Medieval Matters: Week 8

It feels like term has just begun, but here we are in week 8 already! That said, the medievalist happenings at Oxford are far from over. In fact, we have an especially full week of exciting events and seminars lined up for you! This isn’t surprising: even Alcuin knew that week 8 was sometimes the richest of all the weeks:

saepe posterior adfert hora, quod prior non poterat
[Often the later hour brings what the earlier hour could not, Ep. 239]

Please do peruse the announcements, events and opportunities listed below, to see all of the joys that the ‘late hour’ of Week 8 has brought to us:


  • New AHRC Network: Noblesse Oblige? ‘Barons’ and the Public Good in Medieval Afro-Eurasia (10th-14th Centuries). This network is a forum for the re-evaluation of ‘baronial’ government and the common good between the tenth and fourteenth centuries across different Afro-Eurasian polities. For full details, please see the network website here. The network is also offering two opportunities: a conference and call for associate membership — see the “opportunities” section of this email for full details!
  • The Oxford Interfaith Forum will be hosting a talk of interest to Medievalists next week, on 13th March, 6-7pm, via Zoom. The talk will be Dr Nick Posegay (University of Cambridge), ‘Material and Linguistic History of Arabic Manuscripts in Muslim and Jewish Contexts‘. To register, please click here.


Monday 6th March:

  • The Byzantine Graduate Seminar takes place at 12.30-2pm online via Zoom. This week’s speaker will be Juliana Santos Dinoá Medeiros (Uniwersytet Warszawski), Hagiography and miracle performance in seventh-century Gaul. 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 will start with natural history from a medieval encyclopaedia. 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 Ulrich von Liechtenstein’s Frauendienst. All extremely welcome! To join the mailing list and get texts in advance, or if you have any questions, email
  • The Medieval Archaeology Seminar today is CANCELLED.
  • A Workshop for the Medieval Mystery Plays will take place in the Pontigny Room, St Edmund Hall, with David Wiles and Jim Harris, for all actors and directors, 4:30-6pm.
  • The Medieval History Seminar takes place at 5pm in the Wharton Room, All Souls College. This week’s speaker will be Jacopo Gnisci (UCL), Ethiopia and Byzantium: Reframing the Evidence. (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 ‘How do we define ‘child’ and ‘adult’?’, and features Harriet Soper (Fellow in English Literature) on life courses in Old English poetry. Book a free place here.

Tuesday 7th March:

  • 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 Duncan Hardy, University of Central Florida, ‘Reform and crusade at the imperial diets: towards a new explanatory framework for political change in the late medieval Holy Roman Empire‘.
  • The third and final lecture of this year’s E. A. Lowe Lectures in Palaeography takes place at 5pm in the MBI Al Jaber Auditorium, Corpus Christi College. This year’s lectures are given by Prof. Niels Gaul, A G Leventis Professor of Byzantine Studies and Director of the Centre for Late Antique, Islamic and Byzantine Studies at the University of Edinburgh. Today’s lecture will be on the subject of  “Authority”, and relates expressions of authorial ethos to matters of mise-en-page, with particular attention to marginal spaces. All welcome.
  • The Medieval Church and Culture Seminar meets 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 speakers will be Henrietta Leyser (St Peter’s) and Samuel Fanous (Bodleian Library): The Vision of the Monk of Eynsham
  • Concert ‘Inn stetter hut’: The Linarol Consort of Viols and James Gilchrist present a songbook from the court of Emperor Maximilian 7.30-9.30pm at the Holywell Music Room, preceded by a free pre-concert talk 5.55-6.45pm at the same venue with Henrike Lähnemann. Tickets for both can be obtained at Listen to the concert playlist.

Wednesday 8th March:

  • The Medieval German Seminar features a special guest lecture by Dr Aletta Leipold (Althochdeutsches Wörterbuch, Leipzig), 11.15-12.45 in the island room, Oriel College.
  • The Medieval Crafternoon will take place at 1.30-4.30pm at 21 St Giles, St John’s College. Come along for an afternoon of medieval textile crafts! The guided workshop will focus on four textile techniques, and refreshments will be served. To sign up, click here. For question, email Eleanor Birch.
  • The Medieval Italian Seminar will take place at 3.30pm at G. Martin Room, History Faculty. This week’s speaker will be Nicola Carotenuto (Oxford, St Hugh’s): ’Trade, traders, and institutions in late medieval Venice’.
  • 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 Zachary Chitwood (Univ. of Mainz), ‘A Cloister for the (Grand) Komnenoi: Dynastic Rivalry and Memoria at the Foundation of Dionysiou Monastery on Mount Athos’.
  • 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 Niamh Kehoe (University of Düsseldorf), ‘Humour and Horror in Ælfric´s Passion of St Vincent’.

Thursday 9th March:

  • 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 Alistair Minnis, Emeritus Professor, Yale, ‘Reconciling amour and yconomique: The significance of the Chess of Love commentary by Evrart de Conty (c.1330–1405)’. Please direct all questions to Cosima Gillhammer, or visit the website
  • The Seminar in Medieval and Renaissance Music will take place on Zoom at 5pm. This week’s speaker will be Emily Zazulia (University of California at Berkeley), The Fifteenth-Century Song Mass: Some Challenges. 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, please just send an email to
  • The Celtic Seminar will take place at 5.15pm via Teams and in The History of the Book Room, English Faculty. This week’s speaker will be Nora White (Maynooth), ‘Multimedia ogham and digital epigraphy‘. Please contact David Willis if you need a link.
  • The Medieval Visual Culture Seminar meets at 5.15pm at St Catherine’s College, Arumugam Building. This week’s speaker will be Mary Carruthers New York University, All Souls College, Oxford, ‘Envisioning Thinking: Geometry and Meditation in  the Twelfth Century‘.
  • The Medieval Vestments Conference takes place at St John’s College on March 9-10. This conference is inspired by the college’s collection with a mixture of impressive speakers, interactive workshops, and dynamic displays. To register, visit the eventbrite page.

Friday 10th March:

  • Weston Library Medieval Coffee Morning, 10.30-11.30, will feature Old High German glosses, scratch and otherwise, presented by Luise Morawetz. For more information on newly found glosses in the Bodleian cf.
  • Double bill on etymology in German and English with Aletta Leipold (Althochdeutsches Wörterbuch) rûna, rîzan, scrîban – A Cultural History of Writing based on examples from the Old High German dictionary, 3-4pm, and Philip Durkin (Oxford English Dictionary): Lexical Borrowing – Fremdwörter, Lehnwörter and German words in English, 4-5pm, in 47 Wellington Square, 1st floor, lecture room 1 (access via the second staircase, end of the corridor), the final session of Henrike Lähnemann’s lecture series on German Historical Linguistics.


  • Conference and Call for Associate Membership: Noblesse Oblige? ‘Barons’ and the Public Good in Medieval Afro-Eurasia (10th-14th Centuries). We would like to welcome any who might be interested in our research to join a conference, which will take place in Oxford between the 25th and the 27th May 2023 – 5th week of Trinity. In addition, we would like to open our network to associate members: this is especially aimed at early career academics or students interested in questions of governance, elites, and the common good in this period. Any student or ECR interested in joining as an associate member should email with a CV and short personal statement on their research and what they would contribute to the network. For full details, please see the OMS blog here and the network website here.
  • CfP: Dissolving Kinship in the Early Middle Ages, ca. AD 400-1000: The University of York, 1-2 June 2023. Proposals for 30-minute papers are invited from late-stage postgraduates and ECRs. Due to the generosity of the Past & Present Society and the Department of History, University of York, accepted speakers who wish to present in person will receive at least a 150-pound bursary towards travel and accommodation. We also welcome applications for virtual presentations. Please send ca. 300 word abstracts and a brief bio to both organisers, Dr Alex Traves ( and Dr Becca Grose (, by 7 April 2023. For full details, please click here.
  • Invitation to Attend an International Conference “Episcopal Leadership. Shaping Power in Gaul and Hispania (IVth-VIIth centuries)”, organized by Prof. Dr. Sabine Panzram (RomanIslam Center, Universität Hamburg), Prof. Dr. Marc Heijmans (Aix Marseille Université, Centre Camille Jullian) and Dr. Paulo Pachá (RomanIslam Center, Universidade Federal di Rio de Janeiro). The workshop will take place on 6-8 March 2023 (in person and on Zoom). For full details, please click here.

Of course, whilst this week marks the last week of teaching term, it’s not the end of Medieval happenings in Oxford. In fact, I’m sure many of us are looking forward to the opportunity to hunt down some elusive research time! Here is Alcuin on the difficulty of finding research time:

Fateor siquidem: propemodum ante annos triginta voluntatem huius habere operis; sed quievit calamus meus
[I confess, I had a desire to write this work thirty years ago: but my pen was at rest… Ep. 159]

Wishing you all a week full of exciting medievalist gatherings, and a vac full of bountiful and productive research time!

[Medievalists hunt for the rare beast known as “research time”]
Ashmole Bestiary, Bodleian Library MS. Ashmole 1511, f. 10 r.
Viewable in full at Digital Bodleian

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