Medieval Matters: Week 7

It’s only November, but the Oxford Christmas lights are up, and the Christmas market has come to Broad Street! It strikes me as a little early for Christmas celebrations just yet, particularly as we still have two whole weeks of term. Here is some advice from Alcuin on not getting ahead of ourselves:

Omnia vestra honeste cum ordine fiant. Tempus statuatur lectioni.
[Do all of your tasks decently and in order. Fix a time for reading, Ep. 72]

Of course, as well as fixing reading time, you should also fix time to attend some of our wonderful range of events. To help you keep your diary decently and in order, please see below for a list of the week’s happenings:


Monday 21st November:

  • The Medieval Latin Manuscript Reading Group led by Matthew Holford, Andrew Dunning, and Tuija Ainonen is meeting as usual via Teams on Mondays from 1-2pm, continuing with the Ashmole bestiary (MS. Ashmole 1511), picking up after the Elephant on f. 16r, line 6.
  • The Byzantine Graduate Seminar takes place at 12.30-2pm online via Zoom. This week’s speaker will be Bahattin Bayram (İstanbul Medeniyet University), Barbarians of Eusebius. 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 Barbara Bombi (Kent), ‘Lost in translation: diplomacy and the use of languages at the papal curia in Avignon’. 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 22nd November:

  • Workshop: Visual search for exploring and dating collections: lessons from Spanish chapbooks will take place at 09:30-11:30am online and in Cambridge. This workshop will explore the challenges and opportunities that using digital tools can bring to the study of large collections of images and their associated metadata. Registration required:
  • The Medieval English Research Seminar takes place at 12.15pm in Lecture Theatre 2, English Faculty. This week’s speaker will be Eleanor Myerson (Cambridge), ‘Syrian Silks: The Fabrics of English Identity‘. The paper will be followed by lunch with the speaker. All welcome.
  • 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, Iphigenia at Taurus. 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 Melek Karatas (John Rylands Library, Manchester): ‘Makers of Manuscripts as Readers of Manuscripts: The Montbaston Illuminators and the Roman de la Rose’. 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 Elena Rossi (Magdalen): Our Mother the University: maternal roles and the medieval university. Everyone is welcome at this informal and friendly graduate seminar.
  • A network social for Early Medieval Britain and Ireland network will take place at 6:00 PM at the King’s Arms. Anyone with an interest in early medieval Britain and Ireland is most welcome. 

Wednesday 23rd November:

  • The Medieval German Graduate Seminar meets for a paper by Ruth von Bernuth and Henrike Lähnemann on the Yiddish and German versions of ‘Sigenot’ as part of the ‘Dietrichsepik’ seminar 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 Liz James (Univ. of Sussex), Connecting Mosaics.
  • The Centre for Manuscript and Text Cultures meets at 5.15pm in Memorial Room, The Queen’s College and on Zoom for the Michaelmas Term CMTC Lecture. The lecture will be Nikolay Tarasenko (Kyiv/Pembroke College, Oxford): ‘What Can the “Greenfield Papyrus” (pLondon BM EA 10554) Tell Us about Its Owner?’. Please register here (whether you are planning to attend in person or online).

Thursday 24th 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 Myriah Williams (Berkeley): ‘Beginnings and endings: ‘Moli Duw yn Nechrau a Diwedd and Cyntefin Ceinaf Amser’‘. Please contact if you need a link.

Friday 25th November:

  • 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


  • Oxford Research in English: Call for submissions: ORE invites papers on the theme of ‘conversations’, across all periods, genres, and literary disciplines. We invite full papers of 5,000-8,000 words, due on the 6th of January 2023 to All questions and queries should also be submitted to this email address. The editors also invite expressions of interest for book reviews and feature articles. For full details, please see here.

Finally, for anyone eagerly looking forward to the Christmas season, when things are not so busy: some advice from Alcuin on enjoying the present and not hoping too much for the future (even when you are very busy with admissions or MSt essay writing):

Tempus huius vitae velociter currit… ideo pretiosa nobis debent esse tempora
[This life passes quickly… so we should hold our time as precious, Ep. 78]

In other words, enjoy the last couple of weeks of term. May you have a week filled with precious times!

[A Medievalist tries to focus on their work and not on the Broad Street Christmas market…]
Ashmole Bestiary, Bodleian Library MS. Ashmole 1511, f. 95 v.
Viewable in full at Digital Bodleian

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