Conference Report: Hyggnaþing

by Natasha Bradley

Hyggnaþing (‘Meeting of Minds’): A Graduate Conference in Old Norse Studies took place on the 11th of August 2021. A brand-new conference co-organised by Natasha Bradley, a DPhil student at Lincoln College, Oxford, and Ben Chennells, a PhD student at University College London, Hyggnaþing attracted speakers and attendees from across the globe for a one-day online conference exploring all things Old Norse.

Hyggnaþing was created in response to the isolation that has impacted everyone over this past year and a half. With constant lockdowns, library closures, and restrictions on events, postgraduate study has become even more challenging and isolating, with fewer opportunities for students to engage with the academic community. Hyggnaþing was created with connection in mind, providing a virtual space to build networks and share research in a welcoming environment. For this, Hyggnaþing made use of both Zoom and Wonder, a platform which simulates the experience of an in-person meeting and allows for online ‘mingling’.

After some opening remarks from the organisers, the conference began with a panel on the significance of space in saga literature, chaired by Oxford’s own Olivia Elliott Smith. The first paper was by Grace O’Duffy (University of Cambridge), whose paper explored the development of Hǫttr from Hrólf saga kraka, as he progresses from the bone-pile to a masculine ‘ideal’. Then Mary O’Connor (University of Oxford) spoke about courtly space in two Old Norse riddarasǫgur: Ívens saga and Erex saga.

After a quick screen break, the second session of the day, chaired by Sigrun Borgen Wik (Trinity College Dublin), began with a paper from Basil Arnould Price (University of York). Basil’s paper explored the idea of failure as resistance in Grettis saga and Gests þáttr using queer theory. This was followed by a paper from Caroline Bourne (University of Reading), which reassessed the relationship between Scandinavians and the Gower peninsula in South Wales from the tenth century. The panel was concluded with a paper by Giorgia Sottotetti (Háskóli Íslands), who examined small figurines or ‘pocket-idols’ from Iron Age Scandinavia and analysed how they reflect the religious, social, and political changes within the period.

After lunch, Hyggnaþing resumed with a panel on translation, chaired by the co-organiser Natasha Bradley. The first paper, by Katrín Lísa L. Mikaelsdóttir (Háskóli Íslands), analysed the presence of Norwegianisms in medieval Icelandic manuscripts and how their use changes over time. The second paper of the panel was by Davide Salmoiraghi (University of Cambridge). Davide looked at the reception of the Church Fathers in medieval Iceland, examining the spread of the saints’ cult and its influence on the Norse hagiographies. Luthien Cangemi (University College London) concluded the translation panel with her paper on the transition from the concept of Medicina to Physica in Old Norse sources.

Then followed the mid-afternoon virtual coffee break on Wonder. This allowed attendees to mingle together to get to know each other, moving between groups of people to talk. Some attendees continued their discussions about the conference in a more informal setting, and others struck up new discussions about postgraduate life and their own research.

The final panel of the day was chaired by the conference co-organiser Ben Chennells. It explored the receptions and re-castings of Old Norse literature. The first paper, by Grace Khuri (University of Oxford), examined the Victorian novel Eric Brighteyes by H. Rider Haggard and its use of Old Norse saga sources. Richard Munro of the University of the Highlands and Islands then presented about how to perform an eddic poem.

The keynote lecture, delivered by Dr Sarah Baccianti, a British Academy Newton International Fellow at Queen’s University Belfast, discussed the Old Norse medical charms and healing practices. Exploring material culture and saga literature, Baccianti’s interdisciplinary paper called for a re-evaluation of the distinction between our modern concepts of magic and medicine. The keynote was followed, as with all the panels, by an engaging discussion. An evening social hosted on Wonder concluded the conference.

Hyggnaþing hosted ten speakers, four chairs, and a keynote lecturer, all of whom joined the conference from nine different institutions across the UK and beyond. Seventy-five guests registered to attend, with audience members joining from locations across the globe, from the United States to Australia, to ask questions and make comments that sparked engaging academic discussion. New connections were forged on Wonder and Zoom alike, and the organisers hope that these will be long-lived.

Hyggnaþing is incredibly grateful to Oxford Medieval Studies (OMS), sponsored by The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities (TORCH) for the funding to cover the costs of the conference. This allowed the registration for the conference to be completely free of charge, creating an accessible and welcoming conference for attendees and helping to foster the thriving academic community, and ‘meeting of minds’, that came together for Hyggnaþing. For more information about the conference, see the Hyggnaþing website: https://hyggnathing.wordpress.com/

Medieval Matters: Week 8 TT2021

Dear all,

Unbelievably, here we are at the end of Trinity Term! The end of the year always flies by. Best wishes to all the Masters students turning in dissertations in the next few weeks.

There is only one announcement today: at the end of term, I’m departing my post as Communications Officer for Oxford Medieval Studies, as I’ll be headed off on postdoctoral adventures starting this autumn. I am, however, leaving you in the most capable of hands: the wonderful and brilliant Luisa Ostacchini will be taking over this job for the next academic year alongside her new role as Stipendiary Lecturer in Medieval English at St Edmund Hall.

It’s been an honour cluttering up your Monday inboxes. I’ve loved this job, and have deeply appreciated your hard work and enthusiasm in organizing these events and seminars; your promptness with announcements and reminders; your friendly corrections; and your kind missives about my relentless butchering of medieval texts for laughs. In the words of dear old Geoffrey: Min be the travaille, and thin be the glorie.

Hwæt, we Oxnaforda in ær-dagum / leorning-cnihta ond lareowa cræft gefrunon, / hu þa searo-monnas seminara fremedon. [Lo, we have heard of the skill of students and teachers of Oxford in the current times, how those clever people made seminars.] – A recently discovered Old English poem that will no doubt revolutionize the field

Onward to the seminars!

MONDAY 14 JUNE

  • The Oxford Byzantine Graduate Seminar meets at 12:30 pm on Zoom. Please register in advance by contacting james.cogbill@worc.ox.ac.uk. This week’s speaker is Kyriakos Fragkoulis (University of Birmingham), ‘(Re)contextualising a Late Antique City Through the Ceramic Record: The Case of Dion in Macedonia (Pieria, Greece)’.
  • The Medieval Latin Reading Group meets 1-2 pm on Teams. Submit your email address here to receive notices.
  • The Medieval History Seminar meets at 5 pm on Teams. This week we hear from another exciting panel of speakers: Tom McAuliffe, Richard Schlag, Ellie Birch, and Laura Rosenheim on ‘Politics and Power Plays, c. 1000-1500’.
  • Forgotten Christianities meets at 5 pm on Zoom. This week’s speakers are Joseph Glynias (Princeton), ‘Ibrahim the Protospatharios, the Melkites of Antioch, and Local Autonomy under Byzantine Rule’, and Kyle Brunner (NYU/ISAW), ‘Creation and Maintenance of Communal Boundaries Real and Imagined in Syriac Hagiography during the Early Islamic Period’. Register here.

TUESDAY 15 JUNE

  • The Medieval Book Club meets at 3:30 pm on Google Meet. Contact oxfordmedievalbookclub@gmail.com to receive notices. This week’s theme is ‘Image and Legend’, an exploration of visual sources.
  • The Early Slavonic Seminar meets at 5 pm on Zoom. Register here. This week’s speaker is Kati Parppei (University of Eastern Finland), ‘Between East and West: Assumptions and Interpretations Concerning Medieval Karelia’.

WEDNESDAY 16 JUNE

  • Digital Editions Live returns from 3-5 pm on Teams (join the meeting here). This week’s seminar is a book launch; Edmund Wareham presents the newest book in the Reformation Pamphlet series, speaking on ‘500 Years Passional Christi und Antichristi’.
  • The Late Antique and Byzantine Seminar meets at 5 pm on Google Meet (link here). This week’s speaker is Michiel Op de Coul (Tilburg), ‘Theodore Prodromos: Towards an Edition of his Letters and Speeches’.

THURSDAY 17 JUNE

  • The Early Text Cultures Astronomy and Astrology Seminar meets at 3 pm on Zoom. Fill out this Google form to receive the link. This week’s speakers are Vilius Bartninkas (Vilnius) and Federico Valenti (Independent Scholar), on ‘Naming and Nomenclature: Ancient Greek and Early Chinese Astronomical Terminology’.
  • In place of the Aquinas Seminar Series, Bernd Goebel (Faculty of Theology, Fulda) will offer a reading session on Ralph of Battle at 4:30 pm on Zoom, focusing on an extract (§§37-46) from Meditatio cuiusdam Christiani de fide. Register here
  • The Celtic Seminar meets at 5:15 pm on Teams. Contact david.willis@ling-phil.ox.ac.uk for the link. This week’s speaker is Joshua Byron Smith (University of Arkansas), ‘Madog of Edeirnion’s Strenua cunctorum: A Welsh-Latin Poem in Praise of Geoffrey of Monmouth’.
  • The Medieval Trade Reading Group also returns this week at 7 pm on Teams. To be added to the team and have access to the reading materials, email annabel.hancock@history.ox.ac.uk.

FRIDAY 18 JUNE

A few seminars this term will continue into WEEK 9:

  • The Medieval History seminar will meet on Monday 21 June at 5 pm on Teams, as usual. Another exciting panel: Mary Hitchman, John Merrington, James Miller, and Elena Rossi, speaking on ‘Minds, Morals, and Martyrs in Medieval Communities’ (you have to love that alliteration).
  • Forgotten Christianities will meet on both Monday 21 June and Monday 28 June at 5 pm on Zoom. On the 21st, the speakers will be Augustine Dickinson (Hamburg), ‘Martyrs of God and Pillars of Faith: Literature and Identity in the Stephanite Movement’, and Nevsky Everett (SOAS), ‘The Ark of the Covenant and the Cross in Isaac of Nineveh and the Adversus Judaeos Tradition’. Register here. On the 28th, the speakers will be Emily Chesley (Princeton), ‘“I am going to go beyond the bounds”: Creating Miaphysite Community through a Woman’s Biographical Mimro’, and Samuel Noble (KU Leuven), ‘Abdallāh ibn al-Faḍl’s Conception of Philosophy: Byzantine Falsafa’. Register here.
  • The Early Text Cultures Astronomy and Astrology Seminar will meet on FRIDAY (note the time change) 25 June at 3 pm on Zoom. Fill out this Google form to receive the link. Massimiliano Franci (CAMNES, Firenze) and Cristian Tolsa (Barcelona) will speak on ‘Cultural Vistas: Ancient Egyptian and Graeco-Roman Culture’.
  • The Anglo-Norman Reading Group will meet on Friday of Week 9 at its usual time of Friday 5 pm.

Thanks to you all for brightening a trying year with such an incredible array of events, and maintaining our academic community even in times of plague. With all best wishes for a lovely end to term and a (hopefully) covid-free summer,

Caroline

Medieval Matters: Week 5 TT2021

Dear all,

Week 5 and perhaps we’ll see some sun again in the next few days! Fortunately, medieval seminars are appropriate for all weather.

No announcements this week, aside from a note for those of you who are interested in fantasy literature to follow the Oxford Fantasy research cluster (and podcast!) on Twitter @OxFantasyLit. Onward to the seminars!

‘All the world’s a seminar, and all the men and women merely invited speakers; they have their questions and their comments, and one man in his time attends many papers.’ – As You Like It, if I recall correctly

MONDAY 24 MAY

  • The Oxford Byzantine Graduate Seminar meets at 12:30 pm on Zoom. Please register in advance by contacting james.cogbill@worc.ox.ac.uk. This week’s speaker is Grace Stafford (Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz), ‘Between the Living and the Dead: Use, Reuse, and Imitation of Painted Portraits in Late Antiquity’.
  • The Medieval Latin Reading Group meets 1-2 pm on Teams. Submit your email address here to receive notices.
  • At 4 pm we have the Germanic Reading Group on Zoom, which will explore alliterative verse in a different Germanic language each week; this week, Eugenia Vorobeva will lead a session on Old Norse. To be added to the list, contact howard.jones@sbs.ox.ac.uk.
  • The Medieval History Seminar meets at 5 pm on Teams. This week’s speaker is Antonio Marson Franchini (St Cross), ‘The de festis Model Sermon Collection of Nicolas de Biard: Toward a Critical Edition’, with respondent Jessalynn L. Bird (Notre Dame University).
  • Old Norse Reading Group continues its journey through Hervarar saga at 5:30 pm on Teams. Email bond.west@lincoln.ox.ac.uk to be added to the mailing list.

TUESDAY 25 MAY

  • The Medieval Book Club meets at 3:30 pm on Google Meet. Contact oxfordmedievalbookclub@gmail.com to receive notices.
  • The Early Slavonic Seminar meets at 5 pm on Zoom. Register here. This week’s speaker is Janet Martin (University of Miami, emerita), ‘Looking at the Bright Side: Some Benefits of the Pomest’e System in 16th c. Muscovy’.
  • Medieval Church and Culture also meets at 5 pm on Teams, on the MCC channel. Papers start at 5:15. This week’s speakers will be Arielle Jasiewicz-Gill (Oriel), ‘Lay Devotion and Performative Identity in the Fifteenth Century’ and Florence Swan (Wolfson), ‘The devel of helle sette his foot therin! A Literary Historical Analysis of the Cook in Late Medieval England’.
  • A third seminar at 5 pm on Teams: The Medieval French Research Seminar hears this week from three graduate students about their work-in-progress: Sebastian Dows-Miller, Alice Hawkins, and Mara-Elena Ciuntu. To be added to the mailing list, contact sarah.bridge@st-hildas.ox.ac.uk.

WEDNESDAY 26 MAY

  • The Medieval German Graduate Seminar meets at 11:15 am on Teams, to continue discussing a variety of short texts.
  • Digital Editions Live returns from 3-5 pm on Teams (join the meeting here). This week’s speakers, on illustrated Italian manuscripts, are Katie Bastiman & Holly Abrahamson, ‘Dane Ante-Purgatorio (MS. Canon.Ital. 108)’ and Giuseppe Nanfitò, ‘Boccaccio, Filocolo (MS. Canon.Ital. 85)’.
  • The Medieval English Research Seminar, also on Teams, meets at 4:30 pm; contact daniel.wakelin@ell.ox.ac.uk if you need the link. This week’s speakers are Gareth Evans and Siân Grønlie (Oxford), ‘Old Norse: Trees and Sons, Tears and Time’.
  • The Late Antique and Byzantine Seminar meets at 5 pm on Google Meet (link here). This week’s speakers are Krystina Kubina (Vienna) and Nathanael Aschenbrenner (Princeton), ‘Word as Bond in an Age of Division: John Eugenikos as Orator, Partisan, and Poet’.

THURSDAY 27 MAY

  • The Early Text Cultures Astronomy and Astrology Seminar meets at 3 pm on Zoom. Fill out this Google form to receive the link. This week’s speakers are Caterina Franchi (Bologna) and Katherine Olley (Oxford) on ‘Literary Narratives: The Alexander Romance and the Adonias saga’.
  • GLARE (Greek, Latin, and Reception) Reading Group meets at 4 pm on Teams. Email john.colley@jesus.ox.ac.uk or jenyth.evans@seh.ox.ac.uk to be added to the list. This week’s reading will be Homer’s Iliad, VI.429-81.
  • The Aquinas Seminar Series continues on the theme of De Magistro: Aquinas and the Education of the Whole Person, at 4:30 pm on Zoom. Please register in advance here. This week’s speaker is Andrea Aldo Robiglio (K U Leuven), ‘Learning Failures and Scholarly Vices’.
  • The Old English Reading Group meets at 5:30 pm on Teams, continuing with Bede’s Historia Ecclesiastica. Contact eugenia.vorobeva@jesus.ox.ac.uk for details.

FRIDAY 28 MAY

Get thee to a seminar, go!

Medieval Matters: Week 4 TT21

Dear all,

We’ve made it to the halfway point! Now if only it would stop raining. Take shelter from the weather in a seminar or two.

Only one announcement this week – the University Bulletin is looking for research staff, especially ECRs, to write posts for the weekly Bulletin blog in which they introduce their research area and share their perspective on their field in an informal, personal way. Learn more and get in touch with the Public Affairs Directorate here.

‘Moreover, how [were seminars] created? I’m not sure if you realize this, but it was in God’s image. How can anybody dare to speak ill of something which bears such a noble imprint?’ – Christine de Pizan, The Book of the City of Ladies

MONDAY 17 MAY

  • The Oxford Byzantine Graduate Seminar meets at 12:30 pm on Zoom. Please register in advance by contacting james.cogbill@worc.ox.ac.uk. This week’s speaker is Ben Kybett (Cambridge), ‘Themistius and the Muses: Religion, Rhetoric, and Classical Statuary in Fourth-Century Constantinople’. 
  • The Medieval Latin Reading Group meets 1-2 pm on Teams. Submit your email address here to receive notices.
  • The Medieval History Seminar meets at 5 pm on Teams. This week’s speaker is Alice Spiers (St Anne’s), ‘Mechthild of Magdeburg: Mystic Writer, Political Commentator’.

TUESDAY 18 MAY

  • The Medieval Book Club meets at 3:30 pm on Google Meet. Contact oxfordmedievalbookclub@gmail.com to be added to the mailing list. This week, Nicola Carotenuto will lead the club out onto Legendary Seas and talk through a selection of medieval maritime texts spanning Russia, China, Persia, and Venice.
  • The Early Slavonic Seminar meets at 5 pm on Zoom. Register here. This week’s speaker is Panos Sophoulis (National and Kapodistrian University of Athens), ‘“They sweep down from the mountains to despoil and ravage the land”: The Problem fo Banditry in its Medieval Balkan Context’.
  • Medieval Church and Culture returns this week on Teams, on the MCC channel in the OMS Team. The meeting begins at 5 pm and papers start at 5:15. This week’s speakers will be James Tomlinson (Magdalen), ‘The Relationship Between Music and Architecture in Late Medieval Creativity: Structure, Allegory, and Memory’ and Irina Boeru (Wadham), ‘At the Frontier of the Known World: Cartographic and Heraldic Encounters in Libro del Conosçimiento de todos los Regons et Tierras et Señorios que son por el mundo, et de las señales et armasque han’.
  • Bibitura Dantis Oxoniensis meets at 5:30 pm on Zoom (link here). This week, Nicolò Crisafi reads Paradiso 20.

WEDNESDAY 19 MAY

  • Digital Editions Live returns from 3-5 pm on Teams (join the meeting here). This week’s speakers are Mary Newman, ‘The Oldest Tupi Manuscript (MS. Bodley 617)’ and Lois Williams, ‘Cân o Senn iw Hên Feistr TOBACCO (1718), NLW. North PRINT W.s. 156’.
  • The Medieval English Research Seminar, also on Teams, meets at 4:30 pm; contact daniel.wakelin@ell.ox.ac.uk if you need the link. This week’s speaker is Tamara Atkin (Queen Mary University of London), ‘Error in the Printing House: Sixteenth-Century Scribes, Compositors, and Correctors’. 
  • The Late Antique and Byzantine Seminar meets at 5 pm on Google Meet (link here). This week’s speaker is Daria Resh (NYU/Athens), ‘What is in the Bath: Pilgrims, Brides, and Baptism in the Early Byzantine Passion of Barbara’.

THURSDAY 20 MAY

  • The Early Text Cultures Astronomy and Astrology Seminar meets at 3 pm on Zoom. Fill out this Google form to receive the link. This week’s speakers are Claire Hall & Liam Shaw (Oxford) and Vanishri Bhat (Independent Scholar), discussing ‘Computational Methods’ in Ptolemy, Vettius Valens, and the Aryabhatiya.
  • GLARE (Greek, Latin, and Reception) Reading Group meets at 4 pm on Teams. Email john.colley@jesus.ox.ac.uk or jenyth.evans@seh.ox.ac.uk to be added to the list. This week’s reading will be Sallust, The War with Catiline, 52.36-54.
  • The Aquinas Seminar Series continues on the theme of De Magistro: Aquinas and the Education of the Whole Person, at 4:30 pm on Zoom. Please register in advance here. This week’s speaker is Adam Eitel (Yale Divinity School), ‘“Lift up your voice with strength”: The Idea of the Preacher in Thomas Aquinas’ Super Isaiam and In Jeremiam’. 
  • The Medieval Trade Reading Group also returns this week at 7 pm on Teams. To be added to the team and have access to the reading materials, email annabel.hancock@history.ox.ac.uk.

FRIDAY 21 MAY

In the hope that May showers bring June flowers (and plague-free picnics) –

Medieval Matters: Week 3 TT21

Dear all,

Week 3 already! Term is picking up steam and hopefully the weather will involve a little bit less hail and sleet going forward.

A few announcements:

This week, on Friday 14 May at 5 pm, we have the annual O’Donnell Lecture in Celtic Studies. This year’s speaker will be John Carey, ‘The Kindred of a Child Without a Father: Merlin’s British Forebears and Irish Cousins’. Join the lecture here.

Dartmouth’s annual Zantop Memorial Lecture will be given this year by Mary Carruthers, on ‘Dante’s Intent Geometer: ‘Alta fantasia’, Vision, and Creation in Medieval Poetry’. Register for the Zoom link in advance here; the lecture will be on 18 May at 5:30 pm BST.

The History of Domestic Violence and Abuse Seminar returns this Thursday, 13 May, at 10 am on Zoom. Speakers include Jane Gilbert, Trevor Dean, Emma Whipday, Lewis Webb, and Julia Bolton Holloway. Register in advance here.

A call for papers: the brand new Oxford Medieval Commentary Network aims to establish a multi-disciplinary network for research and discussion of medieval texts concerned with the interpretation of the Bible, bringing together research on traditional commentaries as well as research on interpretations of the biblical text in a broader sense. A one-day workshop at Christ Church on 9 October 2021 will launch the network and lay out pathways for future collaboration and interchange. Proposals for presentations of 15 minutes on aspects of medieval biblical interpretation, including post-medieval responses, are welcome. Please submit your title and abstract (150-200 words) by 4 June 2021. Expressions of interest are also invited from those who wish to get involved with the network more generally. The workshop will take place in person in Oxford if circumstances permit (but may move online if necessary), and is free for all participants. To submit your proposal, express your interest, and for further information, please contact cosima.gillhammer@chch.ox.ac.uk.

Another call for papers: the Sylloge of Coins in the British Isles is running its annual Symposium on Money and Coinage on 26 July 2021, on the theme ‘The Sincerest Form of Flattery? Imitative Coinage in Britain, Ireland, and Europe’. The Symposium invites contributions of 20 minute papers exploring aspects of the imitation of coins in Europe from late antiquity to the early modern period. Submit your titles and abstracts of no more than 150 words to Murray Andrews and Fraser McNair at SCBIcoinagesymposium@gmail.com by 31 May.

Deyr fé, deyja frændr, / deyr sjalfr it sama, / ek veit einn, at aldrei deyr: / seminarir hinn Oxnaforda. [Cattle die, kin die, the self must also die, but I know one thing that never dies: seminars in Oxford.] – Hávamál, I’m pretty sure

MONDAY 10 MAY

  • The Oxford Byzantine Graduate Seminar meets at 12:30 pm on Zoom. Please register in advance by contacting james.cogbill@worc.ox.ac.uk. This week’s speaker is Cristina Cocola (Universiteit Gent & Katholieke Universiteit Leuven), ‘Feeling Repentance in Byzantium: A Study on the Literary Sources of Katanyktic Poetry’,
  • The Medieval Latin Reading Group meets 1-2 pm on Teams. Submit your email address here to receive notices.
  • The Bodleian will hold a special seminar this week on Sebastian Brant’s Ship of Fools in German and English Collections to mark the 500th anniversary of the author’s death, on Zoom at 3 pm. Register here.
  • At 4 pm we have the Germanic Reading Group on Zoom, which will explore alliterative verse in a different Germanic language each week; this week, Howard Jones will lead a session on Old High German. To be added to the list, contact howard.jones@sbs.ox.ac.uk.
  • The Medieval History Seminar meets at 5 pm on Teams. This week’s speaker is Helen Flatley (St Cross), ‘The Mozarabs and their Neighbours: Mapping Communities in Medieval Toledo’.
  • Old Norse Reading Group continues its journey through Hervarar saga at 5:30 pm on Teams. Email bond.west@lincoln.ox.ac.uk to be added to the mailing list.
  • The Decentring Dante Series returns at 6 pm on Zoom with speaker Suzanne Conklin Akbari (Princeton), on the topic ‘What Ground Do We Read On?’, celebrating the publication of The Oxford Handbook of Dante. Further information and registration here.

TUESDAY 11 MAY

  • The Medieval Book Club meets at 3:30 pm on Google Meet. Contact oxfordmedievalbookclub@gmail.com to receive notices. This week’s theme is Hagiography, with selections from the Legenda Aurea.
  • The Early Slavonic Seminar meets at 5 pm on Zoom. Register here. This week’s speaker is Liliana Simeonova (Institute for Balkan Studies, Bulgarian Academy of Science), ‘Amalfitans in Byzantium’s Cultural and Religious Life, 10-13th c.’
  • Medieval Church and Culture also meets at 5 pm on Teams, on the MCC channel. Papers start at 5:15. This week’s speakers will be Jennifer Coulton (Wolfson), ‘Tongue-Tied and Legal Loopholes: Binding Motifs in Early Medieval England’, and Florence Eccleston (Jesus), ‘The Emotional and Embodied Experience of the Seven Deadly Sins, c. 1350-c. 1500’.
  • A third seminar at 5 pm on Teams! The Medieval French Research Seminar returns for the term, with speaker Edward Mills (Exeter), ‘Why Write the Calendar in French? Computus Texts and the Languages of Medieval England’. To be added to the mailing list, contact sarah.bridge@st-hildas.ox.ac.uk.

WEDNESDAY 12 MAY

  • The Medieval German Graduate Seminar meets at 11:15 am on Teams, to continue discussing a variety of short texts.
  • Digital Editions Live returns from 3-5 pm on Teams (join the meeting here). This week’s speakers, on early printed holdings in the Taylorian and the Bodleian, are Agnes Hilger & Alyssa Steiner, ‘Pfaffennarr (Taylor ARCH.8o.G.1521(27) & Tr.Luth. 16 (78)’, Alexandra Hertlein, ‘Jacob Locher’s Panegyricus (Inc. e.G7.1497.2./Douce 73)’, and Sam Griffiths & Christian Tofte, ‘Marginalia in Plutarch’s Vidas Paralelas (1491)’.
  • The Medieval English Research Seminar, also on Teams, meets at 4:30 pm; contact daniel.wakelin@ell.ox.ac.uk if you need the link. This week’s speaker is Paul Schaffner (Editor, MED, University of Michigan), ‘Quidels and Crotels and Glossing Tails: Attractions and Distractions of Middle English Lexicography’.
  • The Decentring Dante Series continues at 6 pm on Zoom, with speaker Lorna Goodison (Poet Laureate of Jamaica; University of Michigan), on the topic ‘Going Through Hell’. Further information and registration here.

THURSDAY 13 MAY

  • The Early Text Cultures Astronomy and Astrology Seminar meets at 3 pm on Zoom. Fill out this Google form to receive the link. This week’s speakers are Luca Beisel (Berlin/Tel Aviv) and Gonzalo Recio (Quilmes) on ‘Our Science and Theirs: Reconstructing Ancient Greek Models’.
  • GLARE (Greek, Latin, and Reception) Reading Group meets at 4 pm on Teams. Email john.colley@jesus.ox.ac.uk or jenyth.evans@seh.ox.ac.uk to be added to the list. This week’s reading will be Herodotus’ The Persian Wars, VIII.84-6, 96.
  • The Aquinas Seminar Series continues on the theme of De Magistro: Aquinas and the Education of the Whole Person, at 4:30 pm on Zoom. Please register in advance here. This week’s speaker is Rev. Prof. Michael Sherwin (Fribourg), ‘Integrated Humanities Programmes and the Renewal of Catholic Education: Thomistic Reflections’.
  • The Old English Reading Group meets at 5:30 pm on Teams, continuing with Bede’s Historia Ecclesiastica. Contact eugenia.vorobeva@jesus.ox.ac.uk for details.

FRIDAY 14 MAY

Remember: contribute to an Oxford seminar, secure the glory of your deathless reputation. Have a great week!

Medieval Matters: Week 2 TT21

Dear all,

Happy May Day! Fun fact: the first recorded use of maypoles in Britain dates to the 14th century. Meanwhile, in the present day, it’s second week already and the seminar offerings are just getting more numerous. If you want to catch up with what happened last week, here’s the link to Jim Harris’ fabulous OMS Lecture ‘Museum in the Middle’. Anybody interested in writing a post about it or any other Oxford medieval topic for our revamped website medieval.ox.ac.uk, do get in touch! 

Announcements first:

Tomorrow, Tuesday 4 May, from 2-4 pm, the Bodleian will be hosting a special online event on ‘Dante 1481: the Comedia, illustrated by Botticelli’. Gervase Rosser (Oxford), Cristina Dondi (Oxford), and Tabitha Tuckett (UCL) will give talks on Botticelli’s engraved illustrations of the 1481 edition of La Comedia, on the surviving copies, and o the context of the book’s production. Book tickets here.

The Oxford Fantasy podcast is still taking pitches! Our line-up for the term already includes The Silmarillion, interviews with a variety of exciting authors, and explorations of Oxford’s fantasy archives (with visuals), but we want your ideas!

May, with alle thy floures and thy grene, / Welcome be thou, faire fresshe May, / In hope that I som [Trinity Term seminars] gete may’. – Chaucer, The Knight’s Tale, one can only imagine

MONDAY 3 MAY

  • The Oxford Byzantine Graduate Seminar meets at 12:30 pm on Zoom. Please register in advance by contacting james.cogbill@worc.ox.ac.uk. This week’s speaker is Alessandro Carabia (University of Birmingham), ‘Defining the “Byzantine Variable” in Early Byzantine Italy: The Case of Liguria (500-700 CE)’.
  • The Medieval Latin Reading Group meets 1-2 pm on Teams. Improve your Latin, learn palaeographical skills, and engage first-hand with medieval texts by reading reproductions of manuscripts. Submit your email address here to receive notices.
  • The Medieval History Seminar meets at 5 pm on Teams. This week’s speaker is José Andres Porras (St Hugh’s), ‘Is Love in One’s Blood? Establishing Solidarities via Common Descent in Late Medieval Thought, 1250-1400’, with respondent David D’Avray (UCL).

TUESDAY 4 MAY

  • The Medieval Book Club meets at 3:30 pm on Google Meet. Contact oxfordmedievalbookclub@gmail.com for the link and to be added to the mailing list. This week’s theme is Urban Legends, featuring Giovanni Villani’s Chronicle.
  • The Early Slavonic Seminar is back this week, meeting at 5 pm on Zoom. Register here. This week’s speaker is Petar Todorov (Institute of National History, Skopje), ‘History as a Source of Conflict Between Nations: Recent Macedonian-Bulgarian Controversies’. 
  • Medieval Church and Culture also makes a triumphant return this week on Teams, on the MCC channel in the OMS Team. The meeting begins at 5 pm and papers start at 5:15. This week’s speakers will be Pilar Bertuzzi Rivett (Lincoln), ‘Ten Names, One God: Exploring Christian-Kabbalistic Affinity in a Christian Hymn of the Twelfth Century’ and Samuel Heywood (St Peter’s), ‘The Finnish Product: Translation and Transmission of Luther’s Hymns in Finland and Sweden’. Special commendation for the pun.
  • Bibitura Dantis Oxoniensis meets at 5:30 pm on Zoom (link here). This week, Katie Bastiman reads Purgatorio 25. 

WEDNESDAY 5 MAY

  • The Medieval German Graduate Seminar meets at 11:15 am on Teams, to continue discussing a variety of short texts.
  • Digital Editions Live returns from 3-5 pm on Teams (join the meeting here). This week’s project features Arnold von Harff’s travel manuscript MS. Bodley 972 presented by four generations of History of the Book students. The editors Eva Neufeind and Agnes Hilger are joined by Mary Boyle, Aysha Strachan and Jasmin Leuchtenberg. Sneak preview on Taylor Editions, including links to several blog posts. The recording of the launch of the fabulous beasts from Merton by Seb Dows-Miller and Julia Walworth is now online on the OMS Youtube channel.
  • The Medieval English Research Seminar, also on Teams, meets at 4:30 pm; contact daniel.wakelin@ell.ox.ac.uk if you need the link. This week’s speaker is Eric Weiskott (Boston College), ‘William Langland’s Apophatic Poetics’.
  • The Late Antique and Byzantine Seminar meets at 5 pm on Google Meet (link here). This week’s speaker is Christophe Erismann (Vienna), ‘Why Do Methods Change? On the Significance of 815 for Byzantine Thought’.

THURSDAY 6 MAY

  • The Early Text Cultures research cluster is offering another seminar series on Astronomy and Astrology this term, at 3 pm on Zoom. Fill out this Google form to receive the link. This week’s speakers are Yossra Ibrahim (Mainz) and Peter John Williams (Cambridge), discussing ‘Text and Image’ in Egyptian and Hellenistic Greek astronomy.
  • GLARE (Greek, Latin, and Reception) Reading Group meets at 4 pm on Teams. Email john.colley@jesus.ox.ac.uk or jenyth.evans@seh.ox.ac.uk to be added to the list. This week’s reading will be Ovid’s Amores, III.2.1-42, 59-84.
  • The Aquinas Seminar Series continues on the theme of De Magistro: Aquinas and the Education of the Whole Person, at 4:30 pm on Zoom. Please register in advance here. This week’s speaker is Fáinche Ryan (Loyola Institute, Trinity College Dublin), ‘The Role of Intelligence in Good Human Living: Aquinas and the Teachability of Prudentia’.
  • This term’s Celtic Seminar kicks off this week at 5:15 pm on Teams. Contact david.willis@ling-phil.ox.ac.uk if you need the link. This week’s speaker is Amy Mulligan (University of Notre Dame), ‘Moving into Chicago’s “White City”: Race, Celtic Iconography and the Construction of Irishness at the 1893 World’s Fair’.
  • The Medieval Trade Reading Group also returns this week at 7 pm on Teams. To be added to the team and have access to the reading materials, email annabel.hancock@history.ox.ac.uk.

FRIDAY 7 MAY

Doon your observaunce to May, and enjoy the bank holiday!

Overview: Reading Groups (Trinity 2021)

Medieval Trade Reading Group

Meeting 7-8:30pm on Thursdays of even weeks of term.
Session 1: Thursday 6th May, Week 2
Session 2: Thursday 20th May, Week 4.
Session 3: Thursday 3rd June, Week 6.
Session 4: Thursday 17th June, Week 8.
We are an informal group who come together to discuss secondary readings about a variety of
themes related to medieval trade across the globe. In previous meetings we have discussed
readings covering topics such as Muslim merchant communities in China, Eastern Mediterranean
slavery, and network theory approaches. Each session, a group member will present for 5-10
minutes on a pre-suggested reading followed by a large group discussion. Suggested reading in
preparation for each session is sent out at least a week before the group meeting. Anyone
interested in any element of medieval trade and its study are welcome to join.
To be added to the team and have access to the materials and meetings please email Annabel
Hancock at annabel.hancock@history.ox.ac.uk

Medieval Latin Reading Group
Mondays, 13:00–14:00, Microsoft Teams
Improve your Latin, learn palaeographical skills, and engage first-hand with medieval texts by reading
reproductions of manuscripts together. We will learn to read and translate directly from medieval books,
moving in a roughly chronological sequence during the year.
All welcome; meetings will take place weekly during term. Submit your email address
(https://web.maillist.ox.ac.uk/ox/subscribe/medieval-latin-ms-reading) to receive notices.
Organisers: Jacob Currie; Andrew Dunning; Matthew Holford.

Pre-Modern Conversations

Fridays of even weeks, 11am–noon, Microsoft Teams
Convenors: Lena Vosding, Lewis Webb, Godelinde Perk

‘The Evangelist St. Matthew writing, with his symbol the angel’, MS 10 E 3, f. 18r (Museum Meermanno-Westreenianum, The Hague).


Nervous about an upcoming presentation? Struggling to improve your article’s argument or structure? In
need of constructive peer feedback on a book chapter, or simply encouragement? Join our friendly,
interdisciplinary group of early career pre-modernists, offering an informal, supportive environment for
helping each other revise, refine, and finally complete that work in progress.
The group convenes in weeks 2, 4, 6, and 8 on Teams to discuss a work in progress. The format for these
one-hour sessions alternates between a presentation to the entire group (for conference contributions) and a discussion of a pre-circulated written text. WIP contributors are expected to provide a cover letter outlining the desired areas for improvement to facilitate discussion. The final twenty minutes of each
meeting are dedicated to discussing more general topics related to writing, editing and publishing. All ECR pre-modernists from any Faculty are welcome. We particularly invite WIPs with an
interdisciplinary and/or gender focus. You are also very welcome to participate without contributing a
paper. If interested, please submit an abstract (up to 300 words) of your WIP, accompanied by a short biography
to lena.vosding@mod-langs.ox.ac.uk by Friday 30 April to be added to the PMC Teams channel and
receive updates on the programme as well as meeting invitations.
First meeting: week 2, Friday 7 May, 11am–noon, Teams.

Anglo-Norman Reading Group

The Anglo-Norman Reading Group will continue to meet on Zoom during Trinity Term on
Fridays of ODD weeks (30 April, 14, 28 May, and 11 June) from 5-6:30pm. We will be
reading the Anglo-Norman Fabliaux. Please contact Jane Bliss (jane.bliss@lmh.oxon.org) or
Stephanie Hathaway (stephanie.hathaway@mod-langs.ox.ac.uk).

Oxford University Numismatic Society
All talks will be held online over MS Teams at 5pm GMT. Links will be distributed beforehand by
means of the OUNS mailing list: to subscribe and receive meeting links and further updates,
please email the Secretary at daniel.etches@new.ox.ac.uk.

4th May (Week 2) at 5pm: Dr. John Talbot (University of Oxford): “Icenian and Durotrigan
Coinage – Using A Study of Coinage to Learn about Late Iron Age Society”
18th May (Week 4) at 5pm: Prof. Fleur Kemmers (Goethe-Universität Frankfurt): “Making Money
in Republican Rome: A Numismatic Perspective on Rome’s Expansion”.
1st June (Week 6) at 5pm: Dr. Maria Vrij (The Barber Institute of Fine Arts / University of
Birmingham): “‘How Do You Solve A Problem Like Mezezios?’ – Understanding and Unpicking the
Imagery of the Emperors Mezezios (668-669) and Constantine IV (668-685)”.
15th June (Week 8) at 5pm: Dr. Julien Olivier (Bibliothèque nationale de France): TBC.

Germanic Reading Group

This term we’re planning four meetings of the Germanic Reading Group, loosely connected by the theme
of alliterative verse. The sessions will take place on Mondays from 4:00 to 5:00 pm by Zoom, as follows:
Monday, 26 April (1st week). Old English, led by Rafael Pascual
Monday, 10 May (3rd week). Old High German, led by Howard Jones
Monday, 24 May (5th week). Old Norse, led by Eugenia Vorobeva
Monday, 7 June (7th week). Old Saxon, led by Nelson Goering
We’ll go through a short text, translating and discussing points of linguistic interest, under the guidance of
the leader of each session. To be added to the list, contact howard.Jones@sbs.ox.ac.uk

Medieval Matters: Week 1 TT21

Dear all,

At last, after much anticipation, the new term is finally here! Trinity is beginning with a (very sunny and pleasant) bang; take a look at the intellectual banquet on offer in the booklet (newly updated!) and on our digital calendar.

A few announcements to begin:

First, this term’s Oxford Medieval Studies Lecture will be livestreamed on the OMS YouTube channel tomorrow at 5 pm! Come watch Jim Harris present live from the Ashmolean on ‘Museum in the Middle: Medieval Things in a (Still) Medieval University’ and ask your questions on the live chat. We’ll also be officially launching the revived and revamped medieval.ox.ac.uk website.

Another wonderful conference meriting your attention: Medicine in the Medieval North Atlantic World, originally scheduled to take place in March 2020, will now be held over Zoom on 13-15 May 2021. This interdisciplinary event explores the reception and transmission of medical knowledge across England, Ireland, Wales, Scotland, and Scandinavia during the medieval period, and will draw on history, literature, philosophy, science, religion, art, archaeology, and manuscript studies. Plenary lectures include Debby Banham, Guy Geltner, and Charlotte Roberts. Full program and registration details here.

UCL’s Medieval Scandinavia Seminars will run again this term; on 29 April, 5-7 pm, Alisa Valpola-Walker (Cambridge) will speak on ‘Saga and Media-Consciousness in Two Late Fifteenth Century Manuscripts AM 589a-f 4to and AM 586 4to’, and on 27 May, 5-7 pm, Benjamin Allport (Bergen) will offer a paper on a title tbc – details forthcoming. Zoom link for the first seminar here and the second seminar here.

Abusing my position as Communications Officer for an announcement of my own: Oxford Fantasy, the university’s research cluster for fantasy literature, is producing a new series of our popular podcast! Do you have a fantasy author, text, or topic you could talk about accessibly and authoritatively for ten to fifteen minutes? Want to record an audio or video file that will be shared on podcasts.ox.ac.uk, Spotify, and the beloved Great Writers Inspire site? Contact caroline.batten@ell.ox.ac.uk with your pitch. We’re particularly seeking scholars knowledgeable about N. K. Jemisin, Marlon James, and Nnedi Okorafor, but we’re interested in any topic that moves you and encourage a diverse range of fantasy texts and writers. Have a listen to some of our previous material here.

[Seminars], swete [seminars], mi druð, mi derling, mi drihtin, mi healend, mi huniter, mi haliwei. – The Wooing of Our Lord, when properly edited

MONDAY 26 APRIL

  • The Oxford Byzantine Graduate Seminar meets at 12:30 pm on Zoom. Please register in advance by contacting james.cogbill@worc.ox.ac.uk. This week’s speaker is Katherine Krauss (Somerville), ‘Rereading the “Canon” in Latin Late Antiquity: Exemplarity and Allusion in Macrobius’ Saturnalia’.
  • The Medieval Latin Reading Group meets 1-2 pm on Teams. Improve your Latin, learn palaeographical skills, and engage first-hand with medieval texts by reading reproductions of manuscripts. Submit your email address here to receive notices.
  • At 4 pm we have the Germanic Reading Group on Zoom, which will explore alliterative verse in a different Germanic language each week; this week, Rafael Pascual will lead a session on Old English. To be added to the list, contact howard.jones@sbs.ox.ac.uk.
  • Sign up for Mark Williams’ class on Scottish Gaelic and Modern Irish Poetry, held Mondays at 4:30 pm. Contact mark.williams@ell.ox.ac.uk for locations and links.
  • The Medieval History Seminar meets at 5 pm on Teams. This week’s speaker is Laurence McKellar (Exeter College), ‘The Language of the Royal Service in Castilian Political Culture, c. 1275-1325’.
  • Old Norse Reading Group continues its journey through Hervarar saga at 5:30 pm on Teams. Email bond.west@lincoln.ox.ac.uk to be added to the mailing list.

TUESDAY 27 APRIL

  • The Medieval Book Club meets at 3:30 pm on Google Meet. Contact oxfordmedievalbookclub@gmail.com for the link. This term’s theme is ‘Medieval Legends’, and Week 1 will kick things off with readings on unicorns!
  • The Medieval French Research Seminar and Medieval Church and Culture Seminar will not meet this week to allow everyone to attend the OMS Lecture at 5 pm.

WEDNESDAY 28 APRIL

  • The Medieval German Graduate Seminar meets at 11:15 am on Teams. This week will be a short organizational meeting, but guest lecturer Annette Gerok-Reiter will speak on the Tübingen SFB ‘Andere Ästhetik’ at 5 pm on Teams. Contact linus.ubl@some.ox.ac.uk for more information.
  • Digital Editions Live, a seminar series presenting palaeographical, book historical, and digital humanities projects developed by MML Masters students, will meet at 3 pm on Teams. (Join the meeting here.) This week, Henrike Lähnemann, Emma Huber, and Andrew Dunning will offer an introduction, before Sebastian Dows-Miller speaks on ‘Re-Awakening Merton’s Beasts (Merton College MS 249)’.
  • The Medieval English Research Seminar meets at 4:30 pm (note the new time) on Teams. Contact daniel.wakelin@ell.ox.ac.uk if you need the link. This week’s speaker is Misty Schieberle (University of Kansas), ‘Rewriting Christine de Pizan: Hoccleve, Misogyny, and Manuscript Evidence’.
  • The Late Antique and Byzantine Seminar meets at 5 pm on Google Meet (link here). This week’s speaker is Przemysław Marciniak (Katowice), ‘Of Fleas and Men: Byzantine Cultural Entomology’. 

THURSDAY 29 APRIL

  • Sign up for David Willis’ class on Middle Welsh Bardic Grammars; contact david.willis@ling-phil.ox.ac.uk for locations and links.
  • GLARE (Greek, Latin, and Reception) Reading Group meets at 4 pm on Teams. Email john.colley@jesus.ox.ac.uk or jenyth.evans@seh.ox.ac.uk to be added to the list. This week’s reading will be Aristophanes, Frogs, 51-82, 180-96, 689-99, 1019-56.
  • The Aquinas Seminar Series continues on the theme of De Magistro: Aquinas and the Education of the Whole Person, at 4:30 pm on Zoom. Please register in advance here. This week’s speaker is Rev Dr Nicholas Austin (Campion Hall), ‘The Education of the Eye: Aquinas and the Virtue of Right Attention’. 
  • Old English Reading Group soldiers through Bede’s Historia Ecclesiastica at 5:30 pm on Teams. Email eugenia.vorobeva@jesus.ox.ac.uk for more information.

FRIDAY 30 APRIL

Good seminars: swetter þen mildeu o muðe. Have a wonderful week!

Medieval Church and Culture Seminar

Tuesdays. Meeting from 5pm; papers begin at 5.15pm – on teams (click on this link to join)

Everyone is welcome at this informal and friendly graduate seminar. This Trinity Term, as always, MCC will feature presentations from the 2020-21 Medieval Studies MSt cohort on their upcoming dissertations.

Convenors: Sumner Braund (St John’s), Amy Ebrey (St John’s), IanMcDole (Keble), Lesley Smith (HMC)

Week 2 (4 May): Pilar Bertuzzi Rivett (Lincoln): Ten Names, One God: Exploring Christian-Kabbalistic affinity in a Christian hymn of the twelfth century
Samuel Heywood (St Peter’s): The Finnish Product: translation and transmission of Luther’s hymns in Finland and Sweden

Week 3 (11 May): Jennifer Coulton (Wolfson): Tongue-tied and Legal Loopholes: binding motifs in Early Medieval England
Florence Eccleston (Jesus): The Emotional and Embodied Experience of the Seven Deadly Sins, c.1350-c.1500

Week 4 (18 May): James Tomlinson (Magdalen): The Relationship between Music and Architecture in Late Medieval Creativity: structure, allegory, and memory
Irina Boeru (Wadham): At the frontier of the known world: cartographic and heraldic encounters inLibro del Conosçimiento de todos los Rregons et Tierras et Señorios que son por el mundo, et de las señales et armas que han

Week 5 (25 May): Arielle Jasiewicz-Gill (Oriel): Lay Devotion and Performative Identity in the Fifteenth Century
Florence Swan (Wolfson): The devel of helle sette his foot therin! A literary historical analysis of the cook in late medieval England

Week 6 (1 June): Thomas Henderson(Linacre): Twelfth-Century Mathematical Thinking: an anonymous fractions treatise, Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Auct. F.1.9

Museum in the Middle: medieval things in a (still) medieval university

OMS Trinity Term Lecture by Jim Harris (Ashmolean Museum)

Tuesday, 27 April 2021, 5-6pm BST, live streamed from the Ashmolean

The medieval collections of the Ashmolean Museum are rich in diversity and dazzling in quality, and using them in the service of the university curriculum has made it possible to explore the wide range of what we consider ‘medieval’ actually is.In this lecture, Teaching Curator Dr Jim Harris will discuss teaching with the Ashmolean’s medieval collections, asking questions not only about the objects themselves but about the extent to which they reveal the Museum itself to be as much a medieval construct as it is a so-called ‘product of the Enlightenment’.

Everybody welcome to join on youtube!
Image:  Travelling Games Board, Venice, 15th century; WA1964.14; Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford.