A Special Relationship? Gender on Medieval Mount Athos

Third Workshop for the ERC Starting Grant “Mount Athos in Medieval Eastern Mediterranean Society: Contextualizing the History of a Monastic Republic (ca. 850 – 1550)”

As is well-known, Mount Athos is today an exclusively male monastic preserve governed by the so-called baton (“untrodden”) rule, which prohibits the access of both women and female animals to the peninsula. Nonetheless, throughout history, women were connected with the Holy Mountain in manifold ways, in dynamics of patronage, spiritual advice and familial ties. The aim of this workshop is not only to uncover this largely neglected aspect of Athos’ history during the medieval period but also to explore other forms of gender, such as that of masculinity (including eunuchs).

Please click the link below to join the conference online:

Wednesday, September 27th

2:00-2:30 p.m.
Welcome, Opening Remarks

2:30-4:30 p.m.
Session 1: The Virgin and Mount Athos

Mary Cunningham “Gregory Palamas and the Hesychastic Virgin Mary: Female Sanctity from a Male Monastic Perspective”

Tinatin Chronz “’Rejoice, Opener of the Gates of Paradise!’ Liturgical Veneration of the Keeper of the Gate (Portaitisa) in Iviron on Mount Athos”

Georgi Parpulov “The Virgin’s Garden”

4:30-5:00 p.m.
Coffee/tea break

5:00-6:30 p.m.
Session2: Women and Liturgical Commemoration

Kirill Maksimovič “Liturgical Commemoration of Women at the Serbian Athonite Monastery of Hilandar (13th–15th centuries): a Prosopographic Approach”

Emanuela Mindrila “The Commemoration of Women in the Liturgical tradition of Vatopedi Monastery: Remarks on Ms. Vatopedi 1945”.

6:30 p.m.
Reception and then Dinner for Conference Participants

Thursday, September 28th

9:00 a.m.-11:00 p.m.
Session 3: Female Patronage

Taisiya Leber “The Role of Women in the Patronage of Mount Athos and Athonites from a Transottoman Perspective

Alice Isabella Sullivan “New Forms of Athonite Patronage: The Impact of Royal Women from Moldavia and Wallachia in the Late  Middle Ages”

Lilyana Yordanova “Slavic Female Patronage on Mount Athos and its Socio-Political Context”

11:00-11:30 a.m.
Coffee/tea break

11:30 a.m.-1:00p.m.
Session4: The abaton in the Eleventh and Twelfth Centuries

Zachary Chitwood “Both Athonite and Antiochene?: The abaton in the writings of Nikon of the Black Mountain”

Rosemary Morris “The Diegesis Merike Revisited”

1:00-2:00 p.m.
Catered Lunch for Conference Participants

2:00 p.m.-3:30 p.m.
Session 5: Gendered Space

Ekaterina Mitsiou “Double Monasteries, abaton and the Gendered Space of Athos”

Leonora Neville “Masculinity, Ethics, and Power on Mount Athos”

3:30 p.m.-4:00 p.m.
Coffee Break

4:00 p.m.-6:00 p.m.
Session 6: Legal and Technical Aspects

Olivier Delouis “Une loi impitoyable between Economics and Morality: The abaton in Bithynia, Mount Athos and Elsewhere, and Its Reception through the Ages”

Anastasios Nikopoulos “The Institution of the Ban on the Monastic Republic of Mount Athos as a Legal Component of its Status”

Alexander Watzinger “How to Digitally Map Sex and Gender in Research Projects-Pitfalls and solutions”

7:30 p.m.
Dinner for Conference Participants

Friday, September 29th

10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.
Session 7: Women and Outside World

Mihailo Popovic “Serbian Noble women and the Clergy in the Middle Ages: A Comparison between Mara Branković and Jelena Anžujska regarding Athonite Monks and Franciscan Friars”

Vanessa de Obaldía “Women in the Life of SimonopetraMonastery: The Multifaceted Nature of a Special Relationship”

12:00-12:30 p.m.
Concluding Remarks and Discussion

12:30-1:30 p.m.
Catered Lunch for Conference Participants

(Ill: Mount Athos and its saints © Σκήτη Προδρόμου Μονῆς Μεγ. Λαύρας, Γεννάδιος Μοναχός, 1859)

logo athos

SYMPOSIUM ‘The First Generations of the Conquest. Norman Worlds, 9th-12th Century’

This conference will address the notion of “first generations” in relation to the medieval Norman conquests in England, Wales, Ireland, southern Italy, Sicily, and the Crusader states. Focusing on the conquerors’ departure from their places of origin, the papers will explore the rhythms, modalities, reasons and objectives for leaving.

The conference aims at:
1/ Determining how relevant the notion of “first generations of the conquest” is. All these movements were phenomena that took place over several generations and featured different kind of protagonists – soldiers, mercenaries, pilgrims, merchants, clerics and monks.
2/ Considering the horizons of those who departed, while avoiding teleological and unilinear assumptions. These horizons require an analysis of diverse dynamics and “push and pull” factors: political motivations, economic grounds, social mechanisms, acculturation processes, social and political creativity.
3/ Exploring the documentation, approaches, and tools that help to answer these questions. Our documentation was often produced in the regions where the conquerors settled, and it focuses on their new status; it must be compared retroactively with sources from Normandy (and more broadly speaking from northern France) to enlighten the dynamics that led to the mobility of these people.

This conference is part of the Pax Normanna 2022-2026 research programme of the École française de Rome (dir. Pierre Bauduin, University of Caen Normandie, and Annick Peters-Custot, Nantes University).

The Haskins Society will co-sponsor the conference, encouraging young researchers presenting a paper to apply for the Bethell Prize.

Please click the link below to join the conference online:

PROGRAMME (Download the abstracts here)

Friday 22 September, Maison française d’Oxford

13:30     Welcome
14:00     Pierre Bauduin (CRAHAM, Université de Caen Normandie), Annick Peters-Custot (CRHIA, Université de Nantes): “The first generations of the conquest. Departing: presentation”
14:30     Chris Lewis (Institute of Historical Research, University of London): “Becoming a Baron in Early Norman England”
15:00     Mark Hagger (Bangor University): “Chance, Kinship, and Claim: The Normans and Anglo-Normans in Wales after 1066”
15:30    Discussion

Coffee and tea

16:15     Stephen Baxter (St Peter’s College, Oxford): “The men who made Domesday: a revolutionary intelligentsia in early conquered England?”
16:45     Tom McAuliffe (Wolfson College, University of Oxford): “Lost in Translation: textual reinterpretation and the St Augustine’s historical tradition in the generation after the Conquest”
17:15     Discussion 
18:00-19:30 Visit to the archives and manuscripts at Magdalen College (Emily Jennings)

Conference dinner (speakers)

Saturday 23 September, Maison française d’Oxford

9:00     Bastien Michel (CRAHAM, Université de Caen Normandie): “ ‘The Number of Years’. Youth and conquests in the medieval Norman worlds (11th – 12th centuries)”
9:30     Nathan Websdale (Wolfson College, University of Oxford): “The Translatio of St. Nicholas of Myra and the journeys of Norman-Greeks in the eleventh century”
10:00     Discussion 

Coffee and tea

10:45     Marie-Agnès Lucas-Avenel (CRAHAM, Université de Caen Normandie): “The departure of the ‘Normans’ to Southern Italy: from migration to conquest according to Italo-Norman historiography”
11:15     Guilhem Dorandeu (École française de Rome): “Reassessing Norman Emigrations in Southern Italy (11th-12th centuries)”
11:45     Victor Rivera Magos (Università degli Studi di Foggia): “The Norman conquest of Apulia and the «first generation»: for a working hypothesis”
12:15     Discussion
13:00     Concluding remarks

Lunch at MFO (speakers)

Convened by pierre.bauduin@unicaen.fr & annick.peterscustot@univ-nantes.fr
MFO Coordinator: olivier.delouis@campion.ox.ac.uk

Credits: Tours, Bibliothèque municipale, Ms. 568 f. 249v © BMT

Provenance Unknown: A New CMTC Lecture Series  

The Centre for Manuscript and Text Cultures (CMTC) in the University of Oxford is proud to announce a new lecture seriesProvenance: Unknown 

The new lecture series on unprovenanced manuscripts/inscriptions seeks to gather a wide range of voices from academics in different fields or disciplines about the methodological pros and cons of working with unprovenanced mss/inscriptions in academic contexts.

The lectures will cover matters such as the legal concerns, ethical concerns, and academic concerns by keeping a strict focus on methodology.

The aim of the lecture series is to work towards a general framework of good academic practice in the field of manuscript cultures.

Our first speaker is Alexander Herman, Director of the Institute of Art and Law. His most recent book is ‘Restitution — The Return of Cultural Artefacts’.

Title: Don’t Turn That Page! The Legal Risks of Dealing in Unprovenanced Manuscripts

Time and place: 30 May, 5.15pm (UK time), Memorial Room, The Queen’s College, Oxford, UK


Researching and curating historical manuscripts is not without its risks, and these include legal risks. Questions arise in the context of dealing in unprovenanced manuscripts, such as when it is not clear when a manuscript left its country of origin nor under what circumstances. Also at issue are manuscripts that have a clear, but controversial provenance, such as those looted during periods of armed conflict or oppression. This talk will discuss the legal risks – if any – of dealing in such material, both from a national and international perspective. It will also raise the separate, but interlinked, question of morality of such activities.

The speaker:

Alexander Herman is the Director of the UK-based Institute of Art and Law. He has written, taught and presented on an array of topics in relation to art, law and cultural property. His writing appears regularly in The Art Newspaper and he has been quoted widely in the press on art law topics (including in The GuardianThe New York TimesThe Atlantic, The Telegraph, ArtNETThe Globe & Mail and Bloomberg). His work has also been cited in the UK House of Lords and before the US Supreme Court. He trained in both common law and civil law legal systems at McGill University and practised law in Canada. He is Programme Co-Director of the Art, Business and Law LLM which runs as a partnership between the Centre for Commercial Law Studies at Queen Mary University of London and the Institute of Art and Law. His latest book is Restitution: The Return of Cultural Artefacts (Lund Humphries, 2021).

Online link will be provided later

…and keep an eye out for further announcements!

Image: Beinecke MS 408, also known as Voynich Manuscript, p.32

Piers Plowman Performance at St Edmund Hall

The Fair Field of Folk. Piers Plowman: A Potted Adaptation of the B Text
When: 11 February 2023, to be repeated partially during the Medieval Mystery Cycle 22 April 2023
Where: St Edmund Hall, Queen’s Lane, OX1 4AR Oxford

Director: Eloise Peniston

Trailer filmed and edited by Natascha Domeisen, music by Alexander Nakarada

Welcome to our mervelous sweven, the Middle English prose B text of Piers Plowman dramatized and brought to stage by an eclectic mix of English students, medievalists, business students, historians, even a mathematician! Starring

  • 😴 Sòlas McDonald as Will the Dreamer
  • 😜 Jonathan Honnor as Piers Plowman/False Tongue
  • ⛪ Clare-Rose McIntyre as Holy Church
  • ✝️ Chantale Davies as Theology/Priest
  • 🤔 Rei Tracks as Conscience
  • 🌾 Alexane Ducheune as Mede’s Handmaid
  • 👑 Kate Harkness as The King
  • 💃 Eloise Peniston as Envy/Lady Mede
  • 💰 Sabrina Coghlan-Jasiewicz as Simony/Pride
  • 😡 Sonny Pickering as Wrath
  • 👩‍⚖️ Zelda Cahill-Patten as Civil Law/Covetousness

With original music by Anna Cowan (harp) and Rachael Seculer-Faber; ceremonial trumpet: Henrike Lähnemann, special advice: Jocelyn Wogan-Browne. Supported by Oxford Medieval Studies and St Edmund Hall 

Video filmed and edited by Natascha Domeisen, cover image by Duncan Taylor

Plot summary

The play follows a man named Will, who falls asleep beside a stream on a May morning in Malvern Hills with a succession of dreams, beginning with a tower on a hill, a dungeon, and a fair field of folk. On his quest for Truth, Will meets a host of allegorical personifications, wandering through the marriage and later trial of Lady Mede, the confession of the Seven Sins, the Crucifixion, and the Harrowing of Hell. In the midst of all, Piers Plowman emerges, taking only momentary repose from his plough to guide Will towards Truth and, rather scandalously, chastise members of the clergy.


  1. Introduction from Holy Churche and Mede
    Holy Churche and Mede will explain what to expect from our play.
  2. Prologue
    The bugle breaks through the air, and the dulcet tones of our bard and piper will lead you to a May Morning on Malvern Hills
  3. Holy Churche and Will
    Will searches for Truth, imploring guidance of Holy Churche. Truth is, of course, that one must Do Well, Do Better, and Do Best. 
  4. Lady Mede
    Mede, the incarnation of financial reward, bribery, corruption, arrives. 
  5. Marriage of Mede
    False and Mede attempt to marry but the King requests their presence at the court, as False is not deemed a suitable husband for the noble lady. 
  6. Trial of Mede
    Mede pleads her case, explaining the importance of ‘mede’ or reward in the world at large.
  7. Seven Deadly Sins
    Pride, Lechery, Envy, Wrath, Covetousness, Gluttony, and Sloth come and confess their sins.
  8. Piers Plowman
    Piers Plowman arrives and agrees to show the field of folk where Truth is, if they help him plough his half acre.
  9. Tearing of the Pardon
    Truth sends a pardon for Piers, however it is discovered not to be a real pardon at all. Piers tears it in two and interprets the Latin better than a priest ever could. 


Piers Plowman is an allegorical text that exists in different versions. The A text is the incomplete earliest version, the B text is the most broadly translated and edited, while also being highly scandalous, and the C text is highly censored, notably failing to mention the Peasants Revolt and the Tearing of the Pardon, which our performance presents. 

The B text can be approximately dated to 1388, and has quite the volatile position in history, especially in relation to the peasant’s revolt and heresy. While locked inside Maidstone Castle, John Ball penned his radical Letter to Essex Men, citing Piers Plowman and Robin Hood as comrades in the fight. In short, Piers Plowman is a working class hero, a Billy Bragg if you will, representing the right of common man. The concept of class struggle is deeply entrenched into the text, carrying the relics of the Domesday Book serfdom, to the climbing taxes in the midst of the 100 years war, the dwindling population as the Black Death roamed the country. All of these tensions boiled over on the 30th of May, 1381, as John Bampton arrived in Essex to collect unpaid poll taxes. In consideration of 1990 Poll Tax riots, the UK Miners’ Strikes in 1984, and the recently unveiled Strike Laws, clearly class struggle repeats itself. With a ploughman at the helm, the voice of the working people is vital in the text. With all that in mind, sit back, relax, and enjoy the chaos.  God spede þe plouȝ!

Director’s Story

Eloise writes: I first discovered Piers Plowman at a bus stop. I was characteristically lost with a dead phone and only a charity shop book to keep me company. While no one murmured ‘Thou still unravished bride of quietness’, at me, I was acutely aware of being in the presence of the literary as I thumbed through the wind-swept pages. I was intensely confused, which, at the age of fifteen, I supposed was the hidden intention of all literature. With the charmed hand of A. V. C. Schmidt to guide me, I followed Will fallling asleep. I remember after being “found” an hour later how I, rather breathlessly, recounted the events of the B text to my mother as she, mid-flap, chastised me about reckless spontaneity and the need for charged phones.

At that bus stop, I knew that, by the fortuity of an Oxfam find, I had discovered something wonderful, but I had no idea that seven years later, I would be scavenging liripipes and slit-mittens in an attempt to bring this dream-vision to life. Now, I often take that humble copy with me to Malvern Hills, and it is positively crammed with pressed, may-morning flowers. However, little did I know then how deeply entrenched this text was in the public sphere or about the literary and literal rebellions that have emerged beneath the mouldboard.

From the pen of a man who described Piers Plowman as “not worth reading”, Gerard Manley Hopkins perfectly captured the flesh-good of the text:

And features, in flesh, what deed he each must do –
His sinew-service where do.

He leans to it, Harry bends, look. Back, elbow, and liquid waist
In him, all quail to the wallowing o’ the plough: ‘s cheek crimsons; curls
Wag or crossbridle, in a wind lifted, windlaced –
See his wind – lilylocks – laced;
Churlsgrace, too, child of Amansstrength, how it hangs or hurls
Them – broad in bluff hide his frowning feet lashed! raced
With, along them, cragiron under and cold furls –
With-a-fountain’s shining-shot furls.
Harry Ploughman
G. M. Hopkins

This particular poem encapsulates the essence of Piers Plowman: pure inscape, or as Stephen Medcalf calls it, an “extraordinary combination of roughness and a delicate magic.” It is incredibly difficult to describe what happens in Piers Plowman but “churlsgrace” is certainly the perfect descriptor for the essence of the text. A mere ploughman knows the way to Truth and is gracious enough to guide the reader, in return for help in plowing and sowing a half-acre.

Piers Plowman is ultimately a text that encourages mental labour, in a field, at a bus stop, or even in the gardens of St Edmund Hall…

We invite you to toil with us at Teddy Hall. From a tower on toft, a trumpet shall hail the dream, before the gentle plucking of a harp will guide you to sleep. Come and set forth on a dream-pilgrimage, exploring political satire, social upheaval, and spiritual crisis.
We hope to see you soon in the fair field. God spede þe plouȝ!

Piers Plowman poster

Interdisciplinary Conference ‘Trust in the Premodern World’: An Overview

Written by Annabel Hancock (St John’s College, Oxford) 
Lead Organiser 


After over a year of preparation, the conference took place on 13-14th January 2023 in the Oxford History Faculty, and it was a great success! We were thrilled to welcome five eminent keynote speakers as well as 26 speakers and 20 attendees. Attendance was truly international with speakers from the US, Taiwan, Israel, Australia, The Netherlands, and Spain, to name a few places. There were also participants from a range of career stages with a large number of postgraduate students and ECRs speaking alongside renowned professors.  

The call for papers generated a much greater response than expected, from researchers at a variety of career stages and disciplines. While it led to greater organisational challenges, this led to the decision to run parallel sessions, allowing the acceptance of a greater number of papers and wider conversations. This meant we had panels which focused on trust as an emotion and experience, on trust and its relationship to power, to professions, in trade, credit, and debt relationships, and in spaces and systems.  

The keynote speakers acted perfectly to direct the focus of the conference and encourage wide-ranging discussions. Dr Justyna Wubs-Mrozewicz (University of Amsterdam) started us off perfectly, thinking about generalised trust, encouraging us to think about how communities engage with trust in the common good in the medieval city. Professor Teresa Morgan (Yale Divinity School) then encouraged us to think about the ways in which language and meaning develops, showing how ideas of trust in Early Christian faith developed to relate to belief, redefining one’s relationship to God. Dr Nicholas Baker (Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia) then ended the first day perfectly. He showed us that the ways in which merchants thought about time in sixteenth century Italy was deeply complex, looking at the ways in which language related to trust and time expressed anxieties as well as positive hopes. Dr Antonella Liuzzo Scorpo (University of Lincoln) started day two with a look at trust as an emotion, specifically encouraging us to think about the ways in which women took part in the construction of trusted spaces in diplomacy in thirteenth-century Iberia. Our final keynote speaker, Professor Sheilagh Ogilvie (All Souls College, Oxford) delivered a paper encouraging us to think about the voices of premodern people and the ways theories of social capital/networks can hide the darker side of trust communities. She highlighted the ways in which economic approaches to trust can help us to look deeper into the ways in which communities functioned and encouraged us that as historians we have much to add to this conversation. 

Papers and keynote talks led to a great number of discussions and engagement with trust across a range of times and places. Perhaps one of the most exciting parts of many conversations was the realisation that though the 54 total participants all worked on varied times and places across the globe, and on various forms of trust, we all had knowledge and ideas that could be related it, and questions that could be the start of new ways of thinking.  

There is still much to think about and I know that all participants will be processing the discussions we had for a long time to come. Perhaps one of the main take aways at this early stage is the great power that comes with thinking about trust in the past. Through this focus, we can learn more about the economic, social, and cultural lives of people in premodern Europe, and consider the ways in which rationality and emotions are negotiated. 

The organising committee was thrilled to receive much positive feedback, including on social media, from attendees about the event and a great desire for conversations started at the event to continue. This will be an ongoing global network. 

This event would not have been possible without a great amount of support and encouragement from friends, colleagues, various members of the History Faculty admin team, and our generous sponsors. 

Oxford Medieval Visual Culture Seminar

Where: St Catherine’s College, Arumugam Building
When: Thursdays 5.15 p.m.

Convenors: Elena Lichmanova (elena.lichmanova@merton.ox.ac.uk) and Gervase Rosser

The Oxford Medieval Visual Culture Seminar series is exploring visual aspects of medieval knowledge: from anatomy to alchemy, from geometry to the concepts of time and space. We hope that the programme may appeal to audiences beyond those studying the medieval period and art history, so please do share it with anyone who might be interested. 

Week 2, 26 January
Sarah Griffin Lambeth Palace Library, London
From Hours to Ages: Time in the Large-scale Diagrams of Opicinus de Canistris (1296-
Anya Burgon Trinity Hall, Cambridge
In a Punctum: Miniature Worlds in Late Medieval Art and Literature

Week 4, 9 February
Lauren Rozenberg University College London
In the Flat Round: Brain Diagrams in Late Medieval Manuscripts
Sergei Zotov University of Warwick
Christian Motifs in Fifteenth-Century Alchemical Iconography

Week 6, 23 February
Jack Hartnell University of East Anglia
Visualising Wombs and Obstetrical Fantasies in Late Medieval Germany

Week 8, 9 March
Mary Carruthers New York University, All Souls College, Oxford
Envisioning Thinking: Geometry and Meditation in the Twelfth Century

We very much look forward to seeing you in the Hilary Term!

Seminars in Medieval and Renaissance Music

All Souls College, Oxford

Hilary Term, 2023
Led by Dr Margaret Bent (Convenor, All Souls College, Oxford) and Matthew Thomson (University College Dublin)

The seminars are all held via Zoom on Thursdays at 5 p.m. GMT. 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 matthew.thomson@ucd.ie.

Seminar programme

Thursday 26 January, 5pm GMT

Julia Craig-McFeely (DIAMM, University of Oxford)

The Sadler Sets of Partbooks and Tudor Music Copying

Discussants: Owen Rees (University of Oxford) and Magnus Williamson (University of Newcastle)

The digital recovery of the Sadler Partbooks has revealed considerably more than simply the notes written on the pages. Surprisingly more in fact. It has led to a re-evaluation of pretty much everything we thought we knew about the books and their inception, and indeed the culture of music copying in England in the mid- to late-16th century. This paper examines the question of who was responsible for copying Bodleian Library Mus. e. 1–5. Some tempting speculations are explored, and some new paradigms proposed.

Thursday 16 February, 5pm GMT

Martin Kirnbauer and the project team Vicentino21: Anne Smith, David Gallagher, Luigi Collarile and Johannes Keller (Schola Cantorum Basiliensis / FHNW)

Soav’ e dolce – Nicola Vicentino’s Intervallic Vision

The musical ideas and visions that Vicentino sets out in his writings L’antica musica ridotta alla moderna prattica (Rome 1555) and the Manifesto for his arciorgano can only be concretely traced on the basis of a few, mostly fragmentary, surviving compositions. However, the research carried out within the framework of the SNSF-funded research project “Vicentino21” (https://www.fhnw.ch/plattformen/vicentino21/), with the aim of creating a digital edition of Vicentino’s treatise, now provides concrete findings. Using the example of the madrigal Soav’ e dolce ardore (III:51, fol. 67), questions concerning Vicentino’s musical visions and the edition will be discussed.

Thursday 9 March, 5pm GMT

Emily Zazulia (University of California at Berkeley)

The Fifteenth-Century Song Mass: Some Challenges

Discussants: Fabrice Fitch (Royal Conservatoire of Scotland) and Sean Gallagher (New England Conservatory)

Love songs and the Catholic Mass do not make easy bedfellows. The earthly, amorous, even carnal feelings explored in fifteenth-century chansons seem at odds with the solemnity of Christian observance’s most central rite. Recent scholarship has attempted to bridge this divide, showing how some of these genre-crossing pieces conflate the earthly lady with the Virgin Mary, thereby effacing the divide between sacred and secular. But a substantial body of song masses survives whose source material is decidedly not amenable to this type of interpretation—masses based on songs that are less “My gracious lady is without peer” and more “Hey miller girl, come grind my grain”—or, as we shall see, worse. This paper turns an eye toward these misfit masses, surveying the corpus for a sense of what there is—the Whos, Whats, Wheres, and Whens—as a first step toward the Hows and Whys of these puzzling pieces. One particularly tricky example, the mass variously referred to as Je ne demande and Elle est bien malade, suggests that it may be time to replace prevailing sacred–secular interpretative models with a new approach.

E  A  Lowe Lectures in Palaeography 2023: Professor Niels Gaul 

Manuscripts of Character: Codex, Ethos, and Authority in Byzantium and Beyond

Professor Niels Gaul will deliver the E A Lowe Lectures at 5pm on the following days in the MBI Al Jaber Auditorium, Corpus Christi College. Niels Gaul is A G Leventis Professor of Byzantine Studies and Director of the Centre for Late Antique, Islamic and Byzantine Studies at the University of Edinburgh; from 2005 to 2007 he held the inaugural Dilts-Lyell Research Fellowship in Greek Palaeography at Lincoln College and in the Faculty of Classics.  His research interests include the socio-historical dynamics of schools, learning, and the classical tradition in Byzantium; since 2017 he has been co-directing an ERC-funded comparative project on classicising learning in the Byzantine and middle-period Chinese imperial systems.

Tuesday 28 February  –  “Codex” – explores the phenomenon of Byzantine literati curating their own writings in codex format and possible ancient and patristic models; with glances at similar practices in other medieval manuscript cultures

Thursday 2 March – “Ethos” – examines the ways in which such codices were thought to display the author’s character, and what the concept entailed in this context

Tuesday 7 March –  “Authority” – relates expressions of authorial ethos to matters of mise-en-page, with particular attention to marginal spaces

All welcome!

Corpus Christi College MS 30 (fol. 114r), from the Commentary on the Gospels by Theophylact of Ohrid (late 12th century), a significant Byzantine biblical scholar (ca. 1050/60 – ca. 1108).

Header image: Gospel Lectionary with Marginal Illuminations, second half of 11th century, Dumbarton Oaks MS 1, BZ.1939.12 f.4v (See the manuscript online via Dumbarton Oaks on the Web)

CfP: Postgraduate Conference 2023 (University of Bristol): Identities, Communities and ‘Imagined Communities’

When: 14-15 April 2023

Abstracts and enquiries: cms-conference-enquiries@bristol.ac.uk
Deadline: 10 February 2023

After the success of the 2022 ‘Transitions’ Conference, we invite you to the next instalment of the longest-standing medievalist PGR conference series. This year’s theme of Identities, Communities, and ‘Imagined Communities’ marks the 40-year anniversary of the publication of Benedict Anderson’s book on national identity. Observing all the uses medievalists have made of his theories in subsequent years, the conference celebrates the interdisciplinary currents that have benefitted academia in recent decades – Anderson, after all, did not initially believe his theories were suitable for the medieval world. We welcome respondents and delegates to reflect on how we use concepts of identity and community more broadly across medieval history. Society’s interest in its identities is arguably more topical today than it was in 1983 when Imagined Communities was first published. How did medieval communities see and perform their identities, how did this change over time, and why? What role did identities play – be they political, linguistic, or religious – in the consolidation of some communities and the subjugation of others?

Suggested topics include, but are not limited to:
• National Identities
• Religious Identities
• Sexuality and Gender Identities
• Ethnoreligious Communities
• Marcher Identities
• Urban Communities
• County Communities
• Frontiers, Conquest, and Expansion
• Law and Custom
• Migration and Xenophobia
• Ethnic Origins and Contemporary Myths
• Art and Architecture
• Seals and Heraldry
• Patronage and Memory
• Sovereignty
• Local Autonomy
• Archaeology
• Nationalism
• Concepts in History-writing

We welcome abstracts from postgraduates and early-career researchers, exploring all the aspects and
approaches to concepts of identity and communities, in all relevant disciplines pertaining to the medieval
period, broadly construed c.500-c.1500. Abstracts are 300 words for 20-minute papers. This year’s
conference will be a hybrid event online and on the campus of the University of Bristol.

CfP: Oxford Medieval Graduate Conference 2023

The Oxford Medieval Graduate Conference committee are very excited to announce that the theme for the 2023 conference will be: ‘Names and Naming’

The conference will be held in person (with limited measures for online papers) at Ertegun House, Oxford, on the 20th and 21st of April, 2023. We are thrilled to announce this call for papers relating to all aspects of the broad topic of ‘names and naming’ in the medieval world. We are welcoming papers in any discipline, be it literary; historical; archaeological; linguistic; interdisciplinary; or anything else. There are no limitations on geographical region or time period, as long as the topic falls within the medieval period.

Examples of areas of interest may include but are not limited to:

♦ Naming and shaming
♦ Authorship; pseudonyms
♦ Classifications
♦ Etymology
♦ Place names
♦ Historiographical groups
♦ Ethnonyms
♦ Insults
♦ Nicknames
♦ Seals, identity
♦ Translation
♦ Trades
♦ Lineage
♦ Genres
♦ Graffiti; marginalia
♦ Saints’ names; cults

SUBMISSION GUIDELINES: Papers should be a maximum of 20 minutes. We intend to provide bursaries to help with travel costs, and we are welcoming applications from graduate students at any university.

Please email abstracts of 250 words to oxgradconf@gmail.com by 15th January, 2023.