Medieval Matters: Week 8

Somehow we are now at the very end of Michaelmas Term! It seems to have flown by so quickly. We’ve had such a wonderful range of talks, seminars and reading groups, representing an increasing number of disciplinary approaches, languages and thematic approaches. Thank you all so much for making this such a wonderful term!

This may be the end of term, but this week’s blog post celebrates new beginnings: namely the beginning of a new TORCH network! Dr Ugo Mondini’s blog post gives us an insight into exciting things to come from the new network Poetry in the Medieval World, which explores premodern literature from a global perspective. To find out more about this exciting new network and the opportunities it presents, check out Ugo’s post here.

For the full line up this week, please see below:


  • Call for Readers! For the relay-reading of two German pamphlets, see below Friday. Full instructions, audiofile, and pdf of the new edition
  • “A Modern Idea of a Medieval College: John Henry Newman’s Medievalism” Tuesday 28 November, 4–5 pm, Oriel College, 1st Quad, Staircase 3 Room 3. All are welcome to this talk given by Dr Christopher Snyder, Senior Academic Visitor (Michaelmas Term 2023) and Professor of History, Mississippi State University. John Henry Newman’s brief time as a Tutorial Fellow at Oriel College (1826-32) was formative in many ways, not least in providing the young tutor and scholar with an intellectual and spiritual home that served as a collegiate ideal for him long after he left Oxford. This informal talk will raise issues of Newman’s interest in and understanding of the medieval university and of residential colleges as well as his arguments for the continuing relevance of “medievalist” ideals in modern higher education.
  • The British Archaeological Association Post-Graduate Online Conference take place on, 29 November 2023, 12.30pm – 17.35pm (GMT). The British Archaeological Association are excited to present a diverse conference which includes postgraduates and early career researchers in medieval history of art, architecture, and archaeology. See the conference programme here and register for the conference here.


Monday 27th November:

  • The Medieval Latin Manuscript Reading Group meets at 1-2pm66 on Teams. A friendly venue to practice your Latin and palaeography on a range of texts and scripts over the year.  Sign up to the mailing list to receive weekly updates and Teams invites.
  • Queer and Trans Medievalisms: A Reading and Research Group meets at 3pm at Univ. All extremely welcome! This week is a Florilegium: bring in your own queer medievalisms to discuss! W. H. Auden! Leslie Feinberg! BBC Merlin! Lil Nas X’s ‘Montero (Call Me By Your Name)!’ Endless possibilities! To join the mailing list and get texts in advance, or if you have any questions, email Rowan Wilson.
  • The Medieval Archeology Seminar meets at 3pm at the Institute of Archaeology, Lecture Room. This week’s speaker will be Sarah Semple, Durham University, ‘People and place in the early medieval kingdom of Northumbria. New fieldwork.’
  • The Medieval History Seminar meets at 5pm in the Wharton Room, All Souls College. This week’s speaker will be Rory Naismith (Corpus, Cambridge), ‘Coined Money in the Early Middle Ages: did it matter?‘. The seminar will also be available 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). Alternatively, it can be accessed via this link. If you have any difficulties please email:
  • The Old Norse Reading Group meets at 5.30-7pm. We’ll be translating a range of exciting Old Norse texts! To join the mailing list, email Ashley Castelino.

Tuesday 28th November:

  • “A Modern Idea of a Medieval College: John Henry Newman’s Medievalism”, a talk given by senior academic visitor Dr Christopher Snyder, will take place at 4–5 pm, in Oriel College, 1st Quad, Staircase 3 Room 3. All are welcome to this talk.
  • The Seminar in Medieval and Renaissance Music meets at 5-7pm, online via Zoom. This week’s speaker will be Peter Lefferts (University of Nebraska): ‘Disiecta Membra Musicae: A new facsimile edition of music manuscript fragments from 14th-Century England’. The discussants will be Andrew Wathey (The National Archives / University of Northumbria) and Jared Hartt (Oberlin College). 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 Please note, this address will now be the main point of contact for these seminars.
  • The Medieval Church and Culture Seminar meets at Wellbeloved Room, Harris Manchester College. Tea & coffee from 5pm; papers begin at 5.15pm. This week’s speaker is Eleanor Birch (Pembroke) ‘Medieval Misogyny: horned women and unhorned men‘. Everyone is welcome at this informal and friendly graduate seminar!

Wednesday 29th November:

  • The Medieval German Seminar meets at 11.15, at Somerville College. This week we have the chance to discuss with the forthcoming study edition by Christine Putzo of Konrad Fleck’s ‘Flore und Blancheflur’ with Christine herself. Please email Henrike Lähnemann if you would like to attend or if you have suggestions for next term’s theme!
  • The British Archaeological Association Post-Graduate Online Conference takes place from 12.30pm – 17.35pm (GMT). See the conference programme here and register for the conference here.
  • The Centre for Early Medieval Britain and Ireland meets at 12pm in the Memorial Room, Worcester College for this term’s lecture. This term’s speaker will be Dr Janina Ramirez FRSA FRHistS (Harris Manchester College), ‘Are Early Medieval Woman “Unrecoverable”?’. Everyone is welcome! Light refreshments beforehand in Worcester Cloisters. Please note the change of room!
  • The Medieval Latin Document Reading Group meets at 4-5pm on Teams. A document is sent out in advance but homework is not expected. Please contact Michael Stansfield for further details and the Teams link.
  • The Late Antique and Byzantine Seminar meets at 5pm at The Ioannou Centre for Classical and Byzantine Studies 66 St Giles and online via Microsoft Teams by clicking here. This week’s speaker will be Peter Bara (The Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Budapest), ‘Translators, Patrons, Scholars: Greek Texts in Latin Translations from Production to Audience, ca. 1050–1350‘.
  • Dante Reading Group meets at 5.30-7pm in St Anne’s College, Seminar Room 11. The group is open to those with or without a knowledge of Italian, the reading being sent out in the original and in translation. Refreshments, both alcoholic and otherwise, will be provided! To register or ask any any questions, please email Charles West 

Thursday 30th November:

  • The Medieval Hebrew Reading Group meets at 10-11am in Catherine Lewis Lecture Theatre, Clarendon Institute, and online via Zoom. In order to attend this reading group via Zoom, please register here. This reading group is an opportunity to practice reading directly from images of medieval Hebrew manuscripts in an informal setting. All skill levels are welcome! There will be coffee, tea and cake afterwards in the Common Room of the Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies for those attending in person. For further information, please email Joseph Ohara.
  • The Digital Editions Community of Practice Group meets at 1-2pm in the Taylor Institution Library Room 2. Each session will include a brief talk, followed by an opportunity for discussion. Hot water, tea, coffee, milk and biscuits will be provided. Please feel free to bring your own lunch (and a mug for the hot drinks!). This week’s speaker will be Emma Huber, PRISMS – linking data and creating knowledge with Digital Editions.
  • The Medieval Women’s Writing Reading Group meets at 3-4pm in Lincoln College Lower Lecture Room. This week’s reading will be Christine de Pizan’s Epistre a la reine. Please email to be added to the mailing list and get texts in advance, or to find out more.
  • The Medieval Visual Culture Seminar meets at 5pm in St Catherine’s College, Arumugam Building. This week’s speaker will be Alexandra Gajewski (The Burlington Magazine), ‘Theodechilde, Potentin and Osanna: Saints and Cult at Jouarre Abbey in the Middle Ages’. For queries, contact Elena Lichmanova.
  • The Celtic Seminar meets at 5.15pm, in the History of the Book Room, English Faculty, and online via Teams. Please contact David Willis if you need a link to join online. This week’s speaker will be Oliver Currie (Ljubljana), ‘The linguistic testimony of Early Modern Welsh manuscript sermons’.

Friday 1st December:

  • 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 Byzantine Text Seminar meets at Ioannou Centre, Outreach Room, 10:00 – 11:30 a.m. We are reading passages from Medieval Greek historians. Intermediate knowledge of Greek is required.
  • The Lectures in Byzantine Literature take place in the Ioannou Centre, Seminar Room, 12:15 – 1:15 p.m. We are speaking about Byzantine education. No knowledge of Greek is required.
  • Exploring Medieval Oxford through Lincoln Archives meets at 2-3pm, Seminar Room 2, EPA Centre, Museum Road, OX1 3PX. Anyone interested in analyzing primary sources and conducting a comprehensive examination of the documents are welcome to attend. As well as collaborating on unpublished sources, attendees will gain experience in digitisation of sources and publish their analysis online. Students will prepare their item for exhibition, and a one-day workshop on these sources will be held in Trinity Term. Those who are interested can contact via email: Lindsay McCormack and Laure Miolo
  • Monk-calf and Nuns on the Run: Launch of the new edition of two pamphlets by Martin Luther from 1523, Taylor Institution Library, Room 2, 3-4pm with a relay-reading of the two texts. Please email Henrike Lähnemann if you would be prepared to read a paragraph. Full instructions, audiofile, and pdf of the new edition available on the History of the Book blog!


  • PhD Opportunity at Ruhr-University Bochum (Germany) The Junior Professorship of Medieval Studies at the Department of English addresses different aspects of the English Middle Ages (c. 700-c. 1500) in both research and teaching and invites applications for a PhD Assistant. The successful candidate will conduct their own doctoral research project in the areas of Old and/or Middle English language, literature, and/or culture. For full details, please click here.
  • Acta Mediaevalia. Series nova – Call for papers The first issue of the journal, entitled “The Age of Transition. Crisis, Reform, and Renewal in Late Medieval Central and Eastern Europe,” will be devoted to the “long fifteenth century” (c. 1375–1525). The editors invite you to submit papers until the end of May 2024. For more details, please click here.

This is our last email of the term. Many of you will remain in Oxford, at least for another few weeks; others will be leaving the city to enjoy the vac whereve they call home. Wherever you are this vac, here is some wisdom from the Epistolae project for anyone gift-giving or receiving:

Huius muneris magnitudinem ut non consideres, sed spiritalis caritatis amorem adtende, poscimus.
[We pray you not to think of the size of the gift but to remember the loving spirit.] 
A letter (732-42) from Denehard, Lul, and Burchard to Cuneburg

Thank you for all of your hard work organising, attending, and presenting at events this term. The medievalist community at Oxford is such an incredible gift, and your loving (intellectual) spirit is what keeps it going. So thank you to you all. I wish you all a wonderful vac, and hope you enjoy both gifts and loving spirit. See you again in January!

[A Medievalist gives a gift that is small in size but large in loving spirit]
St John’s College MS. 61, f. 2 r. 
By permission of the President and Fellows of St John’s College, Oxford
Viewable in full at Digital Bodleian

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