Medieval Matters: Week 7

As we move into seventh week, the term and indeed the whole academic teaching year is beginning to wrap up. It has been an extremely busy year with more medieval events than ever before. It’s been a particular delight to see so many new seminars and events joining our roster this year, and to see the range of Oxford Medieval Studies expanding ever further. That being said, our busy programme is the product of extremely hard work, and I’m sure that many of us (especially our MSt students, currently working on their dissertations) are feeling rather tired. For those who need a little motivation to keep up the good work until the end of term, here is some advice from Alcuin:

non incipiens sed perseverans in finem salvus erit
[It is not the person who begins who will be saved, but the one who perseveres to the end, Ep. 276]

Some of our seminars have now finished for the year, but others are “persevering” to the end of the term! For your guide to everything happening this week, please see below:


Monday 5th June:

  • The Byzantine Graduate Seminar will meet at 12:30-14:00 via Zoom. This week’s speaker will be Peter Boudreau (McGill University), Keeping Time in Byzantium: Temporal Imagery and Thought in the Calendars of Later Byzantium. 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.
  • The Invisible East Group is hosting a seminar at 3pm in the Spalding Room, FAMES, Pusey Lane. This week’s speaker will be Prof Edmund Herzig, University of Oxford, ‘Closing a bank account in early 18th century Isfahan‘. More information at this link
  •  The Medieval History Seminar meets at 5pm at the Wharton Room, All Souls College. This week’s speaker will be Sara Lipton (Stony Brook/All Souls), ‘Iconography Against the Grain: Looking at and Learning from Art in the High Middle Ages‘. The seminar will also be available remotely via Teams. 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 6th June:

  • 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 Samuel Oliver (Queen’s), Envisioning Beguines’ ideas of community after the Council of Vienne, with a special focus on  the Vita et Revelationes of Agnes Blannbekin. Everyone is welcome at this informal and friendly graduate seminar!
  • There will be a reconstruction of the Night Office in 15th-Century Oxford in New College Chapel at 9pm prepared by Henry Parkes. Come along to experience of listening to the Office for Thomas Becket! More information and a glimpse of the manuscripts on which this is based in this blogpost.

Wednesday 7th June:

  • The Medieval German Seminar will meet at 11:15-12.45pm at St Edmund Hall Old Library. In Trinity Term, we are continuing to discuss Heinrich von Neustadt’s texts, focussing on ‘Von Gottes Zukunft’. We will meet in person in the Old Library of St Edmund Hall. Further information and reading recommendations via the teams channel; if you want to be added to that: please email 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 meets at 5pm at Ioannou Centre for Classical and Byzantine Studies, 66 St. Giles. This week’s speaker will be Asli Niyazioglu (Exeter College), ‘Ottoman Istanbul’s Talismanic Antiquities’. You can also join the seminar remotely via Teams, click here.

Thursday 8th June:

  • The Discussion Group: Governability across the medieval globe meets at 12.30 in the Sainsbury Common Room in Worcester College. Everyone welcome: staff, students and researchers, of all historical periods. We encourage you to bring lunch along. This week’s topic is ‘Plants and animals 🐄🌳’.
  • The Piers Plowman in Context discussion group will be led by Helen Barr in the Main Quad Boardroom at Univ from 4:30-5:30. This week’s session will be on Passus XIX of the B-text, which we’ll be discussing in relation to the Wycliffite ‘On the Ecclesiastical Hierarchy’ (available through this link: and Chaucer’s Parson’s Tale. All welcome! Email Jacob Ridley ( with any questions

Friday 9th June:

  • 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 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.

Finally, some more wisdom from Alcuin on the importance of staying focussed even as the term draws to a close (always a difficult task):

non segniter labora
[don’t work half-heartedly! Ep. 18]

Wishing the best of luck to all of our graduate students finishing up dissertations or taking exams in the next few weeks. For everyone else: may you work whole-heartedly this week!

[Never wake a sleeping medievalist in seventh week]
Ashmole Bestiary, Bodleian Library MS. Ashmole 1511, f. 80 v.
Viewable in full at Digital Bodleian

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