Medieval Matters: Week 6

There has been some lovely sunshine in Oxford to remind us that spring is coming, but there is still a Iot of work to be done before term is over! Our taught postgraduate students are particularly busy, at this critical stage of their degrees. For all of our master’s students (and everyone else too), if you’re feeling a little tired this week, here is some wisdom from the Epistolae project:

moneo, precor, quanto affectu possum, ut […] perseverare
[I admonish and beg you with as much affection as I can that you may strive to persevere]
A letter (1102) from Anselm, archbishop of Canterbury to Edith

Of course, it’s much easier to strive and persevere when you have such a wonderful community around you. For this week’s blog spot I’d like to highlight the joy that is the medievalists coffee morning. This is a fantastic way to meet other medievalists, and also to meet some fantastic manuscripts. There are regular presentations – for a taste of some past sessions, you can view Andrew Dunning’s presentation on facsimiles at the Bodleian here, and Oxford Medieval Studies presents: Medieval Treasures of the Bodleian Library here. For more videos, and all of the details you need to attend the coffee morning, please see our blog post here.

We have another fantastic week ahead of us – see below for the full lineup!


    • This year’s Keble Early Music Festival runs from 21-24 February, with a packed schedule of professional and student performances, workshops and talks. Of particular interest to OMS readers will be the performance by the award-winning Binchois Consort, celebrating 550 years of the afterlife of Guillaume Du Fay, taking place in the stunning surroundings of Keble Chapel at 8pm on Wednesday 21 February. All details of this and other events can be found at


    Monday 19th 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: Laure Miolo
    • The Seminar in Palaeography and Manuscript Studies meets at 2:15-3:45pm in the Weston Library, Horton Room. Access is by Bodleian/University card via the reader gates, Weston Library. Non-cardholders welcome but must at least 24 hours in advance. This week’s speaker will be David D’Avray (Oxford) – ‘Researching papal history across multiple genres of manuscript’.
    • The Medieval Archaeology Seminar meets at 3pm in the Institute of Archaeology, Lecture Room. This week’s speaker will be John Naylor (PAS, Oxford), The use of gold coins in Anglo-Saxon graves.
    • The Eastern Christianity in Interfaith Contexts Reading Group will meet at 5-6pm, online via Zoom. This week will be led by Professor Laura Lieber, Professor of Religious Studies at Duke University, USA. Prof. Lieber will be speaking on ‘Setting the Stage: The Rose of Performance in Studying Late Ancient Hymnody‘. To register, please click here.
    • The Medieval History Seminar meets at 5pm in the Wharton Room, All Souls College. This week’s speaker will be Nicholas Morton (Nottingham Trent), ‘Re-examining the role of inter-faith rivalry as the main driver of conflict in the Middle East at the time of the Crusades’. 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 20th 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 Judith Bennett, USC Dornsife, ‘City of Women: Singlewomen, Spinners, and Houseling People in Late Medieval Coventry‘.
    • The Old High German Reading Group will meet at 4pm in the Committee Room, 41 Wellington Square. If there is appetite amongst attendees, the group will migrate to the Lamb and Flag after the session. Handouts will be provided and no prior knowledge is required! This term the texts—with a different theme for each session—will be chosen from different sections of the Althochdeutsches Lesebuch (Braune 1994), alternating between verse and prose. This week will be Moral instruction (verse), Memento Mori (Braune XLII).
    • The Medieval Poetry Reading Group meets at 4pm – 5pm in the Colin Matthew Room, Radcliffe Humanities Building. We warmly welcome academics and students of any level and with any background. Coffee, tea, and biscuits are offered to participants. This week’s topic will be Forms of Medieval Greek Poetry. Registration is required: If interested, please send an email in advance to
    • 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 James Miller (Univ), ‘The Body of St Benedict and the History of Monasticism‘. Everyone is welcome at this informal and friendly graduate seminar!
    • 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

    Wednesday 21st February:

    • The Medieval German Seminar meets at 11.15, at St Edmund Hall, Principal’s Lodgings. This week, Felix Kraft will present his doctoral project on ‘geistliches Lied’ and discuss with us medieval and medievalism implications of the topic. Further information and reading recommendations 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 Niels Gaul (University of Edinburgh) – ‘PAIXUE Byzantine and Tang/Song literati culture’.
    • The Medieval English Research Seminar will meet at 5.15pm in Lecture Theatre 2, St Cross Building. Today’s speaker will be Michael Kuczynski (Tulane), ‘Chaucer’s Parson in London’. 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 22nd February:

    • The Ethics of Textual Criticism Seminar meets at 10-12 in Harris Seminar Room, Oriel College. This week’s speaker will be Gideon Bohak (Tel Aviv) – ‘Editing nasty texts: Gzar-dina de-Yeshu (‘The Sentencing of Jesus’) as a test-case‘.
    • The Environmental History Working Group meets at 12.30-2pm, in the History Faculty. For further information, please contact Ryan Mealiffe.
    • The Late Roman Seminar will meet at 4pm in the Seminar Room, Corpus Christi College. This week’s speaker will be James Corke-Webster (KCL) ‘Letters of Refuge: From Ancient Lyons to Modern Calais’.
    • The Medieval Visual Culture Seminar meets at 5pm in St Catherine’s College, Arumagam Building. This week’s speaker will be Paul Binksi (University of Cambridge), ‘Henry III’s Bed: Peace and Sacred Space at Westminster’.
    • The Medieval Women’s Writing Reading Group meets at 5-6.30pm in Lincoln College Lower Lecture Room. This week’s reading will be Gwerful Mechain’s Erotic Poetry. Stay up to date with events by joining our mailing list or following us on X @MedievalWomenOx. Texts for the reading group are shared on the mailing list.
    • The Celtic Seminar meets at 5.15pm, online via Teams. Please contact if you need a link to join online. This week’s speaker will be Brent Miles (University of Toronto), ‘Kunstprosa or dodgy Welsh? Some challenges preparing a students’ edition of Ystorya Dared “Dares’s History of Troy”’

    Friday 23rd 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: Lindsay Mccormack and Laure Miolo
    • The Tolkien 50th Anniversary Seminar Series meets at 4-5pm in Faculty of Classics Lecture Theatre. This week’s speaker will be John Garth (Writer and Journalist) Inventing on the hoof: How the Riders of Rohan suddenly became Anglo-Saxon. Free access (no need to book).


    • Summer School: The University of Graz is hosting a summer school on Computational Language Technologies for Medievalists from 8th to 12th July 2024. This five-day program will equip participants with essential skills in Natural Language Processing (NLP) specifically tailored to the challenges of working with medieval languages.Application deadline is March 15, 2024.For further information and the application link, please visit our website:
    • CFP: DPhil/PhD student papers for the Network Poetry in the Medieval World: the network is delighted to introduce “Projecting Poetry”, an initiative designed to promote cross-disciplinary discussion, foster collaboration, and provide a platform for DPhil/PhD students engaged in research across various fields and working on medieval poetry. The goal is to create an opportunity to present ongoing research to a diverse audience of fellow students and seniors. For full details, please see here.

    Finally, some more wisdom from Anselm, suitable for those trying to work to a research deadline:

    Qui enim in minimis servat diligentiam, non facile admittit in maioribus negligentiam.
    [Whoever observes diligence in the smallest details will not easily permit negligence in more important things.]
    A letter (1102) from Anselm, archbishop of Canterbury to Edith

    I interpret this to mean that a week of careful footnoting or indexing is still a week well spent! I wish you every diligence in your endeavours this week, and wish you all success in both the smallest details and important things!

    [A Medievalist pins down a footnote]
    St John’s College MS. 61, f. 32 v. 
    By permission of the President and Fellows of St John’s College, Oxford
    Viewable in full at Digital Bodleian

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