Medieval Matters: Week 3

Welcome to week 3! We have another exciting programme of events this week. As I write these emails I am always amazed by the wealth of opportunities that we have at Oxford: this week we have offerings ranging from the Encaenia of Hagia Sophia to Mamluk-Venetian relations! So here, courtesy of Alcuin, is a celebration of those who teach, guide, and encourage us with their seminar papers:

Valde mihi placet, quod tantam habetis intentionem lectionis … vos estis decus Britanniae
[I am delighted that you are so keen on encouraging reading … you are the glory of Britain! Ep. 43 ]

Your work organising events and giving papers really does make our community so much richer, so thank you for all of your hard work! A special shout-out to everybody planning to take part as actors or directors in the Medieval Mystery Cycle on 22 April. See below for the workshop coming up on Friday – all curious people invited! There are many more opportunities to be encouraged this week – see below for a full list of events:

EVENTS THIS WEEK:

Monday 30th January:

  • The Byzantine Graduate Seminar takes place at 12.30-2pm online via Zoom. This week’s speaker will be Emma Huig (Universiteit Gent), Stephanites and Ichnelates: recovering the Eugenian recension? 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 continue with the Bruges copy of Thomas de Cantimpré’s Natural History about the elephant at fol. 62r. Sign up for the mailing list to receive updates and the Teams invite, or contact Matthew Holford or Andrew Dunning
  • The Seminar in Manuscript Studies and Palaeography will take place at 2.15-3.45pm, in the Weston Library, Horton Room. This week’s speaker will be Laura Saetveit Miles (University of Bergen), “The Influence of St. Birgitta of Sweden’s Revelationes in Late-Medieval England“. For further information contact Matthew Holford or Andrew Dunning.
  • The Queer and Trans Medievalisms Reading and Research Group meets at 3pm at Univ College, 12 Merton St Room 2. This week’s speaker is Wyn Shaw on Old French courtly romances. 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 Georg Christ (Manchester), ‘Rogue emporium and universal empire: Rethinking Mamluk-Venetian relations (mid 13th to end of 14th c.)’. 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 31st January:

  • The Governability across the medieval globe Discussion Group meets at 12:00-1.30 in the History Faculty. Everyone welcome, staff, students and researchers, of all historical periods. We encourage you to bring lunch along. This session we will be discussing ‘Water’.
  • 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 Luca Zenobi, Cambridge, ‘A Europe of Network States? The View from Italy‘.
  • The Medieval French Research Seminar takes place at 5pm at the Maison française d’Oxford (www.mfo.ac.uk). Drinks at 5pm, presentations begin at 5.15pm. This week’s speakers will be Irina Boeru, Sebastian Dows-Miller, and Jack Nunn, ‘Attributing Authorship’. For more information, to be added to the seminar maillist, or for the Teams link to join a seminar remotely, contact Helen Swift.
  • The Medieval Church and Culture Seminar meets at 5pm for tea with the paper 5.15pm-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‘.

Wednesday 1st February:

  • The Medieval German Graduate Seminar will meet at 11:15am in the island room of Oriel College for discussing translations and adaptations of this term’s text, Heinrich von Neustadt’s Apollonius von Tyrland, organised by Anna Wilmore. If you are interested to join, contact Henrike Lähnemann to be added to the teams chat.
  • The Medieval Italian Seminar is CANCELLED this week
  • 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 Ovid, Metamorphoses, 7.179–233. 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 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 Kateryna Kovalchuk (Wolfson College), ‘The Diegesis: a Hagiographical Text for Commemoration of the Encaenia of Hagia Sophia’.
  • 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 Emily Kesling (University of Oxford), ‘The Early Insular Prayerbooks and the Dream of the Rood Tradition’. All welcome.

Thursday 2nd February:

  • The Celtic Seminar will take place at 5.00pm via Zoom. This is a CAWCS hybrid event in Welsh at the National Library of Wales (with Breton song performance). This week’s speakers will be Brigitte Cloarec, Nigel Ruddock & Mary-Ann Constantine (CAWCS), ‘Canu Cymru–Llydaw ar ŵyl Santes Brîd: Gwerz Berc’hed a Merch y Gof‘. Please contact a.elias@wales.ac.uk for the link.
  • The Oxford Seminars in Cartography meets at 4.30-6pm in Sir Victor Blank Lecture Theatre, Weston Library and online via Zoom. This week’s talk is Andrew Honey, Bodleian Library, University of Oxford and Conservation Inspector to the Mappa Mundi Trust: ‘‘Please use the postcode’: navigating the past, present, and future conservation needs of the Hereford Mappa Mundi‘. 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. For more information see here.

Friday 3rd February:

  • The Medievalist Coffee Morning takes place at 10:30-11.30am in the Visiting Scholars Centre in the Weston Library (access via the Readers Entrance on Museum Road: straight ahead and up two floors!). This week Julia Brusa (Geneva) will present a group of early modern German ‘Stammbücher’ (album amicorum).
  • The Anglo-Norman Reading Group meets at 5-6.30pm at St Hilda’s College, in the Julia Mann Room. The text will be extracts from the Chronicle of Langtoft; pdf will be provided. For access to the text and further information, please email: stephanie.hathaway@mod-langs.ox.ac.uk or jane.bliss@lmh.oxon.org.
  • Workshop: Staging and Acting in a Medieval Mystery Play takes place at 5–6.30pm, at St Edmund Hall, Old Dining Hall. Join this workshop for tips and guidance on how to join a group and how to adapt medieval mystery plays for modern performance. The workshop will be led by David Wiles, Emeritus Professor of Drama at the University of Exeter and a veteran director of the Oxford Medieval Mystery Cycle. Let us know if you’re interested in joining by emailing Michael Angerer, the graduate convenor or just come along.
  • The Old Norse Reading Group meets at 5pm at The Royal Oak. Please email Ashley Castelino (ashley.castelino@lincoln.ox.ac.uk) to be added to the mailing list.

OPPORTUNITIES:

  • CFP: “INVESTIGATIONS INTO ROMANIAN AND EUROPEAN BIBLICAL TRADITIONS” INTERNATIONAL SYMPOSIUM 12th Edition: Iaşi, 18-20 May 2023. The Symposium aims to encourage multi- and interdisciplinary debates on the issues raised by the publication, translation, interpretation, dissemination and reception of sacred texts into Romanian and other modern languages. For full details, see the blog post here.
  • 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/

Finally, some more advice from Alcuin on the importance of being encouraged:

‘Discant in adolescentia, ut habeant, quid doceant in senectute
[They must learn in youth in order to be able to teach in age, Ep. 23]

In other words: your work organising seminars and reading groups makes our scholarly community richer not just for the medievalists of the present, but also for the future of our disciplines! May you have a week full of such encouragement.

[A Medievalist gives a stunning seminar paper]
Ashmole Bestiary, Bodleian Library MS. Ashmole 1511, f. 9 r.
Viewable in full at Digital Bodleian

ETC seminar – Medieval Commentaries on Vergil

Dear All,

The final session of the Early Text Cultures Seminar on Pre-modern Commentaries will take place on Wednesday 30 November at Corpus Christi College, Seminar Room, 2-3pm. Vittorio Danovi (Oxford) will give a talk titled

Medieval Commentaries on Vergil (Bern scholia and Servius Auctus)

My research is primarily concerned with the commentary on Vergil’s Eclogues and Georgics known as Bern scholia and with the augmented version of Servius’ commentary on the whole of Vergil known, after its first editor Pierre Daniel, as Seruius Danielis or DS scholia. Both commentaries were probably assembled in seventh-century (Insular?) scriptoria by anonymous compilers who resorted to pre-existing commentaries, but almost all their extant witnesses date back to the Carolingian period. I am currently aiming to analyse the characters of the different versions of the Bern and DS scholia transmitted by each witness and to establish their genealogical relationships. On these grounds, I hope to shed some new light on the Carolingian engagement with the two commentaries.

Please do come in person! But if you cannot, here is a Zoom link to attend remotely:

Join Zoom Meeting
https://zoom.us/j/94503373094?pwd=RFVCaXpDNlNjN2dROVR0a1lIUS9uUT09

Meeting ID: 945 0337 3094
Passcode: 581504

All best wishes,
ETC Board

Poem, Story, and Scape in the work of Kevin Crossley-Holland

‘Poem, Story, and Scape in the work of Kevin Crossley Holland’: An exhibition in the Old Library of St Edmund Hall

Open to the public on Monday 24 and Friday 28 October from 10:00-16:00

Or by appointment: Library@seh.ox.ac.uk

This exhibition explores the work of Kevin Crossley-Holland, Honorary Fellow and alumnus of St Edmund Hall, prize-winning children’s author, translator, poet, librettist, editor and professor. Kevin engages creatively with language and poetry, place, history and legend. He captivates us by telling stories deeply rooted in past cultures, which he remakes to be compellingly contemporary and relevant. For this exhibition, Kevin has generously loaned items from his private collection to add to material from St Edmund Hall’s Archives and Special Collections; we gratefully acknowledge his help.

Early in his career, Kevin established himself as a poet and as a translator and re-teller of Old and Middle English poetry, romance, and folklore for all ages, and as an enthusiastic collaborator with composers and visual artists. His Arthur trilogy has sold over one million copies worldwide and is available in twenty-six languages; it has inspired young readers to become medievalists and writers themselves. Recent works, such as Norse Tales: Stories from Across the Rainbow Bridge (2020) demonstrate how Northern European myth and legend continue to beguile him.

Kevin is passionate about how history, landscape and poetic language shape and inform one another. This exhibition explores continuities from Kevin’s childhood in how he sees, interprets, and responds to these creative stimuli. It also reveals how meticulously he researches the past to create his imaginary yet historically accurate worlds, and how carefully he crafts his poetry.

The exhibition is based on and inspired by ‘Poem, Story & Scape in the Work of Kevin Crossley-Holland’ which ran at the Stanley and Audrey Burton Gallery at the University of Leeds from 29 March— 20 August 2022, curated by Dr Catherine Batt, Senior Lecturer in Medieval Literature at the University of Leeds. Many thanks to Sarah Prescott and the University of Leeds for their generous help and support in staging this version.

ETC Research Seminar on Pre-modern Commentaries (MT22)

The Early Text Cultures Research seminar for Michaelmas Term will be on the theme of Pre-modern Commentaries. We hope that the seminar will enable us to denaturalise default definitions of ‘commentary’ and to bring out key similarities and differences across a broad spectrum of pre-modern exegetical and interpretive practices. Speakers will discuss commentary features in Old Norse, Medieval Chinese, Sanskrit and Latin contexts. After a ca. 20-min presentation, there will be ample opportunity for cross-disciplinary discussion.

Programme

The seminar will be held at Corpus Christi College in even weeks, on Wednesdays at 2–3pm.

To join remotely, please register here.

Week 2, 19 October (CCC Seminar Room)

Katherine S. Beard (Oxford): Old Norse

The Chieftain at Reykholt: Snorri Sturluson’s Impact on Old Norse/Icelandic Studies

I’ll be speaking about Icelandic historian and politician Snorri Sturluson (1178/9-1241) and the impact the texts attributed to him have had on studying Old Norse/Icelandic literary culture. I’ll focus primarily on Snorra Edda (sometimes called the Prose Edda), and I will also briefly touch on Heimskringla, Snorri’s book of sagas about the Norwegian kings. Snorra Edda was originally intended as a manual of poetics written to give his contemporary readers background knowledge of Norse mythology enough to understand the intricacies of skaldic poetry. Snorri often uses much older mythological poems as examples, and his references to these poems are often the only surviving place where these poems are preserved. Snorri’s Edda is not only a work that has become important to Old Norse literary scholars, but also to scholars of Mythology and Religion, for Snorra Edda is often the only place where several mythological stories of the gods like Þórr and Óðinn are recorded. However, Snorri was both a Christian and a politician and often took creative license with his source material. Snorri’s motivations aside, there is no denying that Snorra Edda has profoundly impacted the modern view of Old Norse mythology.

Week 4, 2 November (CCC Auditorium)

Peter Smith (Oxford): Medieval Chinese

Lin Xiyi’s Commentary to the Zhuangzi: Historical Context and Literary Analysis

In this seminar I will explore exegesis of the Zhuangzi 莊子 (4th century BCE), a classic of ancient Chinese literature associated with Daoism. Comprised of narratives and dialogues, this text is often humorous and subversive and has inspired a range of responses throughout Chinese history. The presentation will focus on the Song dynasty commentary written by Lin Xiyi 林希逸 (1193–1271), exploring the importance of context and process in his work. Lin was influenced by Neo-Confucian thought, a dominant feature of the times, and also by ongoing debates as to whether literary writings were valuable or harmful to ethical cultivation. Of particular interest will be two questions: (1) how is the commentary arising out of Lin Xiyi’s interaction with previous thinkers as well as his contemporaries, and (2) how is his literary analysis of the Zhuangzi featuring within this matrix?

Week 6, 16 November (CCC Auditorium)

Vishal Sharma (Oxford): Sanskrit

The Process of Commentary: Interpreting a 100,000-verse Epic

This talk will focus on the Sanskrit epic Mahabharata (1st c. BCE) and its commentaries in the late medieval and early modern period (13th-17th c.). I will address the following questions: In what ways do intertextual relations inform the development of written commentary? How can written commentaries ‘import’ meanings into a text from other genres, and how can they also ‘export’ those interpretations into other genres?

Week 8, 30 November (CCC Seminar Room)

Vittorio Danovi (Oxford): Latin

Medieval Commentaries on Virgil (Bern scholia and Servius Auctus)

My research is primarily concerned with the commentary on Vergil’s Eclogues and Georgics known as Bern scholia and with the augmented version of Servius’ commentary on the whole of Vergil known, after its first editor Pierre Daniel, as Seruius Danielis or DS scholia. Both commentaries were probably assembled in seventh-century (Insular?) scriptoria by anonymous compilers who resorted to pre-existing commentaries, but almost all their extant witnesses date back to the Carolingian period. I am currently aiming to analyse the characters of the different versions of the Bern and DS scholia transmitted by each witness and to establish their genealogical relationships. On these grounds, I hope to shed some new light on the Carolingian engagement with the two commentaries.

Medieval Matters: Week 1

Michaelmas term has officially begun! Oxford is looking beautiful in the October sun, the libraries are once again full, and our programme of events is now fully underway. To mark the start of term, here is some advice chosen specially for our new MSt students:

Magistris adsidete, aperite libros, perspicite litteras, intellegite sensus illarum!
[Sit with your teachers, open your books, study the text, understand its meaning! Ep. 27]

Of course, this advice does not only apply to those on taught degree courses. Being a researcher does not proclude anybody from sitting and studying together, and in fact our many seminars and reading groups are an excellent place to do just that. To help you navigate them all, I have attached a pdf version of this term’s Medieval Booklet to this week’s email for your convenience. Thank you to everyone who has contributed to it: I know I speak for all of us when I say that I am excited for all of the many medieval things in store for us!

One particular event to draw your attention to this week: we at the OMS team invite you to the Medievalist Coffee Morning this Friday, 10:30-11.30am for a Mini Medieval Roadshow. If you don’t know where this takes place, check the Friday announcements below. This is a great chance to meet your OMS team for this year (including some brand new faces!), advertise your seminar / reading group, or just enjoy some free coffee and biscuits. We’d love to see you there. On to the announcements for this week:

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

  • Call for Participants: Song and lyric workshop with Ardis Butterfield, 3rd November, 3–5pm: Ardis Butterfield will be visiting Oxford this term and not only give the OMS Michaelmas Lecture on 31 October but has also kindly agreed to take part in a workshop on medieval lyric and song. This will take place in Lecture Room 4, New College on 3rd November, 3–5pm. We are looking for postgraduate and postdoctoral researchers who are working on a medieval song or lyric text that they would like to discuss in the workshop with Professor Butterfield. All that is required is to provide an edition of the text of the song or lyric, ideally with a translation and edition of the music (if there is any). The workshop will be an informal opportunity to workshop songs/lyric texts together and benefit from Professor Butterfield’s expertise. If you would like to contribute a song/lyric, please send your suggestion to <joseph.mason@new.ox.ac.uk> by Friday 14th October. You are very welcome to attend the workshop without bringing along a text to discuss. If you wish to attend, please RSVP to <joseph.mason@new.ox.ac.uk> by Friday 28th October for catering purposes.

EVENTS THIS WEEK:

Monday 10th October:

  • 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 John Watts  (Corpus), ‘Political Economy and the Wars of the Roses’. 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.
  • The Old Norse Reading Group meets at 5.30-7.30pm. Please email Ashley Castelino (ashley.castelino@lincoln.ox.ac.uk) to be added to the mailing list.

Tuesday 11th October:

  • The Medieval English Research Seminar takes place at 12.15pm in Lecture Theatre 2, English Faculty. This week’s speaker will be Nicola McDonald (York), ‘Doing Justice: Who Read Middle English Romance and Why Does it Matter?’. The paper will be followed by lunch with the speaker. All welcome!
  • GLARE (Greek and Latin Reading Group) takes place at 4-5pm at Harold Wilson Room, Jesus College. Please meet at Jesus College Lodge. This week’s text will be Aristotle, Poetics. 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 French Research Seminar takes place at 5pm at the Maison française d’Oxford (www.mfo.ac.uk). Presentations begin at 5.15pm. This week’s seminar will be a doctoral student research showcase. For more information and to be added on the seminar’s mailing list, contact sophie.marnette@balliol.ox.ac.uk 
  • The Medieval Church and Culture Seminar takes place at 5pm at Charles Wellbeloved Room, Harris Manchester College. The theme for this term is ‘Women’. This week’s speaker will be Luisa Ostacchini (Exeter): The World of the ‘Old English Martyrology’: Carthage and the case of St Perpetua’s sword. Everyone is welcome at this informal and friendly graduate seminar.

Wednesday 12th October:

  • The Medieval German Graduate Seminar meets for an organising session on ‘Dietrichs Flucht’ at 11:15am in Somerville College – ask at the Lodge for directions. If you want to be added to the mailing list for this term’s seminar, please email henrike.laehnemann@mod-langs.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 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 Claudia Rapp (Vienna), The Oxford conundrum: Cyril Mango and Byzantine elitism, or: what about popular culture?.

Thursday 13th October:

  • The Invisible East Lecture takes place at 5pm online. The speaker will be Reza Huseini, A Day in Late Antique Bactria. Register for the webinar here; the lecture is in Persian.
  • The Celtic Seminar will take place at 5.15pm via Zoom and at the Council Chamber, National Library of Wales. This week’s speaker will be Imanol Larrea Mendizabal (Soziolinguistika Klusterra), The Etxepare Basque Institute Alan R. King Professor in Residence: “Hizkuntza ohiturak aldatzeko ikerketa soziolinguisikoa Euskal Herrian: hainbat esperientzia” (Ymchwil Sosioieithyddol a newid arferion iaith: profiad Gwlad y Basg). Please note that this is a Basque language seminar with translation into Welsh. Please contact david.willis@jesus.ox.ac.uk if you need a link.

Friday 14th October:

  • The Medievalist Coffee Morning takes place at 10:30-11.30am in the Visiting Scholars Centre in the Weston Library (access via the Readers Entrance on Museum Road: straight ahead and up two floors!). This week will be a Mini Medieval Roadshow: please do come along to meet the team and to advertise your events / seminars! There will be manuscripts on show!
  • The Anglo-Norman Reading Group meets at 5-6.30pm at St Hilda’s College, in the Julia Mann Room. This week, please meet at the lodge and arrange swipe-card access. The text will be extracts from the Chronicle of Langtoft; pdf will be provided. For access to the text and further information, please email: stephanie.hathaway@gmail.com or jane.bliss@lmh.oxon.org.

OPPORTUNITIES:

  • CFP: The Schoenberg Symposium this year is on the theme of TRANSLATING SCIENCE, and we are seeking proposals for 5 minute lightning talks to be posted to YouTube as part of the event. Translating Science considers the networks of exchange, transmission, and translation of natural knowledge evident in manuscript culture in the pre- and early modern periods. We will examine in particular the role of the manuscript book in the translation of natural knowledge across linguistic, regional, disciplinary, and epistemic boundaries. Proposals should be relevant to the theme of TRANSLATING SCIENCE and must be 5 minutes long or shorter. The deadline for submitting proposals for a lightning talk is Friday, October 14: submit your proposals using this form: Lightning talk submission form. Applicants will be notified by October 21. Videos must be submitted to SIMS by November 7. For more information see the Symposium page or email dorp@upenn.edu.

Finally, some advice for this week from Alcuin:

Videte librorum thesaura; considerate ecclesiarum decorem, aedificiorum pulchritudinem

[“Look at the treasures of your library, the beauty of your churches, the fairness of your buildings!, Ep. 27]

I take this to mean: enjoy how beautiful Oxford looks in the autumn sun! May you all have an enjoyable week appreciating the treasures of our libraries, communities and seminars.

[A Medievalist looking at the Medieval Booklet to work out which treasures of Oxford’s medieval offerings to attend this week]
Ashmole Bestiary, Bodleian Library MS. Ashmole 1511, f. 65 v.
Viewable in full at Digital Bodleian

Medieval Matters: Week 0

Here we are, at the beginning of a new term, and a new academic year. It gives me great pleasure to extend a warm welcome to those of you new to our Medievalist community at Oxford! You are now part of a network of over 200 medievalists across a wide range of disciplines and faculties. This weekly Medieval Matters Newsletter is you first port of call for all of Oxford’s rich and diverse medieval happenings, from CFPs and job opportunities to weekly seminars and reading groups.
I am thrilled to be returning as your Communications Officer for this year. Unfortunately we are running short on uplifting Old English wisdom, so this year I will be providing you with wisdomous tidbits from Alcuin of York (c. A.D. 732 to 804). As a polymath who taught and studied an exceptionally wide curriculum on both sides of the English channel and promoted education as a goal in and of itself, Alcuin embodies everything that we celebrate here at OMS. Here to get us started is his call for people to make good use of his work collecting sources:

Ne pereat labor noster in librorum collectione
[Don’t let the work I did building up the library go to waste!, Ep. 167]

This is a particularly relevant call for this week’s email, as I have been carefully compiling a ‘library’ of all of Oxford’s medieval seminars, events, reading lists and opportunities, for your perusal: the Medieval Booklet is now available! You can browse it at your leisure here. Please make good use of it: do not let my work go to waste! I will attach a “hard copy” to next week’s email, so if you have any last-minute changes or additions, please email them to me during this week.

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

  • St Edmund Hall Old Library Exhibition: Poem, Story, and Scape in the work of Kevin Crossley Holland’. This exhibition explores the work of Kevin Crossley-Holland (Honorary Fellow and 1959, English), prize-winning children’s author, translator, poet, librettist, editor and professor. Kevin engages creatively with language and poetry, place, history and legend. He captivates us by telling stories deeply rooted in past cultures, which he remakes to be compellingly contemporary and relevant. For this exhibition, Kevin has generously loaned items from his private collection to add to material from St Edmund Hall’s Archives and Special Collections. The exhibition will run from Friday 8 September – Monday 31 October. Visit by arrangement with the Librarian: library@seh.ox.ac.uk or 01865279062. Public opening on Monday 24 and Friday 28 October 10am-4pm.
  • Booking is now open for Oxford Latinitas 2022/23 online classes in both Latin and Ancient Greek. The Autumn Term runs from 10th October to 2nd December, and classes are available at all levels in both languages; bookings may also now be made for two terms or for the whole year. Students new to Oxford Latinitas (or new to our courses in either language) will have a short diagnostic call with one of our teachers in order to make sure they are placed in the right group. Full details and link to application sign-up can be found here.
  • Booking is now open for the Oxford Latinitas Septimana Latina Hiemalis, to be held at Palazzola, Rome, from 3rd-9th December 2022. Whatever your current level of Latin, from beginner to advanced, this week offers you the opportunity to make real progress towards fluency, while enjoying like-minded company in a beautiful location. Full details and link to application sign-up can be found here.
  • Medieval Postdoctoral Network: The Medieval Postdoctoral Network is a small group of postdocs, new and returning, who work on various aspects of medieval studies. We meet once a month to discuss the development of our work, set goals, and share skills and tips which may be helpful for Early Career Researchers. All are welcome – please email Rebecca Menmuir (r.menmuir@qmul.ac.uk) or Julie Mattison (j.r.mattison@rug.nl) to be added to the mailing list.
  • The Medievalist Coffee Morning is back! We kick off properly next week with a Mini-Medieval Roadshow. Join us at 10.30-11.30am next Friday, 14 October to meet all of the OMS Team and to hear more about events, seminars and reading groups taking place this term! If you would like to present your event/seminar etc, please do come along to advertise it! There might actually be manuscripts…

EVENTS THIS WEEK:

Monday 3rd October:

  • The Invisible East Lecture takes place at 4pm in the Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, Lecture 1. The speaker will be Jonathan L. Lee, The History of the Armenian Community of Afghanistan. More information here.

Thursday 6th October:

  • The Invisible East Lecture takes place at 5pm online. The speaker will be Majid M. Mahdi, Islamisation, a closer look. Register for the webinar here.

Friday 7th October:

  • The Medievalist Coffee Morning takes place at 10:30-11.30am in the Visiting Scholars Centre in the Weston Library (access via the Readers Entrance on Museum Road: straight ahead and up two floors!).

OPPORTUNITIES:

  • CFP: The German Historical Institute Medieval History Seminar invites proposals from all areas and periods of medieval history and is not limited to historians working on German history or German-speaking regions of Europe. All methodological approaches are welcome. Applications from neighbouring disciplines are welcome if the projects have a distinct historical focus. The seminar is bi-lingual and papers and discussions will be conducted both in German and English. Participants must have a good reading and listening comprehension of both languages. Successful applicants must be prepared to submit a paper of approximately 5,000 words by August 15, 2023. They are also expected to prepare and present a commentary on the papers of another session. For full details, see our blog post.
  • Claudio Leonardi FELLOWSHIP for a critical edition of a medieval latin text (deadline November 7, 2022): The scholarship offered is aimed at the purpose of supporting research on medieval Latin culture and texts and especially to produce critical editions. The scholarship, in the amount of €30,000.00 is for one year from January 1, 2023. The critical edition produced will be published by the publisher SISMEL Edizioni del Galluzzo (www.sismel.it) after passing the usual peer-review procedures. The fellow agrees to present his/her research during the General Assembly of S.I.S.M.E.L. (Florence, April 1, 2023) and to give three lectures at S.I.S.M.E.L. during the term of the fellowship. Applications, addressed to the president of S.I.S.M.E.L, must be received by e-mail at presidenza@sismelfirenze.it no later than 10. 00 on November 7, 2022.
  • Call For Papers – Contesting Authenticity in Literature, 1200-1700. Proposals are warmly welcomed for this two-day conference, which aims to bring together speakers from across languages, disciplines, and period boundaries. The conference will explore literature which engages with ‘contesting authenticity’ in some way: pseudotexts, forgeries, imitations, narrative authenticity, the practice of contesting authenticity, and many more interpretations of the conference scope. The conference will take place on 30-31 March 2023 at Senate House, University of London; speakers will present in-person. A limited number of bursaries will be available for speakers and attendees. The Call For Papers and further conference information can be found at: https://authenticity2023.wordpress.com/.

I started this email by extending a welcome to our new members, so it seems fit to end on a ‘welcome back’ for those returning. For those of you returning to Oxford, whether from summer holidays or from careers elsewhere, we are delighted to have you back! If you (like me) managed to get less work done over the summer vac than you had hoped, some reassuring words:

Fervor mensis Augusti desidem, non voluntatis efficatia pigrum efficit
[It is the heat of August that has made him idle, not his desire to be lazy, Ep. 119]

Now we are in the cold of October, I am sure we will all get lots of productive research done! I am so looking forward to seeing many of you at events and seminars throughout the term. Wishing you all a successful and enjoyable term, filled with exciting research discoveries and the joys of medievalist community.

[Stepping into the RadCam after a summer away, a Medievalist shakes off their summer “idleness” and begins to feel much more like themselves again!]
Ashmole Bestiary, Bodleian Library MS. Ashmole 1511, f. 84r.
Viewable in full at Digital Bodleian

Medieval Matters: Is It Nearly Term Yet?

0th Week is approaching at a rate of knots, which means that this is the final announcement email before Medieval Matters resumes in full force! I’m excited to more formally welcome everyone back to Oxford and, of course, to unveil which manuscript will be gracing your inboxes every week, but for now, here are a few upcoming events, announcements, and three exciting job opportunities for graduate students:

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

  • Medieval Booklet Submissions. Thank you very much to all who have sent these to me so far! For those of you who still have submissions pending, a gentle reminder that you must send them to me by October 1st if you wish to ensure that they are included in the booklet for its 0th week release. Also a gentle reminder that your submission should include, wherever possible, a time and location for your events / seminars.
  • Medieval Blog Submissions. If you have a new book release / media appearance / new research project funding, we would love to advertise it on our blog! The OMS blog is seen by medievalists in and outside of Oxford and is a great place to showcase the achievements of our medieval community.

SAVE THE DATE:

Monday 10th October:

  • Black History Month lecture at St John’s College: St Johns College Auditorium, 2pm. Professor Michael Gomez from New York University will be speaking about “West Africa’s Mansa Musa: An Enigma for the Apogee of the Age.”. Mansa Musa is arguably West Africa’s most famous luminary, representing the region’s most illustrious period. Revisiting the sources, however, challenges conventional and pervasive notions about him and his acclaimed pilgrimage, raising critical questions about the import of his reign for West Africa and beyond. All are welcome to attend.

Monday 31st October:

  • Medieval Studies and Astor Visiting Lecture: Lecture Theatre 2, English Faculty, 5.15pm Followed by drinks. Prof. Ardis Butterfield (Yale) will be speaking on ‘Do we mean lyric or song?’.

OPPORTUNITIES:

  • Graduate Students: OMS is hiring!: OMS is one of the largest forums in the world for interdisciplinary research on the Middle Ages, bringing together over 200 academics and a large body of graduate students. If you would like to be involved behind the scenes, we have three exciting (paid) opportunities to get involved! We are looking for 1) OMS Social Media Officer, 2) OMS Events Coordinator and 3) Graduate Convenor for the Medieval Mystery Cycle 2023. Though these are advertised as three separate posts, we welcome applications from students who would like to combine two or even all three posts. Please send expressions of interest to Co-Directors Henrike Lähnemann and Lesley Smith by 30 September 2022, 12noon, at medieval@torch.ox.ac.uk, including a one-page CV and a cover email explaining why you are interested in the job(s) and what experience you bring to it. For full details, see our blog post here.

Outgoing OMS Social Media Officer: Llewelyn Hopwood

After two years as Oxford Medieval Studies’s first dedicated social media officer, Llewelyn Hopwood shares his experiences and a few tips and tricks about social media usage in academia.

Before starting this role, I had only a basic knowledge of Facebook and Twitter, and only really for personal use. However, as it was the summer of Covid-19, everyone and everything had gone online, and suddenly an online network was the only network; an online profile was your only profile. I therefore threw myself into the world of social media for academia by applying for this job, which allowed me to kill two birds with one stone: to do my bit in keeping this vital network of Oxford medievalists alive and well and to learn a thing or two about how to use social media for academic engagement. Here, then, organised by platform, is a summary of what OMS got up to online over these past two years, why you should have a go at this job, and what to expect from it.

TWITTER

History: Twitter was the only platform with which OMS already had an account, and, since its birth in 2016, it had proved to be an efficient and useful way of communicating with and about the Oxford medievalist community and a great way of bringing new members into the fold. Since it got a dedicated tweeter, its followers doubled in number from around 2,500 in 2020 to nearly 5,000 today.
Tagging: If you want a tweet to be read by certain people – and hopefully their follows – don’t wait for them to find the tweet; bring the tweet to them! And do this by tagging them in it. Furthermore, tag ALL relevant faculties/departments and universities in ALL relevant tweets. When advertising a speaker, for example, tag them, and if they don’t have Twitter, tag their department or university.
Emojis: People – present author included – are lazy, and so don’t clutter your tweets with too much text. Tweets organised with emojis are far more eye catching and far easier to follow.
Images: For the same reason, tweets with images are far more likely to grab people’s attention. For better or worse, in the fast-paced world of Twitter, visuals trump text. The secondary benefit of including an image is that you can tag up to 10 accounts within the image as well as those tagged in the tweet
Scheduling: Twitter allows you to schedule tweets. This is a great idea when it comes to events that need promoting and that have a set date that is unlikely to change, and it is also a time saver for you.
Threads: Linking one tweet to another is good for long reads, but this is usually better suited for individual academics rather than academic institutions such as OMS, since the latter usually have a dedicated blog, website, or Facebook page (see below) where longer posts can be published. Nonetheless, with threads, remember to number each tweet so that the reader knows when the thread will end (1/5, 2/5, 3/5 etc.) and a nice little emoji of a thread won’t go amiss. 🧵
Trolls: Sadly, Twitter is the home of unwanted attention, aggression, misconceptions about the Middle Ages, and strongly-held opinions about Oxford. Part of this job is to avoid being sucked in. Resist the urge to be trigger happy with your replies; you may be in charge of the account, but you are not the sole voice of medieval studies at Oxford, so don’t engage with anything that might be controversial – even the things you may agree with – before consulting other members of the team.

FACEBOOK

History: In September 2020, we set up a brand-new Facebook page for OMS. With around 300 likes, its growth has been less dramatic than Twitter’s. However, particular advantages remain.
Longer posts: Tweets have a character limit and Instagram requires an image. Therefore, if you have something to advertise or an announcement to make that is particularly text-heavy, that is the time to post on Facebook. A condensed version should be posted elsewhere.
Events: Facebook is still the best home for advertising events. Although Twitter and Instagram posts are good at publicising the advert, the central advert itself is better off as a Facebook event as there you can include much more information and its internal functions allow this information to be clearly organised for your audience. The events function also allows you to get a rough idea of how many attendees to expect.
Scheduling: As above.

INSTAGRAM

History: OMS’s Instagram account was another new venture, launched around six months ago, and again boasts some 300 followers.
Images: Instagram is, of course, built for posts with images. For OMS, this is a good place to post summaries of big events, such as the Oxford Mystery Cycle, with a picture deck or perhaps even a collage made with a suitable app, e.g. PicCollage.
Live/Story: The Instagram Live or Story functions are both good ways to lives stream or live post pictures of events. This has not yet been used to its full potential.

YOUTUBE

History: OMS’s YouTube channel was yet another post-lockdown initiative, largely created in order to stream online and hybrid lectures and post them for posterity. During the past two years, organising the streaming itself has come under the remit of the Events Coordinator, which you can find more about in outgoing Events Coordinator Tom Revell’s recent post.

LINK IN BIO

If you have accounts on two or more social media platforms, it is a good idea to consolidate them in one place. This is where sites like Beacons and Linktree – also known as a ‘Link in Bio’ tool – come in handy. This is a single hub that houses further links to your various platforms in order to save space in your description box, stopping it from being cluttered with links. OMS’s Beacons page houses links to its Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram accounts as well as the term booklet and its principal website, which is home to this blog and which recently moved from its previous location on TORCH’s website.

YOUR TURN

The post asks for roughly an hour a week of your time, sometimes more during term time, less during vacations. I would encourage anyone with any knowledge and interest in social media to consider this role. But the most important criterion is an enthusiastic desire to bring together the fantastic network of medievalists that Oxford Medieval Studies fosters. As well as the technical know-how about social media that you will gain directly from this post, you will also indirectly find yourself learning about advertising, marketing, networking, and even graphic design and publishing. Go for it!

Llewelyn Hopwood is a DPhil student in Medieval Welsh poetry at Corpus Christi College, Co-Editor-in-Chief of the Faculty of English’s graduate journal, Oxford Research in English, and the Welsh materials resident on the University of Liverpool’s Human Remains project.

Main image credit: Leaf from a Beatus Manuscript: the Fourth Angel Sounds the Trumpet and an Eagle Cries Woe, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Leaf_from_a_Beatus_Manuscript-_the_Fourth_Angel_Sounds_the_Trumpet_and_an_Eagle_Cries_Woe_MET_DT304319.jpg (CC0 1.0)

ETC Seminar on Textual Cultures in Contact (Oxford, TT22)

The Early Text Cultures research cluster based at Oxford is pleased to present its Research Seminar series in Trinity Term (May and June 2022), which will be on ‘Textual Cultures in Contact’. Through sessions comprising paired papers, this seminar series will enable participants and attendees alike to gain fresh perspectives on the nature of ‘contact’ among textual cultures, and on the affordances and limitations of their fields’ methods and approaches to the topic. 

The seminar will be held in a hybrid form, with Zoom connection complementing on-site presence atthe Dickson Poon Building (China Centre, Oxford), Lucina Ho Seminar Room, on Tuesdays 16:30-18:00 UK time. Auditors are most welcome to attend in person. Zoom links will be provided on each session’s day to those who sign up here: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1BtWbVHXkBFq-CvimjVnVolSeDcpR54ssZdWUC6jf15I/edit.

Please find the programme below; abstracts may be found on our website (https://www.earlytextcultures.org/events/current-events/research-seminar-tt-22).

Programme

§ Session 1 (17 May)
Cross-Cultural Competition
(Near East, Hebrew Bible, Greece)

Joe Barber (Oxford): ‘Walk about the City and See Its Walls: An Echo of the Epic of Gilgameš in Psalm 48?’
Alexander Meeus (Mannheim): ‘Josephus’ Historiographical Theory in Against Apion: Jewish or Greek Method?’

§ Session 2 (24 May)
Scribes as Cultural Vehicles
(Near East, China and the Silk Road)

Ludovica Bertolini (Prague): ‘A Preliminary Reflection on the Use of Sumerian Literature in Scribal Education at Ugarit’ 
Christopher Foster (SOAS) & Tomas Larsen Høisæter (Western Norway): ‘Writing Between Empires: Script Use in the Tarim Basin along the Southern Silk Road’

§ Session 3 (7 June)
Materiality of Translation 
(Medieval Greek and Latin, China)

Erene Rafik Morcos (Princeton/Rome): ‘… διὰ χειρὸς τοῦ πολυαμαρτήτου ῾Ρωμανοῦ… by the hand of the great sinner Romanos …’ 
Nelson Landry (Oxford): ‘A Five Dynasties Manuscript in Relation to Tang Buddhist Culture: A Study of S.3728 from the British Library’

§ Session 4 (14 June)
Religion Through Cultural Boundaries
(Iran, India and China)

Aleksandra Wenta (Florence): ‘Early Tantric Magic: An Example of Śaiva (Hindu)-Buddhist Intertextuality in Pre-modern India’ 
Francesco Barchi (Munich): ‘Traces of “Buddhist Iranian” in Early Chinese Buddhist Translations’

We hope to see many of you there!

Script vs print vs code: the information revolution in one afternoon

Free, open to all.

When? – Monday 11 October 2021, 1 pm to 3:30 pm

Where? – Weston Library, Blackwell Hall (public foyer)

Members of the Oxford Scribes and printers from the Bodleian Bibliographical Press race to produce a page of text. Settle the 500-year-old question – which is faster?

Weblink: http://blogs.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/theconveyor/events-from-the-bodleian-centre-for-the-study-of-the-book-autumn-2021/

Header: Collage of work by Ruskin School of Art graduates and researchers