Medieval Matters: Bliþe Cristes mæsse

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

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

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

Save the Date:

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

Events:

Opportunities:

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

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

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

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

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

Scribal Identity and Agency Conference

We are pleased to announce the programme of the conference that will conclude the seminar series on Scribal Identity and Agency, hosted by the Early Text Cultures research network at the University of Oxford. The event will take place online on Zoom (UK time) on 16 – 17 December 2021 and will include talks on the Late Bronze Age city of Ugarit, ancient Rome, medieval Christianity and Islam, and monastic communities in early modern Ethiopia and Tibet. To receive the link please register here

Abstracts can be found here.

PROGRAMME (UK TIME)

DAY 1 (16 December)

4—4.15pm

Introduction & Greetings

Session 1. Urban Scribes in Mediterranean Antiquity: East and West

4.15—4.45pm

Philip Boyes (Cambridge)

Script and Identity in Late Bronze Age Ugarit

4.45—5.15pm

Benjamin Hartmann (Zurich)

Consequences of Literacy: Identity and Agency of Roman scribae

5.15—5.45pm

Joint Q&A

Session 2. (Non-)Marginal Scribal Identities  in the Christian and Islamic Middle Ages

6.15—6.45pm

Elaine Treharne (Stanford)

Networks of Female (?) Scribal Activity, 1100-1250

6.45—7.15pm

Vevian Zaki (Oxford)

To be a Scribe of Christian Arabic Texts: Skills and Challenges

7.15—7.45pm

Joint Q&A

DAY 2 (17 December)

Session 3. Inscribing Religious Communities into the Modern Era

4.45—5.15pm

Brenton Sullivan (Colgate)

Monastic Constitutions and the Dissemination of Administrative Power in Premodern Tibet

5.15—5.45pm

Denis Nosnitsin (Hamburg)

Scribes from Ethiopia (East Tigray): Practices, Profiles, Portraits

5.45—6.15pm

Joint Q&A 

6.15—6.30pm

Break

6.30—7.30pm

Final Roundtable

Everyone is extremely welcome.

Medieval Matters: Week 8

Somehow, we are already at Week 8, and the end of the term. What a busy and exciting term of medieval events it has been! We are incredibly lucky to have such a large and diverse community here at Oxford: afterall, the Durham Proverbs remind us that:

Nafað ænig mann freonda to fela.
[Nobody can have too many friends.]

Thank you so much to everyone who has organised events, given papers, or turned up to seminars this term: you have made the Oxford Medievalist community richer! Here’s our last week of events for Michaelmas 2021:

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

  • Save the date! Our OMS Lectures will take place on 8th February (Lucy Pick: title tbc) and 26th April (Caroline Danforth: Paper, Linen, Silk, and Parchment – Material Fragments from an Extinguished Convent). Full details to come shortly on our blog.
  • Announcing the publication of a new volume of essays co-edited by Laura Varnam (Oxford) and Laura Kalas (Swansea): Encountering The Book of Margery Kempe. The volume is published this month by MUP (and is currently 40% off with the discount code ‘Kempe21’). There will be an online launch with the volume contributors on Thursday 16th December at 5pm on Zoom. We’d be delighted if you wanted to join us! Sign up here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/launch-of-encountering-the-book-of-margery-kempe-registration-209741030067

EVENTS THIS WEEK:

Monday 29th November:

  • The Byzantine Graduate Seminar meets at 12.15-2pm on Teams. This week’s speaker is John-Francis Martin (Oxford), ‘Byzantine Catholics (exact title TBC)‘. To register, please contact the organiser at james.cogbill@worc.ox.ac.uk or visit the eventbrite page.
  • The Medieval Latin Manuscript Reading Group meets at 1-2pm on Teams. Contact Matthew Holford, Andrew Dunning or Tuija Ainonen to be added to the Teams call.
  • The Medieval Archaeology Seminar meets at 3pm Online via Teams. This week’s speaker is Pieter-Jan Dekkers, ‘Metal-detector finds and Flemish coastal settlement, 600-1100.’
  • The Medieval History Seminar meets at 5pm on Teams and in the Wharton Room. Attendance at the Wharton Room is by advance booking only as the room has a strict Covid-19 capacity limit. Bookings can be made at https://medieval-history-seminar.reservio.com. This week’s speaker is John Blair (Oxford), ‘Anglo-Saxon Landholding: the Unimportance of Bookland’.
  • The Old Norse Reading Group meets at 5.15pm on Teams. Please email Olivia Smith (olivia.smith2@linacre.ox.ac.uk) to be added to the mailing list and Teams group.

Tuesday 30th November:

  • The Islamicate Manuscripts and Texts Reading Colloquium 2021 meets at 3pm on Zoom. This week’s speaker is Arash Zeini, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Institute of Iranian Studies, FreieUniversität Berlin, ‘Is there a Middle Persian epistolary tradition? A survey‘.
  • The Medieval Book Club meets at 3.30pm in Magdalen College, Old Law Library. This week’s topic is ‘Alchemy and the Philosopher’s Stone’.
  • The Continental Old French Reading Group meets at 3.30pm at St Hilda’s College. Anyone interested in joining should send an email to sebastian.dows-miller@st-hildas.ox.ac.uk.
  • The Early Slavonic Webinar meets at 5pm on Zoom. This week’s speaker is Zofia Brzozowska (The University of Łódz), ‘The image of an Arab woman in medieval Rusliterature (11th–16th century)‘.
  • The Medieval Church and Culture Seminar meets at 5pm in Old Dining Hall, Harris Manchester College. This week’s speaker is David Addison (All Souls), ‘Isidore of Seville, the Carolingians, and the idea of the laity‘.
  • The Oxford University Numismatic Society Graduate and ECR Colloquium 2021: “Base Metal Coinage in Antiquity and Beyond” takes place at 5pm on Teams. To receive meeting links and further updates, please email the Secretary at daniel.etches@new.ox.ac.uk.
  • The Meet the Manuscripts Autumn Series takes place at 5.30, online. This week’s speakers will be Micah Mackay, doctoral student in the Publication Before Print Doctoral Centre and Andrew Dunning, R. W. Hunt Curator of Medieval Manuscripts, ‘Correcting Christmas Carols‘. Book online here.
  • The Women, Legends and Texts Talk takes place at 7pm at Jesus College Chapel. This week’s speaker is Laura Saetveit Miles, giving a short informal talk on ‘St. Birgitta of Sweden: late-medieval England’s favorite visionary[?]‘.

Wednesday 1st December:

  • The Medieval German Seminar meets at 11.15-12.45 in New Powell Room, Somerville College. If you are interested to be added to the mailing list for the seminar, write to Linus Ubl.
  • The Workshop on Manuscript Description and Cataloguing: encoding in TEI xml takes place at 1-2pm in the Weston Weston Library Centre for Digital Scholarship. Places strictly limited: email matthew.holford@bodleian.ox.ac.uk or andrew.dunning@bodleian.ox.ac.uk
  • The Medieval Trade Reading Group meets at 1-2pm in Mertze Tate Room, History Faculty, and Online. To be added to the mailing list and team please email Annabel Hancock.
  • The Late Antique and Byzantine Seminar meets at 5pm on Google Meet, followed by drinks at 7pm at Corpus Christi College. This week’s speaker is Elisabetta Neri (Liège), ‘Glass in transition (4th-12th c.). Production, trade and networks in southern Italy’. This week’s seminar is in collaboration with the Maison Française d’Oxford.
  • The Medieval English Research Seminar meets at 5.15pm in Lecture Theatre 2, Faculty of English. This week’s speakers will be Rachel Burns (CLASP, Oxford), ‘Psalms and Psychogeography in the Old English Solomon and Saturn’, and Anthony Harris (CLASP, Oxford), ‘Science and Literature – a Marriage of Ideas: “The Sun in the South” Revisited’. For further information, contact daniel.wakelin@ell.ox.ac.uk.

Thursday 2nd December:

  • The Middle High German Reading Group meets at 9-10.30am on Zoom. This week’s topic is ‘Der Renner: Ziegenschwank (Hugo von Trimberg) ‘. If you have any questions or want to participate, please send an e-mail to melina.schmidt@lincoln.ox.ac.uk.
  • The Archives de l’Athos reading group meets at 3-4pm at Campion Hall. All interested in Byzantine history, non-Latin diplomatics, Greek palaeography or diplomatic edition are welcome. Contact marek.jankowiak@history.ox.ac.uk or olivier.delouis@campion.ox.ac.uk to sign up and receive the texts in advance.
  • The Imaging Belief Seminar meets at 4pm on Zoom. The speakers will be Prof Boaz Huss, ‘“Martyr of the Word”: Imagining Abraham Abulafia in Modern Literature, Arts and Popular Culture’. and Prof Annette Volfing, ‘Misdirected Visions: Doubt and Confusion in the Middle High German Sister Books’. Further information on Oxford Talks.The seminar will take place on Zoom. For the link, please email either rey.conquer@pmb.ox.ac.uk or mary.boyle@mod-langs.ox.ac.uk
  • The Greek and Latin Reading Group meets at 4pm in St Edmund Hall. Room TBC: contact John Colley or Jenyth Evans to be added to the mailing list. This week’s text will be Homer, Iliad, 19.303-39.
  • The Seminar in Medieval and Renaissance Music takes place at 5-6.45pm on Zoom. If you are planning to attend, please register online. This week’s speaker is Brianne Dolce (Fitzjames Research Fellow in Music, Merton College, Oxford), ‘The Confraternity of Jongleurs and Bourgeois of Arras: A Reappraisal‘. The Discussants are Catherine A. Bradley (University of Oslo) and Barbara Haggh-Huglo (University of Maryland, College Park).
  • The Celtic Seminar meets at 5pm on Zoom. For Zoom link, contact a.elias@wales.ac.uk. This week’s speaker is Michael Cronin (Trinity College Dublin), ‘Minority journeying in the Age of the Anthropocene‘.
  • The North Sea Crossings Virtual Panel takes place at 5pm, online. The discussion will be streamed on this page and on the YouTube channel.  

Friday 3rd December:

  • Pre-Modern Conversations meets at 11am-12pm on Teams. For more information and to be added the the PMC Teams Channel, email lena.vosding AT mod-langs.ox.ac.uk.



OPPORTUNITIES:


Finally, some more wisdom on friendship from the Durham Proverbs:

Freond deah feor ge neah; byð near nyttra.
A friend is useful, whether far or near (near is better though).

I interpret this to mean: let’s make the most of the closeness of our friends and colleagues before we all scatter after the end of term!

A Medievalist enjoying a colleague’s research paper (complete with flashy powerpoint presentation!)
Merton College, MS 249, f. 10v.
View image and text in the Taylor Edition by Sebastian Dows-Miller
https://editions.mml.ox.ac.uk/editions/bestiary/#LeunCocs

Medieval Matters: Week 7

It’s not even December yet, but the Oxford Christmas lights are now twinkling away on High Street and in colleges, Christmas trees have started to pop up in restaurants, and Oxmas is just around the corner. For those people starting to panic about buying gifts, here’s some wisdom for you from the Old English Maxims I:

Maþþum oþres weorð,
gold mon sceal gifan.

[One treasure deserves another; gold should be given away.]

We have a veritable wealth of medieval treasures for you this week, and it is my great delight to ‘give away’ their schedule to you, so that you might enjoy them:

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

  • Upcoming conference and exhibition on Anglo-Dutch Relations: As part of the Leverhulme project The Literary Heritage of Anglo-Dutch Relations 1050-1600, by Ad Putter (Bristol) and Elizabeth Van Houts (Cambridge), there will be a hybrid conference in the Bodleian Library (6-8 January) to accompany an exhibition of manuscripts and early printed books (3 December 2021 – April 2022) on the same subject. There is also a livestream panel discussion to mark the opening of the exhibition on 2 December at 5PM, online.


EVENTS THIS WEEK:

Monday 22nd November:

  • The Byzantine Graduate Seminar meets at 12.15-2pm on Teams. This week’s speaker is Callan Meynell (Oxford), ‘Roman? Greek? Byzantine? Some thoughts on the trial of Maximus the Confessor and Roman identity‘. To register, please contact the organiser at james.cogbill@worc.ox.ac.uk or visit the eventbrite page.
  • The Medieval Latin Manuscript Reading Group meets at 1-2pm on Teams. Contact Matthew Holford, Andrew Dunning or Tuija Ainonen to be added to the Teams call.
  • The Medieval History Seminar meets at 5pm on Teams and in the Wharton Room. Attendance at the Wharton Room is by advance booking only as the room has a strict Covid-19 capacity limit. Bookings can be made at https://medieval-history-seminar.reservio.com. This week’s speaker is Rebecca Darley (Leeds) ‘The Diffusion of Governmentality in the Western Indian Ocean, c. 300-800 CE’.

Tuesday 23rd November:

  • The Islamicate Manuscripts and Texts Reading Colloquium 2021 meets at 3pm on Zoom. This week’s speaker is Arietta Papaconstantinou, Associate Professor, Department of Classics, Reading University, ‘Letters from Early Islamic Egypt‘.
  • The Medieval Book Club meets at 3.30pm in Magdalen College, Old Law Library. This week’s topic is ‘Invoking Rituals’.
  • The Early Slavonic Webinar meets at 5pm on Zoom. This week’s speaker is Florentina Badalanova-Geller (Royal Anthropological Institute), ‘Ascending to the DivineScriptorium (The Concept of Heavenly Writings in the Slavonic Apocalypse of Enoch)‘.
  • The Medieval Church and Culture Seminar meets at 5pm in Old Dining Hall, Harris Manchester College. This week’s speaker is Benjamin Thompson (Somerville), ‘Open or Closed? Late Medieval Monasteries and their Visitations‘.
  • The Medieval French Research Seminar meets at 5pm at Maison française d’Oxford. This week’s speaker is Dr Joseph Mason (New College, Oxford), ‘Sound, Music and Violence in the Old French Pastourelle’.
  • The Oxford Numismatic Society meets at 5pm on Teams. This week’s speaker will be Dr. Anna Blomley (New College, University of Oxford), ‘Between Magnesia and Macedon: The Bronze Coinages of Eastern Mount Ossa (Thessaly)‘. To receive meeting links and further updates, please email the Secretary at daniel.etches@new.ox.ac.uk.

Wednesday 24th November:

  • The Medieval German Seminar meets at 11.15-12.45 in New Powell Room, Somerville College. If you are interested to be added to the mailing list for the seminar, write to Linus Ubl.
  • The British Archaeological Association Postgraduate Conference takes place online at 1-5:30pm. Register for the conference here.
  • The Workshop on Manuscript Description and Cataloguing: Physical description and provenance takes place at 1-2pm in the Weston Library Horton Room. Places strictly limited: email matthew.holford@bodleian.ox.ac.uk or andrew.dunning@bodleian.ox.ac.uk
  • The Late Antique and Byzantine Seminar meets at 5pm on Google Meet, followed by drinks at 7pm at Corpus Christi College. This week’s speakers are Luke Lavan (Kent), ‘Everyday life beyond Symeon the Fool‘, Geoffrey Greatrex (Ottawa), ‘From Constantinople and its hinterland to Theophanes and Procopius‘, and Vincenzo Ruggieri (Pontificio Istituto Orientale), title tbc.
  • The Medieval English Research Seminar meets at 5.15pm in Lecture Theatre 2, Faculty of English. This week’s speaker will be Carl Kears (King’s College, London), ‘MS Junius 11: A Poetic Manuscript’. For further information, contact daniel.wakelin@ell.ox.ac.uk.

Thursday 25th November:

  • The Middle High German Reading Group meets at 9-10.30am on Zoom. This week’s topic is Die Suche nach dem glücklichen Ehepaar (Heinrich Kaufringer). If you have any questions or want to participate, please send an e-mail to melina.schmidt@lincoln.ox.ac.uk.
  • The British Archaeological Association Postgraduate Conference takes place online at 1-5:30pm. Register for the conference here.
  • The Archives de l’Athos reading group meets at 3-4pm at Corpus Christi College. All interested in Byzantine history, non-Latin diplomatics, Greek palaeography or diplomatic edition are welcome. Contact marek.jankowiak@history.ox.ac.uk or olivier.delouis@campion.ox.ac.uk to sign up and receive the texts in advance.
  • The Greek and Latin Reading Group meets at 4pm in St Edmund Hall. Room TBC: contact John Colley or Jenyth Evans to be added to the mailing list. This week’s text will be Seneca, Apocolocyntosis 10-11.
  • The Celtic Seminar meets at 5.15pm on Teams. For Teams link, contact David Willis. This week’s speaker is Deborah Hayden (Maynooth), ‘Cryptography, linguistic origin legends and medical education in medieval Ireland‘.
  • The Old English Reading Group meets at 5.30-7pm. For more information and to be added to the mailing list please email Eugenia Vorobeva.

Friday 26th November:

  • The Seminar in the History of the Book takes place at 5pm in the TS Eliot Lecture Theatre, Merton College. The speaker is Dr Daniel Sawyer, Merton College, ‘Manuscript Fragments and Manuscript Concepts‘.
  • The Anglo-Norman Reading Group meets at 5pm on Zoom. For texts, joining instructions, and further information, please email Stephanie Hathaway or Jane Bliss.

Saturday 27th November:

  • The Church Monuments Society Lecture Series: Whose Dead in Vaulted Arches Lie meets at 5pm on Zoom. This week’s talk is ‘A crate of bones & gristle’: Welsh cadaver tombs & the art of the macabre’ with Professor Madeleine Gray. Attendance is free, but places must be booked via Eventbrite.



OPPORTUNITIES:

  • Call for Papers: Speculum Themed Issue: “Race, Race-Thinking, and Identity in the Global Middle Ages”: We invite proposals for full-length essays (8,000-11,000 words) that interrogate race, race-thinking, and identity in the Middle Ages. The themed issue on race, race-thinking, and identity and the articles selected for it will be in keeping with Speculum’s purview as stated in the Guidelines for Submission: “preference is ordinarily given to articles of interest to readers in more than one discipline and beyond the specialty in question. Articles taking a more global approach to medieval studies are also welcomed, particularly when the topic engages with one or more of the core areas of study outlined above. Submissions with appeal to a broad cross-section of medievalists are highly encouraged.” Proposals should be no more than 500 words in length and should be submitted by email to cord.whitaker@wellesley.edu with SPECULUM PROPOSAL in the subject line by 31 January 2022. The authors of selected proposals will be notified by 28 February 2022. Completed essays will be expected by 1 December 2022.
  • Call for Papers: 16th GRACEH conference in European History. If you are a graduate student, please consider submitting an abstract to the 16th Annual Graduate Conference in European History (hopefully in-person at Oxford, 11-13 April 2022). The theme for this year is ‘Nature’, and the deadline for the submission of abstract is the 15th of December. Please find the link here (https://graceh2022.wordpress.com/blog/), along with the CFP.


Finally, some more Old English wisdom regarding gift-giving:

Gyfu gumena byþ gleng and herenys,
wraþu and wyrþscype.

Gift-giving amonst men is a glory an honour, support and worthiness.

In other words: not only is it lovely to give gifts to people, doing so will bring you some honour too!

A medievalist finds the perfect gift for a colleague who likes to wear scarves
Merton College, MS 249, f. 4r.
View image and text in the Taylor Edition by Sebastian Dows-Miller
https://editions.mml.ox.ac.uk/editions/bestiary/#Cerf

Medieval Matters: Week 6

Week 6 is here, which means that we are more than half-way through the term. Where did all of that time go? As we are all busy with our seminars, research, admissions, deadlines and teaching commitments, a little piece of advice from the Durham Proverbs:

Betere byþ oft feðre þonne oferfeðre.
It is better to be often loaded than overloaded.

For those looking to often-load their calendar, we have a smorgasbord of delights this week, from a workshop on Medieval and Biblical models of gender and sexuality to a lecture on Christian Ethiopian and Eritrean manuscripts! This week’s events are listed below:

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

  • Online Conference: British Archaeological Association Postgraduate Conference, 24–25 November 2021. The British Archaeological Association are excited to present a diverse conference which includes postgraduates and early career researchers in the fields of medieval history of art, architecture, and archaeology. This postgraduate conference offers an opportunity for research students at all levels from universities across the UK and abroad to present their research and exchange ideas. Register for the conference here.


EVENTS THIS WEEK:

Monday 15th November:

  • The Byzantine Graduate Seminar meets at 12.15-2pm on Teams. This week’s speaker is Nicola Ernst (Exeter), ‘The Athanasian Emperors: Reconsidering Orthodox and Heretical Emperors in the 340s‘. To register, please contact the organiser at james.cogbill@worc.ox.ac.uk or visit the eventbrite page.
  • The Medieval Latin Manuscript Reading Group meets at 1-2pm on Teams. Contact Matthew Holford, Andrew Dunning or Tuija Ainonen to be added to the Teams call.
  • The Continental Old French Reading Group meets at 3pm at St Hilda’s College. Anyone interested in joining should send an email to sebastian.dows-miller@st-hildas.ox.ac.uk.
  • The Medieval Archaeology Seminar meets at 3pm at Institute of Archaeology Lecture Room and Online via Teams. This week’s speaker is David Petts, ‘Recent work on the early medieval monastery at Lindisfarne‘.   Please note: Attendance at the Lecture Room is by advance booking only as the room has astrict Covid-19 capacity limit. Bookings can be made here.
  • The East of Byzantium Lecture (Mary Jaharis Center for Byzantine Art and Culture) takes place at 5pm on Zoom. The speaker will be Sören Stark, Institute for the Study of the Ancient World, New York University, ‘Eternal ‘Silk Road’? The Rise of Sogdiana during the 3rd–4th Centuries A.D‘. As per last week’s email, advance registration is required. Registration closes at 2pm on November 15, 2021. Register here: https://eastofbyzantium.org/upcoming-events/.
  • The Medieval History Seminar meets at 5pm on Teams and in the Wharton Room. Attendance at the Wharton Room is by advance booking only as the room has a strict Covid-19 capacity limit. Bookings can be made at https://medieval-history-seminar.reservio.com. This week’s speaker is Janet Burton (UWTSD Lampeter), ‘Cistercian? How Cistercian? The Example of late medieval Wales’.
  • The Old Norse Reading Group meets at 5.15pm on Teams. Please email Olivia Smith (olivia.smith2@linacre.ox.ac.uk) to be added to the mailing list and Teams group.

Tuesday 16th November:

  • The Islamicate Manuscripts and Texts Reading Colloquium 2021 meets at 3pm on Zoom. This week’s speaker is Ofir Haim, Postdoctoral Fellow, Mandel Scholion Research Center, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, ‘Judeo-Persian Correspondence from Buyid and Ghaznavid Territories (10th-11th Centuries)‘.
  • The Medieval Book Club meets at 3.30pm in Magdalen College, Old Law Library. This week’s topic is ‘The Green Man and Other Creatures’
  • The Early Slavonic Webinar meets at 5pm on Zoom. This week’s speaker is Nicholas Mayhew (University of Oxford), ‘Reinterpreting Russian Orthodox Canons Against Homosexuality‘.
  • The Medieval Church and Culture Seminar meets at 5pm in Old Dining Hall, Harris Manchester College. This week’s speaker is Roy Flechner (UCD), ‘The moral economy of burying your dead: some early medieval attitudes towards burial and memorializing‘.
  • The Oxford Numismatic Society meets at 5pm on Teams. This week’s speaker will be Chris Howgego (Heberden Coin Room / Wolfson College, University of Oxford), ‘Alexandria and Rome: The Special Relationship?‘. To receive meeting links and further updates, please email the Secretary at daniel.etches@new.ox.ac.uk.
  • Bibitura Dantis Oxonensis meets at 6pm at The Anchor. Today’s text will be Purgatorio 2. For enquiries, please email Lachlan Hughes.

Wednesday 17th November:

  • The Medieval German Seminar meets at 11.15-12.45 in New Powell Room, Somerville College. If you are interested to be added to the mailing list for the seminar, write to Linus Ubl.
  • The Workshop on Manuscript Description and Cataloguing: Types and levels of description; describing textual content and decoration takes place at 1-2pm in the Weston Library Horton Room. Places strictly limited: email matthew.holford@bodleian.ox.ac.uk or andrew.dunning@bodleian.ox.ac.uk
  • The Medieval Trade Reading Group meets at 1-2pm in Mertze Tate Room, History Faculty, and Online. To be added to the mailing list and team please email Annabel Hancock.
  • The CMTC Lecture, ‘Christian Ethiopian and Eritrean manuscript culture’ meets at 5pm on Zoom. The speaker will be Alessandro Bausi (African/Ethiopian Studies, University of Hamburg). This paper aims at providing non-Ethiopianists with an overview of the development of textual studies in Christian Ethiopian and Eritrean manuscript culture thanks to some new research trends from the last few years. Attendance is free of charge, but sign-up is mandatory: you can sign-up here. We will send a Zoom link to all participants on Monday 15th November. If you cannot access Google Forms please sign up by sending an email to gabriele.rota@queens.ox.ac.uk.
  • The Medieval English Research Seminar meets at 5.15pm in Lecture Theatre 2, Faculty of English. This week’s speakers will be Colleen Curran (CLASP, Oxford), ‘The Manuscripts of Alcuin’s Carmina’, and Patricia O Connor (CLASP, Oxford), ‘Drawing the Reader’s Attention: Dryhthelm’s Vision of the Otherworld and the Archangel St Michael in CCCC, MS 41’. For further information, contact daniel.wakelin@ell.ox.ac.uk.
  • The Late Antique and Byzantine Seminar meets at 5pm on Google Meet, followed by drinks at 7pm at Corpus Christi College. This week’s speaker is Luisa Andriollo (Pisa), ‘Writing and reading anti-Islamic polemics in Byzantium: the ‘Conversation of the monk Euthymios with a Saracen philosopher’ (12th c.)‘.

Thursday 18th November:

  • The Middle High German Reading Group meets at 9-10.30am on Zoom. This week’s topic is ‘Tristan (Gottfried von Straßburg)’. If you have any questions or want to participate, please send an e-mail to melina.schmidt@lincoln.ox.ac.uk.
  • The Archives de l’Athos reading group meets at 3-4pm at Corpus Christi College. All interested in Byzantine history, non-Latin diplomatics, Greek palaeography or diplomatic edition are welcome. Contact marek.jankowiak@history.ox.ac.uk or olivier.delouis@campion.ox.ac.uk to sign up and receive the texts in advance.
  • The Greek and Latin Reading Group meets at 4pm in St Edmund Hall. Room TBC: contact John Colley or Jenyth Evans to be added to the mailing list. This week’s text will be Thucydides, History of the Peloponnesian War, 2.37-39.
  • The Celtic Seminar meets at 5pm on Zoom. For Zoom link, contact a.elias@wales.ac.uk. This week’s speaker is Eirian Alwen Jones, ‘‘Tua Gloddaith, tŷ gwleddoedd’: Tomos Mostyn, Ysgwïer, a’r traddodiad barddol‘.

Friday 19th November:

  • Pre-Modern Conversations meets at 11am-12pm on Teams. For more information and to be added the the PMC Teams Channel, email lena.vosding AT mod-langs.ox.ac.uk.
  • The ‘Body, Gender, Purity, and Sexual Pleasure: Biblical and Medieval Models’ Workshop takes place at 1-2.30pm at Saint John’s College, New Seminar Room. This workshop brings together expertise from the early, central, and late Middle Ages (respectively, Conrad Leyser, Neta Bodner, and Alice Raw), in conversation with Laura Quick’s expertise in the Hebrew Bible. Participants are invited to read with us to question how the body was treated, even used, as a vehicle for “correct” piety in ways that both differ and intersect across the Middle Ages. Spaces are limited to 30 participants; please sign up here.
  • A public celebration of Oxford Castle at 950 years takes place at 6-10pm. all welcome! For the first time, town and gown come together to tell a shared and diverse history of inclusion and exclusion of Oxford’s Castle, with a stunning projection onto the Castle and socially-distanced interactive games. This event is free, but participants should register in advance via Eventbrite.

Saturday 20th November:

  • The Church Monuments Society Lecture Series: Whose Dead in Vaulted Arches Lie meets at 5pm on Zoom. This week’s talk is  ‘Beneath the ledgerstone: Vaults and their contents’ : A lecture by Dr Julian Litten on the contents of burial vaults. Attendance is free, but places must be booked via Eventbrite.



OPPORTUNITIES:

  • Call for Papers: New Visions of Julian of Norwich: Somerville College, Oxford, 15th and 16th July 2022. This international hybrid conference will be the first academic event to focus solely on Julian’s writing, life, contexts, and influence long after her death. We invite papers from any or multiple disciplines and deploying a wide range of methodologies, focusing on all aspects of Julian’s writing, life, contexts, or afterlife. We especially encourage proposals from graduate students and early-career researchers. Please submit abstracts (up to 300 words) for a 15-minute paper or 10-minute round table contribution, accompanied by a short biography, to julianofnorwichconference@gmail.com by 1 February 2022.
  • Call for Papers: CCASNC 2022, ‘Marvels and Miracles’. The Cambridge Colloquium in Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic is an annual interdisciplinary graduate conference encompassing all aspects of the British Isles, Ireland, and Scandinavia in the Middle Ages. A selection of the papers will be published in the departmental journal Quaestio Insularis. This year’s theme will be ‘Marvels and Miracles’. We invite graduate students and recent graduates to submit abstracts of 250 words for papers no longer than 20 minutes to ccasnc@gmail.com by the 1st of December 2021.
  • Calling all those interested in manuscripts! The ‘Handschriftenportal’, a database-in-the-making for all manuscripts held in German libraries, is asking for volunteers to test their beta version of the platform. It is crucial that this information is also going to be accessible for an Anglophone audience, so it will be hugely helpful if you were willing (and it should be fun) to do a think-aloud zoom exploration of the amazingly rich collection of metadata, catalogue information and images, giving feedback on usability (and English terminology!). All information here.


And finally, some advice for anyone feeling more oferfeðre than oft feðre at this stage of the term:

Þæs ofereode, þisses swa mæg.
That thing passed; so will this.

In other words: hold on in there!

A manuscript illumination of an ibex eating something that has been trimmed away
A medievalist, feeling somewhat oferfeðre, attempts to hide from an oncoming deadline
Merton College, MS 249, f. 10v.
View image and text in the Taylor Edition by Sebastian Dows-Miller
https://editions.mml.ox.ac.uk/editions/bestiary/#Ibex

Online Conference: British Archaeological Association Postgraduate Conference, 24–25 November 2021

The British Archaeological Association are excited to present a diverse conference which includes postgraduates and early career researchers in the fields of medieval history of art, architecture, and archaeology. This postgraduate conference offers an opportunity for research students at all levels from universities across the UK and abroad to present their research and exchange ideas.
Register for the conference here:  https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZMtd-2urzMtGtII4nZmnWgWYGx7g9uBG886

Conference programme

Wednesday 24th November 2021

1:00–1:10 pm (GMT) — Welcome

Space, Place, and Language in Medieval Architecture

1:10–2:30 pm (GMT)

Paro Tomar (Jawaharlal Nehru University)

Mosque Building By Artisanal Communities in Western India – Thirteenth to Seventeenth Centuries C.E

Alfie Robinson (University of York)

‘Like, or Better’: Building Contracts and Late-Medieval Perceptions of Quality in Architecture

Michele Guida Conte (Independent Scholar)

Liturgical spaces in Vicentine churches between the 13th and the 15th centuries

2:30–2:45 pm (GMT) — Break

Marginalised Communities

2:45–3.45 pm (GMT)

Aitor Boada-Benito (Complutense University, Madrid)

Natural landscape and Christian communities in the Sasanian Empire: How martyrs and environment developed a religious identity

Sophie Johnson (University of Bristol)

Marginalised in medieval Europe: the underrepresentation of women artists in the history of medieval art

3:45–4:00 pm (GMT) — Break

Materiality and Devotion

4:00–5:20 pm (GMT)

Emily Fu (University of Edinburgh)

Real Presences: Late Medieval Wood Sculpted Crucifixions

Soyoung Joo (Courtauld Institute of Art)

Flaying and Identity c.1500: Skin as Text, Surface, and Clothing

Andy Earnshaw (Oxford University)

Her Final Gift: Revealing Cultural Memory and Emotion in a 12th Century Jet Cross from St John’s Priory, Pontefract

5:20 pm (GMT) — End

Thursday 25th November 2021

1:00–1:10 pm (GMT) — Welcome back

Materiality, Memory, and Identity

1:10–2:10 pm (GMT)

Dr Ellora Bennett (Independent Scholar)

One will die young’: Juvenile weapon burials and processing loss in early medieval England

Dr Julia Faiers (University of St Andrews)

Bishop Louis d’Amboise and the invisible tomb: constructing piety in Albi cathedral

2:10–2:20 pm (GMT) — Break

Iconography and Devotion

2:20–3.20 pm (GMT)

Wiktoria Muryn (University of Glasgow)

Holy (Mis)conceptions: Late Medieval Depictions of the Visitation Featuring the Occupied Womb and their Female Monastic Audience

Daria Melnikov (Queen’s University)

The Guthlac Roll: Artwork and Model Book, circa 1200–1300

3:20–3:30 pm (GMT) — Break

The Building and the City

3:30–4:30 pm (GMT)

Francesca Rognoni & Filippo Gemelli (IUAV – University of Venice and Università degli studi di Pavia)

The Use of Westbau in Medieval Architecture in Central Italy: new data for the façade of Ascoli Cathedral

Dr Rafia Khan (Nirma University, Ahmedabad)

Monument and Monumentality in the Medieval Islamic City: Perspectives from the City and Province of Chanderi

4:30pm (GMT) — Closing remarks

Find out more here.

Centre for Manuscript and Text Cultures at Queen’s: “Christian Ethiopian and Eritrean manuscript culture”


Please join us for an online talk hosted by the Centre for Manuscript and Text Cultures at The Queen’s College in the University of Oxford. Our centre promotes inter-disciplinary discussion among scholars and students interested in manuscripts and material culture in the premodern world. So your participation is most welcome regardless of your field of specialty. 

We are meeting on Zoom on Wednesday 17th November at 5,00-7,00pm (UK time). 

Alessandro Bausi (African/Ethiopian Studies, University of Hamburg) 

“Christian Ethiopian and Eritrean manuscript culture” 

This paper aims at providing non-Ethiopianists with an overview of the development of textual studies in Christian Ethiopian and Eritrean manuscript culture thanks to some new research trends from the last few years. These trends—based on the new manuscript evidence that has been collected and analysed by digitisation and cataloguing projects over several decades—have now started impacting mainstream studies, particularly on late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, and have contributed to reconfiguring the civilisation of Aksum and of its later mediaeval incarnations within a much wider context. Ultimately, these findings provide a deeper understanding of the dynamics of preservation, recovery, and loss in the later Ethiopian and Eritrean tradition. 

Here is a link to the sign-up form. Attendance is free of charge but sign-up is mandatory. We will send a Zoom link to all participants on Monday next week (15th November). If you cannot access Google Forms please sign up by sending an email to gabriele.rota@queens.ox.ac.uk.  

Medieval Matters: Week 5

The Old English Maxims II tells us that ‘winter byð cealdost’ (‘winter is coldest’) and I’m sure we’re all feeling the chill. It is my civic duty as an Italian to remind you to wrap up warmly to avoid a colpo d’aria, and my academic duty as an Old English scholar to inform you that winter is officially here! In fact, the Old English Menologium (Metrical Calendar) informs us in no uncertain terms that November 7th is the start of the coldest season:

Syþþan wintres dæg wide gangeð
on syx nihtum, sigelbeortne genimð
hærfest mid herige hrimes and snawes

[Six nights after that (i.e. November 1st, the feast of All Saints) Winter’s Day comes far and wide, and seizes sun-bright autumn with an army of ice and snow]

Whilst it might be cold outside, we can all take shelter in the warmth of a medieval seminar, or indeed, in our own homes, joining in online! Here is this week’s selection to keep the cold and the dark at bay:


ANNOUNCEMENTS:

  • On Monday, November 15, 2021 at 5pm the East of Byzantium Lecture (Maray Jaharis Center for Byzantine Art and Culture) will take place on Zoom. The speaker will be Sören Stark, Institute for the Study of the Ancient World, New York University, ‘Eternal ‘Silk Road’? The Rise of Sogdiana during the 3rd–4th Centuries A.D.’ Advance registration is required. Registration closes at 2pm on November 15, 2021. Register: https://eastofbyzantium.org/upcoming-events/


EVENTS THIS WEEK:

Monday 8th November:

  • The Byzantine Graduate Seminar meets at 12.15-2pm on Teams. This week’s speaker is Jessica Varsallona (Birmingham), ‘Michael VIII Palaiologos and the southern shore of Constantinople‘. To register, please contact the organiser at james.cogbill@worc.ox.ac.uk or visit the eventbrite page.
  • The Medieval Latin Manuscript Reading Group meets at 1-2pm on Teams. Contact Matthew Holford, Andrew Dunning or Tuija Ainonen to be added to the Teams call.
  • The Medieval Archaeology Seminar meets at 3pm in the Institute of Archaeology, Seminar Room (limited places must be booked) and on Teams. This week’s speaker is Helen Gittos (Oxford), ‘Sutton Hoo & Syria: The Anglo-Saxons who served in the Byzantine Army?’.
  • The Medieval History Seminar meets at 5pm on Teams and in the Wharton Room. Attendance at the Wharton Room is by advance booking only as the room has a strict Covid-19 capacity limit. Bookings can be made at https://medieval-history-seminar.reservio.com. This week’s speaker is Len Scales (Durham), ‘The Holy Roman Empire: Global Histories 800-1519′.

Tuesday 9th November:

  • The Islamicate Manuscripts and Texts Reading Colloquium 2021 meets at 3pm on Zoom. This week’s speaker is Adam Flowers, Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, University of Chicago, ‘The Qur’an, Early Arabic Letters, and P.Utah.Ar.120′
  • The Medieval Book Club meets at 3.30pm in Magdalen College, Old Law Library. This week’s topic is ‘Supernatural Natural Sites’.
  • The Early Slavonic Webinar meets at 5pm on Zoom. This week’s speaker is Iulia Nitescu (Universityof Bucharest/New Europe College), ‘Let Your Brother be to youlike a Heathen and a Tax Collector’: Fashioning an OrthodoxDynastic Identity during the Reign of Ivan III of Moscow.
  • The Medieval Church and Culture Seminar meets at 5pm in Old Dining Hall, Harris Manchester College. This week’s speaker is Ian Forrest (Oriel), ‘Fragments of a feminist history of the late medieval clergy‘.
  • The Medieval French Research Seminar meets at 5pm at Maison française d’Oxford. This week’s speaker is Prof. Catherine Croizy-Naquet (Université Paris III), ‘Les Historiens et la langue’.

Wednesday 10th November:

  • The Medieval German Seminar meets at 11.15-12.45 in New Powell Room, Somerville College. If you are interested to be added to the mailing list for the seminar, write to Linus Ubl.
  • The TORCH Book at Lunchtime talk this week is on The Oxford Handbook of Danteedited by Professor Manuele Gragnolati, Professor Elena Lombardi and Professor Francesca Southerden. The talk takes place at 1-2pm, and you can watch live online.
  • The Seminar in Medieval and Renaissance Music takes place at 4.30-6.45pm on Zoom. If you are planning to attend, please register online. This week’s speaker is Paweł Gancarczyk (Associate Professor, Institute of Art, Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw), ‘Music in a vanished kingdom: traces of fifteenth-century polyphony in the Teutonic Order State in Prussia‘. The discussants are Lenka Hlávková (Charles University, Prague) and Reinhard Strohm (University of Oxford).
  • The Late Antique and Byzantine Seminar meets at 5pm on Google Meet, followed by drinks at 7pm at Corpus Christi College. This week’s speakers are Theodora Antonopoulou (Athens), ‘Preaching in the Second Iconoclasm. The homilies of Joseph of Thessalonica’, and Stephanos Efthymiadis (Open University of Cyprus), ‘People and Power in Hagia Sophia (532-1204)
  • The Medieval English Research Seminar meets at 5.15pm in Lecture Theatre 2, Faculty of English. This week’s speaker will be Sarah McNamer (Georgetown), ‘A New Setting for the Pearl Poet’. For further information, contact daniel.wakelin@ell.ox.ac.uk.

Thursday 11th November:

Friday 12th November:

  • The Anglo-Norman Reading Group meets at 5pm on Zoom. For texts, joining instructions, and further information, please email Stephanie Hathaway or Jane Bliss.

Saturday 13th November:

  • The Church Monuments Society Lecture Series: Whose Dead in Vaulted Arches Lie meets at 5pm on Zoom. This week’s talk is ‘Death in the Churchyard: Skeletons, skulls and bones on slate tombstones with Elizabeth Blood’. Attendance is free, but places must be booked via Eventbrite.
  • ‘Serata Dantesca’: Performances in Celebration of Dante will take place at 7.30pm at Holywell Music Room, Holywell Street, Oxford. A programme of music, poetry and dance presented in the Holywell Music Room, featuring performers who are almost all Oxford-based teachers, researchers and students. In addition to Italian and English readings and some older choral and solo musical compositions, new translations and settings have been specially commissioned for this commemorative occasion marking the 700th anniversary of the death of the great Italian poet. For tickets, please visit the Eventbrite page.



OPPORTUNITIES:

  • SCRIPTO at St Gall 2022: Medieval Writing Culture (V to XV c.): The Abbey Library of Saint Gall and the Chair for Mediaeval and Renaissance Latin at Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nuremberg organize their third Summer School Medieval Writing Culture (V to XV century), which will be held from 16 till 20 May 2022. This SCRIPTO Summer School Saint Gall (SSSS) offers an introduction to history, morphology and cultural impact of western script. The application deadline is 1 March 2022. Those applicants accepted to the course will be charged 475€/500CHF (Accommodation included). It may be possible to receive a scholarship – if you are interested in a scholarship, send – an application for it together with your regular application. Further information (including the application form) may be obtained online: www.scripto.mittellatein.phil.fau.de.


Finally, some more wintery Old English wisdom from Bede:

he on þa tid þe he inne bið ne bið hrinen mid þy storme þæs wintres
[He during the time that he is inside will not be touched by winter’s storm]

I interpret this advice to mean: when it’s cold and dark outside, go to seminars! There might even be warming drinks afterwards…

A Medievalist wrapped up warmly in his winter coat but laments that he forgot his gloves and now has cold hands… Merton College, MS 249, f. 3v.
View image and text in the Taylor Edition by Sebastian Dows-Miller
https://editions.mml.ox.ac.uk/editions/bestiary/#Dorcon

Environmental History Working Group


We are organising a couple of informal meetings this term for those interested in studying the past in ways that recognise the interactions and interconnectedness of animals, plants, humans, other beings, and the environment. This will be a space to talk about exciting developments in our field, interdisciplinary conversations, and new ideas and approaches. Discussion will be informal, and we encourage anyone at all interested in these kinds of approaches to come along, regardless of research specialism or presumed existing knowledge. Undergraduates are also welcome, particularly if they are considering a dissertation or further study in this area.

The first meeting will take place at 12.30-2.00pm on 11th November at St Catherine’s College, in Seminar Room 2.2. If you are interested in getting involved, please get in touch with susannah.bain@history.ox.ac.uk and huw.jones@history.ox.ac.uk.

Workshop: Body, Gender, Purity, and Sexual Pleasure: Biblical and Medieval Models

Friday November 19th 13.00-14.30 

Location: St John’s College, New Seminar Room

In medieval Europe, Jews and Christians put some of the same cultural resources (the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament) to different uses. Stereotypes abound here: Judaism is seen to be preoccupied with ritual pollution, Christianity with moral purity; Judaism is anxious about food, but celebrates marital sex. Christianity has fewer food laws, but many more anxieties about sexual activity—and about the body as a potential source of sin. All of these dichotomic assumptions invite renewed critical scrutiny—especially in a comparative framework—and a re-consideration of the biblical directives both cultures were grappling with.  

This workshop brings together expertise from the early, central, and late Middle Ages (respectively, Conrad Leyser, Neta Bodner, and Alice Raw), in conversation with Laura Quick’s expertise in the Hebrew Bible. Participants are invited to read with us to question how the body was treated, even used, as a vehicle for “correct” piety in ways that both differ and intersect across the Middle Ages. 

Spaces are limited to 30 participants; please sign up here: https://forms.gle/n6nvcCC4Us9C7R398