Medieval Matters: Week 3

Last week we hosted the fabulous OMS Trinity Term Lecture by Alison Ray and Heather Barr: a careers talk with a twist! Many thanks to Alison and Heather for a wonderful evening, and thanks to everyone who came along. Here’s some careers-based wisdom from Alcuin, in honour of the occasion:

Unus quisque proprii laboris mercedem accipiet
[Each person will receive appropriate reward for their own work, Ep. 88]

If you missed the talk, don’t fear: you can catch up via our blog! You can view the Trinity Term Lecture, along with a handy list of resources for further information on working in archives, libraries and the wider heritage sector, kindly written by Alison, here: GLAMorous work: Medievalist Pathways in Archives and Libraries. Alison has also kindly written up the highlights of the Medieval Mystery Plays, so if you missed the festivities (or just want to relive them), please click here! We also have a wonderful Report by Elisabeth Dutton, Université de Fribourg, on the staging of the Comédie des Innocents, by Marguerite de Navarre: click here to read all about it! For the week’s offerings, please see below.


  • Save the date! Dies Latinus et Graecus: ‘Quid antiqui de antiquis censuerint’: We are delighted to announce that the Oxford Ancient Languages Society, with the support of Oxford Latinitas, will be running a Dies Latinus et Graecus on Saturday 20 May, in the Ship Street Centre, Jesus College. Please save the date! The broad theme of the day will be what the ancients had to say about (even earlier) ancient figures, texts, and events, and in general exploring antiquity through its own critical resources. To register interest, please fill out this form. Any questions may be directed to or
  • Registration for Literary, religious and manuscript cultures of the  German-speaking lands, the  symposium  in memory of Nigel F. Palmer (1946-2022)  which takes place on 19/20 May finished last week; please contact Henrike Lähnemann if you would still like to attend some sessions. There will be the opportunity for Oxford-based medievalists to see books related to Nigel Palmer both at the Friday coffee morning on 19 May and in the Old Library of St Edmund Hall on 20 May from 5pm.


Monday 8th May:

  •  The Byzantine Graduate Seminar will meet at 12:30-14:00 via Zoom. This week’s speaker will be Valeria Annunziata (La Sapienza Università di Roma), Challenging Authorities: How and Why Byzantine Scholars Emended Classical and Authoritative Texts . To register, please contact
  • The Medieval Latin Manuscript Reading Group led by Matthew Holford and Andrew Dunning is meeting as usual via Teams from 1-2pm. This term we will read some satirical poetry from a thirteenth-century manuscript, the so-called ‘Bekyngton anthology’ (Bodl. MS. Add. A. 44). Sign up for the mailing list to receive updates and the Teams invite, or contact or for more information.
  • Please note that the Medieval History Seminar will not take place this week.

Tuesday 9th May:

  • The Medieval English Research Seminar will meet at 12:00 in Lecture Theatre 2, St Cross Building. This week’s speakers will be Jane Griffiths (Wadham College, Oxford) and Laura Varnam (University College, Oxford), ‘Her Wordhoard: Unlocking Creativity in Academic Practice‘.
  • The Medieval Church and Culture Seminar meets at the Wellbeloved Room, Harris Manchester College, with tea & coffee from 5pm; papers begin at 5.15pm. This week’s speaker will be Sara Lipton (Stony Brook, NY), ‘The Law Was Like a Book of Pictures’: a sermon by Philip the Chancellor on Jewish and Christian Ways of reading and perceiving‘. Everyone is welcome at this informal and friendly graduate seminar!
  • The Medieval French Research Seminar will meet at 5pm for drinks, with the presentation starting at 5:15pm, at the Maison Francaise d’Oxford on Norham Road. This week’s speakers will be Ramani Chandramohan, Alice Hawkins, and Robert Ley – ‘Within and Beyond: Scribal, Textual and Narrative Voices in Medieval French Epic and Romance‘. For more information, to be added to the seminar maillist, or for the Teams link to join a seminar remotely, contact

Wednesday 10th May:

  • The Medieval German Seminar will meet at 11:15-12.45pm at St Edmund Hall Old Library. This week Luise Morawetz will offer a short presentation on her project editing the Old High German glosses in Bodleian Library, MS. Canon. Pat. Lat. 57 – have a look at her work-in-progress edition.
  • 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 meets at 5pm at Ioannou Centre for Classical and Byzantine Studies, 66 St. Giles. This week’s speaker will be Federico Montinaro (Universität Tübingen), ‘The edition of the Acts of the Council of Constantinople of 879-80: an interim report’. To join remotely via Teams, click here.
  • The Centre for Manuscript and Text Cultures (CMTC) at The Queen’s College (Oxford) is hosting the Trinity Term Lecture at 5.15–6.45pm, in the Memorial Room, The Queen’s College and online via Zoom. The lecture will be by Jean-Luc Fournet (Collège de France, Paris), ‘The End of a Script and the Beginning of Myth. Hieroglyphs and the Greeks’. Please register here (whether you are planning to attend in person or online).

Thursday 11th May:

  • The Discussion Group: Governability across the medieval globe meets at 12.30 in Seminar Room A in Jesus College. Everyone welcome: staff, students and researchers, of all historical periods. We encourage you to bring lunch along. This week’s topic is ‘Gender’.
  • Laura Ashe is leading this week’s Piers Plowman in Context discussion group, which meets in the Butler Room at Univ (please note the change of college room) from 4.30-5.30. This week’s session will be on Passus VII of the B-text, which we’ll be discussing in relation to the short contextual passages in this PDF. All welcome! Email Jacob Ridley with any questions.
  • The Oxford Interfaith Forum meets online via Zoom at 6pm. Professor Adele Berlin, Robert H. Smith Professor Emerita of Hebrew Bible at the University of Maryland, USA, will be leading this session on Exile and Restoration in the Psalms. To register, please click here.

Friday 12th May:

  • The Medieval Coffee Morning meets as usual 10:30am in the Visiting Scholars Centre of the Weston Library (instructions how to find it) with presentation of items from the special collections, coffee and the chance to see the view from the 5th floor terrace.
  • The Germanic Reading Group meets at 4pm on Zoom. To mark the publication of his new book, Prosody in Medieval English and Norse, Nelson Goering will lead this session on Laȝamon’s Brut. To receive the materials and be added to the mailing list, please contact
  • The Anglo-Norman Reading Group meets at 5-6.30pm at the Julia Mann room, St Hilda’s College and online. This term we are reading extracts from Hue de Rotelands’s Protheselaus. Please contact Jane Bliss and/or Stephanie Hathaway to let us know if you can come in person (so we know whom to expect), also to obtain copies of the texts, and for the Zoom invitations.

I hope you are all enjoying your second bank holiday weekend! Though Alcuin thought it was important to work hard to receive your just rewards, he also acknowledged that taking a break was sometimes necessary:

Qui placido in puppi carpebat pectore somnum,
Exurgens uentis imperat et pelago
[With a quiet heart he snatched some sleep in the ship’s stern; waking, he commanded the wind and sea. Oratio in Nocte.]

I take this to mean: snatch some sleep on this bank holiday so that you can accomplish great things the rest of the week! Wishing you all a week of good work, good rest, and the rewards that you deserve!

[A Medievalist trying to snatch some sleep on the bank holiday]
Ashmole Bestiary, Bodleian Library MS. Ashmole 1511, f. 69 r.
Viewable in full at Digital Bodleian

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