Medieval Matters: Week 4

The sun has finally arrived in Oxford! After such a long winter and such a cold and windy April, I think I speak for us all when I say that seeing Oxford in the sunshine is a real joy! I for one was so overjoyed to see the sun this weekend that I was reminded of this wisdom from the  Epistolae project

non sic tempestate iactatus portum nauta desiderat, non sic sitientia imbres arva desiderant, non sic curvo litore anxia filium mater expectat, quam ut ego visibus vestris fruere cupio 
[more than the storm-tossed sailor longs for the harbour, more than the thirsty fields desire rain, or the anxious mother watches by the shore for her son, do I long for the sight of you.] 
A letter from Egburg/Egburga/Ecburg (716-20) 

Our blog post this week is a real delight, as both a celebration of a new book publication and a fantastic insight into medieval verse. Dr Daniel Sawyer writes about his brand new book, out this month with Oxford University Press, on Reading Middle English Verse. This will be such an invaluabe teaching resource for those of us teaching medieval literature, and I for one am hugely excited! To discover how studying Middle English verse can make us rethink our modern day use of English, to read more about the many varieties of Medieval English poetry, and to find a discount code for the book, read Daniel’s blog post here.

For further sights that are sure to bring you joy, feast your eyes on all of the fantastic events taking place this week: 


  • Invitation to end of year celebration with OMSBook launch: On Tuesday 11 June 11, 2024. 5.00 p.m. for 5.15, the last meeting of the .Medieval Church and Culture‘ seminar’ In the chapel at Harris Manchester College will be combined with a drinks reception and a book launch of New Zealand medievalism: reframing the medieval, edited by Anna Czarnowus and Janet M. Wilson, Routledge. Speakers: Anna Czarnowus (Katowice), Carolyne Larrington (Oxford), David Matthews (Manchester), and Janet Wilson (Northampton). All welcome but RSVP by Friday 7 June 7 to Janet Wilson


Monday 13th May:

  • The Medieval Latin Manuscript Reading Group meets at 1-2pm on Teams. A friendly venue to practice your Latin and palaeography on a range of texts and scripts. We will read a very entertaining account of the legendary foundation of Cambridge University by the Carmelite friar Nicholas Cantlow. Sign up to the mailing list to receive weekly updates and Teams invites.
  • The Queer and Trans Medievalisms Reading Group meets at 3pm in Univ. This informal reading group will explore queer and trans themes in medieval texts. In Trinity, we’ll be thinking about queerness and transness on trial in the Middle Ages. This week’s theme will be The trial of Rolandina Ronchaia (Venice, 1355). All extremely welcome, both in-person and online! To join the mailing list and get texts in advance, or if you have any questions, email Rowan Wilson (
  • The Tolkien 50th Anniversary Seminar Series meets at 5pm in the Summer Common Room, Magdalen College. This week’s speaker will be Dr. Eleanor Parker (Brasenose College, University of Oxford), Tolkien and the Anglo-Saxon Calendar. For more information, please see
  • The Medieval History Seminar meets at 5pm in the Wharton Room, All Souls College and on 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, you can use this link. If you have any difficulties please email: This week’s speaker will be Emma Hornby (Bristol): ‘Intertextuality in medieval Spain: liturgy, iconography, architecture and music at San Miguel de Escalada in the tenth century’.

Tuesday 14th May:

  • The Medieval English Research Seminar meets at 12.15pm in Lecture Room 2, English Faculty. This week’s speaker will be Tim Glover (Emmanuel College, Cambridge), Compilatory Form and Authorship in Richard Rolle and in Late-Medieval Religious Literature. Seminars followed by a sandwich lunch. All welcome!
  • The Medieval Poetry Reading Group meets at 4pm in the Colin Matthew Room, Radcliffe Humanities Building. This week’s theme will be The Wakan Rōeishū (Japanese and Chinese-Style Chanting Collection, c. 1000): Sound and Manuscript. This is an activity of the TORCH Network Poetry in the Medieval World. For more information, you can refer to our website; you can also contact Ugo Mondini at
  • The 2024 Zernov Lecture meets at 5pm at the Maison française d’Oxford, 2-10 Norham Road, OX2 6SE. This year’s speaker will be Dr Sebastian Brock FBA, (University of Oxford), ‘The Ecumenical Journey of the Writings of St Isaac the Syrian’, introduced by David G.K. Taylor (Associate Professor in Aramaic and Syriac, Wolfson College, Oxford).
  • The Medieval Church and Culture Seminar meets at 5.15pm in the Wellbeloved Room, Harris Manchester College. This week’s speakers will be Elena Vermeer (Trinity), The Old English and Old Norse ‘Joshua’:  translation and readership in context and Vita Dervan (Lincoln), Rewriting Virgil through Dante:  Guido da Pisa’s Fiore d’Italia and medieval translation. Everyone is welcome at this informal and friendly graduate seminar.

Wednesday 15th May:

  • There will be no meeting of the Medieval German Graduate Seminar this week.
  • 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 Ioannou Centre for Classical and Byzantine Studies, 66 St. Giles, Oxford, and online via Teams. Teams link: This week’s speaker will be James Cogbill (University of Oxford) – ‘Fourteenth-Century Byzantine History-Writers and the Problem of Emperors’ Family Ties’.
  • The Oxford Interfaith Forum will meet at 6pm, online via zoom for Sounding the Silence – Contemplation as Poetic Practice; Poetry as Contemplative Practice by Dr Aaron Maniam. To register, please click here.

Thursday 16th May:

  • The Environmental History Working Group meets at 12.30-2pm in the Merze Tate Room, History Faculty. This week’s speaker will be Mim Pomerantz, “Ecological Automatism: Photography and Non-Human Creativity in Minotaure (1933-1939)”. We try to keep discussions informal, and we encourage anyone at all interested in these kinds of approaches to join our meetings, regardless of research specialism or presumed existing knowledge. For updates on meeting details, refer to the EHWG tab on the Environmental History website. For further information or to join the EHWG mailing list, please email
  • The Germanic Reading Group meets at 4pm online. Please contact Howard Jones to request the handouts and to be added to the list. This week will be on the Gothic Bible (Ryan leading).
  • The Medieval Women’s Writing Reading Group meets at 5-6.30pm in Lincoln College, Lower Lecture Room. This week’s theme is Arabic and Hebrew Medieval Women’s Writers. 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 Medieval Visual Culture Seminar meets at 5pm at St Catherine’s College, Oxford, Arumugam Building. All welcome! This week’s speaker will be Livia Lupi, University of Warwick, Artistic Practice and the Emergence of the Architect in Italy, c. 1300 – c. 1480.

Friday 17th 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 final meeting of the initiative ‘Teaching the Codex’ will take place at Merton College 2-5pm on the topic of ‘hybridity’. Places are limited but if you would like to check whether there is still space, contact Mary Boyle
  • The Oxford Medieval Society Chain Maille Workshop takes place at 2-5.30pm, in St John’s College New Seminar Room. Registration is MANDATORY. Don’t miss out, places are limited! Tickets: £15. Refreshments will be provided. To register, click here.
  • The Oxford Medieval Manuscripts Group (OMMG) meets at 3.15pm at the V&A Museum, London. We will look at Illuminated Manuscript Cuttings at the V&A, London in conversation with Catherine Yvard, National Art Library Special Collections Curator. Places are limited: please write to by 10/05/2024.

Saturday 18th May:

  • Living Stones meets at 2pm in Iffley Church Hall for talks by Andrew Dunning and Anne Bailey on Oxford in 1160: Scholars and Pilgrims at St Frideswide’s Priory. For more information and Tickets please visit

I wish you a week of research joys and garden joys alike! 

A blue lion with orange and green leaves

Description automatically generated with medium confidence[A flock of Medievalists visit the University Parks to find some summer joys] 
St John’s College MS. 61, f. 23 v.  
By permission of the President and Fellows of St John’s College, Oxford 
Viewable in full at Digital Bodleian 

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