Literary, religious and manuscript cultures of the  German-speaking lands:  a  symposium  in memory of Nigel F. Palmer (1946-2022) 

Friday 19 – Saturday 20 May 2023

Venue: Taylor Institution and Weston Library

Admission:  Free for symposium and reception; dinner to be charged. Please register to attend by 30 April 2023.

To celebrate the life and scholarship of Nigel F. Palmer, Professor of  German  Medieval Literary and Linguistic  Studies at the University of Oxford, Faculty, College and academic community will honour his memory with a symposium, to be held at the Taylorian and the Weston Library on 19-20 May 2023.

The symposium brings together colleagues from around the world. Their presentations speak to the wide spectrum of Nigel’s intellectual interests, which ranged extensively within the broad scope of the literary and religious history of the German- and Dutch-speaking lands, treating Latin alongside the vernaculars, the early printed book alongside the manuscript, and the court and the city alongside the monastery and the convent. On Saturday, there will be a reception at St Edmund Hall as well as a dinner.

The event is supported by the Faculty of Medieval and Modern Languages, the Meister-Eckhart-Gesellschaft, SSMLL, and St Edmund Hall. Here a link to the call of papers, below the draft programme.

Late-Medieval German Love Songs. Concert and Talk

Tuesday week 8, 7 March 2023

5:30pm Pre-concert talk in the Old Dining Hall at St Edmund Hall: music editor and viol player David Hatcher, Professor of German Literature & Linguistics Henrike Lähnemann, and singer James Gilchrist in conversation, discussing music, literature and culture in early 16th century Germany. The pre-concert talk includes tea at 17:30 with the discussion from 17:55 to 18:45

7:30pm Concert in the Hollywell Music Room with the Linarol Consort of viols and James Gilchrist (tenor); free entry for students, £20 for everybody else

https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/linarolconsort

In 1524 the Augsburg organist Bernhart Rem started writing the part books Österreichische Nationalbibliothek Ms. 18 810 from which the songs for the concert are taken. The pre-concert talk will explore the writing and music-making of late medieval Germany. The early 16th-century soundscape was varied and colourful, ranging from street cries, via religious songs in processions and meetings of the Meistersinger, to instrumental music performed by “town waits”, groups of instrumentalists playing for festive occasions. The songs of Ms. 18 810 retain features of this exclusive aristocratic song culture. They might look like pop music with run-of-the-mill lyrics but in fact these are cutting-edge text-musical combinations. Singing about love’s woes and (occasionally) joys, and of how the poet, assuming the persona of a male lover, constantly runs into and (occasionally) overcomes the obstacles society throws in his way, is as noble a pastime as falconry or commissioning costly manuscripts.

The authors were members of the same courtly circles or, in cases such as Ludwig Senfl’s autobiographical song ‘Lust hab ich ghabt’, even writing texts themselves as singer-songwriters of the period. In line with the poetic habits of the period, they pay more attention to stanza form than to originality of content. Maximilian’s court was an international meeting point: not only would all forms of German dialects have been spoken, but Latin, French, and even English as well; Ludwig Senfl’s teacher Heinrich Isaac was Dutch. It is appropriate that with James Gilchrist this repertoire is interpreted by a non-native speaker. Coming to the repertoire not from within the system gives performers the advantage over a German singer to be aware of temporal and regional varieties of the language of song. I was delighted when James contacted me via Claire Horacek – alumna of my own College St Edmund Hall – to check out historical pronunciation. It was exciting to go through this repertoire which can only be grasped when spoken out aloud; this is not a text for silent reading!

The pre-concert talk will concentrate on the autobiographical song Lust hab ich gehabt zur musica, a song in praise of music education which spells in the verse initials the name of its author and composer, LUDWIG SENNFL, and charts his musical training.

1 Lust hab ich ghabt zur Musica
von Jugend auff wie noch bisher,
von erst ut re mi fa sol la
geübt darnach durch weytter leer;
kam es darzu,
das ich kain ruw
mer haben mocht, dann nur im gsangk
stund mein begir;
da halff nicht für;
aus dem ervolgt der erst anfang.

2 Und bald ich das ergriffen hett,
das ich kund von mir selber wol
den gsang verstenn, darnach ich thett
mer fragen, wie dann ainer sol,
dem sollichs liebt,
und sich selbst yebt,
das er erlanng den rechten grund;
hueb mich darzu,
spat und auch fru
zu dienen wol, wie ich nur kund,

3 Dem Herren mein mit ganczem vleys,
daran er dann ein Gfallen trug.
Es schicket sich mit solcher weys,
das er mir gab zu schreiben gnug.
Was von im gmacht,
ward wol betracht,
darnach ich mich auch richten solt;
das gfiel mir seer,
weyl er steets mer
mir zaigen thett, was ich nur wollt.

4 Wie er mit seinem namen gnandt,
das thu ich nachher melden schon.
Er ist in aller welt bekanndt,
lieblich in kunst, frölich Im thon.
Sein Melodey
was gstellt gar frey,
darab man sich verwundern thett.
Es was gut ding,
zu singen ring,
künstlich darzu die gnad es hett.

5 Izac das war der name sein;
halt wol, es werd vergessen nit,
wie er sein Composicz so fein
und clar hat gsetzt, darzu auch mit
Mensur geziert,
dardurch probiert
noch heuttigs tags sein lob und kunst
verhanden ist;
herr Jhesu crist,
tail im dort mit götlichen gunst.

6 Gern wolt ich gott drumb dankpar sein,
wann ich nur das verbringen kundt
wie yeder soll. Es steet gar fein,
das man ihn lob, weil er aym gundt
zu lernen hie.
Was er vor nye
hett mugen von im selb verstan,
des mir erzaigt
und zugeaygt
mit gnaden ward durch diesen Mann.

7 Sein vleyß der ward an mir erkennt,
deßhalb trug mir der kayser huld;
dann weyl man mich sein schüler nent
Must ich erfüllen on mein schuld
den Chorgsang sein,
wie wol da mein
erlernte kunst was vil zu schwach.
Noch thett ichs pest,
so vil ich west
mit arbait groß, die ich noch mach.

8 Erkenn erst yecz, was mir gebricht
und sich, daß als auss gnaden kombt
von oben rhab; drumb wann ainer spricht
Er künd so vil, wie wenig frumbt
Im soliches lob;
thut er ain prob
empfind sein unvolkomenhait.
Erst wirt er ynn
sein hohen synn,
darzu Im all sein kunst erlaydt.

9 Nach dem ich dann derselben kunst
Ergeben bin, das ich verricht
Mein dienst, damit so wers umbsonst,
wo ich nit hielt, es würd für nicht
geachtet hie
alls, was ich ye
hett gmacht, gleichwol mit höchstem vleys,
Wann ich darinn
nit hett den synn
das ich gut geb den höchsten breyss.

10 Nun danck ich got umb das ich hir
dermassen bin versehen wol,
dann wer in pit, den liess er nie,
das selb ain yeder mercken sol
und dancken offt;
wer in In hofft,
der wirt nymer in schand gestellt;
soll haben acht,
das er betracht
allain zu thun, was Im gefelt.

11 Fürstliche gnad mir bschehen ist,
dieweyl ich mich darein ergab
Zu dienen undertänigist
dem herren mein und lass nit ab,
vorauss so ich
sich, das man mich
zu gottes eer noch prauchen mag
mit Chorgesanng,
das ich yetz lanng
getriben hab unnd thus alltag.

12 Liebt mir auch seer für ander ding,
das man yecz treybt in dieser welt;
dann wers versteht, der achts nit ring
wie wol es nit ain yeden gfelt;
ligt mir nit an;
Weyl ich nur han
die gnad und gunst des herren mein
so acht ichs nit
und bhilff mich mit,
will got mein tag drumb danckpar sein.

1) I have had a passion for Music ever since my youth, at first trained with solfeggio (do re mi fa sol la) and then through further instruction; it recached a stage when I could find no rest, only in song; it could not be helped; that was how it first began.

2) As soon as I had grasped as much of song as I was able to achieve on my own, then I began to ask more questions, which is what somebody ought to do who loves such things and wants to train themselves to achieve the proper foundation; I applied myself at all times, as best I could, to serve

3) my master well, sparing no effort. In this he in turn took pleasure which led to him giving me plenty to copy out. Whatever he produced I carefully studied and used as a guide also for myself; I greatly enjoyed it when he kept showing me more and more of exactly what I wanted.

4) What his name was, I will reveal shortly. He is known throughout the world, pleasing in his art, joyful in his music. His melodies were arranged very freely which was a surprise to everyone. These were excellent works, very singable as well as artfully, that was its special grace.

5) His name was Isaac; I am sure it will not forgotten how expertly and clearly he put his compositions together, as well as embellishing them rhythmically, and ensured that his renown and his art continue to this day; Lord Jesus Christ, bestow on him your divine mercy.

6) I would be very thankful to God if the only thing I managed to do was what anyone ought to do. It is entirely fitting to praise Him while He allowed one to advance here in learning. What one would never previously have been able to understand by oneself was revealed and granted to me by this man through grace.

7) His efforts were recognised in me, so that the emperor showed me favour; then, while I was called his pupil I was – not by my own doing – made to fill a post in the choir even though the skill I had acquired was then far too feeble. Still, I did my best and worked as hard as I could, as I still do.

8) I only now realise what is lacking in me, and I see that everything comes through grace, from above; so when somebody claims to be able, how little benefit comes from this praise; as soon as these people have to prove themselves, they sense their deficiency. They will only then realise his (Isaac’s) high intellect which will then make all their own art loathsome.

9) Since I am devoted to this art and to doing my duty, it would all be for nothing if I did not uphold the principle that everything which I have ever done, albeit done with the greatest effort, would count for nothing here, if in doing so I were not minded to set the greatest store by what is good.

10) Now I thank God for the fact that I am so well equipped here, for whoever prays to Him, He would never abandon, which is something everybody should note and often thank Him; whoever trusts in Him will never be put to shame (quotation from the Bible / proverbial saying: wer auf Gott traut / hat wohl gebaut); everybody should take care to think of doing only what pleases Him.

11) Princely grace was bestowed on me when I gave myself up to serving my lord in all humility, and I continue to do so, as I foresee that, to honour God, I may still be needed to sing in the choir, as I have long done and keep doing daily.

12) This is also my pleasure above other things which are now practised in this world; for whoever understands it does not consider it trivial even though it is not to everyone’s taste; this does not bother me; as long as I have the grace and favour of my lord, I do not pay attention to this; I am content, and will be thankful to God as long as I live.

Working Group on Race & Gender in the Global Middle Ages

Emory University and the Medieval Academy of America are pleased to announce the launch of a Zoom working group on Race & Gender in the Global Middle Ages. The aim is to bring together scholars from various disciplines (history, art history, and literary studies) who work on Europe and the Mediterranean, the Islamic world, Africa, and Asia to discuss works-in-progress that deal with race and gender from 500 CE to 1600 CE. The working group is open to all medievalists, including graduate students.To participate in the working group, please register at https://scholarblogs.emory.edu/raceandgenderglobalmiddleages/

Spring 2023 schedule of meetings:

February 17 at 12pm-1:30pm EST
Angela Zhang, Postdoctoral Fellow, Harvard University “Charity and Slavery: Childcare and Race in the Ospedale degli Innocenti in Premodern Florence”

March 24 12pm-1:30pm EST (9am Pacific time)
Roland Betancourt, Professor of Art History, University of California, Irvine”The Case of Manuel I Komnenos: Articulating Identity through Gender, Sexuality, and Racialization”

April 28 at 12pm-1:30pm EST
Nicole Lopez-Jantzen, Associate Professor of History, CUNY: Borough of Manhattan Community College and Graduate Center”Shifting Concepts of Race: Italy through the Earlier Middle Ages”

May 19 at 12pm-1:30pm EST 
Sierra Lomuto, Assistant Professor of English, Rowan University “Mongols in Medieval Europe: Exoticism and the Legend of Prester John”

June 9 at 12pm-1:30pm EST
Alexa Herlands, Ph.D. Candidate, University of Chicago”Juan Martínez Silíceo as Historian: Toledo’s 1547 Blood Purity Statute Revisited”

 Predicting the past with deep neural networks

We are pleased to announce the Hilary Term Lecture of the Centre for Manuscript and Text Cultures (CMTC). The lecture will take place on WED 1 March, 5-6.30 (UK time) in the Memorial Room at The Queen’s College in the University of Oxford. 

Our speaker will be Yannis Assael, Intelligence Research Scientist at Google DeepMind

Title: Predicting the past with deep neural networks

Abstract: Ancient history relies on disciplines such as epigraphy for evidence of the thought, language, society and history of past civilizations. However, over the centuries, many inscriptions have been damaged to the point of illegibility, transported far from their original location and their date of writing is steeped in uncertainty. To address these challenges we present Ithaca, a deep neural network for the textual restoration, geographical attribution and chronological attribution of ancient Greek inscriptions. The goal of this presentation is to demonstrate how recent advances in the field of Deep Learning can assist and expand a historian’s workflow, and highlight the importance of joint interdisciplinary research.

We look forward to welcoming you.

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

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

@PremodernTrust

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Piers Plowman Performance at St Edmund Hall

The Fair Field of Folk. Piers Plowman: A Potted Adaptation of the B Text

When: 11 February 2023, 2–3pm
Where: Broadbent Garden (behind the library church of St-Peter-in-the-East) at St Edmund Hall, Queen’s Lane, OX1 4AR Oxford. Part of the National Garden opening day 2-5pm. The performance ticket is included in the charity donation of 4GBP to see the gardens
Director: Eloise Peniston

Starring

  • Solas Macdonald as  Will
  • Jonathan Honnor as Piers Plowman
  • Clare-Rose McIntyre as Holychurche
  • Rei Tracks as Conscience

With original music by Anna Cowan

Eloise writes: I first discovered Piers Plowman at a bus stop. I was characteristically lost with a dead phone and only a charity shop book to keep me company. While no one murmured ‘Thou still unravished bride of quietness’, at me, I was acutely aware of being in the presence of the literary as I thumbed through the wind-swept pages. I was intensely confused, which, at the age of fifteen, I supposed was the hidden intention of all literature. With the charmed hand of A. V. C. Schmidt to guide me, I followed a man named Will, who fell asleep beside a stream on a May morning in Malvern Hills. There he falls into a succession of dreams, beginning with a tower on a hill, a dungeon, and a fair field of folk. On his quest for Truth, Will meets a host of allegorical personifications, wandering through the marriage and later trial of Lady Mede, the confession of the Seven Sins, the Crucifixion, and the Harrowing of Hell. In the midst of all, Piers Plowman emerges, taking only momentary repose from his plough to guide Will towards Truth and, rather scandalously, chastise members of the clergy. I remember after being “found” an hour later how I, rather breathlessly, recounted the events of the B text to my mother as she, mid-flap, chastised me about reckless spontaneity and the need for charged phones.

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

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

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

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

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

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

We invite you to toil with us at Teddy Hall on the 11th of February. From a tower on toft, a trumpet shall hail the dream, before the gentle plucking of a harp will guide you to sleep.

Come and set forth on a dream-pilgrimage, exploring political satire, social upheaval, and spiritual crisis. Maybe salvation will be found in the ridge and furrow but if not, you will- at the very least- have a pilgrim badge to take home as a souvenir.

We hope to see you soon in the fair field. God spede þe plouȝ!

Performance poster for Piers Plowman

Medieval Matters: Week 2

I hope that you have all settled back into the rhythms of Oxford life. It’s terribly cold this week, with a thick layer of fog covering Oxford’s spires. Here’s some advice from Alcuin on how to wrap up warm:

Nullatenus capitis cura obmittenda est; levius est pedes dolere quam caput
[Care of the head should never be neglected: it is less serious that the feet should suffer than the head, Ep. 114 ]

I interpret this to mean: don’t forget to wear a warm hat! If you want to care for the head in a less literal sense, we of course have a whole host of intellectually stimulating seminars, reading groups and events for you to enjoy this week:

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

  • The Medieval Misuse discussion and reading group meets every 2 weeks, on a Thursday 5-6, for an informal discussion about the ways that medieval history, culture and literature are misused by modern political parties and extremist groups. Interested individuals should email: tristan.alphey@stx.ox.ac.uk
  • The Old French Reading Group takes place at 4-5pm at St Hilda’s College (meet by the lodge) on Wednesdays of Even Weeks in association with Oxford Medieval Studies, sponsored by The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities (TORCH). We welcome readers of Old French of all abilities. For further information, please email alice.hawkins@st-hildas.ox.ac.uk or irina.boeru@st-hildas.ox.ac.uk
  • Oxford Ancient Languages Society (OALS) is running a great programme of classes and events this term – perfect for medievalists who want to brush up or acquire Latin! For full details, see their website here.
  • Please note that the Carlyle Lectures are medieval this year! This year’s lectures will be given by John Hudson, on common law and Roman law and custom, C12-13: https://www.history.ox.ac.uk/carlyle-lectures

EVENTS THIS WEEK:

Monday 23rd January:

  • The Byzantine Graduate Seminar takes place at 12.30-2pm online via Zoom. This week’s speaker will be Rebecca Amendola (La Sapienza Università di Roma), Manuscripts in Motion: The Parma Gospel Book (Ms. Pal. 5) and Its Journey to Italy. To register, please contact the organiser at james.cogbill@worc.ox.ac.uk.
  • The Medieval Latin Manuscript Reading Group led by Matthew Holford and Andrew Dunning is meeting as usual via Teams from 1-2pm. We will start with natural history from a medieval encyclopaedia. Sign up for the mailing list to receive updates and the Teams invite, or contact matthew.holford@bodleian.ox.ac.uk or andrew.dunning@bodleian.ox.ac.uk for more information. 
  • The Queer and Trans Medievalisms Reading and Research Group meets at 3pm at Univ College, 12 Merton St Room 2. This week’s theme is Heldris of Cornwall’s Le Roman de Silence. All extremely welcome! To join the mailing list and get texts in advance, or if you have any questions, email rowan.wilson@univ.ox.ac.uk.   
  • The Medieval History Seminar takes place at 5pm in the Wharton Room, All Souls College and on Teams (Teams link here). This week’s speaker will be Jamie Wood (Lincoln), The Memory of the Martyrs: The topography of sanctity in Visigothic Toledo.’. The Teams session can be accessed by logging in to Teams with your .ox.ac.uk account and joining the group “Medieval History Research Seminar” (team code rmppucs). If you have any difficulties please email: medhistsem@history.ox.ac.uk 

Tuesday 24th January:

  • The Europe in the Later Middle Ages Seminar will take place at 2–3.30pm in the New Seminar Room, St John’s College. Tea and coffee available from 1.45pm. This week’s speaker will be Catherine Holmes, Oxford, ‘Networks, brokerage and identity in the late medieval eastern Mediterranean‘.
  • The Comparative Philology Seminar: Old High German meets at 2.15-4pm in the Lecture Theatre of the Centre for Linguistics and Philology (Walton Street). This week’s speakers will Luise Morawetz and Howard Jones, Introduction/Phonology. All are welcome, basic linguistic knowledge is assumed. 
  • The Medieval Church and Culture Seminar meets at 5-6pm in the Charlese Wellbeloved Room, Harris Manchester College. This week’s speaker will be Susannah Bain (Jesus), ‘Maps, Chronicles and Treaties: defining political connections in late-thirteenth-century northern Italy‘.
  • The John Hudson Carlyle Lectures takes place at 5pm at South School, Examination Schools. This week’s lecture will be Legal development in Europe: a view from the 1190s. This lecture examines patterns of legal development in England, France and north Italy in the latter part of the twelfth century. It suggests that those patterns do not act as a clear guide to the developments that followed in the thirteenth century. This lecture will be followed by a drinks reception in North Schools. All are welcome!

Wednesday 25th January:

  • The Medieval German Graduate Seminar will meet at 11:15am in the island room of Oriel College for discussing the prologue of this term’s text, Heinrich von Neustadt’s Apollonius von Tyrland. If you are interested to come along, contact Henrike Lähnemann, to be added to the teams chat.
  • The Medieval Italian Seminar will take place at 2pm at Rees Davies Room, History Faculty. This week’s speaker will be Paul Oldfield (Manchester), ‘Inquest and History in Thirteenth-Century Puglia’.
  • GLARE (Greek and Latin Reading Group) takes place at 4-5pm at Jesus College. Please meet at Jesus College Lodge. This week’s text will be Demosthenes, Against Neaera, 72–8. All welcome to attend any and all sessions. For more details and specific readings each week, or to be added to the mailing list, email john.colley@jesus.ox.ac.uk or jenyth.evans@seh.ox.ac.uk.
  • The Medieval Latin Document Reading Group meets on Teams at 4-5pm. We are currently focusing on medieval documents from New College’s archive as part of the cataloguing work being carried out there, so there will be a variety of hands, dates and types. A document is sent out in advance but homework is not expected. Contact Michael Stansfield (michael.stansfield@new.ox.ac.uk) for further details and the Teams link.
  • The Old French Reading Group takes place at 4-5pm at St Hilda’s College (meet by the lodge). We welcome readers of Old French of all abilities. For further information, please email alice.hawkins@st-hildas.ox.ac.uk or irina.boeru@st-hildas.ox.ac.uk
  • The Late Antique and Byzantine Seminar takes place at 5pm at the Ioannou Centre for Classical and Byzantine Studies, 66 St Giles. This week’s speaker will be Olivier Delouis (Maison Française d’Oxford), ‘Teaching Greek grammar to one’s son: an unpublished manual by Nikolaos Artabasdos Rabdas (14th c.)’.
  • The Medieval English Research Seminar takes place at 5.15pm in Lecture Theatre 2, English Faculty, followed by a drinks reception. This week’s speaker will be William Sweet (Independent), ‘Lydgate and Humanist Reading After Arundel’. All welcome.

Thursday 26th January:

  • The Oxford Medieval Commentary Network will meet at 12.45-2.15pm in the McKenna Room at Christ Church. Please note the change of venue! Free lunch from 12.45, seminar paper begins at 1.15. The speaker will be Tristan Franklinos, Wolfson & Oriel Colleges, Oxford, ‘Peter Abelard’s Hymns as exegesis for the sisters of the Paraclete’. Please direct all questions to cosima.gillhammer:chch.ox.ac.uk, or visit the website.
  • The Seminar in Medieval and Renaissance Music will take place on Zoom at 5pm. This week’s speaker will be Julia Craig-McFeely (DIAMM, University of Oxford), The Sadler Sets of Partbooks and Tudor Music Copying. If you are planning to attend a seminar this term, please register using this form. For each seminar, those who have registered will receive an email with the Zoom invitation and any further materials a couple of days before the seminar. If you have questions, please just send an email to matthew.thomson@ucd.ie.
  • The Medieval Misuse discussion and reading group meets at 5-6pm, for an informal discussion about the ways that medieval history, culture and literature are misused by modern political parties and extremist groups. Interested individuals should email: tristan.alphey@stx.ox.ac.uk
  • The Germanic Reading Group meets at 4-5pm on zoom. This week’s topic will be Old Norse skaldic verse (Nelson Goering leading). Please contact Howard Jones Howard.Jones@sbs.ox.ac.uk to be added to the mailing list and receive the zoom link.
  • The Celtic Seminar will take place at 5.15pm via Teams and in The History of the Book Room, English Faculty. This week’s speaker will be Mark Williams (Oxford), ‘Magic and violence in Pedeir Keinc y Mabinogi‘. Please contact david.willis@ling-phil.ox.ac.uk if you need a link.
  • The Medieval Visual Culture Seminar meets at 5.15pm at St Catherine’s College, Arumugam Building. This week’s speakers are Sarah Griffin, Lambeth Palace Library, London, ‘From Hours to Ages: Time in the Large-scale Diagrams of Opicinus de Canistris (1296-c. 1352)‘ and Anya Burgon, Trinity Hall, Cambridge, ‘In a Punctum: Miniature Worlds in Late Medieval Art and Literature‘.
  • The Oxford Interfaith Forum is hosting a lecture by Professor Laurent Mignon, Professor of Turkish Literature at the University of Oxford, UK, at 6-7pm, online. The lecture will be ‘From the People of the Book to the Books of the People: Christian Literature and the 19th Century Ottoman Turkish Literary World‘. For full details and registration, click here.
  • The Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies is hosting The David Patterson Lectures at 6-7pm, at the Catherine Lewis Lecture Room and on zoom. This week’s lecture will be of interest to anyone who teaches papers on the Central Middle Ages, English history, and also to feminist / gender historians of all stripes. The speaker will be Dr Emily Rose, ‘The Expulsion of Jews from England (1290): It is Not What You Think’. To register for online attendance, click here. For enquiries, email enquiries@ochjs.ac.uk.

This weekend marked Lunar New Year: Happy New Year to all who celebrate! This year is the year of the rabbit. I wanted to provide a suitable quote and image but to my knowledge, Alcuin has nothing to write about rabbits, and nor are any to be found in the Ashmole bestiary. So please forgive a temporary departure from our usual material. Here is Albertus Magnus describing the importance of camraderie amongst rabbits:

Est […] animal timidum, et ideo injuriatum relinquit habitationem, quod videns grex totus de loco transit, ac si indignetur ad injurias sociorum
[It is a shy animal, and for that reason when disturbed it flees its home, and seeing this the whole colony leaves the place too, as if offended by the insult to their companion 20:29]

May we medievalists enjoy such loyal companionship!

Announcing the year of the Rabbit (no rabbits were harmed in the making of this year)
Detail from La Queste del Saint Graal, France, N., early 14th century, Royal MS 14 E III, f. 89r

The Oxford Seminars in Cartography (TOSCA)

We’d like to draw your attention to the first of the TOSCA seminars, details below!

‘Please use the postcode’: navigating the past, present, and future conservation needs of the Hereford Mappa Mundi

 -who: Andrew Honey, Bodleian Library, University of Oxford and Conservation Inspector to the Mappa Mundi Trust

-when: Thursday 2 February 2023, 4.30–6pm (GMT)

-where: Sir Victor Blank Lecture Theatre, Weston Library and online via Zoom

-This talk will examine the conservation needs of the Hereford Mappa Mundi, chart the effects of some of the historic repairs and cleaning campaigns carried out in the past, explain the ingenious methods used to mount the map, and outline future conservation needs, as well as presenting some discoveries from recent conservation inspections.

Book here to attend, in person or online

Comparative Philology Seminar: Old High German and Germanic Reading Group

There are two opportunities this term to discuss medieval Germanic languages: the Comparative Philology Graduate Seminar and the Germanic Reading Group.

Comparative Philology Seminar: Old High German

We will present general aspects of the language and delve into specialist topics. All are welcome, basic linguistic knowledge is assumed. The seminar will take place on Tuesdays in weeks 2–8, 2.15–4 pm, at the Lecture Theatre of the Centre for Linguistics and Philology (Walton Street). Convenor: Dr Howard Jones

24 January      Introduction/Phonology (Luise Morawetz/Howard Jones)

31 January      Nominal morphology (Will Thurlwell)

7 February      Verb morphology (Luise Morawetz/Howard Jones)

14 February    Syntax (Howard Jones)

21 February    Lexis (Will Thurlwell)

28 February    Metre (Nelson Goering)

7 March          The place of OHG (and Old Saxon) among the Germanic languages (Patrick Stiles)

Germanic Reading Group

We’ll be holding four online meetings of the Germanic Reading Group this term, every other Thursday at 4:00 starting second Week in Oxford.

Thursday, 26 January, 4:00─5:00. Old Norse skaldic verse (Nelson Goering leading)

Thursday, 9 February, 4:00─5:00. Old High German charms (Will Thurlwell leading)

Thursday, 23 February, 4:00─5:00. Medieval Yiddish (Kerstin Hoge leading)

Thursday, 9 March, 4:00─5:00. Old High German glosses and glossaries (Luise Morawetz leading)

Please contact Howard Jones Howard.Jones@sbs.ox.ac.uk to be added to the list

Image: OHG Paternoster, St. Gallen, Stiftsbibliothek, Cod. Sang. 56, p. 68 – Evangelienharmonie des Tatian (https://www.e-codices.ch/de/list/one/csg/0056)

ETC Research Seminar on Anthropology and Religion (HT23)

The Early Text Cultures Research Seminar for Hilary Term 2023 will be on the theme of Anthropology and Religion. We hope that the seminar will enable us to explore ways in which traditional anthropological questions can (or cannot) help us elucidate key literary texts as sources for ancient religion. Speakers will address Old Norse, Classical Latin, Early Greek, ancient Near Eastern, Old Babylonian and Vedic contexts. After a ca. 20-min presentation, there will be ample opportunity for cross-disciplinary discussion.

The seminar will be held in the Corpus Christi College Seminar Room, on Wednesdays of even weeks at 2–3pm UK time.
To join remotely, please register here: https://forms.gle/UQuoUbjSzDAP6Zo67
Abstracts can be found here: https://www.earlytextcultures.org/events/current-events

Programme

§ Session 1
Week 2, 25 January

James Parkhouse: Old Norse
Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines: Analogical and Anthropological Perspectives on the Legends of Wayland and Daedalus

§ Session 2
Week 4, 8 February

Joe Barber (Balliol College, Oxford): Classics
Disappearing and Dying Gods in the Ancient Near East and Early Greece

§ Session 3
Week 6, 22 February

Christie Carr (Wolfson College, Oxford): Assyriology
The Sumerian Sacred Marriage Ritual

§ Session 4
Week 8, 8 March

Barbora Sojkova (All Souls College/Balliol College, Oxford): Sanskrit
On Ancient Animals: Vedic Literature and Multispecies Anthropology

Everyone is extremely welcome!

ETC Board