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: 

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

  • 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

EVENTS THIS WEEK:

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. https://web.maillist.ox.ac.uk/ox/info/medieval-latin-ms-reading
  • 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 (rowan.wilson@univ.ox.ac.uk).
  • 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 https://tolkien50.web.ox.ac.uk/.
  • 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 .ox.ac.uk 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: medhistsem@history.ox.ac.uk. 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 https://torch.ox.ac.uk/poetry-in-the-medieval-world; you can also contact Ugo Mondini at ugo.mondini@mod-langs.ox.ac.uk.
  • 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: https://msteams.link/FW0C. 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 environmentalhistoryworkinggroup-owner@maillist.ox.ac.uk
  • The Germanic Reading Group meets at 4pm online. Please contact Howard Jones Howard.Jones@sbs.ox.ac.uk 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 elena.lichmanova@merton.ox.ac.uk 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 https://livingstonesiffley.org.uk/events.

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 

CALL FOR PAPERS: Addressing Difficult Aspects of the Medieval (ADAM)

23rd–24th September, 2024 | St John’s College, Oxford
KEYNOTE: Professor Corinne Saunders


The inaugural ADAM workshop will bring together medievalists of all disciplines to discuss the research and teaching of ‘difficult’ or ‘taboo’ topics. We welcome applications for scholars working in any
field that demands sensitivity and resilience from researchers, such as (but not limited to): gender, sexual violence, mental health, disability, and race.


The workshop exists to foster connection and conversation between researchers, to raise some of the key questions of challenging research and to create a reliable network of support. Paper sessions will be linked by group discussions, addressing topics such as: the problems of establishing new terminologies and reworking those that may be problematic; how best to deal with extant scholarship with outdated views; how to approach sensitive topics rigorously within an academic framework.


Besides these methodological aspects, we are eager to discuss pastoral issues: the potential mental toll of research on these themes; the pedagogical demands that these issues place upon tutors and supervisors; how to undertake sound scholarship when personally affected by these issues.


ADAM’s aims are to provoke academic discussion, provide scholarly resources, and to establish a community that can provide support for those working on such topics. The network will provide both a platform and a safe space for uncomfortable conversations, cultivating a greater understanding of the clear and latent difficulties of this research. It is also our intention to produce an edited collection on this topic, to which the workshop speakers will be warmly invited to contribute.


We invite abstracts for 20-minute papers from Early Career Researchers and postgraduates. Please send
abstracts of 300 words to grace.oduffy@sjc.ox.ac.uk by 9th June, 2024.

How To Read Middle English Poetry

By Daniel Sawyer

[Workers rebuild Troy, in a copy of John Lydgate’s Troy Book: Manchester, John Rylands Library, MS Eng 1, f. 31v. Reproduced under a Creative Commons licence, CC-BY-NC 4.0.]

For most people, poetry in Middle English—roughly 1100 to 1500—is a world unknown. I’d long thought this a shame, but it was only through shaping How to Read Middle English Poetry as an accessible guide for students that I grasped just how innovative and thrilling the period in truth is.

Did you know, for instance, that someone unwittingly wrote a Shakespearean sonnet more than a century before Shakespeare’s birth? Or that the first poem we can attribute to a named woman displays a unique and startlingly intricate form? And while we think of English blank verse—metrically-regular poetry without regular rhyme or alliteration—as the mainstay of things like early-modern drama and Paradise Lost, the idea occurred to poets at least twice, independently, before the third (re)invention that started its sixteenth-century flourishing. Such facts lurk in the Middle English centuries, making these in some ways the most exciting spell in English poetry’s history.

What made this period so experimental?

For centuries after the Norman conquest of England in 1066, French stuck around as another spoken language alongside English—and a spoken language with more cachet. Latin, meanwhile, filled the role of the normative written language, often coming baked-in with literacy: those who learned to read learned to read in Latin, other literacies coming as a kind of by-product. 

Consequently, English lacked the reach of a prestigious tongue, but it also lacked prestige’s pressures. Several poetic traditions coexisted in English, without a clear hierarchy of prestige sorting them: it would, after all, always seem more elevated to write in Latin or French. As a result, this was the great age of experiment in English poetry.

It is in this period that we first see English poetry in alternating metres descended from post-classical Latin and early French. These metres are the ancestors of most regular verse of the sixteenth to nineteenth centuries. This was the metrical family in which Chaucer worked; within it, he invented the five-beat line that would one day propel poetry from Thomas Wyatt to Elizabeth Barrett Browning, not to mention the plays of Shakespeare, Marlowe, and Jonson.

At the same time, Middle English sustained a separate metrical family of poems descended from Old English verse habits: alliterative verse. Though somewhat changed from the Old English model, the verse of Piers Plowman, (most of) Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, and of the Alliterative Morte Arthure recognisably sits within English’s original and longest-lasting verse tradition. Such poems have a formal lineage which runs back before English was English. Also in this bucket lurks Layamon or Lawman, whose curious early Middle English Brut provokes expert debate over its classification, and offers the earliest known tales in English of King Arthur and King Lear.

Neither alternating verse nor alliterative verse held a place of straightforward prestige, distinguished from other poetry. The Gawain stanza switches between the two, showing us a poet comfortable shuttling across metrical lineages. Moreover, mixing traditions brought forth a third body of work, alliterative-stanzaic poetry, which married alliterating half-lines in alliterative metre to end-rhyme, often together with a fireworks display of other effects. One example, today known as ‘Three Dead Kings’ and preserved uniquely in the Bodleian, has a claim to the title of the most complex stanza-form in English at any time.

[The start of ‘Three Dead Kings’, Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Douce 302, f. 34r.]

In the sixteenth century and after, rising five-beat alternating lines—‘iambic pentameter’—would ascend to prestige as a standard form for art poetry. Through the same centuries, English slowly took over from Latin and French in the worlds of academia, government, religion, and the law. Today, English is a global language, and is the world’s most frequently learned tongue. For some contexts, it has come to hold the kind of roles that French and Latin once held in England: a prestige language, a source of loanwords and models.

In the twenty-first century, then, we might learn a few things by delving into the middle of English’s history, the language’s time of least social importance: Middle English teaches us to see how English is not a transparent default, but a tongue alongside others; it teaches us to appreciate the quirks in English, and in the other languages we meet. And often it is Middle English poetry that offers this lesson most clearly, while also forming a wildly creative and varied body of work in its own right.

Daniel’s book is due out in May 2024 from Oxford University Press. Readers can use the code AAFLYG6 to get 30% off either the hardback or the paperback when ordering How to Read Middle English Poetry direct from OUP.

Medieval Matters: Week 3

Week 3 has arrived, and the term (and year) seem to be rushing by. Today is, of course, a bank holiday, but OMS is still here to bring you all of the latest Medieval News. I hope that you are all managing to get some rest as well as some work done. For those of you who (like me) feel that term is flying by, here is a reminder to slow down and enjoy our work, from the Epistolae project

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

EVENTS THIS WEEK:

Monday 6th 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. https://web.maillist.ox.ac.uk/ox/info/medieval-latin-ms-reading
  • The Tolkien 50th Anniversary Seminar Series meets at 5pm in the Summer Common Room, Magdalen College. This week’s speaker will be Edmund Weiner (Oxford English Dictionary), ‘I always felt that something ought to be done about the word…’: Tolkien’s latchwords. For more information, please see https://tolkien50.web.ox.ac.uk/.
  • 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 .ox.ac.uk 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: medhistsem@history.ox.ac.uk. This week’s speaker will be Helen Flatley (Somerville, Oxford): ‘Reading the Arabic Documents of Medieval Toledo: Local Practice and Community Formation on the Iberian Frontier’.

Tuesday 7th May:

  • The Medieval English Research Seminar meets at 12.15pm in Lecture Room 2, English Faculty. This week’s speakers will be Audrey Southgate (Lincoln College, Oxford), ‘Playing the Ten-Stringed Lyre’: Psalter and Decalogue in the English Primers and Hannah Schühle-Lewis (University of Kent) ‘All suche clytter clatter’?: Medieval devotional compilations after the Reformation. Seminars followed by a sandwich lunch. All welcome!
  • The Medieval French Seminar meets at 5pm at the Maison Francaise. Drinks will be served from 5pm; the presentations will start at 5:15pm. All are welcome! This week’s speaker will be Richard Trachsler (Zurich University), ‘God’s Tennisman: the Jeu de Paume allégorisé and the Difficulty of Playing Ball in the Late Middle Ages‘.
  • The Medieval Church and Culture Seminar meets at 5.15pm in the Wellbeloved Room, Harris Manchester College. This week’s speakers will be James Buchanan (Kellogg) English Saints and the Normans:  tracing community and identity in the post conquest hagiography of St Dunstan and Cory Nguen (Univ.), Constructing Identity in 14thc Norman Ireland:  law, lyric, language. Everyone is welcome at this informal and friendly graduate seminar.
  • Fourth Lyell Lecture: What happens when incunables replace manuscripts? at 5.15 at the Weston Library lecture theatre by Stephen Oakley (Cambridge): Copying the Classics (and Fathers): explorations in the transmission of Latin text. Book her for in-person attendance or live-stream.
  • Yossef Rapoport from Queen Mary’s will give a special presentation on “Livestock and Pastoralism in late-medieval Fayyum” at 5pm in the Fletcher Room, Trinity College. This talk is affiliated with the Oxford Collective for Nomadic and Pastoralist Peoples.

Wednesday 8th May:

  • The Medieval German Graduate Seminar meets at 11.15am in Oriel College King Edward Street 7(Annette Volfing’s office; press the intercom buzzer to be let in). It will be a shortish planning meeting. The topic for this term is Konrad von Würzburg: ‘Der Schwanritter’. Open access edition here. If you are interested to be added to the teams group for updates, please contact Henrike Lähnemann.
  • 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.
  • At 5pm in the Oxford Martin School, Prof Nicola Di Cosmo (Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton) will give an Environmental History Talk sponsored jointly by the Oxford Centre for European History and the Centre for Global History and the Oxford Martin School: Historical research in the time of the Anthropocene: can climate data help us read the past (and, if so, how)?.
  • 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: https://msteams.link/FW0C. This week’s speaker will be Natalija Ristovska (University of Oxford) –‘The Byzantine Craft of Enamelling and its Links with Islamic Metalwork, ca. 800-1204’.

Thursday 9th May:

  • The Environmental History Working Group meets at 12.30-2pm in the Ashmolean Museum for a tour. 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 environmentalhistoryworkinggroup-owner@maillist.ox.ac.uk
  • The All Souls Seminar in Medieval and Early Modern Science meets at 2-3.30pm in the Hovenden Room, All Souls College. This week’s speaker will be Henrique Leitão (University of Lisbon), Global Lines and Nautical Cartography in the Iberian Oceanic Expansion.
  • Fifth Lyell Lecture: Some generalizations about the shape and geographical spread of Latin textual traditions at 5.15 at the Weston Library lecture theatre by Stephen Oakley (Cambridge): Copying the Classics (and Fathers): explorations in the transmission of Latin text. Book her for in-person attendance or live-stream.

Friday 10th 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 Oxford Medieval Manuscripts Group (OMMG) meets at 5pm in the Hawkins Room, Merton College. Sara Charles, School of Advanced Study, University of London will speak on Pigments and Illumination in the Middle Ages (practice-based). All materials are provided. £5 fee (the price is subsidised by the OMS grant). Places are limited: please write to elena.lichmanova@merton.ox.ac.uk by 01/05/2024.
  • The Anglo-Norman Reading Group will meets at 5-6.30pm at the Julia Mann Room in St Hilda’s College, with the option to join remotely online. Those attending in person please be at the Lodge BY 5.00, where we will meet you and take you to the room in South Building. The texts, together with supplementary material, can be found on TT Padlet Please ensure you print the text (or bring it electronically), as we do not provide paper copies. Wine and soft drinks are available as usual!

OPPORTUNITIES:

  • Stipendiary Lectureship in Old and Middle English: Exeter College are recruiting a fixed-term, part-time Stipendiary Lecturer post in Old Englis/Middle English. Please see the website for more details: https://www.exeter.ox.ac.uk/vacancies/sl-english/

Medieval Matters: Week 2

Has a whole week really flown by already? They do say that time always flies when you’re having fun, and we’ve already been blessed with a wealth of amazing medievalist events! Every term when I assemble the booklet, I am always in awe of the great number of things on offer. Thank you to everyone who sent updates, corrections and omissions to the booklet. Here is some wisdom from the Epistolae project which sums up the work of the communications officer:

Divitis ingenii tibi copia dives abundat,
Quo potes erratus attenuare meos.

[A rich supply of rich wit abounds in you,
by which you might lessen my errors.]
A poem from Baudri to Muriel of Wilton

Thank you to all who lessened my errors this week! The updated booklet can from now on be viewed, in all of its high-resolution glory, on our website here. This is a live and updateable document, so please do send any further corrections or adjustments to me throughout the term. You can also keep track of the term’s happenings via our google calendar, visible on the side of our blog.

For this week’s round up, please see below:

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

  • Teaching the Codex is running a small workshop on Hybridity (17th May, 14:00, Merton College): What constitutes hybridity in manuscript material, and how do we teach it? In teaching contexts which are often highly categorised, how can we find pedagogical value in such hybridity? Topics for discussion include how we teach texts transmitted in both manuscript and print; how we can help students to get to grips with instances of hybrid materiality in manuscript text; and the challenges and opportunities of teaching multilingual manuscripts. There are a very limited number of additional places available. You can register at http://bit.ly/TtCWorkshopRSVP (the form will close when the places have been filled). 
  • You are invited to celebrate the publication of Karl Kügle, Ingrid Ciulisova, Václav Žůrek (eds) Luxembourg Court Cultures in the Long Fourteenth Century:Performing Empire, Celebrating Kingship (Woodbridge: Boydell Press, 2024) Senior Common Room, Wadham College, Tuesday, 30 April, 6-7 pm. Speakers: Zoë Opačić (Birkbeck), Mark Whelan (Queen Mary), Václav Žůrek (CAS Prague). RSVP: Karl Kügle.
  • Save the date: booklaunch! Siân Grønlie’s The Old Testament in Medieval Icelandic Texts will have a launch party on 22 May 5:30-7pm: https://occt.web.ox.ac.uk/event/book-launch-of-the-old-testament-in-medieval-icelandic-texts-translation-exegesis-and-storytel.

EVENTS THIS WEEK:

Monday 29th April:

  • 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. https://web.maillist.ox.ac.uk/ox/info/medieval-latin-ms-reading
  • The Tolkien 50th Anniversary Seminar Series meets at 5pm in the Summer Common Room, Magdalen College. This week’s speaker will be Hugo Lacoue-Labarthe (Exeter College, University of Oxford), Tolkien’s Lancelot in The Fall of Arthur: the living memory of a decaying world. For more information, please see https://tolkien50.web.ox.ac.uk/.
  • 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 .ox.ac.uk 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: medhistsem@history.ox.ac.uk. This week’s speaker will be Elisabeth Lorans (Tours/All Souls), ‘The transformation of the monastic enclosure at Marmoutier (Tours, France) between the 11th and the early 13th century‘.

Tuesday 30th April:

  • The Medieval English Research Seminar meets at 12.15pm in Lecture Room 2, English Faculty. This week’s speakers will be Fred Morgan (Merton College, Oxford) Title TBC and Simon Heller (Lincoln College, Oxford), Rewriting Heorot in American Fiction. Seminars followed by a sandwich lunch. All welcome!
  • A Creative-Critical Afternoon , organised by Dr Laura Varnam, will take place at 2.30pm-4.30pm at University College (the Swire Seminar Room). There will be short talks from colleagues on their current creative-critical projects (ranging from poetry to performance, trade books to medievalism) and we’ll be discussing the benefits, opportunities, and challenges in this kind of work. There will also be chance to discuss using creative writing and creative responses in teaching. The hope is that we’ll get a sense of the vibrant work being done in this area in our period group and that there will be opportunities for future collaborations.
  • Queer and Trans Medievalisms: A Reading Group meets at 3pm, at Univ, and online. Today’s topic will be The questioning of Eleanor Rykener (London, 1394/5). 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@univ.ox.ac.uk
  • The Medieval Church and Culture Seminar will go on a visit to the Ashmolean for a handling session with Jim Harris, 3:30-5pm. Limited numbers; sign up: Lesley Smith.
  • Third Lyell Lecture: Cross-fertilization and the limits of the genealogical method: the case of Catullus at 5.15 at the Weston Library lecture theatre by Stephen Oakley (Cambridge): Copying the Classics (and Fathers): explorations in the transmission of Latin text. Book her for in-person attendance or live-stream.
  • The Medieval Poetry Reading Group meets at 4pm in the Colin Matthew Room, Radcliffe Humanities Building. This week’s theme will be Introducing Medieval Japanese Poetic Forms: Sugawara no Michizane’s Poetry. This is an activity of the TORCH Network Poetry in the Medieval World. For more information, you can refer to our website https://torch.ox.ac.uk/poetry-in-the-medieval-world; you can also contact Ugo Mondini.

Wednesday 1st May:

  • The Medieval German Graduate Seminar meets at 11.15am in Oriel College King Edward Street 7 (Annette Volfing’s office; press the intercom buzzer to be let in). The topic for this term is Konrad von Würzburg: ‘Der Schwanritter’ and this week Marlene will be leading a close reading of the Marteneheschema and links with ‘Parzival’. Open access edition here. If you are interested to be added to the teams group for updates, please contact Henrike Lähnemann.
  • 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: https://msteams.link/FW0C. This week’s speaker will be Polymnia Synodinou (University of Crete) – ‘The Church of the Holy Apostles (Hagioi Apostoloi) at Kavousi, Crete: Aspects of Byzantine Art under Venetian Rule’.

Thursday 2nd May:

  • The Environmental History Working Group meets at 12.30-2pm in the Merze Tate Room, History Faculty. This week’s speaker will be Ben Stemper, “The Nature of Utopia: The ecological foundations of Joseph Déjacque’s anarchist utopianism (c. 1850s)”. 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 environmentalhistoryworkinggroup-owner@maillist.ox.ac.uk
  • The All Souls Seminar in Medieval and Early Modern Science meets at 2-3.30pm in the Hovenden Room, All Souls College. This week’s speaker will be Jeremy Schneider (Trinity College, University of Cambridge), Authenticating Nature: Fossils and Fakes, 1590-1620.
  • 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 Old English charms/remedies (Morgan leading).
  • The Medieval Women’s Writing Reading Group meets at 5-6.30pm in Lincoln College, Lower Lecture Room. This week’s theme is Chinese 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.

Friday 3rd 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. This week, Thea Gomelauri will present medieval Hebrew manuscripts.

Finally, we cannot always send out email updates, but if you learn of new events, changes to schedules etc. we will always disseminate them on our social media, especially via X/Twitter. Do make sure to follow to keep up with all of the latest updates. And please do send any and all updates or corrections to me – I am reassured by this eighth-century letter from Eangyth that corrections are a historical inevitability:

postulamus pietatem tuam, ut tua rescripta trans pontum dirigere digneris et respondeas his, quibus in his kartis caraxavimus rustico stilo et inpolito sermone
[We beg you also to be so kind as to send us word across the sea in reply to what we have scribbled in this letter in our rude, unpolished speech.]

A letter from Eangyth, abbess (719-22)

With that said, I wish you a week free from errors wherever possible, and in my rude and unpolished speech hope that you all have a lovely week 2!

[A Medievalist spots an error…]
St John’s College MS. 61, f. 41 v. 
By permission of the President and Fellows of St John’s College, Oxford
Viewable in full at Digital Bodleian
 

Medieval Matters: Week 1

It brings me such great joy to welcome you all back to Oxford for Trinity Term! Whilst it’s always lovely to have research time outside of teaching term, Oxford seems so quiet in the vacations. As we learn from the Epistolae project, waiting for your friends and colleagues to return isn’t just a modern phenomenon:

Vestri etenim reditus optati terminus, quanto celerior et propinquior a pluribus mihi promittitur, tanto magis a me, vestra frui optante praesentia et locutione, desideratur. 
[The sooner and the closer the date of your desired return is promised to me by many people, the more it is desired by me, since I long to enjoy your presence and conversation.]
A letter (1106) from Matilda of Scotland, queen of the English, to Anselm

I’m sure I speak for everyone when I say that I’m looking forward to a wonderful term enjoying the presence and conversation of our fantastic medieval community. We have so many wonderful things lined up for you this term. To get a taste of everything to come, please see our brand new Trinity Term Medieval Booklet. A compressed copy is attached to the weekly email for your convenience, but for all of the latest updates and the booklet in its high-quality glory, see the online version here.

Here are the week’s announcements, events and opportunities:

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

  • Save the date: A workshop on practices of contrafacture of monophonic song (1150-1550) will take place on 20th June at 10am-7pm, in the Committee Room, Faculty of Music. The schedule will be split into two parts: the first half is reserved for presentations of individual papers with a following discussion, in the second half we will collectively examine and interpret further selected case studies. Anybody interested is welcome to attend the presentations and take part in the discussions. If you want to attend or if you have questions, please email Philip Wetzler.
  • Register now for the Oxford Medieval Society Chain Maille Workshop! Week 4, Friday 17th May, 2-5.30pm, in St John’s College New Seminar Room. Come and learn how to make chain maille with Master Maille Maker Nick Checksfield! Nick is a world-leading expert in medieval chain maille, and will be visiting Oxford Medieval Society for an all-you-need-to-know workshop. Don’t miss out, places are limited! Tickets: £15. Refreshments will be provided. To register, click here.
  • Registration open: Workshop: Binding the world, withholding life. Poetry Books in the Medieval Mediterranean. Register via Eventbrite for online attendance. Online registration closes 2 hours before the start of the event. You will be sent the joining link within 24 hours of the event, 2 hours before and once again 15 minutes before the event starts. The full programme will be shared after registration and on https://torch.ox.ac.uk/event/binding-the-world-withholding-life.-poetry-books-in-the-medieval-mediterranean.

EVENTS THIS WEEK:

Monday 22nd April:

  • The Tolkien 50th Anniversary Seminar Series meets at 5pm in the Summer Common Room, Magdalen College. This week’s speaker will be Catherine McIlwaine (Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford), “Being a cult figure in one’s lifetime is not at all pleasant”: Tolkien’s relationship with his fans. For more information, please see https://tolkien50.web.ox.ac.uk/.
  • A Talk by Dr. Stephanie Pambakian will take place at 5PM in the Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, Lecture Room 1. Dr. Pambakian (Tübingen / Venice Ca’Foscari) will be speaking on A 7th-century Armenian Cosmology: Anania Širakac’i’s treatise on the Universe.
  • 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 .ox.ac.uk 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: medhistsem@history.ox.ac.uk. This week’s speaker will be Lindy Grant (Reading), ‘Eleanor of Aquitaine: the power of a queen and duchess‘.

Tuesday 23rd April:

  • The Medieval English Research Seminar meets at 12.15pm in Lecture Room 2, English Faculty. This week’s speaker will be Christine Rauer (St Andrews), The Earliest Insular Almanac?: Types of Information in Old English and Insular Latin Calendrical Texts. Seminars followed by a sandwich lunch. All welcome!
  • The Medieval Church and Culture Seminar meets at 5.15pm in the Wellbeloved Room, Harris Manchester College. This week’s speaker will be Alexander Murray (Univ.). Everyone is welcome at this informal and friendly graduate seminar.
  • First Lyell Lecture: The transmission of Julius Caesar’s Civil War at 5.15 at the Weston Library lecture theatre by Stephen Oakley (Cambridge): Copying the Classics (and Fathers): explorations in the transmission of Latin text. Book her for in-person attendance or live-stream.
  • The Medieval French Seminar meets at 5pm at the Maison Francaise. Drinks will be served from 5pm; the presentations will start at 5:15pm. All are welcome! This week’s speaker will be Tom Hinton (University of Exeter), ‘What Did A French Language Learning Text Look Like in Medieval Britain?’.

Wednesday 24th April:

  • The Medieval German Graduate Seminar meets at 11.15am in Oriel College King Edward Street 7 (Annette Volfing’s office; press the intercom buzzer to be let in). It will be a shortish planning meeting. The topic for this term is Konrad von Würzburg: ‘Der Schwanritter’. Open access edition here. If you are interested to be added to the teams group for updates, please contact Henrike Lähnemann.
  • 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: https://msteams.link/FW0C. This week’s speaker will be Thea Ravasi (University of Newcastle) – ‘Imperial benefaction, sanitary and religious practices in 4th-century Rome. The archaeology of the Baptistery of St. John Lateran revisited’.

Thursday 25th April:

  • The All Souls Seminar in Medieval and Early Modern Science meets at 2-3.30pm in the Hovenden Room, All Souls College. This week’s speaker will be Michael Hunter (Birkbeck), Robert Boyle’s Strange Reports: From the Outlandish to the Supernatural.
  • Second Lyell Lecture: The transmission of the Corpus Cyprianum and Pontius’ Life of Cyprian at 5.15 at the Weston Library lecture theatre by Stephen Oakley (Cambridge): Copying the Classics (and Fathers): explorations in the transmission of Latin text. Book her for in-person attendance or live-stream.
  • The Oxford Old English Work in Progress Seminar (WOOPIE) meets at 5.15pm in the History of the Book Room, English Faculty. Prof. Paul Cavill (University of Nottingham) will speak on “Gathering up the Fragments: Homiletic Fragment II”. All welcome. If you would like to attend, please contact francis.leneghan@ell.ox.ac.uk.
  • The Medieval Visual Culture Seminar meets at 5pm at St Catherine’s College, Oxford, Arumugam Building. All welcome! This week’s speaker will be Lucy Wrapson, University of Cambridge, ‘Colour Conventions and Material Hierarchies on Late-Medieval Rood Screens‘.

Friday 26th April:

  • 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.
  • David Wiles (Emeritus Professor of Drama, University of Exeter) is performing the pseudo-Senecan Roman history play Octavia in the exuberant rhetorical language of the 1561 translation in the Wolfson College Buttery at 1.15pm, under the aegis of the Ancient World Research Cluster. The play lasts for half an hour; watch a recording here. You may have seen previous productions in the garden of St Edmund Hall – last year, Mary Magdalene Play from the Carmina Burana. This is also early notice that there hopefully will be another Medieval Mystery Cycle in 2025, probably 26 April in St Edmund Hall – mark the date!
  • 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 Oxford Medieval Manuscripts Group (OMMG) meets at 5pm in the Weston Library. Martin Kauffmann, Bodleian Library will speak on A. C. (Tilly) de la Mare and the Formation of a Palaeographer. Places are limited, please write to Elena Lichmanova by 24/04/2024.

Saturday 27th April:

  • Special Event: Creating Chaucer. 11am-4pm at the Weston Library. Join the collective of Oxford medievalists to explore Chaucer’s world through creative activities, talks and discussion!
    • Take a highlights tour of the exhibition Chaucer Here and Now with curator Marion Turner
    • Make a moving puppet of Chaucer with Sigi Koerner
    • Learn cartoon drawing in a live session with artist Kristen Haas Curtis
    • Create your own original traveller’s tale and make a Tabard Inn for its telling  
    • Take the constellation challenge and discover how horoscopes were read in Chaucer’s day with Shelley Williams
    • Make a pilgrim badge as a souvenir of your visit
    • Print a Chaucer keepsake
  • Telling Tales: Marion Turner in conversation with Patience Agbabi, 1.30 – 2pm Sir Victor Blank Lecture Theatre. Professor Marion Turner, curator of Chaucer Here and Now, talks to prize-winning poet Patience Agbabi, author of Telling Tales, about how and why she created her own versions of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales in forms ranging from rap to sonnets. Book now
  • Living Library, 1.30 – 3.30pm. Chat to academics in our ‘Living Library’ and explore topics including:
    • Travel and travel writing in the Middle Ages with Professor Anthony Bale
    • Chaucer in the nineteenth century with Dr Clare Broome Saunders
    • Scribes and readers of Chaucer: the first century with Professor Daniel Wakelin
    • Medieval women, modern voices with Dr Laura Varnam
    • ‘Hooly blisful martir’: Chaucer’s pilgrims in Canterbury with Dr Alison Ray
    • The Medieval in the Modern with Professor Carolyne Larrington

OPPORTUNITIES:

  • Call for Contributions: Medicine at the Fringes in the Northern World (1000-1500): Proposals for engaging essays (approximately 9,000 words) are warmly welcomed that explore and challenge our understanding of medicine in the Nordic-Atlantic areas. The essays will challenge conventional perspectives and delve into the intriguing realms of illness, health, body, disability, and medicine as depicted in manuscripts, literature, and society from the Northern Atlantic World during the medieval era. For full details, please click here.
  • Call for Papers for Three Early Career Workshops on Old English Prose: Paper proposals are invited from graduate students and early career researchers working on or interested in Old English prose. Each workshop will be led by an expert who will talk about their own research and lead discussion on a particular aspect of Old English prose. These events will provide an opportunity for graduate students and early career researchers to discuss their research projects with other scholars and to develop new skills. For full details, please click here.
  • CFP: International Workshop: Saints and martyrs between Italy and the Mediterranean in Late Antiquity: Movements, connections, and influences. You are invited to submit an abstract (maximum 300 words) accompanied by a short CV by 24 Mai. All submissions should include your name, e-mail address and academic affiliation (if applicable). Participants are expected to give a 20–30-minute talk, followed by an extended session for discussion. The workshop will take place in person in English at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich on 22-23 November 2024. A publication is planned, for which the contributions may be in English, German or Italian. A contribution will also be made towards travel expenses. For full details, please see here: https://medieval.ox.ac.uk/2024/04/21/call-for-papers-international-workshop/

If you have forgotten to submit your Medieval Booklet entries, please do not worry: we will send a finalised version next week. Here is some final wisdom, surely on the topic of booklet omissions:

Si quid placet vestrae dilectioni mihi mandare, latori praesentium sicut mihi ipsi viva voce secure potestis intimare
[If it pleases your love to send me information about anything, you can safely tell it by word of mouth to the bearer of this letter as if to myself.] 
A letter (1102) from Anselm, archbishop of Canterbury to Matilda of Scotland

Luckily for us modern medievalists, no such go-between is necessary: you may simply and safely send me an email with all of your information about anything medieval, and I will make sure that it gets into the booklet. In the meantime, may you have a wonderful first week of term, and enjoy the sunshine!

[A rather sheepish Medievalist forgot to submit their contribution to the Booklet…]
St John’s College MS. 61, f. 25 v. 
By permission of the President and Fellows of St John’s College, Oxford
Viewable in full at Digital Bodleian
 

Call for Papers: International Workshop

Saints and martyrs between Italy and the Mediterranean in Late Antiquity: Movements, connections, and influences

In a world such as the Late Antique one, which was experiencing profound changes compared to the previous period, areas once held together by imperial political cohesion, found themselves related by a new connection produced by the expansion of Christianity: the movement and exchange of the cult of saints.

The exchange and spread of the cults of saints and martyrs is testified by archaeological, iconographic, literary and other sources. Among the literary sources, this is illustrated, for example, by the presence of non-local cults in the liturgical calendars of certain geographical areas. A further example is provided by the accounts of late antique pilgrims and authors compiling hagiographies of martyrs, whose cult arrived through the transport of relics. Further evidence of mutual connections and influences is also attested by the construction of basilicas dedicated to ‘imported’ saints, with the consequent worship of these non-local patrons.

Within this context, Italy seems having an important role, not only in the ‘exportation’ of its own saints, but also in the reception and assimilation of foreign saints. In addition to the traditional worship, these are also assimilated into local cults. Therefore, this entails, for example, the change of the urban space itself, with the foundation of dedicated basilicas or the assimilation of foreign saints into local hagiographic literature.

Consequently, Italy may be considered as an important area of origin and spread of the cult of saints in the Mediterranean. Moreover, it may be considered as an attracting place for a large foreign cult, making it an excellent example of the movement of the cults of saints and martyrs within the whole late antique geographical area.

The aim of the workshop is to investigate and deepen the dynamics and the questions involved in the circulation of the cults of saints and martyrs from Italy to other areas of the Mediterranean and vice versa. Additionally, the objective is to analyse which exchanges and mutual influences these movements entailed and in which sources they can be found. In conclusion, the interest is directed towards the reasons why certain non-local cults became important in specific geographical areas and, in addition to the martyrs, if the cults of sanctified bishops or rather

confessors around whom a cult developed and spread to areas far from their origins were also spread and assimilated.

We will accept proposals for papers, from a multidisciplinary perspective: scholars of archaeology, art history, iconography, architecture, epigraphy, hagiography, late antique, early Christian literature and ancient history. Additionally, all related disciplines are welcome to submit a paper.

The following topics are suggested, but any other topic is accepted:

– The spread of the cult of saints and martyrs between Italy and other areas of the

Mediterranean through epigraphic, hagiographic, iconographic sources

– The transport of relics: archaeological and historiographical evidence

– The construction of basilicas or monasteries dedicated to ‘imported’ saints

– The role of bishops in the spread of the cults of saints and martyrs

– The spread of cults dedicated not only to martyrs, but rather to bishops or confessors

You are invited to submit an abstract (maximum 300 words) accompanied by a short CV by 24 Mai. All submissions should include your name, e-mail address and academic affiliation (if applicable). Participants are expected to give a 20–30-minute talk, followed by an extended session for discussion. The workshop will take place in person in English at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich on 22-23 November 2024. A publication is planned, for which the contributions may be in English, German or Italian. A contribution will also be made towards travel expenses.

The workshop is organised by the Institut für Byzantinistik, Byzantinische Kunstgeschichte und Neogräzistik, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, with the kind support of the Spätantike Archäologie und Byzantinische Kunstgeschichte e.V.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact:

Daniela Coppola, M.A.

Ludwig-Maximilian-Universität, Munich

Call for Papers for Three Early Career Workshops on Old English Prose

Call for Papers for Three Early Career Workshops on Old English Prose

Paper proposals are invited from graduate students and early career researchers working on or interested in Old English prose. Each workshop will be led by an expert who will talk about their own research and lead discussion on a particular aspect of Old English prose. These events will provide an opportunity for graduate students and early career researchers to discuss their research projects with other scholars and to develop new skills.

Workshop 1, 13th February 2025: ‘Mercian Prose’ with Dr Christine Rauer (University of St Andrew’s)

Workshop 2, 15th May 2025: ‘Alfredian Prefaces and Epilogues’, with Dr Amy Faulkner (UCL)

Workshop 3, 16th October 2025: ‘The Old English Boethius’, with Prof. Susan Irvine (UCL)

The workshops will take place at the University of Oxford.

This project is funded by Francis Leneghan’s AHRC Research, Development and Engagement Fellowship on Writing Pre-Conquest England: A New Literary History of Old English Prose.

Registration and attendance will be free, but numbers will be limited.

Please send abstracts of no more than 200 words to francis.leneghan@ell.ox.ac.uk by 1st July 2024. Enquiries about the workshops can also be directed to this email address.

CFP: Medicine at the Fringes in the Northern World (1000-1500): Manuscripts, Language, and Society

For consideration by Medieval Institute Publications & De Gruyter

Proposals for engaging essays (approximately 9,000 words) are warmly welcomed that explore and challenge our understanding of medicine in the Nordic-Atlantic areas. The essays will challenge conventional perspectives and delve into the intriguing realms of illness, health, body, disability, and
medicine as depicted in manuscripts, literature, and society from the Northern Atlantic World during the medieval era.

Our interdisciplinary approach aims to shed light on marginal perspectives and subversive themes prevalent in medical texts from Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Iceland, and other Norse colonies, including Scotland, Ireland, the Faroe Islands, Greenland, and Medieval England. The collection of essays will examine the societal significance of the female body, the gendered model of illness, conceptions of body, health, and disability, as well as attitudes towards remedies of dubious nature.

We welcome contributions from scholars at all career stages. Whether you’re delving into Old English Studies, Middle English Studies, Old Norse Studies, or exploring themes in Disability Studies and Gender Studies, we want to hear from you. The book will include commissioned and invited works. Current contributions include medical charms in Anglo-Norman sources, Disability and social function in the works of John Arderne, and Social acceptability of disability in Sigurðar saga þögla.

Selected essays will form a thought-provoking collection submitted for consideration by Medieval Institute Publication & De Gruyter under the series ‘The Northern Medieval World.’

Submit your 300-word abstract along with a brief introduction of yourself to the editor, Luthien Cangemi (luthien.cangemi.20@ucl.ac.uk), by May 20th, 2024. First full drafts of contributions are expected in January 2025. Join us in uncovering the hidden narratives of medicine in the North Atlantic World!

Medieval Matters: Week 8

Here we are at the very end of term! It’s been, as always, a delight to be your guide for these past 8 weeks. Thank you for all of your wonderful seminars, reading groups, and blog posts! In the words of Anselm, couresy of the Epistolae project:

os et stilus ad proferendum quod cor sentit non sufficit
[mouth and pen are not capable of expressing what my heart feels.]
A letter (1104) from Anselm, archbishop of Canterbury to Matilda of Tuscany

Our blog post this week is a real delight: Dr Laura Varnam blogs about writing a collection of poems for the women of Beowulf. In Dr Varnam’s words, ‘My project asks, what might happen if we imagined a female poet or scop reciting Beowulf?’. The blog post explains Dr Varnam’s rationale for the project, and also features extracts from the collection. What better way to end the term than new ways to think about old poems? To read the fantastic blog post (and poems!) please click here.

We have a full week of exciting events in store for you: not least the termly OMS Lecture! Please join us on Tuesday for Peregrine Horden’s lecture on ‘Healthy Crusading in the Age of Frederick II:  the puzzle of Adam of Cremona‘: poster attached to this week’s email!

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

  • Are you interested in the history of the Turin Shroud? It will feature in Barbara Haggh’s seminar next Thursday (online), with lively discussion from the invited respondents – as well as from any knowledgeable attendees: registration link.
  • Save the date: ‘Historical research in the time of the Anthropocene: can climate data help us read the past (and, if so, how)?’ with Prof Nicola Di Cosmo will take place on May 8th, 5:00pm – 6:15pm. Registration Required To register and for more details.

EVENTS THIS WEEK:

Monday 4th March:

  • 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 final session of the Seminar in palaeography and manuscript studies, Hilary Term 2024 takes place today:  Sara Norja (Turku) – ‘Exploring alchemical manuscripts’ Weston Library, Horton Room, 2:15-3.45pm.
  • The Medieval Archaeology Seminar meets at 3pm in the Institute of Archaeology, Lecture Room. This week’s speaker will be Karen Dempsey (Cardiff University), Special deposits in medieval households.
  • The Medieval History Seminar meets at 5pm in the Wharton Room, All Souls College. This week’s speaker will be Alison Beach (St Andrews), ‘From Text to Teeth: Embodied Stories of Premodern Women at Work’. The seminar will also be available via Teams: 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). Alternatively, it can be accessed via this link. If you have any difficulties please email: medhistsem@history.ox.ac.uk
  • The International Interfaith Reading Group on Manuscripts in Interfaith Contexts will meet at 6pm, online via Zoom. This week will be led by Professor Lawrence H. Schiffman, Global Distinguished Professor of Hebrew and Judaic Studies at the Skirball Department of Hebrew and Judaic Studies, New York University, USA. Prof. Schiffman will be speaking on ‘The Dead Sea Scrolls and Jewish-Christian Dialogue’. To register, please click here.
  • 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 5th March:

  • 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 Sophie Charron, Oxford, ‘Queens and Popes in the Later Middle Ages: Bohemian Case Studies‘.
  • A special seminar, ‘The Medieval Library’ with Professor Teresa Webber, Trinity College, Cambridge, will take place at 2.30-4.30pm at the Sir Victor Blank Lecture Theatre, Weston Library. This seminar explores the codicological and documentary evidence for reconstructing the contents and organisation of the libraries of ecclesiastical and academic institutions in the Middle Ages.
  • The Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies Online Conference has a session of interest to medievalists taking place at 2.30-3.45pm, online. The speakers will be Dean Irwin, University of Lincoln, “England Remembers, Jews Forget: Memory of Jews and England, 1290-1541”; Rory MacLellan, British Library, “Converts at the Royal Court in the 14th and 15th centuries”; and Cynthia Rogers, Ackerman Center for Holocaust Studies, Univ Texas, “Crypto Jews and Jewish Heritage in England: The Ames Family”.
  • 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 Old Saxon (prose), Altsächsische Beichte (Braune XXII.5) – “Old Saxon Confession”.
  • The Oxford Medieval Studies Hilary Term Lecture, Co-hosted by the Medieval Church and Culture Seminar meets at Wellbeloved Room, Harris Manchester College. Tea & coffee from 5pm; lecture begins 5.15pm. This term’s lecture is Peregrine Horden (All Souls), ‘Healthy Crusading in the Age of Frederick II:  the puzzle of Adam of Cremona‘. Everyone is welcome and there will drinks afterwards!

Wednesday 6th March:

  •  The Medieval German Seminar meets at 11.15, at St Edmund Hall, Principal’s Lodgings. Luise Morawetz will present the findings of her recently completed dissertation on the Old High German glosses of the Murbach Hymns. Further information and reading recommendations via the teams channel; if you want to be added to that: please email Henrike Lähnemann.
  • 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 Petros Bouras-Vallianatos (National & Kapodistrian University of Athens) – ‘Byzantine Medicine in Light of the Global Middle Ages: Current Trends and Future Avenues’.
  • 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@regents.ox.ac.uk (Sponsored by TORCH).

Thursday 7th March:

  • The Ethics of Textual Criticism Seminar meets at 10am at Harris Lecture Theatre, Oriel College. This week’s speaker will be Carmen Cardelle de Hartmann (Zürich), ‘Marginalised authors, anonymous texts: the problems of attribution in medieval Latin‘.
  • The Middle Welsh Reading Group meets at 2-4pm in Jesus College, Seminar Room A. 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.osiochfhradhapresern@jesus.ox.ac.uk.
  • The Late Roman Seminar will meet at 4pm in the Seminar Room, Corpus Christi College. This week’s speaker will be Yaniv Fox (Bar-Ilan), ‘The Symbolic Worlds of Justus of Urgell and Gregory the Great’.
  • The Eastern Christianity in Interfaith Contexts Reading Group will meet at 5-6pm, online via Zoom. This week will be led by Professor Febe Armanious, Professor of History at Middlebury College, USA. Prof. Armanious will be speaking on ‘The Miracle of Pilgrimage: A Coptic Journey to the Holy Land During the Ottoman Period’. To register, please click here.
  • 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 all.souls.music.seminars@gmail.com. This week’s presenter will be Barbara Haggh-Huglo (University of Maryland at College Park), ‘Guillaume Du Fay between the Church and Two Courts: A Reassessment of his Biography’, and the discussants will be Anne Walters Robertson (University of Chicago) and Reinhard Strohm (University of Oxford).
  • The Lincoln Unlocked & Oxford Bibliographical Society Lecture takes place at 5.15pm in the Oakeshott Room, Lincoln College. Georgi Parpulov will be speaking on Lincoln College’s Greek Manuscripts. We will also be streaming the talk on Zoom; if you would like the link, please contact Sarah on sarah.cusk@lincoln.ox.ac.uk.
  • The Celtic Seminar meets at 5pm, online via Zoom. Please contact a.elias@wales.ac.uk for the link. This week’s speaker will be E. Wyn James, ‘Watford: man cyfarfod radicaliaethau rhyngwladol’.
  • The Medieval Women’s Writing Reading Group meets at 5-6.30pm in Lincoln College Lower Lecture Room. This week’s reading will be Female Poets in Al-Andalus. 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.

Friday 8th March:

  • 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. This week there will be a special display for International Women’s Day!
  • 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 (david.addison@all-souls.ox.ac.uk) and Alison John (alison.john@all-souls.ox.ac.uk).
  • 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 Corpus Christi College Auditorium. This week’s speaker will be Anine Englund (University of Oxford) 
    “In the halls of Mandos”: Death, Deathlessness and Inter-Racial Relations in Beren and Lúthien. Free access (no need to book).

Finally, some wisdom for us all as we set off on research trips, conferences, and visits to family for the Easter vac:

Multae sunt aquarum congregationes inter me et te, tamen caritate iungamur quia vera caritas numquam locorum limite frangitur. 
[Many are the congregations of water between me and you, yet let us be joined in love because true love is never divided by the borders between places.] 
A letter (770s) from Berhtgyth to Balthard

Whether you’re staying in Oxford or going away over the congregations of water, know that OMS will be here waiting for you when you return. For those visiting scholars who are leaving us after this term: thank you for being part of our community, and please know that you always have a place at Oxford, whose love for the medieval is never divided by the borders between places!

[Wherever they may travel to, a Medievalist is never alone!]
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