestes. 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 Hannah Skoda (St John’s): ‘Eius filia incepit sugere mammillam dicte eius matris’ (Life of St Nicholas of Tolentino):  breast-feeding mothers in the later Middle Ages. Everyone is welcome at this informal and friendly graduate seminar.

Wednesday 16th November:

  • The Medieval German Graduate Seminar meets for a paper by Julia Lorenz on battles in ‘Dietrichs Flucht’ 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 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 Marie-Hélène Blanchet (CNRS) & Raúl Estangüi Gómez (Sorbonne), The Byzantine World in the Palaeologan Era: Empire(s) and Emerging Nation-States.

Thursday 17th November:

  • A special lecture on The linguistic relationship between the Gothic Bible and its Greek source by Professor Carla Falluomini (University of Perugia) will take place at 4−5pm as part of the Germanic Reading Group in the Oxford Linguistics Faculty – Common Room and via Zoom. All welcome!
  • The Seminar in Medieval and Renaissance Music will take place on Zoom at 5pm. This week’s speaker will be Konstantin Voigt (University of Freiburg): From Lyre to Staff – Relating Diagrams, Neumes and Diastematic Notation. 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, contact Matthew Thomson.
  • The Oxford Medieval Visual Culture Seminar will take place at 5pm in St Catherine’s College, Arumugam Building. This week’s speaker will be Spike Bucklow Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, The Seven Ages; a medieval theory of growing up and aging, as illustrated by artists’ lives.
  • 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 Sarah Hill (Oxford): ‘Legacies and failures: Rethinking Welsh pop history’. Please contact if you need a link.

Friday 18th November:

  • The Medievalist Coffee Morning which features treasures of the Bodleian Library 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!).

Saturday 19th November:

  • The Quarterly Meeting of the Slavonic and Eastern European Medieval Studies Group takes place at 11am–4pm in Wolfson College, Seminar room 2. Speakers will be Elena Draghici-Vasilescu (Oxford) “Byzantine objects in mediaeval Rus’: a case study”; Lilian Ann-Charlotte Gutsjö (Gothenburg) “Змнн and львъ with the -ov- suffix in the Codex Suprasliensis“; Angus Russell (Cambridge) “Taxation or bribery? The semantics of bureaucracy in fifteenth-century Moscow” and Ralph Cleminson (Oxford) “Pilgrimage literature in mediaeval Rus’: fact or fiction?”. All four talks are free and open to the public.


  • Funded PhD position: ‘Slavery and the Households of Sixth-Century Gaul’. The position is funded to cover fees according to the UK domestic rate, with an additional annual stipend of £16,062. It will be conducted at the project’s host institution, the University of Leicester. Application deadline: 25 November 2022 Start date: as early as 9 January 2023 and no later than 25 September 2023. For more information, and to apply, please visit the University of Leicester’s application page.
  • The Invisible East Programme is looking for a Programme Finance Co-ordinator to join the team. Deadline for applications: 21 November 2022. More information at this link.

Finally, some more advice on coping with darkness from Alcuin:

religio vestrae conversationis fulgeat quasi claritas lucis in tenebris
[The goodness of your way of life should shine like a bright light in the dark, Ep. 187]

This advice never felt more necessary than in the British winter months! May your week be full of lights of some kind or another, even if the sun is setting before your seminars end for the day.

[A Medievalist peeks out of the library and is unimpressed to see the sun setting at 4.15pm]
Ashmole Bestiary, Bodleian Library MS. Ashmole 1511, f. 83 v.
Viewable in full at Digital Bodleian

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