Medieval Matters: Week 6

We are well into term and also into February. I don’t want to be too optimistic, but I think I saw some sunshine in Oxford last week! Brighter days are coming. Of course, all days are bright when they have wisdom in them, so here is some advice for fellow teaching staff this week:

Ergo magistri minuitur auctoritas, si doctrina eius destruitur opere
[The authority of a teacher will be diminished if their teachings are refuted by their own works. Ep. 217]

In other words: those who can do, teach! Of course, what better way to supplement your own works (and by extension, your teaching) with some of our fabulous seminars and reading groups? Let’s lead by example this week:


  • The Oxford Centre for Textual Editing and Theory is organising a workshop on ‘Genetic Narratology’ – combining genetic criticism and narrative analysis (23-24 February 2023, Jesus College, Oxford), with Karin Kukkonen as keynote speaker. Please find the preliminary programme and free registration via Eventbrite.
  • Please note that the time and date of The Medieval Italian Seminar has changed: this week’s paper will now take place on Friday at 11.30am at Colin Matthew Room, History Faculty.
  • From the Breast, an interdisciplinary hybrid seminar series and workshop whose central theme revolves around representations of breastfeeding and infant feeding in pre-modern culture will have a seminar relevant to medievalists on Wednesday 22 February, advertised below, but also several other seminars and a workshop on pre-modern breastfeeding more broadly. Please see the Eventbrite here to register for all upcoming events!
  • Valentine’s Day at the Medieval Church and Culture seminar featured a enthralling talk from Dr Federica Gigante, Curator of the Collection from the Islamic World at the History of Science Museum in Oxford.  Federica showed us the many places where Islamic textiles can be found in medieval Christian religious settings – places we’ve all seen, but never realised what we were looking at! If you missed Federica’s talk, please see our blog post here for some of the highlights.
  • Save the date! We will be running another workshop on voice projection and staging for the Medieval Mystery Cycle. This will take place on Monday 6 March (Week 8), 4.30–6pm, in the Pontigny Room at St Edmund Hall. All actors and directors interested in taking part are welcome! Beyond general voice projection exercises, there will also be an opportunity to work out staging constellations on site at St Edmund Hall (as well as an opportunity to enjoy tea and cake). The workshop will be led by Dr Jim Harris, the Mystery Cycle’s Master of Ceremonies and Teaching Curator at the Ashmolean Museum. Please let us know if you’re able to join us by emailing
  • CALL FOR TIKTOK PARTICIPANTS As you should know by now, OMS has a new TikTok account, and we want to use it to highlight the work of medievalists at Oxford (and beyond)! If you’d be willing to film a short TikTok for us talking about what you’re working on or some interesting aspect of the medieval world, email!


Monday 20th February:

  • The Childhood and Youth Studies Network is delighted to announce our first pedagogy session, with a focus on sources for integrating childhood and youth studies into teaching for undergraduate or postgraduate students. This session is run in conjunction with the Centre for the Study of the Book at the Bodleian Library, and is open to teaching staff of all career stages who hold a University or Bodleian Reader card. For full details, see here. Register via Eventbrite for the first session at 11.30-12.30 or the second session at 12.30-1.30, both Horton Room at the Weston Library. 
  • The Byzantine Graduate Seminar takes place at 12.30-2pm online via Zoom. This week’s speaker will be James Duncan (University of Liverpool), Mechanical Dragons and Underground Cults: Quodvultdeus’s Hidden Pagans. 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 continuing with the natural history theme. Sign up for the mailing list to receive updates and the Teams invite, or contact or for more information. 
  • The Queer and Trans Medievalisms Reading and Research Group meets at 3pm at Univ College, 12 Merton St Room 2. This week’s theme is Dietrich von der Glezze’s Der Borte. All extremely welcome! To join the mailing list and get texts in advance, or if you have any questions, email
  • The Medieval Archaeology Seminar meets at 3pm at the Institute of Archaeology, Lecture Room. This week’s speaker will be Dr Corisande Fenwick, UCL, ‘The transformation of medieval Morocco: State formation and everyday life‘.
  • The Medieval History Seminar takes place at 5pm in the Wharton Room, All Souls College. This week’s speaker will be Erin Dailey (Leicester), and her talk’s title is Domestic Slavery, Sexual Exploitation, and the Transformation of the Late Roman World, AD 300-900 (You may also attend remotely, Teams link here: or log in to Teams with your account and join the group “Medieval History Research Seminar”, team code rmppucs. If you have any difficulties please email: ). 
  • The Lincoln Leads seminar takes place at 5.30–7pm at Oakeshott Room, Lincoln College. This week’s panel is ‘What is the use of the modern museum?’. Book a free place here:

Tuesday 21st February:

  • 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 Maria João Branco, Universidade Nova, Lisbon, ‘Status, Service and Function: Revisiting Royal Councillors and Governance in 12th-13th-Century Portugal.
  • The Medieval Church and Culture Seminar meets at 5-6pm in the Charles Wellbeloved Room, Harris Manchester College. Paper starts at 5.15pm, with tea, coffee, biscuits and friendly Medievalist chat from 5pm! This week’s speaker will be Laura Light (Les Enluminures), The Paris Bible: what is it, and why its name matters.
  • The concluding Carlyle Lecture in Medieval Law with Prof. John Hudon (St Andrews) takes place at 5pm in South School, Examination Schools. This lecture reflects on the problems and possibilities of comparative legal history before moving on to the differences and similarities in patterns of England, France, and north Italy in the period c.1160-1270. All are welcome.

Wednesday 22nd February:

  • The Medieval German Graduate Seminar will meet at 11:15am in the island room of Oriel College with Marlene Schilling presenting the personification of Frau Minne and Frau Venus in Heinrich von Neustadt’s Apollonius von Tyrland. If you are interested to come along, contact Henrike Lähnemann, to be added to the teams chat.
  • 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 Thucydides, Peloponnesian War, 6.26.1–27.3. 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 Robert Wizniewski (Univ. of Warsaw), ‘The labourer is worthy of his hire? Clerics and their income in Late Antiquity’.
  • 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 Cosima Gillhammer (University of Oxford), ‘For to telle treuly holy writ and schortly and pleynly: The Wycliffite Gospel Commentaries’.
  • From the Breast, an interdisciplinary hybrid seminar series will meet at 6-7pm online. This week’s speakers are Mazi Kuzi, Tel Aviv University, Breastfeeding Culture in Twelfth-Century France, and Anna Packman, University of Birmingham ‘modes meolc’ (‘milk of the mind’): Milk as Metaphor in Old English Literature. Please see the Eventbrite here to register!

Thursday 23rd February:

  • The Oxford Medieval Commentary Network will meet at 12.45-2.15pm in Thatched Barn, Christ Church (by meadow entrance). Free lunch from 12.45, seminar paper begins at 1.15. Today’s speaker will be Miri Rubin, Queen Mary University of London, ‘Nigra sum: What Song of Songs Commentaries Can Tell Us About the Meanings of Blackness’. Please direct all questions to, or visit the website.
  • The Celtic Seminar by Stuart Dunmore (Edinburgh), ‘Language acquisition motivations and identity orientations among Scottish Gaelic diasporas in Nova Scotia and New England‘ has been POSTPONED to 2 November. Please contact for further info.
  • The Medieval Visual Culture Seminar meets at 5.15pm at St Catherine’s College, Arumugam Building. This week’s speaker will be Jack Hartnell University of East Anglia, ‘Visualising Wombs and Obstetrical Fantasies in Late Medieval Germany‘.

Friday 24th February:

  • The Medieval Coffee Morning meets as usual 10:30am in the Visiting Scholars Centre of the Weston Library with presentation of manuscripts from the collection, this week some manuscripts of the Rigveda, presented by Barbora Sojkova, a graduate trainee librarian at All Souls College (who has also been helping with the Bodleian Sanskrit cataloguing). Watch here the last medieval presentation by Dr Thea Gomelauri on the layout of Hebrew Bibles.
  • The Medieval Italian Seminar will take place at 11.30am at Colin Matthew Room, History Faculty. This week’s speaker will be Trevor Dean (Roehampton): ‘Female killers in late medieval Bologna‘. Please note the change of time and venue!


  • Utrecht University is looking for two researchers (1 PhD candidate and 1 Postdoc) to complete the team of the NWO VIDI project Lettercraft and Epistolary Performance in Early Medieval Europe, 476–751 CE, running from 2023-2027. The PhD candidate (1,0 fte, 4 years, details here) will conduct a case study of the consensus-building powers of lettercraft in the context of Merovingian episcopal successions. The Postdoc (0,8 fte, 2 years, details here) will work together with the project leader, Dr Robert Flierman, to develop and explore two new research tools for the study of lettercraft in early medieval Europe. The application deadline is 12 March. The projects are set to start on 1 July 2023.
  • The History Department at Hamilton College invites applications for a one-year position at the rank of Visiting Assistant Professor, beginning July 1, 2023. We seek candidates to teach courses on Late Antiquity and Early Medieval Histories. Candidates with ABD will be considered, although candidates with a Ph.D. are preferred. The teaching load for this position is five courses. Candidates should submit a cover letter, c.v., and two letters of recommendation via interfolio at Questions regarding the search may be directed to John Eldevik, Search Committee Chair, at Our review of applications will begin on March 20, 2023.
  • Two postdoc posts (five years) are now being advertised to work on Professor Helen Fulton’s ERC/UKRI project, ‘The Medieval March of Wales, c. 1282–1550’. Closing date is 16 March. Please circulate widely. Enquiries to For full details and to apply, see here.

I began this email by addressing teaching staff, but don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten the students of our community! Some advice on the importance of taking charge of your own learning:

Et si quid minus accepistis, non meae, credo, culpae deputari potest!
[And if anyone didn’t learn sufficiently, I don’t think they can assign the blame to me [the teacher]!, Ep. 34]

May we all learn sufficiently this week, and blame nobody for our lapses! Wishing you a sunny Week 6 full of learning and teaching.

[“Whose fault is it that we didn’t learn enough this week?”]
Ashmole Bestiary, Bodleian Library MS. Ashmole 1511, f. 25 v.
Viewable in full at Digital Bodleian

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