Medieval Matters: Week 5

The dreaded fifth week has arrived! Luckily today is a beautiful sunny day in Oxford, which makes everything feel a little bit brighter. If you’re still feeling weighed down by this notorious week, here is some advice from the Epistolae project:

Deduc bonum in commune […] Ne fraudes tibi ipsi invicem.
[Bring goodness to everybody […] And do not cheat yourself.]
A letter (1102-03) from Matilda of Scotland, queen of the English to Anselm of Canterbury

I take this to mean: attend many seminars and reading groups in fifth week, for this is the ideal time to share in the goodness of medieval studies! We have so many fantastic events this week which are sure to bring plenty of joy.

If you’re struggling to find goodness to give to yourself, this newsletter hopes to bring some to you. In particular, our guest blog today should give us all something to smile about: Mathilde Mioche writes about the formation of a brand new research network at Oxford, the Oxford Medieval Manuscripts Group! Not only is this a fantastic addition to Oxford’s medieval offerings, but it’s also, excitingly, the work of some of the university’s newest medievalists, a collective of eight postgraduate students and early-career researchers who bonded in Oxford over their passion for medieval manuscripts! The founding members come from a wide range of disciplinary backgrounds, and truly sum up everything we love to celebrate here at OMS. This all speaks so highly for medieval studies at Oxford that it’s impossible not to smile about it – even in fifth week. To read all about the group, read Mathilde’s blog here.

This email brings particular goodness to all of you in the form of a calendar of exciting events this week – please see below:


  • Medieval Church and Culture this week meets for a tour of the Bodleian’s Conservation Studio.  We’re starting at the earlier time of 4.25 to make sure we see conservators at work.  Numbers are limited, but there are still some places left.  Please email  to book your place.
  • The Macintyre History Society (Magdalen’s student-run society), are delighted to host a special talk by Professor Sarah Foot, Regius Professor of Ecclesiastical History and Dean of Christ Church, this Thursday at 5:30pm in the Sophia Sheppard Room, Magdalen College. Please see the listing below for full details.


Monday 12th February:

  • The Medieval French Palaeography Reading Group meets at 10.30-12 in the Weston Library. This group is open to anyone with an interest in Old French, Middle French and Anglo-Norman manuscripts. We study and read manuscripts from the 12th century to the late 15th century. If you are interested in joining the group or would like more information, please write to:
  • The Centre for Early Medieval Britain and Ireland Research Conversation takes place at 2-3.30pm at the Memorial Room, Queen’s College. Researchers at any stage or from any background are most welcome and no preparation is required; simply come prepared to talk about your research and ideas about the connection between late antiquity and the Insular world. The conversation will be tailored toward sharing insights, forging connections and building our research community. Any inquiries should be directed to
  • The Medieval History Seminar meets at 5pm in the Wharton Room, All Souls College. This week’s speaker will be Claire Burridge (University of Oslo), ‘Medicine in the margins: Exploring the unexpected environments of early medieval medical knowledge’. 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:

Tuesday 13th February:

  • The Europe in the Later Middle Ages Seminar meets at 2-3.30pm in the Dolphin Seminar Room, St John’s College. Tea and coffee available from 1.45pm. Undergraduates welcome. This week’s speaker will be Julia Bray, Oxford, ‘Families in the Muslim Middle Ages – do they Matter?‘.
  • The Medieval Church and Culture Seminar meets for a special Bodleian Conservation Studio Visit at 4.30pm. Strictly Max. 12 places: email to sign on.
  • The Medieval French Research Seminar will meet at the Maison Francaise d’Oxford on Norham Road. Drinks will be available from 5pm; presentations start at 5.15pm. This week will be a Roundtable on Professional Careers for Medieval French Postgraduates: Dr Liam Lewis (University of Nottingham), Dr Hannah Marcos (School of Advanced Study, University of London), Dr Edward Mills (University of Exeter), and Dr Kate Travers (St Hugh’s College, Oxford)  All are welcome! For more information or to be added to the seminar maillist, please contact
  • The Oxford Medieval Society Latin and Ancient Greek Reading Group meets at 5-6pm, in the ground floor lecture room 2 at 47 Wellington Square. Ancient Greek will be read in odd weeks, and Latin in even weeks. We hope to expand our understanding of these languages for the betterment of our own medieval studies by reading texts that are referenced or known of in the medieval world; please note that this is not a strict rule. Anyone from any background is welcome to attend. To register your interest, or for more information, please contact the society at
  • The Centre for Manuscript and Text Cultures (CMTC) ‘Work in Progress’ presentations. 5.15–6.45pm, Memorial Room, The Queen’s College. 1. A. D’Angelo (Rome ‘Sapienza’), ‘Catullan marginalia in the 16th century: the books of Piero Vettori’. 2. Marlene Schilling (Oxford), ‘A special form of devotion – personifications of time in late medieval prayer books from Northern Germany’

Wednesday 14th February:

  • The Medieval German Seminar meets at 11.15, at St Edmund Hall, Principal’s Drawing Room. This week, Philip Wetzel will present his dissertation on medieval song. Further information via the teams channel; if you want to be added to that: please email Henrike Lähnemann.
  • The Middle Welsh Reading Group meets at 2-4pm in Jesus College, Habakuk Room. No previous knowledge of Middle Welsh is assumed. Translations will be provided with plenty of time to ask questions at the end. We’ll read a selection of early and late Middle Welsh prose and poetry to offer everyone a chance to experience the richness of Middle Welsh and its literary tradition. Please email to register your interest so that Svetlana knows how many people to expect: Svetlana Ó Siochfhradha Prešern.
  • 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 Alessia Zubani (University of Oxford) – ‘Automated Dialogues: Diplomacy, Technology, and Power in Late Antique and Medieval Eurasia’.
  • The Medieval English Research Seminar will meet at 5.15pm in Lecture Theatre 2, St Cross Building. Today’s speaker will be Elaine Treharne (Stanford), ‘The Presence of Abscence in Life before Death’. The seminar will be followed by a wine reception. All welcome! 
  • Dante Reading Group meets at 5.30-7pm in St Anne’s College, Seminar Room 11. Each week, we will be reading through and discussing a canto of the Divine Comedy in a relaxed and informal setting, delving into Dante’s language and imagination in manageable chunks. 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 questions, please email Charles West..

Thursday 15th February:

  • The Ethics of Textual Criticism Seminar meets at 10-12 in Harris Seminar Room, Oriel College. This week’s speaker will be Chiara Meccariello (Exeter) – ‘Papyri and textual criticism: textual microhistories, materiality, and the prioritisation of text‘.
  • The Late Roman Seminar will meet at 4pm in the Seminar Room, Corpus Christi College. This week’s speaker will be Andrew Morrison (Glasgow) ‘Shaping the letter collections of Basil and Gregory of Nazianzus’.
  • The Medieval Women’s Writing Research Seminar meets at 5-6.30pm at the Main Hall of the Taylorian. This week’s speaker is Hilary Pearson, God Placed Cloisters on My Hearing: Teresa de Cartagena’s Spirituality of Deafness. Stay up to date with events by joining our mailing list or following us on X @MedievalWomenOx. Funded by the “TORCH Critical-Thinking Communities” fund.
  • The Seminar in Medieval and Renaissance Music meets at 5pm via Zoom. 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 This week’s presenter will be Johanna-Pauline Thöne (University of Oslo), ‘New Interpretations and Contexts for the Motet Fragments Basel 71 and 72 ca. 1400′, and the discussants will be Antonio Calvia (Università di Pavia), Kévin Roger (University of Tours) and Anne Stone (CUNY Graduate Center)
  • The Old Occitan Literature Workshop meets at 5-6pm at Taylor Institution, Rm2. In Hilary term, we will read and translate extracts from texts written in Old Occitan. All welcome! Please email the address below for details of the texts we will be working on. Interested members will be invited to translate short passages which we will then workshop in meetings 2 and 3. To sign up, or for any other queries, email Kate Travers
  • The Celtic Seminar meets at 5.15pm, in Memorial Room, Jesus College, and online via Teams. Please contact if you need a link to join online. This week’s speaker will be Ranke de Vries (St Francis Xavier University), ‘Táin Bó Cúailnge as a medical text‘.
  • The Macintyre History Society (Magdalen’s student-run society), are delighted to host a special talk by Professor Sarah Foot, Regius Professor of Ecclesiastical History and Dean of Christ Church, 5:30pm in the Sophia Sheppard Room, Magdalen College. Prof. Foot’s talk will be titled “Back to the Bible: Models of Kingship for Alfred the Great,” and she will speak for up to an hour, before audience members are invited to join in the discussion during a half-hour Q&A session. Wine will be provided, and all are welcome!

Friday 16th February:

  • 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 Late Antique Latin Reading Group meets at 12-1pm, in the Hovenden Room, All Souls College, and is open to anyone engaged in research on the late antique world. Though prior knowledge of Latin is required, we welcome people with a range of abilities. We particularly welcome graduate students and early career academics. If you would like to attend, or you have any questions, feel free to contact either of the convenors. Please do RSVP if you intend to attend, so that we can gauge numbers and circulate the readings. Contact: David Addison ( and Alison John (
  • Exploring Medieval Oxford through Lincoln Archives meets at 2-3pm, in Seminar Room 2, EPA Centre, Museum Road. Anyone interested in analyzing primary sources and conducting a comprehensive examination of the documents are welcome to attend. Those who are interested can contact Lindsay McCormack and Laure Miolo via email: and
  • The Tolkien 50th Anniversary Seminar Series meets at 4-5pm in Merton College T.S. Eliot Lecture Theatre. This week’s speaker will be Dion Dobrzynski (University of Birmingham), ‘Ents and Ecological Entanglements‘. Free access (no need to book). Please email if you need step-free access.
  • The Oxford Medieval Manuscripts Group (OMMG) meets at 5pm at Merton College, Hawkins Room. This week’s seminar will be a Work in Progress Meeting for Presentation and discussion of articles, thesis chapters, and conference papers in progress that concern medieval manuscripts. To subscribe to our mailing list, participate in library visits, propose a presentation of your research for work in progress meetings, or submit any queries, please write to:
  • The Anglo-Norman Reading Group meets at 5-6.30pm, at St Hilda’s College, and on Zoom. Please let us know if you would like to attend, either in person or on Zoom. The text – some Jousting Letters from Edinburgh – will be provided via Padlet, and refreshments as usual to help us along. All welcome, at any level of Medieval French! Please contact Stephanie Hathaway <> or Jane Bliss <>for further details. In association with Oxford Medieval Studies, sponsored by The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities (TORCH).


For those still feeling in need of some cheer this fifth week, here is some advice from the eleventh century:

Cum pondus auri radiantis attenditur, labor itineris levigatur.
[When the weight of shining gold is considered, the labor of the journey is lightened] 
A letter (1059-60) from Peter Damian to Blanche, Countess of Milan

May you find a weight of shining gold in your research efforts this week, but if you don’t quite reach it, I hope that the labor of journeying towards your goals is at least made lighter by sunshine, unexpected discoveries, and above all, good medievalist company!

[A medievalist struggles with fifth week… luckily a fellow medievalist approaches to help!]
St John’s College MS. 61, f. 33 v. 
By permission of the President and Fellows of St John’s College, Oxford
Viewable in full at Digital Bodleian

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