Medieval Matters: Week 1

Hilary term is finally upon us! I hope that everyone is feeling well rested and ready for the term ahead. January can feel a little anticlimactic after the excitement of the Christmas vac, and indeed, this email comes to your inbox on so-called ‘Blue Monday’ – supposedly the saddest day of the year! But have no fear: here is some wisdom from the Old English Instructions for Christians on how we can cope with this phenomenon:

[Leornunge] mod gedeþ mycle ðe bliðre
[Learning makes the mind much happier]

Luckily for us all, we have a whole host of exciting events and seminars for you to learn at this week to beat the January blues, both online and in-person! Please be aware that many in-person events are taking place in rooms with strict capacity limits in order to comply with covid regulations: do check the listings below and make sure that you book in advance if necessary.

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

  • A reminder that you are all warmly invited to dinner with Lucy Pick, at your own cost, after the OMS Lecture on February 8th. We have reserved eight places for graduate students at a discounted price of 10GBP. These places are strictly first come, first served. Non graduate students will pay 30GBP. All payment is in cash on the day. Please contact me by 20 January if you would like to come to dinner, including any dietary requirements and whether or not you drink wine. It will be a great evening, and we look forward to seeing many of you there. 

EVENTS THIS WEEK:

Monday 17th January:

  • The Medieval Latin Manuscript Reading Group meets at 1-2pm on Teams. Sign up here for the mailing list to receive details of each week’s sessions: https://web.maillist.ox.ac.uk/ox/info/medieval-latin-ms-reading. Contact Matthew Holford, Andrew Dunning or Tuija Ainonen for further details.
  • The Medieval History Seminar meets at 5pm at The Wharton Room, All Souls College and online on Teams. This week’s speaker is Julia Smith (All Souls), ‘In Search of Charlemagne’s relic collection’. Attendance at the Wharton Room is by advance booking only as the room has a strict Covid-19 capacity limit. Seats will be released 1 week before each seminar. Bookings can be made at https://medieval-history-seminar.reservio.com. The Teams session can be accessed by logging in to Teams with your .ox.ac.uk account and joining the group “Medieval History Research Seminar” (team code rmppucs). If you have any difficulties please email: medhistsem@history.ox.ac.uk

Tuesday 18th January:

  • The Medieval English Research Seminar meets at 11.30pm in Lecture Theatre 2, Faculty of English. This week’s speakers will be Glenn Cahilly-Bretzin (Lincoln College), ‘Flickers of past practice: The poetic lexicon of cremation in Old English’, and Tom Revell (Balliol College), ‘The composition of Old English hagiographic verse: the Old English Metrical Calendar (Menologium) as micro-library’. For further information, contact daniel.wakelin@ell.ox.ac.uk.
  • The Late Medieval Europe Seminar meets at 2pm at Saint John’s College, seminar room 21 St Giles. This week is an introductory reading session. Please try to read these articles in advance of the session: Burger, Glenn, and Steven F. Kruger. “INTRODUCTION.” In Queering the Middle Ages, edited by Glenn Burger and Steven F. Kruger; Reeser, Todd W. “How to do Early Modern Queer History.” GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies 26, no. 1 (2020): 183-196.
  • The Medieval Book Club meets at 3.30pm in Magdalen College, Old Law Library. This week’s topic is ‘Anger’. If you want to join us, or would like more information, please contact oxfordmedievalbookclub@gmail.com. Option to join virtually via Google Meet as well, please send your contact details.
  • The Medieval Church and Culture Seminar meets at 5pm in Warrington Room, Harris Manchester College. This week’s speaker is Amy Ebrey (St John’s) ‘Correcting Aquinas?  William de la Mare on Poverty as an Instrument

Wednesday 19th January:

  • The Medieval German Seminar meets this term Wednesdays 11.15-12.45 in Oriel College, Harris Room. The text for this term is Reinbot von Durne’s Georg legend. This week will be an organisational meeting – welcome to come along! If you are interested in being added to the teams channel and the mailing list for the seminar, email Henrike Lähnemann henrike.laehnemann@mod-langs.ox.ac.uk. For further information, follow MedGermOx on Twitter.
  • The Late Antique and Byzantine Seminar meets at 5:30pm on Zoom. This week’s speakers are M. Whiting, E. Turquois, M. Ritter (Mainz and Halle) Introduction to the DFG project “Procopius and the Language of Buildings”, and Marlena Whiting (Mainz and Halle): ‘Networks and the City: Building a network-based model of De Aed. I.’ Register in advance for this on-line series: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZEkdeuspz8jG9IfBfrd75k6qrxLyWtG_PAu. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Thursday 20th January:

  • Middle High German Reading Group meets at 10am at Somerville College Productivity Room (Margery Fry). This week’s text is Das Osterspiel von Muri. If you have any questions or want to participate, please send an e-mail to melina.schmidt@lincoln.ox.ac.uk.
  • The Greek and Latin Reading Group meets at 4pm in St Edmund Hall. Room TBC: contact John Colley or Jenyth Evans to be added to the mailing list.
  • The Celtic Seminar will take place on Teams at 5.15pm. This week’s speaker is Hugh Brodie (University of Oxford), ‘1257 and all that: The Battle of Cymerau revisited‘. Please contact david.willis@ling-phil.ox.ac.uk if you need a link.
  • The Old English Reading Group takes place at 5.30pm. For more information and to receive the text in advance email eugenia.vorobeva@jesus.ox.ac.uk.

Friday 21st January:

  • The Seminar in the History of the Book will meet online at 2.15pm. You must be registered 24 hours before the seminar to receive a link to attend online. This week’s speaker is Mercedes García-Arenal, Centro de Ciencias Humanas y Sociales – Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas, Madrid: ‘The European Quran: the role of the Muslim Holy Book in writing European cultural history – Presentation of a project‘. Register here: https://forms.office.com/r/FSXrV1W98u
  • The Anglo-Norman Reading Group meets at 5pm on Zoom. For texts, joining instructions, and further information, please email Stephanie Hathaway or Jane Bliss.
  • The first of this year’s James Ford Lectures take place online at 5pm. This year’s lectures will be given by Professor Robin Fleming (Professor of Early Medieval History, Boston College). This week’s lecture is ‘Why Roman Britain? Why Material Culture? Why Dogs?‘. To watch this lecture, please visit this webpage, where the link will be posted at 5pm on Friday.

OPPORTUNITIES:

  • Call for Papers: Medieval Germany Workshop. A one-day workshop on Medieval Germany is being held on 6 May 2022 in the splendid surroundings of the German Historical Institute in Bloomsbury. The workshop will maintain the traditions of friendliness and informality familiar to those of you who have attended before. We expect to be face to face and, on past tradition, to maintain the sociability and discussion in the pub afterwards. Papers of 10-15 minutes are invited, with those exploring problems of work in progress particularly welcome. Chronology and geography generously defined. There will be invited guest papers by Prof. Eva Schlotheuber (Düsseldorf) and Prof. Wolfram Drews (Münster). Attendance is free. Please note that the deadline for submitting proposals, to Dr Marcus Meer at GHIL (M.Meer@ghil.ac.uk), has been extended to 31 January. Please see the call for papers also for funding support available for North American (US and Canada) and UK doctoral students wishing to attend.
  • Meet the Manuscripts: Call for Proposals: Meet the Manuscripts is a popular series of online events run by the Bodleian Libraries’ curatorial and public engagement teams. (For last autumn’s events see https://visit.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/event/meet-the-manuscripts-online-lecture-series.) We’re keen to increase the involvement of graduate and postgraduate students and early career scholars in these sessions from autumn 2022 onwards. If you’re working on a Bodleian manuscript that you’d like to present to a general public audience, please contact Andrew Dunning (andrew.dunning@bodleian.ox.ac.uk), or Matthew Holford (matthew.holford@bodleian.ox.ac.uk) for more information.
  • Workshops on Manuscript Description and Cataloguing: Trinity Term. Sessions for this term are already fully booked but to be added to the waiting list, or to express interest in sessions next term, contact Andrew Dunning (andrew.dunning@bodleian.ox.ac.uk), or Matthew Holford (matthew.holford@bodleian.ox.ac.uk).
  • Call for Participation: Indian Ocean Figures that Sailed Away. A range of archaeological finds of South Asian manufacture from sites in the Horn of Africa, and in the Italian and Arabian peninsulas—some long known and some newly excavated—can expand our knowledge of the Indian Ocean cultural milieu.  ISAW is pleased to announce an online seminar series in Spring 2022 to reconvene an international conversation on these figures that sailed out of India to points west during the early first millennium CE. If your area of research interest overlaps with this project, we invite you to join us by filling out this registration form. Please include a short abstract describing your research interests and key conference papers and/or publications. For any additional information, or if you have any questions, please email: indianoceanfigurines@gmail.com.
  • The Oxford Medieval Mystery Cycle are still recruiting play groups for the 2022 performance! Most importantly, we are still looking for people to take on THE CRUCIFIXION PLAY. If you would be up for the challenge, we would love to hear from you. Please contact eleanor.baker@sjc.ox.ac for more details.
  • Call for Performers: The Execution of John the Baptist in Medieval French. This will be a contribution to the festival of 20-minute medieval plays performed in the gardens of St Edmund Hall on Saturday April 23, with a subsequent performance in Iffley churchyard on the morning of Sunday April 24. Rehearsals will be one evening a week through term. Some of the cast will be actors from Iffley village. If you’d like to join in, and bring to life a text that has probably not been played for 500 years, please e-mail the director David Wiles at d.wiles@exeter.ac.uk, or come along to St Edmund Hall on Thursday 20 Jan at 6.00 (where the porter will direct you).

Finally, for those of us feeling the cold, here is some reassurance from the Old English Maxims I:

Winter sceal geweorpan, weder eft cuman/ sumor swegle hat
[Winter shall leave, good weather will come again: summer hot in the sky]

Unfortunately, we have a while to wait before the promised heat of summer, but we have lots of great medievalist events to enjoy in the meantime. Make sure to check out the updated copy of the Medieval Booklet, attached to this week’s email as a pdf, to see all of the lovely things that we have to look forward to this term. In the meantime, I wish you all a happy, warm, and productive first week!

[A Medievalist chases off the winter blues with a fantastic selection of lectures (and also a horn)]
Merton College, MS 249, f. 5v.
View image and text in the Taylor Edition by Sebastian Dows-Miller
https://editions.mml.ox.ac.uk/editions/bestiary/#Castor

CALL FOR PERFORMERS

THE EXECUTION OF JOHN THE BAPTIST [IN MEDIEVAL FRENCH]

This will be a contribution to the festival of 20-minute medieval plays performed in the gardens of St Edmund Hall on Saturday April 23, with a subsequent performance in Iffley churchyard on the morning of Sunday April 24.

John the Baptist preaches to the masses about the corruption of those who rule the state, King Herod throws a birthday party, and young Salome induces him to promise her any gift she chooses. The gift is of course John’s head, and medieval theatre delighted in the use of stage blood. The language is accessible enough to speakers of modern French, and we will concentrate on rhythm and expression rather than antique vowel sounds.

Rehearsals will be one evening a week through term. Some of the cast will be actors from Iffley village. If you’d like to join in, and bring to life a text that has probably not been played for 500 years, please e-mail the director David Wiles at d.wiles@exeter.ac.uk, or come along to St Edmund Hall on Thursday 20 Jan at 6.00 (where the porter will direct you).

Medieval Matters: Week 0 and HT Booklet

Welcome back to Oxford! It is now Week 0, which means that Hilary Term is upon us. I hope that you all had a restful and peaceful Christmas break, and are returning renewed and ready for more Medievalist happenings. Whether you’re looking to return to your usual seminars, or interested to see what else is out there, our Medieval Booklet lists a whole range of exciting events, seminars, working groups, and CFPs. Please do enjoy perusing. 


If by chance you realise that you have a medieval event, seminar, reading group or working group that you would like to be included in the booklet, do not fear: please get any final details to me before Friday 14th. A finalised pdf copy will also be disseminated with next week’s email. 


I’d also like to take this opportunity to remind you once again of our blog: all of our most up-to-date information can be found here, as well as an archive of all past Medieval Matters emails, CFPs, blogs from Oxford Medievalists, and a calendar that lists all of the term’s events. We would love to receive submissions for blog posts: if you have a research project, book, or cfp that you would like to be included, please email me at luisa.ostacchini@ell.ox.ac.uk.
Although seminars have not yet begun, I nevertheless have a few announcements for you this week:

  • The OMS Hilary Term Lecture, Lucy Pick: ‘Maimonides Latinus and a Thirteenth-Century Textual Community of Jewish and Christian Readers’’ takes place on Tuesday 8 February, 5pm, St Edmund Hall, Old Dining Hall, and live streamed online https://youtu.be/orJHVpWgaMs. The lecture will be followed by drinks at St Edmund Hall. You are also warmly invited to dinner with the speaker, at your own cost. We have reserved eight places for graduate students at a discounted price of 10GBP. These places are strictly first come, first served. Please contact me by 31 January if you would like to come to dinner. It will be a great evening, and we look forward to seeing many of you there. 
  • The Oxford Heraldry Society meets at 6.15pm on Thursday January 13th via Zoom. This week’s lecture is John Whitehead: ‘Blood Will Out: The Heraldry and Heraldic Art of the Beaufort Family 1396-1526′. To join the Zoom meeting, click here: 
    https://us02web.zoom.us/j/88141484862?pwd=U3FXSHNQYmdLZS9HYWZ4QktyOVF5UT09
  • A reminder that the Oxford Medieval Society Relaunch Party is cancelled. The committee sincerely apologise for any disappointment caused, and will be rescheduling this event for later in the term.  

Finally, some Old English wisdom for those of you returning to Oxford: 


Eadig bið se þe in his eðle geþihð
[Happy is he who prospers in his homeland]

May you be happy and prosper in your faculties, departments, and libraries that are your Oxford homeland this term! 

Medievalists returning to Oxfordafter the Christmas break
Merton College, MS 249, f. 8r.
View image and text in the Taylor Edition by Sebastian Dows-Miller
https://editions.mml.ox.ac.uk/editions/bestiary/#Cetus

CALL FOR PARTICIPATION: Indian Ocean Figures that Sailed Away


A range of archaeological finds of South Asian manufacture from sites in the Horn of Africa, and in the Italian and Arabian peninsulas—some long known and some newly excavated—can expand our knowledge of the Indian Ocean cultural milieu.  ISAW is pleased to announce an online seminar series in Spring 2022 to reconvene an international conversation on these figures that sailed out of India to points west during the early first millennium CE.  The series is open to advanced research students, scholars, and academics; please note that this event is not intended for the general public. 

By hosting the conversation online, we hope to include regional specialists knowledgeable about and from different parts of the world. Advanced registration is required, and the number of participants will be limited to facilitate discussion, which will be led by participants who have written about the specific object or its context.  We will closely consider the Pompeii Yakshi, formerly “Lakshmi” (Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli), the Khor Rori Yakshi (Smithsonian, National Museum of Asian Art), a stone head from Berenike, a stone torso from Adulis, several ivory combs from, e.g., Dibba, as well as representations of ships. 

The reception history of these objects both in antiquity and in museums has led to the association of only certain meanings with these objects in their afterlife. By looking again at these objects, we can distinguish other meanings: they hint at the identities of people who moved such objects overseas during the first millennium CE, thereby shedding light on the hybridity of both artifacts and their cultural context(s). This material record offers a complementary reading to literary accounts and historiographies of Indian Ocean trade routes.  

The online “lunchtime” roundtable series will include a total of five 1-hour Friday ‘lunchtime’ (in New York) talks, conducted via zoom, from February 25th to April 25th, 2022 (see schedule below).  We will reconsider individual figurines as types and as part of a collection of interrogated objects with very specific afterlives.  Through our discussions, formerly occluded layers of reception will offer insight on larger questions of the first millennium Indian Ocean, its people, its cultures, its complexities, and its hybridities, Through such close looking at these and similar objects and their contexts, the series and culminating public lecture seek to integrate archaeological finds with ongoing studies of Indian Ocean travel, trade, and the broader cultural milieu of the Indian Ocean World with a special focus on religious attitudes, merchant identities, and material culture.  We plan to develop an edited volume based on the discussions as well as initiate longer-term scholarly communities with this event.

If your area of research interest overlaps with this project, we invite you to join us by filling out this registration form (https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSem_X_vTtos7S1emfl69G2FrIFV3q_i4kUiTp9igePzx6tgLw/viewform?usp=sf_link).  Please include a short abstract describing your research interests and key conference papers and/or publications.  We will be in touch with a confirmation and more details during the first week of February.  

For any additional information, or if you have any questions, please email: indianoceanfigurines@gmail.com.


Dates and Sessions:

February 25, 2022: 11am EST “Comparanda as context?” — The Pompeii Figurine and Indian Yakshis
March 4, 2022: 11am EST“Cultural milieu as context”? — The Khor Rori Bronze, a Dancing Yakshi
March 11, 2022: 11am EST“What other contexts?” — Liquescent Bodies and Coiffed Heads
March 25, 2022: 11am EDT“What do images of ships tell us?” — (Re)presenting Shipping 
April 1, 2022: 11am EDT “How did we receive these objects into our mental world?”  — Curation and Conclusions

Organizers: 

Divya Kumar-Dumas, PhD, Visiting Research Scholar, ISAW

Valentina A. Grasso, PhD, Visiting Assistant Professor, ISAW

Lylaah Bhalerao, PhD Student, ISAW

Priya Barchi, PhD Student, ISAW

Spriha Gupta, PhD Student, IFA NYU

Seminars in Medieval and Renaissance Music

All Souls College, Oxford

Hilary Term, 2022
Convenor: Dr Margaret Bent

The seminars in 2021-22 will continue on Zoom. The seminars are all on Thursdays at 5 p.m. UK time (GMT). The first (individual) presentation will be about half an hour, followed by invited discussants who will engage the speaker in conversation about the paper. The two joint presentations will have no additional discussants. In all cases, the floor will be opened for comments and questions by others after about an hour. We hope you will join us.

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 email (matthew.thomson@ucd.ie).

Seminar programme

Thursday 27 January, 5pm GMT

Lachlan Hughes (University of Oxford)

Laude and Lyric Poetry in Dante’s Florence

Discussants: Elena Abramov-Van Rijk (independent scholar, Jerusalem) and Blake Wilson (Dickinson College (PA))

The lauda, a form of vernacular song which flourished in the Marian confraternities of thirteenth- and fourteenth-century Italy, has much in common with the lyric poetry written by Dante and his peers: the adoption of the ballata form, the development of a religiously inflected poetics of praise, the elevation of the vernacular, etc. Despite having much in common, however, the two traditions have typically been read as unrelated, in no small part due to an entrenched critical narrative, perpetuated by literary scholars and musicologists alike, which sees the poetry of medieval Italy as essentially ‘divorced’ from any possible musical execution, in stark contrast tothe hybrid model of the troubadours. If the medieval Italian poetic tradition is characterised by a conspicuous absence of (notated) music, then the lauda, preserved in the earliest extant collections of musically notated Italian poetry, seemingly has no place in it.

This paper will begin by exploring the origins, consequences, and limitations of such a critical framing, drawing on a historical overview of early (and largely unsuccessful) efforts at assembling a corpus of laude, beginning in the late nineteenth century. It will then present the principal musical sources of the thirteenth- and early fourteenth-century lauda and reflect on their problems and possibilities, before moving to a consideration of what might be gained by reading the secular poetry of Dante and his peers against the contemporary tradition of the lauda. In a broader sense, the paper will also reflect on the advantages of reading a single repertoire through different disciplinary lenses, and what this might tell us about the scholarly traditions in which we work.

Thursday 17 February, 5pm GMT

Antonio Calvia (Università di Pavia) and Anne Stone (CUNY Graduate Center)

Two Fragments, One Manuscript: Introducing a Newly-Discovered Italian Source of Ars Nova Polyphony

In 2019 and 2020 two largely intact parchment bifolios containing Ars nova polyphony were found independently in Milan-area libraries: one at the Biblioteca Universitaria in Pavia by Giuseppe Mascherpa (independent scholar) and Federico Saviotti (University of Pavia) and the other at the Biblioteca Trivulziana in Milan by Anne Stone. In May 2021, Saviotti, Stone, and Antonio Calvia realized that the two bifolios belonged to the same original manuscript, and began a joint project to study them together. This talk presents findings from our initial research into the origins, provenance, and contents of the “Codice San Fedele-Belgioioso,” a compilation of mass ordinary movements and secular songs whose internal evidence points strongly to a provenance in the Milan area c. 1400. The 12 compositions that survive appear to be unica: three mass ordinary compositions and nine French-texted songs with two surviving voices. The measurements of these bifolios (approximately 465×620 mm, with a page size of approximately 465 mm tall and 310 wide) are larger than any surviving manuscripts of polyphony contemporary with them, and the quality of the parchment and the elegance of the hand make it clear that the manuscript was professionally copied for an institution that had considerable resources. These finds thus have the potential to significantly expand our scanty knowledge of cultivated polyphony in late medieval Lombardy.

Thursday 10 March, 5pm GMT

John Milsom (Liverpool Hope University) and Jessie Ann Owens (University of California at Davis)

Thomas Morley’s A plaine and easie introduction to practicall musicke (London, 1597): new observations and discoveries

As we complete our research into England’s first major printed music treatise, we take this opportunity to share our current thoughts about Morley’s A plaine and easie introduction, and explain our strategy for publication. Underlying our work is a focus on ‘making’ – the processes of making a manuscript for the printer, and of making a printed book from that manuscript. Morley’s manuscript does not survive, so must be inferred from the finished book; but an investigation of its text does draw us into the materiality of his working methods, as he ‘tombles and tosses’ his various sources, whether acknowledged or not, and transforms them both to reflect his own understanding and priorities, and to make them conform to his design and purpose. The identification of Morley’s extensive ‘library’ of sources reveals a complex and multi-layered text, created in part from pre-existing materials and in part from his own experience and training as a musician. His distinctive voice emerges from the tantalizing accounts of musical practice evident in action verbs like foist, shift, stir, hang. Our investigation of the 1597 edition itself – the book qua book – has led to unexpected discoveries. We now believe that Morley, quite exceptionally, may have devised his treatise largely as a sequence of double-page spreads, and hence composed its literary content, music examples, tables and diagrams to fit into two-page openings. If our theory is correct, then layout is in effect an integral element of Morley’s text: pedagogy and design proceed hand in hand. Initially we had planned to publish a three-volume study in which our new edition of Morley’s text (vol. 1) is accompanied by a critical apparatus (vol. 2) and a set of essays by a distinguished cohort of musicologists (vol. 3). Our approach, however, has been transformed by the decision to add a full colour facsimile of a copy of the 1597 edition itself (vol. 4), allowing the book’s remarkable properties to be fully savoured and appreciated.

OMS Lecture Hilary 2022: Lucy Pick, ‘Maimonides Latinus and a Thirteenth-Century Textual Community of Jewish and Christian Readers’

Tuesday 8 February, 5pm

St Edmund Hall, Old Dining Hall, and live streamed online https://youtu.be/orJHVpWgaMs.

Moses Maimonides’ Guide of the Perplexed landed in the Latin scholastic world of the thirteenth century like a stick of dynamite. Christian scholastics of the mid to late-thirteenth century — Thomas Aquinas, Bonaventure, Albert the Great, Meister Eckhardt — knew the Guide through the Latin translation called the Dux neutrorum, and its extensive and influential network of scholastic readers have used up most of the scholarly oxygen dedicated to Maimonides Latinus. I will identify another community of readers of the Guide, an earlier one, of Jews and Christians reading together. Identifiable as a community in Toledo in the first two decades of the thirteenth century, this community would eventually spread to Rome, Provence, Naples, and Paris. I will focus here on four members: Samuel ibn Tibbon, who wrote the first Hebrew translation of the Guide; Michael Scot, first a master in Toledo and later Emperor Frederick II’s court astrologer;  Jacob Anatoli, Samuel’s son-in law and Michael’s colleague in Naples; and Rodrigo Jiménez de Rada, archbishop of Toledo, in whose cathedral Michael and Samuel may have met and in whose writings we can trace the earliest evidence of Maimonides’ impact on the Latin world.

Lucy Pick is a historian of medieval thought and culture. Her research interests include the relationships between gender, power, and religion; the translation of science and philosophy in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, and its impact on relations between religious groups; and the development of monastic thought and practice. Her first book, Conflict and Coexistence: Archbishop Rodrigo and the Muslims and Jews of Thirteenth-Century Spain (University of Michigan 2004), discusses Jewish, Christian, and Muslim relations in thirteenth-century Toledo. Her second, Her Father’s Daughter: Gender, Power, and Religion in Early the Spanish Kingdoms (Cornell 2017) examines the careers of royal women in early medieval Spain. She is also the author of the novel, Pilgrimage (Cuidono 2014), a story about the Middle Ages that explores betrayal, friendship, illness, miracles, healing, and redemption on the road to Compostela. She is currently studying the earliest translation of part of Maimonides’ Guide of the Perplexed into Latin and what it tells us about intellectual cooperation and conflict across religions in Toledo, Naples, Provence, and Paris in the early thirteenth century.

There will be drinks at St Edmund Hall after the lecture.
Please contact Luisa Ostacchini by 31 January if you would like to come to dinner with the speaker at your own cost. We have reserved eight places for graduate students at a discounted price of 10GBP.
First come, first served!

Header image: Biblioteca Nacional de España ms 10087 fol. 22r

A #Nuntastic Achievement: Celebrating Eileen Power 100 Years On

2pm–5pm, 10 February 2022 (Feast of St. Scholastica)

Griffiths Room, 11 Norham Gardens, St. Benet’s Hall

This workshop will commemorate the centenary publication of Eileen Power’s Medieval English Nunneries and her influence on convent studies in England and beyond. The workshop will begin with talks by Professor Maxine Berg, the author of Power’s biography, and Francesca Wade, author of Square Haunting: Five Lives in London Between the Wars. It will include roundtable discussions with Oxford scholars about their current research on nuns and the future of convent studies.

Please register in advance at https://tinyurl.com/eileenpower, and send any questions to Diana Myers (diana.myers@stb.ox.ac.uk) or Edmund Wareham (edmund.wareham@stb.ox.ac.uk).

Trinity Term 2022 OMS Lecture: Caroline Danforth

Paper, Linen, Silk, and Parchment – Material Fragments from an Extinguished Convent

Tuesday 26 April 2022, 5pm, live streamed via the OMS Youtube Channel

Apollonia von Freyberg was a Poor Clare nun living in the medieval village of Mülhausen (today, Mulhouse, France). We know of Apollonia through an artifact housed at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC – a colored woodcut by Lienhart Ysenhut (1959.16.15) which is housed inside a box made, in part, of recycled materials. Among these materials is the fragment of a letter addressed to Apollonia. Apollonia enriched her convent with manifold gifts and subsequently experienced the dissolution of her cloistered home during the Protestant Reformation. Beginning with Ysenhut’s print and the clues hidden in its enclosure, learn more about Apollonia’s family, wealth, and fate following her departure from Mülhausen in the early 16th century.

Caroline Danforth holds an MFA in painting from The George Washington University and a BA in German, Art History, and Fine Arts from Mary Washington College. She also studied art history in Germany for two years, in Munich and Tübingen. Since 2008, she has worked as a preservation framer of prints, drawings, and photographs at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC. Her research interests include the history and manufacture of parchment, German to English translation, and the Poor Clares of late medieval Germany. Most recently, Caroline served as guest editor for a special issue on parchment for Art in Translation and co-authored Letters for Apollonia for Franciscan Studies.

Call for Papers: Reimagining the Medieval Double Monastery in Interdisciplinary Perspective

To be held at the Monastery of Admont in Steiermark, Austria, 14-16 October 2022.

The conference will bring together an interdisciplinary group of scholars with broad interest in dual-sex monasticism in the Middle Ages. The conference aims to put research on double monasteries on a new footing and to provide new perspectives in this not yet fully explored world.

The conference will be organized thematically, and we welcome abstracts for papers that focus on:

  •   Theoretical Discourses and Ideological Justifications for Dual-Sex Monasticism: Theology, History, and Literature
  •   Interaction, Interference, and Reciprocal Influence between the Sexes: Customaries, Rules, Liturgy, and Music
  •   Coexistence, Collaboration, and Challenges between the Sexes: Archaeology, Architecture, and Art

The conference will mark the twentieth anniversary of Admont I — Manuscripts and Monastic Culture: Admont and the Twelfth-Century Renaissance (2002). Like Admont I, Admont II will emphasize collegiality and the informal exchange of ideas among colleagues of various disciplines, ranks, and career paths.

Participants are welcome to present in English or German. Each session will comprise two thirty-minute presentations, comments from an invited respondent, and an informal discussion.

Organizers: Alison I. Beach (University of St Andrews), Cristina Andenna (University of Graz), Father Prior Maximilian Schiefermüller (Librarian and Archivist, Stift Admont), and Karin Schamberger (Assistant Librarian, Stift Admont)

Submissions should include a brief abstract (max. 300 words) and a curriculum vitae.  Please use the following link to upload this material by March 31, 2022: https://form.jotform.com/213412914963355

Medieval Matters: Bliþe Cristes mæsse

Term has ended, but there are still Medievalist happenings going on in Oxford! As we look forward to Christmas, I come to your inbox bearing gifts: CFPs, Save-the-dates, and, of course, some Old English wisdom. First of all, an incredibly wise saying to ponder as we approach the new year:

God ger byþ þonne se hund þam hrefne gyfeð.
[It is a good year when the dog gives to the raven]

May 2022 be filled with such fortuitous events! On to the other gifts:

Save the Date:

  • We are delighted to announce that our OMS Lectures will take place on 8th February (Lucy Pick: title tbc) and 26th April (Caroline Danforth: Paper, Linen, Silk, and Parchment – Material Fragments from an Extinguished Convent). Full details to come shortly on our blog.
  • The Oxford Medieval Society Relaunch Party will take place at 5pm on 13th January 2022 at Kendrew Cafe, St John’s College. For queries, email oxfordmedievalsociety@gmail.com.
  • Please get your submissions for the Hilary Term OMS booklet to me by January 5th 2022.

Events:

Opportunities:

  • The Oxford Medieval Graduate Conference, in association with Oxford Medieval Studies and sponsored by TORCH, has just released their call-for-papers for its 2022 conference on ‘Medicine and Healing’. Graduate students are invited to submit a proposal of up to 250 words to oxgradconf@gmail.com by 15th January.
  • The Medieval Studies Program at Cornell University is pleased to announce its thirty-second annual graduate student colloquium (MSSC), which will focus on the theme of ‘Consuming the Middle Ages’. The conference will take place on the 23rd of April, to be held virtually over Zoom. The colloquium will be preceded by a small lecture series. We invite 20-minute papers that investigate consuming the Middle Ages as defined within a range of different disciplines and perspectives. Please send abstracts by January 30, 2021, to Sarah LaVoy at sfl39@cornell.edu. 
  • The Early Text Cultures research group based at the University of Oxford invites abstracts for its research seminar in Hilary Term, running from January to March 2022, which will be on ‘Gender Identities in Early and Premodern Text Cultures.’ Please send abstracts of no more than 300 words to earlytextcultures@humanities.ox.ac.uk by Friday 7 January. The seminar will be held in a hybrid form, with Zoom connection complementing a limited on-site presence in Oxford. 

And finally, some wisdom to keep in mind when enjoying your festive mulled wine / hot chocolate:

Swa fulre fæt, swa hit mann sceal fægror beran.
[The fuller the cup, the more carefully it must be carried]

As this is my last email of the term, on behalf of all of us at OMS, I’d like to wish you all a Merry Christmas / Buon Natale / Bliþe Cristes mæsse! I hope that you all have an enjoyable and restful break, and I look forward to seeing you in the new year. 

A Medievalist attempts to explain that Shakespeare isn’t Old English to confused family members over Christmas dinner
Merton College, MS 249, f. 3r.
View image and text in the Taylor Edition by Sebastian Dows-Miller
https://editions.mml.ox.ac.uk/editions/bestiary/#Leun2