Medieval Matters: Week 3

Welcome to week 3! We have another exciting programme of events this week. As I write these emails I am always amazed by the wealth of opportunities that we have at Oxford: this week we have offerings ranging from the Encaenia of Hagia Sophia to Mamluk-Venetian relations! So here, courtesy of Alcuin, is a celebration of those who teach, guide, and encourage us with their seminar papers:

Valde mihi placet, quod tantam habetis intentionem lectionis … vos estis decus Britanniae
[I am delighted that you are so keen on encouraging reading … you are the glory of Britain! Ep. 43 ]

Your work organising events and giving papers really does make our community so much richer, so thank you for all of your hard work! A special shout-out to everybody planning to take part as actors or directors in the Medieval Mystery Cycle on 22 April. See below for the workshop coming up on Friday – all curious people invited! There are many more opportunities to be encouraged this week – see below for a full list of events:


Monday 30th January:

  • The Byzantine Graduate Seminar takes place at 12.30-2pm online via Zoom. This week’s speaker will be Emma Huig (Universiteit Gent), Stephanites and Ichnelates: recovering the Eugenian recension? To register, please contact the organiser at
  • The Medieval Latin Manuscript Reading Group led by Matthew Holford and Andrew Dunning is meeting as usual via Teams from 1-2pm. We continue with the Bruges copy of Thomas de Cantimpré’s Natural History about the elephant at fol. 62r. Sign up for the mailing list to receive updates and the Teams invite, or contact Matthew Holford or Andrew Dunning
  • The Seminar in Manuscript Studies and Palaeography will take place at 2.15-3.45pm, in the Weston Library, Horton Room. This week’s speaker will be Laura Saetveit Miles (University of Bergen), “The Influence of St. Birgitta of Sweden’s Revelationes in Late-Medieval England“. For further information contact Matthew Holford or Andrew Dunning.
  • The Queer and Trans Medievalisms Reading and Research Group meets at 3pm at Univ College, 12 Merton St Room 2. This week’s speaker is Wyn Shaw on Old French courtly romances. 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 Georg Christ (Manchester), ‘Rogue emporium and universal empire: Rethinking Mamluk-Venetian relations (mid 13th to end of 14th c.)’. 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:

Tuesday 31st January:

  • The Governability across the medieval globe Discussion Group meets at 12:00-1.30 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 ‘Water’.
  • The Europe in the Later Middle Ages Seminar will take place at 2–3.30pm in the New Seminar Room, St John’s College. Tea and coffee available from 1.45pm. This week’s speaker will be Luca Zenobi, Cambridge, ‘A Europe of Network States? The View from Italy‘.
  • The Medieval French Research Seminar takes place at 5pm at the Maison française d’Oxford ( Drinks at 5pm, presentations begin at 5.15pm. This week’s speakers will be Irina Boeru, Sebastian Dows-Miller, and Jack Nunn, ‘Attributing Authorship’. For more information, to be added to the seminar maillist, or for the Teams link to join a seminar remotely, contact Helen Swift.
  • The Medieval Church and Culture Seminar meets at 5pm for tea with the paper 5.15pm-6pm in the Charlese Wellbeloved Room, Harris Manchester College. This week’s speaker will be Susannah Bain (Jesus), ‘Maps, Chronicles and Treaties: defining political connections in late-thirteenth-century northern Italy‘.

Wednesday 1st February:

  • The Medieval German Graduate Seminar will meet at 11:15am in the island room of Oriel College for discussing translations and adaptations of this term’s text, Heinrich von Neustadt’s Apollonius von Tyrland, organised by Anna Wilmore. If you are interested to join, contact Henrike Lähnemann to be added to the teams chat.
  • The Medieval Italian Seminar is CANCELLED this week
  • GLARE (Greek and Latin Reading Group) takes place at 4-5pm at Jesus College. Please meet at Jesus College Lodge. This week’s text will be Ovid, Metamorphoses, 7.179–233. 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 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 Kateryna Kovalchuk (Wolfson College), ‘The Diegesis: a Hagiographical Text for Commemoration of the Encaenia of Hagia Sophia’.
  • The Medieval English Research Seminar takes place at 5.15pm in Lecture Theatre 2, English Faculty, followed by a drinks reception. This week’s speaker will be Emily Kesling (University of Oxford), ‘The Early Insular Prayerbooks and the Dream of the Rood Tradition’. All welcome.

Thursday 2nd February:

  • The Celtic Seminar will take place at 5.00pm via Zoom. This is a CAWCS hybrid event in Welsh at the National Library of Wales (with Breton song performance). This week’s speakers will be Brigitte Cloarec, Nigel Ruddock & Mary-Ann Constantine (CAWCS), ‘Canu Cymru–Llydaw ar ŵyl Santes Brîd: Gwerz Berc’hed a Merch y Gof‘. Please contact for the link.
  • The Oxford Seminars in Cartography meets at 4.30-6pm in Sir Victor Blank Lecture Theatre, Weston Library and online via Zoom. This week’s talk is Andrew Honey, Bodleian Library, University of Oxford and Conservation Inspector to the Mappa Mundi Trust: ‘‘Please use the postcode’: navigating the past, present, and future conservation needs of the Hereford Mappa Mundi‘. This talk will examine the conservation needs of the Hereford Mappa Mundi, chart the effects of some of the historic repairs and cleaning campaigns carried out in the past, explain the ingenious methods used to mount the map, and outline future conservation needs, as well as presenting some discoveries from recent conservation inspections. For more information see here.

Friday 3rd February:

  • 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!). This week Julia Brusa (Geneva) will present a group of early modern German ‘Stammbücher’ (album amicorum).
  • 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
  • Workshop: Staging and Acting in a Medieval Mystery Play takes place at 5–6.30pm, at St Edmund Hall, Old Dining Hall. Join this workshop for tips and guidance on how to join a group and how to adapt medieval mystery plays for modern performance. The workshop will be led by David Wiles, Emeritus Professor of Drama at the University of Exeter and a veteran director of the Oxford Medieval Mystery Cycle. Let us know if you’re interested in joining by emailing Michael Angerer, the graduate convenor or just come along.
  • The Old Norse Reading Group meets at 5pm at The Royal Oak. Please email Ashley Castelino ( to be added to the mailing list.


  • CFP: “INVESTIGATIONS INTO ROMANIAN AND EUROPEAN BIBLICAL TRADITIONS” INTERNATIONAL SYMPOSIUM 12th Edition: Iaşi, 18-20 May 2023. The Symposium aims to encourage multi- and interdisciplinary debates on the issues raised by the publication, translation, interpretation, dissemination and reception of sacred texts into Romanian and other modern languages. For full details, see the blog post here.
  • Emory University and the Medieval Academy of America are pleased to announce the launch of a Zoom working group on Race & Gender in the Global Middle Ages. The aim is to bring together scholars from various disciplines (history, art history, and literary studies) who work on Europe and the Mediterranean, the Islamic world, Africa, and Asia to discuss works-in-progress that deal with race and gender from 500 CE to 1600 CE. The working group is open to all medievalists, including graduate students.To participate in the working group, please register at

Finally, some more advice from Alcuin on the importance of being encouraged:

‘Discant in adolescentia, ut habeant, quid doceant in senectute
[They must learn in youth in order to be able to teach in age, Ep. 23]

In other words: your work organising seminars and reading groups makes our scholarly community richer not just for the medievalists of the present, but also for the future of our disciplines! May you have a week full of such encouragement.

[A Medievalist gives a stunning seminar paper]
Ashmole Bestiary, Bodleian Library MS. Ashmole 1511, f. 9 r.
Viewable in full at Digital Bodleian

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