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
 

Poems for the Women of Beowulf: A Creative-Critical Project

Dr Laura Varnam, University College, Oxford

Hwæt

Indeed.

We have heard of the Danes.

We never stop hearing about them.

Those death-and-glory Danes.

Them, their demons, and their glory-

days. Me, I’d prefer a little variation.

If you’d like to,

listen–

this is our sisters’ side of the story.

This is the opening poem in the collection that I’m currently working on, inspired by the women of the Old English epic Beowulf. It deliberately subverts and upends the original poem’s call to attention and lays the foundation for my own feminist re-imagining of the world of Beowulf. How you deal with Beowulf’s opening hwæt is a litmus test for a poet or translator and it sets the tone for what’s to follow; think of Tolkien’s grand ‘lo’, Seamus Heaney’s dignified ‘so’, and Maria Dahvana Headley’s unapologetic ‘bro’. My ‘indeed’ raises an eyebrow at the original poem’s confidence that of course we’ve heard of the Spear-Danes, of the glory of the kings of that people. In Old English hwæt can means both ‘what’ and ‘why’ and in this poem I want to draw the reader’s attention to the masculine heroism that we never cease hearing about in order to question what other stories might be hiding between the lines. My project asks, what might happen if we imagined a female poet or scop reciting Beowulf? How might the poem’s monsters and queens appear through her eyes? And if we unlock this new wordhoard, how might a change of perspective enable and encourage more new voices and stories to emerge?

            This project, as I’ve discussed in detail in my 2022 article in postmedieval, arose directly from my teaching (‘Poems for the Women of Beowulf: A “Contemporary” Medieval Project’, postmedieval 13, 105-21). Beowulf is a poem that over the last seventeen years has taken root in my mental landscape and returning to it, year on year with new groups of students, has only increased my fascination with the ways in which the poem is able to speak to our present moment– and for our present moment to speak back. And for women’s writing and rewriting, the question of speech is all important. It is striking that only one woman in Beowulf speaks, Queen Wealhtheow, and when she does so, no one answers her. The Old English Maxims declares that ‘gleawe men sceolon gieddum wrixlan’ [wise men must exchange songs or tales] but what about wise women? How can they speak when they have been silenced by the original text?

            The feminist poet and critic Adrienne Rich famously asserted in her essay ‘When We Dead Awaken: Writing as Re-vision’ (1972) that for women:

            Re-vision– the act of looking back, of seeing with fresh eyes, of entering an old text          from a new critical direction– is for us more than a chapter in cultural history: it is an   act of survival. Until we can understand the assumptions in which we are drenched we    cannot know ourselves. And this drive to self-knowledge, for women, is more than a           search for identity: it is part of her refusal of the self-destructiveness of male-          dominated society.

Rich’s ‘act of survival’ is a driving force of my collection, especially when it comes to Grendel’s Mother, the so-called ‘monster’ at the centre of the poem, whose gender, ferocity, and very existence poses a threat to the patriarchal society represented by King Hrothgar and his hall. In my poems I give Grendel’s Mother a voice, both to ‘answer back’ to the poets and translators who deal with her troubling presence by silencing and misrepresenting her, and to give her an afterlife outside of the original text– to give her the gift of survival.

            A selection of my Grendel’s Mother poems will be published by Nine Arches Press in August 2024 in Primers Volume Seven (https://ninearchespress.com/primers) and this poem gives a flavour of the voice and approach:

Grendel’s Mother addresses the Author

For all your bluster, warrior-poet,

Your puffed-up preening,

Your sword-swagger and shield-shuffling,

You still won’t look at me.

Petrifying people? That’s not my style.

It’s not my stare that needles your braggadocio.

Any road, you started it.

Edging me out, making me your mearcstapa,

your boundary-stalker, border-controller.

I never wanted to shoulder those lines.

You kettle me into the corners of your compounds,

Tuck me into the bottom drawer of your wordhoard,

Shushed and smothered by your fabrications.

Water-witch, she-wolf of the deep, troll-dam?

Give over. Don’t be so nesh.   

This poem was inspired by the moment when the Beowulf-poet introduces Grendel’s Mother into the narrative but can’t quite keep his eyes on her (lines 1265-76). His narrative focus is drawn back to Grendel, to the relative safety of the comprehensible male monster, as though giving Grendel’s Mother too much attention might be to draw a dangerous, Medusa-like, gaze. In my poem, Grendel’s Mother uses the northern dialect of my foremothers (‘nesh’ being a dialect word for feeble or wimpy) and she calls out the ways in which her presentation by translators, too, has caused her to ‘shoulder’ the burden of men’s anxieties about female power. It’s striking that in Tolkien’s field-changing 1936 lecture and essay ‘Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics’ that for all his insistence that the monsters are at the imaginative heart of the poem, he only focuses on Grendel and the dragon. Grendel’s Mother only merits a brief footnote.

            In Transforming Memories in Contemporary Women’s Rewriting (2011), Liedeke Plate comments that ‘in women’s rewriting, distrust, disbelief, anger, and a desire to set things right converge to give shape to a reader’s response in the productive reception of literature’ (p.42). This ‘re-righting’ impulse has particularly shaped my poems on grief and mourning when it comes to Grendel’s Mother. In Beowulf itself, ritual mourning is a fundamental part of the poetic economy; indeed, Gale Owen-Crocker famously argued that the structure of the poem revolves around funerals, beginning with Scyld Scefing and concluding with Beowulf’s own funeral pyre (The Four Funerals in Beowulf, 2000). But Grendel’s Mother is accorded no such commemorative rituals in the poem nor is she given the space to mourn her only son, outside of her violent revenge. And yet there are hints that the Beowulf-poet, and even Beowulf himself, recognises the legitimacy of maternal grief, despite the fact that it causes Grendel’s Mother kill Aeschere, Hrothgar’s counsellor. When he returns to the Geatish kingdom and relives his adventures for King Hygelac, Beowulf admits that she travelled on her ‘sorhfull’ (grief-filled) journey in pursuit of ‘gyrnwræc’ (revenge for injury, 2118-19). In my poetry collection, I have a number of poems which perform the work of mourning for Grendel’s Mother: poems where she laments the loss of her son; an elegy for the loss of Grendel’s Mother herself in the voice of Queen Wealhtheow; and a poem which constructs a textual burial for her.

            In this poem, entitled ‘Grave for an Uncuð Woman’, I use both the content and form of the poem to create a resting place for Grendel’s Mother. In Old English ‘uncuð’ means both strange and unknown, and in the poem I play with the paradox that by burying her, we both honour her memory and, paradoxically, pin her down to a safe location. While the monsters in Beowulf are left unceremoniously for dead– the decapitated Grendel with his mother on the floor of the mere, the dragon pushed off the cliff as Beowulf’s own funeral pyre is erected– there is an imaginative freedom in their refusal to be bound by human rituals of mourning.

Grave for an Uncuð Woman

In this poem, I construct a burial for Grendel’s Mother that reflects, and aims to compensate for, her marginalised status in the original poem. The fox-tail and cowrie-shell are symbols of maternal ferocity and fecundity; the seax or dagger is her weapon of choice in her mere. The goose-flute offers her the voice she was denied and the shoes dignify the joyless journey she makes into death, mirroring her grief-fuelled approach to Heorot.

            In the opening poem in my collection, I invite the reader to ‘listen’ to my alternative version of Beowulf, ‘if you’d like to.’ In these poems, and in the collection as a whole, I aim to open up a space for different voices to be heard and new perspectives to uncovered in a manner that is welcoming and hospitable to new readers too. Beowulf’s opening hwæt is as insistent as ever when it calls for our attention but perhaps in returning our gaze we might look afresh and askance at the stories it discloses. In a piece of creative non-fiction in Annie Journal last year, combining poetry and prose, I even went so far as to translate hwæt as ‘welcome’ (https://www.anniejournal.com/g%C3%A6sthus-with-beowolf-laura-varnam). I hope that by shaping new approaches to Beowulf, in the content and form of my poetry and creative-critical reflections, that readers will be similarly inspired to welcome the poem anew into their own imaginative landscapes… and see where it might lead them.

Dr Laura Varnam is the Lecturer in Old and Middle English Literature at University College, Oxford. She is the author of The Church as Sacred Space in Middle English Literature and Culture (2018) and the co-editor of Encountering The Book of Margery Kempe (2021). A selection of her Grendel’s Mother poems are forthcoming in Primers Volume Seven (Nine Arches Press, August 2024). You can find out more about her work on her website: https://drlauravarnam.wordpress.com/ Or on twitter/X: https://twitter.com/lauravarnam

Medieval Matters: Week 7

We are heading towards the end of term but we still have plenty more events in store for you! Of course, the brevity of the Oxford term can make it feel as though the year is passing by very quickly, but we are still at the beginning of the calendar year. For those who, like me, are panicking that the weeks seem to be flying by at quite a pace, here is some comforting wisdom from the Epistolae project:

quantumcumque nobis videamur profecisse, semper iudicemus nos nondum nisi ad initium proficiendi pervenisse
[however much we may regard ourselves to be making progress we must always consider that we have only reached the beginning of our progress]
A letter (1093) from Anselm, archbishop of Canterbury to Ida of Lorraine

I take this to mean: even though Hilary Term and February are drawing to a close, we still have plenty of time to achieve fantastic medievalist things this year! Speaking of fantastic medievalist things, we have a full calendar of events and also many announcements this week – please peruse at your leisure:

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

  • This Thursday: “The hooly blisful martir for to seke: Manuscripts with Chaucer’s pilgrims”. Oxford Medieval Society talk and manuscript session with Andrew Dunning (Bodleian, Jesus) and Alison Ray (St Peter’s, All Souls). Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales tell the story of pilgrims ‘from every shires ende / Of Engelond to Caunterbury they wende’. Experience these journeys, both real and imagined, at 15:00–16:30 at the Weston Library Lecture Theatre, where we’ll explore the Chaucer Here and Now exhibition at the Bodleian Library and enjoy a private showing of manuscripts relating to pilgrimage and Thomas Becket. Entry is free, and all are welcome. To have an idea of numbers, please let us know if you’re coming at oxfordmedievalsociety@gmail.com.
  • Registration is now open for the 2024 Oxford Medieval Graduate Conference: ‘Signs and Scripts,’ which will take place on the 8th and 9th of April at the Maison Française d’Oxford. Please register for either in-person or online attendance at https://oxgradconf.wixsite.com/omgc/scripts-signs before March 15th. This year’s conference includes keynote lectures by Prof. Sophie Page (UCL) and Dr Hannah Ryley (Oxford).
  • Postponed: OMS Classics Reading Group Due to a number of reasons, OMS Classics Reading Group will not meet again until Trinity term.
  • Registration is now open for the Gender and Sainthood Conference! ‘Gender and Sainthood, c. 1100–1500’ will take place at the History Faculty on 5-6 April. Registration for in-person attendance is open until 10 March, and for online attendance until 3 April. Registration is open via this link: https://forms.office.com/e/rCinyKesGq. See the programme on our blog here.
  • Exhibition: New College Library is hosting a special exhibition ‘Medicine and Anatomy’, on Thursday 29th February 12PM-4PM, and have got quite a few medical manuscripts on display! For further information, please email Caitlín Kane (caitlin.kane@new.ox.ac.uk).
  • Room change: please note that the Medieval Women’s Writing research seminar on 29th February “Transforming the Material to Curate the Spiritual” will now take place at 47 Wellington Square Ground Floor Lecture Room 1.
  • Registration open: University of Reading GCMS Conference 2024. Thu, 14 Mar 2024 09:30 – 16:30 GMT. Please join us for a day of fascinating papers on saints and angels, followed by an open discussion on the topic in a supportive environment. To register, please click here.

EVENTS THIS WEEK:

Monday 26th February:

  • The Medieval French Palaeography Reading Group meets at 10.30-12 in the Weston Library. This group is open to anyone with an interest in Old French, Middle French and Anglo-Norman manuscripts. We study and read manuscripts from the 12th century to the late 15th century. If you are interested in joining the group or would like more information, please write to: laure.miolo@history.ox.ac.uk
  • The Medieval Archaeology Seminar meets at 3pm in the Institute of Archaeology, Lecture Room. This week’s speaker will be Lyn Blackmore (Museum of London Archaeology), The seventh-century bed burial at Harpole: Aspects of recent work.
  • The Medieval History Seminar meets at 5pm in the Wharton Room, All Souls College. This week’s speaker will be George Garnett (Oxford), ‘James Campbell, William Stubbs, and German Idealism’. 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 Italian Research Seminar meets at 5.15pm at the Taylor Institution Library, Main Hall. Alessandro Scafi (Warburg Institute, London) will present a guest lecture entitled “Time, Space, and Matter: Dante and the Paradise Paradox.” All members of the university are welcome. For any inquiries, please do not hesitate to contact italian.res-sem@mod-langs.ox.ac.uk.

Tuesday 27th February:

  • The Europe in the Later Middle Ages Seminar meets at 2-3.30pm in the Dolphin Seminar Room, St John’s College. Tea and coffee available from 1.45pm. Undergraduates welcome. This week’s speaker will be Trevor Dean, University of Roehampton, Families and Assassination Narratives in Italy and Europe.
  • The Medieval French Research Seminar will meet at the Maison Francaise d’Oxford on Norham Road. Drinks will be available from 5pm; presentations start at 5.15pm. This week’s speaker will be Dr Kate Travers (St Hugh’s, Oxford) ‘French Narratives, Italian Contexts: Approaching Chivalric Literature in Northern Italy’. All are welcome! For more information or to be added to the seminar maillist, please contact helen.swift@st-hildas.ox.ac.uk
  • The Medieval Church and Culture Seminar meets at Wellbeloved Room, Harris Manchester College. Tea & coffee from 5pm; papers begin at 5.15pm. This week’s speakers are Richard Gameson and Andy Beeby (Durham): aka Team Pigment, ‘Pigment Identification:  how, when, where, and why‘. Everyone is welcome at this informal and friendly graduate seminar!

Wednesday 28th February:

  • The Medieval German Seminar meets at 11.15, at St Edmund Hall, Old Library. Julia Lorenz and Marlene Schilling will discuss women and writ the writings by ‘Frau Ava’, the first women author whose name we know, transmitted in the Vorau Manuscript. We will work with the edition by Maike Claußnitzer and Kassandra Sperl. We will meet in the Old Library in St Edmund Hall. Tea and coffee are provided but please bring your own mug! 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 Ekaterina Nechaeva (Université de Lille) – ‘Elite captives and defectors between Rome and Sasanian Iran. A prosopographical approach’.
  • The “Unprovenanced” Lecture Series (hosted by the Centre for Manuscript and Text Cultures) meets at 5.15pm in The Memorial Room at The Queen’s College, Oxford. The speaker will be Yağmur Heffron, UCL, ‘Fruits of the poisonous tree: unprovenanced artefacts and the ethics of consuming archaeological knowledge’. For full details, please see our blog.
  • 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 29th February:

  • The Ethics of Textual Criticism Seminar meets at 10-12 in Harris Seminar Room, Oriel College. This week’s speaker will be Daniel Wakelin (Oxford) – ‘Editing the everyday in Middle English’.
  • A Book Presentation: THE LAILASHI CODEX: The Crown of Georgian Jewry – Survival in Soviet Times will take place at 11am in the McGregor Matthews room at New College, Oxford. The presentation will be convened by Dr Thea Gomelauri, Director of the Oxford Interfaith Forum, and Associated Member of the Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Oxford. For more details please click here.
  • The Middle Welsh Reading Group meets at 2-4pm in Jesus College, Habakuk Room. No previous knowledge of Middle Welsh is assumed. Translations will be provided with plenty of time to ask questions at the end. We’ll read a selection of early and late Middle Welsh prose and poetry to offer everyone a chance to experience the richness of Middle Welsh and its literary tradition. Please email to register your interest so that Svetlana knows how many people to expect: Svetlana Ó Siochfhradha Prešern.
  • The Oxford Medieval Society talk and manuscript session “The hooly blisful martir for to seke: Manuscripts with Chaucer’s pilgrims”, with Andrew Dunning (Bodleian, Jesus) and Alison Ray (St Peter’s, All Souls) will take place at 3-4.30pm at the Weston Library Lecture Theatre.  Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales tell the story of pilgrims ‘from every shires ende / Of Engelond to Caunterbury they wende’. Experience these journeys, both real and imagined, at the Weston Library Lecture Theatre, where we’ll explore the Chaucer Here and Now exhibition at the Bodleian Library and enjoy a private showing of manuscripts relating to pilgrimage and Thomas Becket. 
  • The Late Roman Seminar will meet at 4pm in the Seminar Room, Corpus Christi College. This week’s speaker will be Alan Ross (Ohio) ‘Julian in Gaul’.
  • The Medieval Women’s Writing Research Seminar meets at 5-6.30pm at 47 Wellington Square Ground Floor Lecture Room 1. This week’s speaker is Carolin Gluchowski (New College, Oxford), Transforming the Material to Curate the Spiritual: Late-Medieval Prayerbook Revisions in the Cistercian Convent of Medingen. Stay up to date with events by joining our mailing list or following us on X @MedievalWomenOx. Funded by the “TORCH Critical-Thinking Communities” fund.
  • 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 Elaine Treharne, ‘Moved by the nature of art’: Welsh poets and the medieval’.
  • The Old Occitan Literature Workshop meets at 5-6pm at Taylor Institution, Rm2. In Hilary term, we will read and translate extracts from texts written in Old Occitan. All welcome! Please email the address below for details of the texts we will be working on. Interested members will be invited to translate short passages which we will then workshop in meetings 2 and 3. To sign up, or for any other queries, email Kate Travers
  • The Oxford Old English Work-In-Progress Seminar (WOOPIE) meets at 5.15pm at St Cross Room, St Cross College. Today’s speaker will be Prof. Daniel Anlezark, University of Sydney: ‘The Origins of Anglo-Sacon Chronicle and the Eighth Century’. Followed by a drinks reception. All welcome – if you would like to attend, please contact Francis Leneghan.
  • The Italian Research Seminar meets at 5.15pm at the Taylor Institution Library, Main Hall. Marta Arnaldi (Oxford) will moderate a joint book launch, “Creative Criticism and Other Stories: Elena Lombardi and Nicola Gardini in Dialogue”, for Elena Lombardi (Oxford) and Nicola Gardini (Oxford), who have respectively published Ulysses, Dante, and Other Stories (ICT Berlin Press 2023) and Io sono salute. Quando la letteratura incontra la medicina (Aboca Edizioni 2023). All members of the university are welcome. For any inquiries, please do not hesitate to contact italian.res-sem@mod-langs.ox.ac.uk.
  • Sung Latin Compline in the Norman crypt of St-Peter-in-the-East (library church of St Edmund Hall) at 9:30pm. Contact Henrike Lähnemann if you would like to come and are not a member of St Edmund Hall.

Friday 1st 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.
  • The Late Antique Latin Reading Group meets at 12-1pm, in the Hovenden Room, All Souls College, and is open to anyone engaged in research on the late antique world. Though prior knowledge of Latin is required, we welcome people with a range of abilities. We particularly welcome graduate students and early career academics. If you would like to attend, or you have any questions, feel free to contact either of the convenors. Please do RSVP if you intend to attend, so that we can gauge numbers and circulate the readings. Contact: David Addison and Alison John.
  • Exploring Medieval Oxford through Lincoln Archives meets at 2-3pm, in Seminar Room 2, EPA Centre, Museum Road. Anyone interested in analyzing primary sources and conducting a comprehensive examination of the documents are welcome to attend. Those who are interested can contact Lindsay McCormack and Laure Miolo via email: Lindsay Mccormack and Laure Miolo
  • The Tolkein 50th Anniversary Seminar Series meets at 4-5pm in Faculty of Classics Lecture Theatre. This week’s speaker will be Eduardo Gutierrez (University of Oxford), ‘Tolkien Beyond Tolkien: Unleashing the Sub-Creative Imagination in an Era of Bridge Building‘. Free access (no need to book).
  • The Oxford Medieval Manuscripts Group (OMMG) meets at 5pm at Merton College, Mure Room. This week’s speaker will be Peter Kidd, Independent Researcher, ‘Provenance and Medieval Manuscripts: A Case Study’. Drinks reception and dinner at Gino’s. All welcome! To subscribe to our mailing list, participate in library visits, propose a presentation of your research for work in progress meetings, or submit any queries, please write to: elena.lichmanova@merton.ox.ac.uk.
  • The Anglo-Norman Reading Group meets at 5-6.30pm, at St Hilda’s College, and on Zoom. Please let us know if you would like to attend, either in person or on Zoom. The text – some Jousting Letters from Edinburgh – will be provided via Padlet, and refreshments as usual to help us along. All welcome, at any level of Medieval French! Please contact Stephanie Hathaway or Jane Bliss for further details.

OPPORTUNITIES:

  • The University of Exeter is delighted to advertise a PhD studentship, fully funded for four years from September 2024, for a project focusing on the learning of French in medieval Britain or in a related field of enquiry as more broadly conceived. Relevant fields might include historical linguistics, codicology, textual-literary studies and social, educational or intellectual history. The studentship will be attached to the project ‘Learning Anglo-French: French Language-Learning Manuscripts in Britain, c.1200-c.1500’, awarded by an ERC Consolidator Grant and funded by UKRI under the Horizon Europe guarantee scheme, and will be supervised by the project PI, Prof Thomas Hinton. Further details, including how to apply, can be found via the following link: https://www.exeter.ac.uk/study/funding/award/?id=5060. Potential applicants are encouraged to contact Prof Hinton (t.g.hinton@exeter.ac.uk) with any preliminary enquiries.

Finally, some more wisdom from Anselm as we move into March:

Vita praesens via est. Nam quamdiu vivit homo, non facit nisi ire.
[This life is a journey. For as long as man lives, he is always moving]
A letter (c.1107) from Anselm, archbishop of Canterbury to Basilia

I wish you productivity as we move into seventh week, and warmer days as we move into March and, soon, Spring! May your week be a journey of research discovery, medievalist joys, and Oxford sunshine!

[A Medievalist, laden with research knowledge, moving through Hilary Term]
St John’s College MS. 61, f. 10 v. 
By permission of the President and Fellows of St John’s College, Oxford
Viewable in full at Digital Bodleian
 

Gender and Sainthood, c. 1100–1500

5-6 April 2024, University of Oxford, History Faculty
Register for the conference here

Organisers: Antonia Anstatt (University of Oxford, email) and Edmund van der Molen (University of Nottingham, email)

This conference is generously supported by the Society for the Study of Medieval Languages
and Literature, the Hagiography Society, the Past & Present Society, and the History Faculty,
University of Oxford. In association with Oxford Medieval Studies, it is sponsored by The
Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities (TORCH).

FRIDAY, 5TH APRIL

9.30-11 PANEL 4: WRITING GENDER
Isabel Kimpel (Ludwig-Maximilian-University Munich): Famula Christi et Mulier fortis: The Writings
of Caesarius of Heisterbach on Saint Elisabeth of Thuringia
Georgie Crespi (University of Reading): ‘We’re All Born Naked, and the Rest is Drag’: The Concept
of Drag in ‘Christina of Markyate’ and ‘Revelations of Divine Love’
María del Carmen Muñoz Rodríguez (University of Seville): In ure lauerdes luue: The Spaces of
Female Sanctity in the Middle English ‘Seinte Iuliene’
11.30-13 PANEL 5: VISUALISING GENDER
Rosalind Phillips-Solomon (University of York): ‘Miraculous Aged Virgin’ or Quintessential Virgin
Martyr? Late Medieval Imaginings of Saint Apollonia
Sarah Wilkins (Pratt Institute, New York): A Preaching Woman: Mary Magdalen in Late Medieval
Italian Art
Elisabet Trulla Serra (Trinity College Dublin): Gender Configuration in Byzantine Art Through Saint
Mary of Egypt
14-15.30 PANEL 6: FAMILIAL AND SPIRITUAL RELATIONSHIPS
Jessica Troy (Independent Scholar): Unequal Treatment: The Power Struggle of Medieval Chaste
Couples
Laura Moncion (University of Toronto): ‘Be My Spouse’: Spiritual Partnership in the Life of Pirona
the Recluse
Michaela Granger (Catholic University of America, Washington DC): ‘And It Was Accounted to Him
(or Her?) as Righteousness …’: The Value of Childrearing in the Construction of Late Medieval
Sanctity
16-17.30 PANEL 7: MODERN PERSPECTIVES
Dannelle Gutarra (University of Warwick): Medieval Sainthood and Scientific Racism: Race, Gender,
and Sexuality in ‘History of the Female Sex’ by Christoph Meiners
Maria Zygogianni (Swansea University): Saint Athanasia of Aigaleo: An Entrepreneur Saint
Myrna Nader (American University of Beirut): The Cult of Marina the Monk: Faith, Discourse and
Sexuality in Contemporary Lebanon
17.30-18 CLOSING REMARKS

18 CONFERENCE END

“Unprovenanced” – a lecture series hosted by the Centre for Manuscript and Text Cultures, The Queen’s College, Oxford

Weds 28th Feb, 5.15, The Memorial Room, The Queen’s College

Fruits of the poisonous tree: unprovenanced artefacts and the ethics of consuming archaeological knowledge

Yağmur Heffron, UCL

Opening with a juicy (if cautionary) tale of archaeological mystery and scandal, this lecture will invite the audience to engage in entirely imaginary and possibly fantastical thought experiments around whether it can ever be possible to extract, rescue, or salvage information from suspiciously unprovenanced artefacts – especially those in private collections – in an ethical manner. The purpose of these experiments is to tease out the complex interrelationships between personal and professional gain, conflicts of interest, and power dynamics surrounding the consumption of archaeological knowledge, in order to test if the latter can be satisfactorily isolated. How much are researchers willing to sacrifice to make the fruits from a poisonous tree safe to eat?  

The ethics of publishing unprovenanced manuscripts is a hotly contested issue, with scholars becoming more and more polarised on each side of the debate. This new lecture series aims to find new ways of approaching the topic, going beyond ‘for and against’ to explore the challenges presented by these texts in nuanced ways. Our aim is to stimulate considered debate with an audience varied in both background and opinion, finding ways forward to bridge the divide. All are welcome.

Medieval Matters: Week 6

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

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

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

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

    ANNOUNCEMENTS:

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

    EVENTS THIS WEEK:

    Monday 19th February:

    • The Medieval French Palaeography Reading Group meets at 10.30-12 in the Weston Library. This group is open to anyone with an interest in Old French, Middle French and Anglo-Norman manuscripts. We study and read manuscripts from the 12th century to the late 15th century. If you are interested in joining the group or would like more information, please write to: Laure Miolo
    • The Seminar in Palaeography and Manuscript Studies meets at 2:15-3:45pm in the Weston Library, Horton Room. Access is by Bodleian/University card via the reader gates, Weston Library. Non-cardholders welcome but must emailbookcentre@bodleian.ox.ac.uk at least 24 hours in advance. This week’s speaker will be David D’Avray (Oxford) – ‘Researching papal history across multiple genres of manuscript’.
    • The Medieval Archaeology Seminar meets at 3pm in the Institute of Archaeology, Lecture Room. This week’s speaker will be John Naylor (PAS, Oxford), The use of gold coins in Anglo-Saxon graves.
    • The Eastern Christianity in Interfaith Contexts Reading Group will meet at 5-6pm, online via Zoom. This week will be led by Professor Laura Lieber, Professor of Religious Studies at Duke University, USA. Prof. Lieber will be speaking on ‘Setting the Stage: The Rose of Performance in Studying Late Ancient Hymnody‘. To register, please click here.
    • The Medieval History Seminar meets at 5pm in the Wharton Room, All Souls College. This week’s speaker will be Nicholas Morton (Nottingham Trent), ‘Re-examining the role of inter-faith rivalry as the main driver of conflict in the Middle East at the time of the Crusades’. The seminar will also be available via Teams: The Teams session can be accessed by logging in to Teams with your .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 Old Norse Reading Group meets at 5.30-7pm. We’ll be translating a range of exciting Old Norse texts! To join the mailing list, email Ashley Castelino.

    Tuesday 20th February:

    • The Europe in the Later Middle Ages Seminar meets at 2-3.30pm in the Dolphin Seminar Room, St John’s College. Tea and coffee available from 1.45pm. Undergraduates welcome. This week’s speaker will be Judith Bennett, USC Dornsife, ‘City of Women: Singlewomen, Spinners, and Houseling People in Late Medieval Coventry‘.
    • The Old High German Reading Group will meet at 4pm in the Committee Room, 41 Wellington Square. If there is appetite amongst attendees, the group will migrate to the Lamb and Flag after the session. Handouts will be provided and no prior knowledge is required! This term the texts—with a different theme for each session—will be chosen from different sections of the Althochdeutsches Lesebuch (Braune 1994), alternating between verse and prose. This week will be Moral instruction (verse), Memento Mori (Braune XLII).
    • The Medieval Poetry Reading Group meets at 4pm – 5pm in the Colin Matthew Room, Radcliffe Humanities Building. We warmly welcome academics and students of any level and with any background. Coffee, tea, and biscuits are offered to participants. This week’s topic will be Forms of Medieval Greek Poetry. Registration is required: If interested, please send an email in advance to ugo.mondini@mod-langs.ox.ac.uk.
    • The Medieval Church and Culture Seminar meets at Wellbeloved Room, Harris Manchester College. Tea & coffee from 5pm; papers begin at 5.15pm. This week’s speaker is James Miller (Univ), ‘The Body of St Benedict and the History of Monasticism‘. Everyone is welcome at this informal and friendly graduate seminar!
    • The Oxford Medieval Society Latin and Ancient Greek Reading Group meets at 5-6pm, in the ground floor lecture room 2 at 47 Wellington Square. Ancient Greek will be read in odd weeks, and Latin in even weeks. We hope to expand our understanding of these languages for the betterment of our own medieval studies by reading texts that are referenced or known of in the medieval world; please note that this is not a strict rule. Anyone from any background is welcome to attend. To register your interest, or for more information, please contact the society at oxfordmedievalsociety@gmail.com

    Wednesday 21st February:

    • The Medieval German Seminar meets at 11.15, at St Edmund Hall, Principal’s Lodgings. This week, Felix Kraft will present his doctoral project on ‘geistliches Lied’ and discuss with us medieval and medievalism implications of the topic. Further information and reading recommendations via the teams channel; if you want to be added to that: please email Henrike Lähnemann.
    • The Middle Welsh Reading Group meets at 2-4pm in Jesus College, Habakuk Room. No previous knowledge of Middle Welsh is assumed. Translations will be provided with plenty of time to ask questions at the end. We’ll read a selection of early and late Middle Welsh prose and poetry to offer everyone a chance to experience the richness of Middle Welsh and its literary tradition. Please email to register your interest so that Svetlana knows how many people to expect: Svetlana Ó Siochfhradha Prešern.
    • The Medieval Latin Document Reading Group meets at 4-5pm on Teams. A document is sent out in advance but homework is not expected. Please contact Michael Stansfield for further details and the Teams link.
    • The Late Antique and Byzantine Seminar meets at 5pm at The Ioannou Centre for Classical and Byzantine Studies 66 St Giles and online via Microsoft Teams by clicking here. This week’s speaker will be Niels Gaul (University of Edinburgh) – ‘PAIXUE Byzantine and Tang/Song literati culture’.
    • The Medieval English Research Seminar will meet at 5.15pm in Lecture Theatre 2, St Cross Building. Today’s speaker will be Michael Kuczynski (Tulane), ‘Chaucer’s Parson in London’. The seminar will be followed by a wine reception. All welcome! 
    • Dante Reading Group meets at 5.30-7pm in St Anne’s College, Seminar Room 11. Each week, we will be reading through and discussing a canto of the Divine Comedy in a relaxed and informal setting, delving into Dante’s language and imagination in manageable chunks. The group is open to those with or without a knowledge of Italian, the reading being sent out in the original and in translation. Refreshments, both alcoholic and otherwise, will be provided! To register or ask any questions, please email Charles West.

    Thursday 22nd February:

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

    Friday 23rd February:

    • The Medieval Coffee Morning meets as usual 10:30am in the Visiting Scholars Centre of the Weston Library (instructions how to find it) with presentation of items from the special collections, coffee and the chance to see the view from the 5th floor terrace.
    • The Late Antique Latin Reading Group meets at 12-1pm, in the Hovenden Room, All Souls College, and is open to anyone engaged in research on the late antique world. Though prior knowledge of Latin is required, we welcome people with a range of abilities. We particularly welcome graduate students and early career academics. If you would like to attend, or you have any questions, feel free to contact either of the convenors. Please do RSVP if you intend to attend, so that we can gauge numbers and circulate the readings. Contact: David Addison (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 Faculty of Classics Lecture Theatre. This week’s speaker will be John Garth (Writer and Journalist) Inventing on the hoof: How the Riders of Rohan suddenly became Anglo-Saxon. Free access (no need to book).

    OPPORTUNITIES:

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

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

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

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

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

    Medieval Matters: Week 5

    The dreaded fifth week has arrived! Luckily today is a beautiful sunny day in Oxford, which makes everything feel a little bit brighter. If you’re still feeling weighed down by this notorious week, here is some advice from the Epistolae project:

    Deduc bonum in commune […] Ne fraudes tibi ipsi invicem.
    [Bring goodness to everybody […] And do not cheat yourself.]
    A letter (1102-03) from Matilda of Scotland, queen of the English to Anselm of Canterbury

    I take this to mean: attend many seminars and reading groups in fifth week, for this is the ideal time to share in the goodness of medieval studies! We have so many fantastic events this week which are sure to bring plenty of joy.

    If you’re struggling to find goodness to give to yourself, this newsletter hopes to bring some to you. In particular, our guest blog today should give us all something to smile about: Mathilde Mioche writes about the formation of a brand new research network at Oxford, the Oxford Medieval Manuscripts Group! Not only is this a fantastic addition to Oxford’s medieval offerings, but it’s also, excitingly, the work of some of the university’s newest medievalists, a collective of eight postgraduate students and early-career researchers who bonded in Oxford over their passion for medieval manuscripts! The founding members come from a wide range of disciplinary backgrounds, and truly sum up everything we love to celebrate here at OMS. This all speaks so highly for medieval studies at Oxford that it’s impossible not to smile about it – even in fifth week. To read all about the group, read Mathilde’s blog here.

    This email brings particular goodness to all of you in the form of a calendar of exciting events this week – please see below:

    ANNOUNCEMENTS:

    • Medieval Church and Culture this week meets for a tour of the Bodleian’s Conservation Studio.  We’re starting at the earlier time of 4.25 to make sure we see conservators at work.  Numbers are limited, but there are still some places left.  Please email sumner.braund@hsm.ox.ac.uk  to book your place.
    • The Macintyre History Society (Magdalen’s student-run society), are delighted to host a special talk by Professor Sarah Foot, Regius Professor of Ecclesiastical History and Dean of Christ Church, this Thursday at 5:30pm in the Sophia Sheppard Room, Magdalen College. Please see the listing below for full details.

    EVENTS THIS WEEK:

    Monday 12th February:

    • The Medieval French Palaeography Reading Group meets at 10.30-12 in the Weston Library. This group is open to anyone with an interest in Old French, Middle French and Anglo-Norman manuscripts. We study and read manuscripts from the 12th century to the late 15th century. If you are interested in joining the group or would like more information, please write to: laure.miolo@history.ox.ac.uk
    • The Centre for Early Medieval Britain and Ireland Research Conversation takes place at 2-3.30pm at the Memorial Room, Queen’s College. Researchers at any stage or from any background are most welcome and no preparation is required; simply come prepared to talk about your research and ideas about the connection between late antiquity and the Insular world. The conversation will be tailored toward sharing insights, forging connections and building our research community. Any inquiries should be directed to conor.obrien@queens.ox.ac.uk.
    • The Medieval History Seminar meets at 5pm in the Wharton Room, All Souls College. This week’s speaker will be Claire Burridge (University of Oslo), ‘Medicine in the margins: Exploring the unexpected environments of early medieval medical knowledge’. 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.

    Tuesday 13th February:

    • The Europe in the Later Middle Ages Seminar meets at 2-3.30pm in the Dolphin Seminar Room, St John’s College. Tea and coffee available from 1.45pm. Undergraduates welcome. This week’s speaker will be Julia Bray, Oxford, ‘Families in the Muslim Middle Ages – do they Matter?‘.
    • The Medieval Church and Culture Seminar meets for a special Bodleian Conservation Studio Visit at 4.30pm. Strictly Max. 12 places: email sumner.braund@hsm.ox.ac.uk to sign on.
    • The Medieval French Research Seminar will meet at the Maison Francaise d’Oxford on Norham Road. Drinks will be available from 5pm; presentations start at 5.15pm. This week will be a Roundtable on Professional Careers for Medieval French Postgraduates: Dr Liam Lewis (University of Nottingham), Dr Hannah Marcos (School of Advanced Study, University of London), Dr Edward Mills (University of Exeter), and Dr Kate Travers (St Hugh’s College, Oxford)  All are welcome! For more information or to be added to the seminar maillist, please contact helen.swift@st-hildas.ox.ac.uk
    • The Oxford Medieval Society Latin and Ancient Greek Reading Group meets at 5-6pm, in the ground floor lecture room 2 at 47 Wellington Square. Ancient Greek will be read in odd weeks, and Latin in even weeks. We hope to expand our understanding of these languages for the betterment of our own medieval studies by reading texts that are referenced or known of in the medieval world; please note that this is not a strict rule. Anyone from any background is welcome to attend. To register your interest, or for more information, please contact the society at oxfordmedievalsociety@gmail.com
    • The Centre for Manuscript and Text Cultures (CMTC) ‘Work in Progress’ presentations. 5.15–6.45pm, Memorial Room, The Queen’s College. 1. A. D’Angelo (Rome ‘Sapienza’), ‘Catullan marginalia in the 16th century: the books of Piero Vettori’. 2. Marlene Schilling (Oxford), ‘A special form of devotion – personifications of time in late medieval prayer books from Northern Germany’

    Wednesday 14th February:

    • The Medieval German Seminar meets at 11.15, at St Edmund Hall, Principal’s Drawing Room. This week, Philip Wetzel will present his dissertation on medieval song. Further information via the teams channel; if you want to be added to that: please email Henrike Lähnemann.
    • The Middle Welsh Reading Group meets at 2-4pm in Jesus College, Habakuk Room. No previous knowledge of Middle Welsh is assumed. Translations will be provided with plenty of time to ask questions at the end. We’ll read a selection of early and late Middle Welsh prose and poetry to offer everyone a chance to experience the richness of Middle Welsh and its literary tradition. Please email to register your interest so that Svetlana knows how many people to expect: Svetlana Ó Siochfhradha Prešern.
    • The Medieval Latin Document Reading Group meets at 4-5pm on Teams. A document is sent out in advance but homework is not expected. Please contact Michael Stansfield for further details and the Teams link.
    • The Late Antique and Byzantine Seminar meets at 5pm at The Ioannou Centre for Classical and Byzantine Studies 66 St Giles and online via Microsoft Teams by clicking here. This week’s speaker will be Alessia Zubani (University of Oxford) – ‘Automated Dialogues: Diplomacy, Technology, and Power in Late Antique and Medieval Eurasia’.
    • The Medieval English Research Seminar will meet at 5.15pm in Lecture Theatre 2, St Cross Building. Today’s speaker will be Elaine Treharne (Stanford), ‘The Presence of Abscence in Life before Death’. The seminar will be followed by a wine reception. All welcome! 
    • Dante Reading Group meets at 5.30-7pm in St Anne’s College, Seminar Room 11. Each week, we will be reading through and discussing a canto of the Divine Comedy in a relaxed and informal setting, delving into Dante’s language and imagination in manageable chunks. The group is open to those with or without a knowledge of Italian, the reading being sent out in the original and in translation. Refreshments, both alcoholic and otherwise, will be provided! To register or ask any questions, please email Charles West..

    Thursday 15th February:

    • The Ethics of Textual Criticism Seminar meets at 10-12 in Harris Seminar Room, Oriel College. This week’s speaker will be Chiara Meccariello (Exeter) – ‘Papyri and textual criticism: textual microhistories, materiality, and the prioritisation of text‘.
    • The Late Roman Seminar will meet at 4pm in the Seminar Room, Corpus Christi College. This week’s speaker will be Andrew Morrison (Glasgow) ‘Shaping the letter collections of Basil and Gregory of Nazianzus’.
    • The Medieval Women’s Writing Research Seminar meets at 5-6.30pm at the Main Hall of the Taylorian. This week’s speaker is Hilary Pearson, God Placed Cloisters on My Hearing: Teresa de Cartagena’s Spirituality of Deafness. Stay up to date with events by joining our mailing list or following us on X @MedievalWomenOx. Funded by the “TORCH Critical-Thinking Communities” fund.
    • 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 Johanna-Pauline Thöne (University of Oslo), ‘New Interpretations and Contexts for the Motet Fragments Basel 71 and 72 ca. 1400′, and the discussants will be Antonio Calvia (Università di Pavia), Kévin Roger (University of Tours) and Anne Stone (CUNY Graduate Center)
    • The Old Occitan Literature Workshop meets at 5-6pm at Taylor Institution, Rm2. In Hilary term, we will read and translate extracts from texts written in Old Occitan. All welcome! Please email the address below for details of the texts we will be working on. Interested members will be invited to translate short passages which we will then workshop in meetings 2 and 3. To sign up, or for any other queries, email Kate Travers
    • The Celtic Seminar meets at 5.15pm, in Memorial Room, Jesus College, and online via Teams. Please contact david.willis@ling-phil.ox.ac.uk if you need a link to join online. This week’s speaker will be Ranke de Vries (St Francis Xavier University), ‘Táin Bó Cúailnge as a medical text‘.
    • The Macintyre History Society (Magdalen’s student-run society), are delighted to host a special talk by Professor Sarah Foot, Regius Professor of Ecclesiastical History and Dean of Christ Church, 5:30pm in the Sophia Sheppard Room, Magdalen College. Prof. Foot’s talk will be titled “Back to the Bible: Models of Kingship for Alfred the Great,” and she will speak for up to an hour, before audience members are invited to join in the discussion during a half-hour Q&A session. Wine will be provided, and all are welcome!

    Friday 16th February:

    • The Medieval Coffee Morning meets as usual 10:30am in the Visiting Scholars Centre of the Weston Library (instructions how to find it) with presentation of items from the special collections, coffee and the chance to see the view from the 5th floor terrace.
    • The Late Antique Latin Reading Group meets at 12-1pm, in the Hovenden Room, All Souls College, and is open to anyone engaged in research on the late antique world. Though prior knowledge of Latin is required, we welcome people with a range of abilities. We particularly welcome graduate students and early career academics. If you would like to attend, or you have any questions, feel free to contact either of the convenors. Please do RSVP if you intend to attend, so that we can gauge numbers and circulate the readings. Contact: David Addison (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@lincoln.ox.ac.uk and laure.miolo@history.ox.ac.uk
    • The Tolkien 50th Anniversary Seminar Series meets at 4-5pm in Merton College T.S. Eliot Lecture Theatre. This week’s speaker will be Dion Dobrzynski (University of Birmingham), ‘Ents and Ecological Entanglements‘. Free access (no need to book). Please email julia.walworth@merton.ox.ac.uk if you need step-free access.
    • The Oxford Medieval Manuscripts Group (OMMG) meets at 5pm at Merton College, Hawkins Room. This week’s seminar will be a Work in Progress Meeting for Presentation and discussion of articles, thesis chapters, and conference papers in progress that concern medieval manuscripts. To subscribe to our mailing list, participate in library visits, propose a presentation of your research for work in progress meetings, or submit any queries, please write to: elena.lichmanova@merton.ox.ac.uk.
    • The Anglo-Norman Reading Group meets at 5-6.30pm, at St Hilda’s College, and on Zoom. Please let us know if you would like to attend, either in person or on Zoom. The text – some Jousting Letters from Edinburgh – will be provided via Padlet, and refreshments as usual to help us along. All welcome, at any level of Medieval French! Please contact Stephanie Hathaway <stephanie.hathaway@gmail.com> or Jane Bliss <jane.bliss@lmh.oxon.org>for further details. In association with Oxford Medieval Studies, sponsored by The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities (TORCH).

    OPPORTUNITIES:

    For those still feeling in need of some cheer this fifth week, here is some advice from the eleventh century:

    Cum pondus auri radiantis attenditur, labor itineris levigatur.
    [When the weight of shining gold is considered, the labor of the journey is lightened] 
    A letter (1059-60) from Peter Damian to Blanche, Countess of Milan

    May you find a weight of shining gold in your research efforts this week, but if you don’t quite reach it, I hope that the labor of journeying towards your goals is at least made lighter by sunshine, unexpected discoveries, and above all, good medievalist company!

    [A medievalist struggles with fifth week… luckily a fellow medievalist approaches to help!]
    St John’s College MS. 61, f. 33 v. 
    By permission of the President and Fellows of St John’s College, Oxford
    Viewable in full at Digital Bodleian
     

    INTRODUCING THE OXFORD MEDIEVAL MANUSCRIPTS GROUP

    By Mathilde Mioche

    The Oxford Medieval Manuscripts Group (OMMG) is a collective of eight postgraduate students and early-career researchers who bonded in Oxford over their passion for medieval manuscripts. We host a seminar series through which we hope to gather a community of emerging scholars, from the University of Oxford and beyond, around the study of medieval books and the art of illumination.

    Starting in Hilary Term 2024, OMMG seminars will take place twice monthly on Friday afternoons. We will discuss the most exciting recent research; share our own projects and ideas in a supportive environment; learn from lectures and tutorials given by experienced colleagues; and examine medieval manuscripts together during library visits.

    By promoting exchange between scholars with diverse specialisms and different levels of experience, OMMG aims to turn the study of medieval books and illuminations into a more collaborative pursuit. We know that working with manuscripts is often a solitary business, where knowledge is acquired over silent and cautious one-on-one meetings with a delicate object. We want to share the wonder we experience before the material, visual and textual complexity of illuminated codices, as well as the interrogations or frustrations we have as we encounter obstacles in our research. The OMMG seminar series will provide manuscript enthusiasts with a stimulating platform for learning practical and analytical skills from peers as well as experts. We would love you to join us!

    To subscribe to our mailing list, participate in library visits, propose a presentation of your research for work-in-progress meetings, or submit any queries, please write to:

    elena.lichmanova@merton.ox.ac.uk.

    You can find our schedule here:

    https://talks.ox.ac.uk/talks/series/id/df485bd9-62b9-4beb-83f3-2cc238e003c9.

    About Us

    Irina Boeru is a third-year DPhil student with a background in Medieval and Modern Languages and Medieval Studies. Her research analyses travel narratives in French and Latin illuminated manuscripts, specifically chronicles of the fifteenth-century conquest of the Canary Islands.

    Fergus Bovill graduated with a BA in History of Art from the University of York. He is currently pursuing an MSt in Medieval Studies, with a dissertation on the assemblage of medieval manuscript cuttings into albums by nineteenth-century bibliophiles and connoisseurs.

    Charly Driscoll completed an MSc in Book History and Material Culture at the University of Edinburgh and is now studying for a DPhil in Medieval English. Her project investigates how the material features of medieval manuscripts reveal their individual histories.

    Elena Lichmanova is a third-year DPhil student with a background in History of Art and Medieval Studies. Her research examines the origins and early history of marginalia in medieval manuscripts, focusing on illuminated English Psalters of the thirteenth century.

    Mathilde Mioche completed an MSt in History of Art and Visual Culture with a dissertation on illuminated Insular Gospels. She is currently preparing a doctoral project on the formal and medial mutations of the Dance of Death since its emergence in the fifteenth century.

    Ana de Oliveira Dias is a historian of early medieval visual and intellectual culture with a specialisation in manuscript studies. She received a PhD in Medieval History from Durham University in 2019 and is now a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the project Crafting Documents, c. 500—c. 800 CE at the University of Oxford.

    Celeste Pan is a third-year DPhil student with a background in English and Medieval Studies. Her research considers the production of illuminated Hebrew manuscripts in medieval northern Europe, specifically a group of liturgical Bibles from the Rheno-Mosan region.

    Klara Zhao is a first-year MPhil student in Egyptology preparing a dissertation inspired by Umberto Eco’s Infinity of Lists. She developed a special interest in medieval French poetry during her BA in French and Linguistics, which she continues to nurture.

    Image: Saint Augustine teaching. Paris, Bibl. Mazarine, MS 616, fol. 1r.

    Medieval Matters: Week 4

    Here we are at the midpoint of term. This is usually the point where I realise that the term is going by very quickly, and has been so busy that many of the things I had promised myself to achieve ‘by February’ are still on my to-do list! If this sounds familiar, here is some motivation from the Epistolae project:

    Vestrum enim propositum, semper debet niti ad profectum
    [Your intention should always be to strive for progress]
    A letter (1106) from Anselm, archbishop of Canterbury to Eulalia

    Of course, Oxford’s medievalists have been consistently ‘striving towards progress’ this term. Our blog post this week comes from a collaboration between Annabel Hancock, Bee Jones, James Cogbill, and Susannah Bain, who last month hosted an international workshop on ‘Scales of Governance: Local Agency and Political Authority in Eurasia, 1000-1500’. The workshop was partially funded by OMS, and is a great example of the kind of thing that you can apply for small grant funding for. To read more about the fantastic range of papers at the workshop, and the organisers’ reflections on it, please click here.

    There are so many exciting medieval events to help us strive towards research progress this week, and also many announcements for upcoming events. Please see the full listings below:

    ANNOUNCEMENTS:

    • Special events on Saturday 10 February: 11am Interfaith Harmony: Singing from Medieval Manuscripts as part of the One World Festival at the Ashmolean, followed 2pm by a lecture on World Religions and Peace Education organised by the Oxford Interfaith Forum in the Taylorian.
    • Book Launch Invitation: Emperor John II Komnenos: Rebuilding New Rome 1118-1143: You are invited to the book launch for Emperor John II Komnenos: Rebuilding New Rome 1118-1143 (OUP) at 6pm on Friday 9th of February, to be held in the Naz Shah Centre, Worcester College Oxford, and supported by the Oxford Centre for Byzantine Research. Please indicate your attendance by filling in this form by Wednesday 7th February: https://forms.gle/wDA1HMoLXhThdy8P8
    • CMTC presents — “Work in Progress” Colloquium (Hilary Term 2024). Tuesday the 13th of February 2024, 5,15–6,45pm UK time, Memorial Room, The Queen’s College. For the programme, please click here.
    • Books of Hours: A Showcase: 19 February 2024, 5.30pm – 6.30pm. New College Library and Medieval Women’s Writing invite you to attend a workshop showcasing New College’s Books of Hours. Beginning with a talk by New College’s Special Collections Curatorial Assistant Caitlín Kane, we will view and discuss seven Books of Hours from the New College collection. For full details and to register, please click here.
    • Love Research Data – Find Your Perfect Research Data Management Match: Wednesday 14 February, 2pm – 5pm, Sheldonian Theatre, Oxford. Join us to find your perfect match when it comes to storing and sharing your research data. For full information, please click here.
    • The Sleep and the Rhythms of Life Network is hosting a special event on Thursday 29 February 2024, 5.15pm on the topic of Sleep, Insomnia and Wellbeing: Historical Perspectives. The papers will be Brigitte Steger (University of Cambridge): “At night I lie in bed but cannot sleep” – Insomnia and loneliness in early Japanese literature ; and Megan Leitch (Cardiff University): ‘Sleeping it Off: Sleep, Wellbeing and the Emotions in Middle English Literature’. For full details and registration information, please click here.
    • Oxford University Byzantine Society Conference: We are delighted to announce the finalised programme (and opening of advance registration for online attendance) for the Oxford University Byzantine Society’s 26th Annual International Graduate Conference ‘Transgression in Late Antiquity and Byzantium’, taking place on the 24th-25th February, 2024 at the Faculty of History, George Street, OX1 2BE. To see the programme and read more, please visit our blog here.

    EVENTS THIS WEEK:

    Monday 5th February:

    • The Medieval French Palaeography Reading Group meets at 10.30-12 in the Weston Library. This group is open to anyone with an interest in Old French, Middle French and Anglo-Norman manuscripts. We study and read manuscripts from the 12th century to the late 15th century. If you are interested in joining the group or would like more information, please write to: Laure Miolo
    • The Seminar in Palaeography and Manuscript Studies takes place at 2.15-3.45pm, in the Weston Library, Horton Room. Today’s speaker will be Alison Ray (Oxford) – ‘Pecia manuscripts’. Access is by Bodleian/University card via the reader gates, Weston Library. Non-cardholders welcome but must email bookcentre@bodleian.ox.ac.uk at least 24 hours in advance.
    • The Medieval Archaeology Seminar meets at 3pm in the Institute of Archaeology, Lecture Room. This week’s speaker will be Kate Franklin (Birkbeck College), Making a World in Mongol Armenia: Vayots Dzor on the Silk Road.
    • The Medieval History Seminar meets at 5pm in the Wharton Room, All Souls College. This week’s speaker will be Emily Winkler (Oxford), ‘Thinking about Grief and Loss in the High Middle Ages’. 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: medieval history.
    • 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 6th February:

    • The Europe in the Later Middle Ages Seminar meets at 2-3.30pm in the Dolphin Seminar Room, St John’s College. Tea and coffee available from 1.45pm. Undergraduates welcome. This week’s speakers will be Jane Whittle and Grace Owen, University of Exeter, ‘Acknowledging the known unknowns: gender and wage labour in late medieval England‘.
    • 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 week will be Daily life (prose), Sangaller Schularbeit & Contra Paralysin Theutonice (handout to be provided) – “St Gallen School Work” & “Medicine for Gout”
    • The Medieval Poetry Reading Group meets at 4pm – 5pm in the Colin Matthew Room, Radcliffe Humanities Building. We warmly welcome academics and students of any level and with any background. Coffee, tea, and biscuits are offered to participants. This week’s topic will be Introduction to the Reading Group & Greek Romance in Verse. Registration is required: If interested, please send an email in advance to ugo.mondini@mod-langs.ox.ac.uk.
    • The Medieval Church and Culture Seminar meets at Wellbeloved Room, Harris Manchester College. Tea & coffee from 5pm; papers begin at 5.15pm. This week’s speaker is Helena Hamerow (Institute of Archaeology), ‘Women of the Conversion Period: a biomolecular investigation of mobility‘. Everyone is welcome at this informal and friendly graduate seminar!
    • The Oxford Medieval Society Latin and Ancient Greek Reading Group meets at 5-6pm, in the ground floor lecture room 2 at 47 Wellington Square. Ancient Greek will be read in odd weeks, and Latin in even weeks. We hope to expand our understanding of these languages for the betterment of our own medieval studies by reading texts that are referenced or known of in the medieval world; please note that this is not a strict rule. Anyone from any background is welcome to attend. To register your interest, or for more information, please contact the society at Oxford Medieval Society.

    Wednesday 7th February:

    • The Medieval German Seminar meets at 11.15, at St Edmund Hall, Old Library. In Hilary Term, we are going to discuss the writings by ‘Frau Ava’, the first women author whose name we know, transmitted in the Vorau Manuscript, discussing this week with Rebecca Schleuß the Latin phrases in the poems. 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 Matt Canepa (University of California, Irvine) – ‘Festive Discipline and Punishment
      in a Global Late Antiquity: The Iranian Political Sensorium as an Afro-Eurasian Technology of Power
      ’.
    • The Medieval English Research Seminar will meet at 5.15pm in Lecture Theatre 2, St Cross Building. Today’s speaker will be Marco Nievergelt (Paris), ‘A Middle English Poetics of Experience? The Case of Reson and Sensuallyte’. The seminar will be followed by a wine reception. All welcome! 
    • Dante Reading Group meets at 5.30-7pm in St Anne’s College, Seminar Room 11. Each week, we will be reading through and discussing a canto of the Divine Comedy in a relaxed and informal setting, delving into Dante’s language and imagination in manageable chunks. The group is open to those with or without a knowledge of Italian, the reading being sent out in the original and in translation. Refreshments, both alcoholic and otherwise, will be provided! To register or ask any questions, please email Charles West.

    Thursday 8th February:

    • The Ethics of Textual Criticism Seminar meets at 10-12 in Harris Seminar Room, Oriel College. This week’s speaker will be Colleen Curran (Galway) – ‘A new transmission of Aldhelm’s Carmen de virginitate’.
    • The Environmental History Working Group meets at 12.30-2pm, in the History Faculty. For further information, please contact Ryan Mealiffe.
    • The Middle Welsh Reading Group meets at 2-4pm in Jesus College, Habakuk Room. No previous knowledge of Middle Welsh is assumed. Translations will be provided with plenty of time to ask questions at the end. We’ll read a selection of early and late Middle Welsh prose and poetry to offer everyone a chance to experience the richness of Middle Welsh and its literary tradition. Please email to register your interest so that Svetlana knows how many people to expect:  Svetlana Ó Siochfhradha Prešern.
    • The Late Roman Seminar will meet at 4pm in the Seminar Room, Corpus Christi College. This week’s speaker will be Dorothee Schenk (Göttingen) ‘Character Networks, Semantic Networks and Social Network Analysis: Examples around Fulgentius of Ruspe’
    • The Medieval Visual Culture Seminar meets at 5pm in St Catherine’s College, Arumagam Building. This week’s speaker will be Jacopo Gnisci (University College London), ‘Sacred Space and Imperial Autority in ‘Medieval’ Ethiopia: The Portrait of Yekunno Amlak in Gannata Maryam.
    • The Medieval Women’s Writing Reading Group meets at 5-6.30pm in Lincoln College Lower Lecture Room. This week’s reading will be The Lais and Fables of Marie de France. 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.
    • A Book Launch within the framework of the International Interfaith Reading Group on Manuscripts in Interfaith Contexts will meet at 6pm, online via Zoom. Dr Katherine Aron-Beller will be speaking on ‘Christian Images and Jewish Desecrators: The History of the Allegation in Manuscript Illustrations‘. To register, please click here.

    Friday 9th February:

    • The Medieval Coffee Morning meets as usual 10:30am in the Visiting Scholars Centre of the Weston Library (instructions how to find it) with presentation of items from the special collections, coffee and the chance to see the view from the 5th floor terrace.
    • The Late Antique Latin Reading Group meets at 12-1pm, in the Hovenden Room, All Souls College, and is open to anyone engaged in research on the late antique world. Though prior knowledge of Latin is required, we welcome people with a range of abilities. We particularly welcome graduate students and early career academics. If you would like to attend, or you have any questions, feel free to contact either of the convenors. Please do RSVP if you intend to attend, so that we can gauge numbers and circulate the readings. Contact: David Addison and Alison John.
    • Exploring Medieval Oxford through Lincoln Archives meets at 2-3pm, in Seminar Room 2, EPA Centre, Museum Road. Anyone interested in analyzing primary sources and conducting a comprehensive examination of the documents are welcome to attend. Those who are interested can contact Lindsay McCormack and Laure Miolo via email: Lindsay McCormack and Laure Miolo
    • The Tolkien 50th Anniversary Seminar Series meets at 4-5pm in Corpus Christi College Auditorium. This week’s speaker will be Holly Ordway (Word on Fire Institute), “Fundamentally religious and Catholic”? Authorial Intent and the Intentional Fallacy’. Free access (no need to book).

    OPPORTUNITIES:

    • Call for Papers – International Courtly Literature Society British and Irish Branch Conference 2024: Court Cultures: Texts and Contexts, Trinity College, the University of Dublin, 18-19 June 2024. We invite proposals in French or in English (maximum 200 words) for either 20-minute papers or full panels of three papers (each of 20 minutes duration) to be submitted by 5 p.m. on Friday 16 February 2024 to Dr Sarah Alyn Stacey (salynsta at tcd.ie) and Dr Thomas Hinton (T.G.Hinton at exeter.ac.uk ). Acceptance of papers will be confirmed by Friday 1 March 2024.
    • The Mary Rose Trust are looking for volunteer speakers across the country who are able to conduct talks on the Mary Rose on our behalf in an authoritative and entertaining way. For full details, please see their blog post here.

    Finally, a reminder that slow progress is still good progress:

    Utique sicut verum est: “qui modica despicit, paulatim decidit,” ita verum est quia qui modica non despicit, paulatim proficit.
    [As it is true that “one who despises the little things fails little by little” so it is true that one who does not despise the little things progresses little by little.]
    A letter (1106) from Anselm, archbishop of Canterbury to Eulalia

    I of course here take ‘modica’ to mean ‘footnotes’: those little things which can require such a lot of of time and effort in order to make seemingly very little progress! But, as Anselm reminds us: small progress is still progress! I wish you a week of many successful footnotes, and progress little by little.

    [Medievalist battling with a footnote]
    St John’s College MS. 61, f. 64 v. 
    By permission of the President and Fellows of St John’s College, Oxford
    Viewable in full at Digital Bodleian
     

    Call for volunteers: The Mary Rose Trust

    The Mary Rose Trust which looks after King Henry VIII’s favourite warship, are looking for volunteer speakers across the country who are able to conduct talks on the Mary Rose on our behalf in an authoritative and entertaining way.

    The administrator writes: As you will see, I have included links to our website regarding being a Mary Rose Information Group (MRIG) volunteer. Usually, these talks are addressed to Probus and U3A groups and Women’s Institutes, as well as historical and archaeological societies and other interested parties. Talks normally last up to 45 minutes allowing for a 15-minute Q&A session afterwards.

    The talks are a means by which we raise donations – normally £50 minimum per talk (although for groups exceeding 100, we would expect larger donations) – with the volunteer speakers receiving no reimbursement themselves apart from their travelling expenses (which are covered by the talk organisers, currently at 45p per mile if travelling by car).

    In the information shown below (see first link) it says that volunteers could expect to conduct 1-2 talks per month. As the administrator of the MRIG programme at the Mary Rose Trust I can advise that, in reality, these tend to be far more infrequent – although, this does depend to a great extent on the volunteer speaker. Some speakers will pro-actively engage with local interested groups and generate talks for themselves, while others will be entirely reactive and simply conduct talks as and when requested, which could be as infrequently as one or two in a year.

    One benefit of becoming a registered MRIG speaker is that while on the register the MRIG volunteer will have unlimited free of charge access to the museum and will also be invited to many of the special events the museum holds (either at the museum or remotely).

    We are happy for anybody who feels appropriately qualified, to speak on our behalf – although we would, of course, have to determine ourselves whether we feel they were suitably qualified – and so this opportunity is potentially open to any member of staff as well as post-grads and even undergraduates who may be interested. Apart from our determining that a candidate has the requisite degree of knowledge, public speaking ability and enthusiasm there are other more practical considerations candidates would need to take into account  – the main ones being the ability to drive, or have access to transportation by car, in order to get to talk venues (quite often located in places poorly served by public transport) and the relative freedom to conduct talks at different times during the day and across the week (many talks, for instance, can take place from midday onwards on weekdays).

    For more information on applying to be a Mary Rose Information Group (MRIG) speaker on behalf of the Mary Rose Trust, please see the third section under the heading ‘Volunteering’ at: https://maryrose.org/recruitment/#volunteering

    To see the page explaining the role of the MRIG to those interested parties visiting our website please see: https://maryrose.org/information-group/