Friday, July 31, 2015

IMC Leeds 2016, taking place on 4-7 JULY at the University of Leeds.

Call for Papers: Leeds 2016

Call for papers for a strand of sessions to be heldat the IMC Leeds 2016, taking place on 4-7 JULY at the University of Leeds.
The overall topic will be ‘Mastering Knowledge and Power: Bishops, Schools and Political Engagement in Early Medieval Europe (650-1050)’
Giacomo Vignodelli (Università di Bologna/S.I.S.M.E.L.) and myself (University of Cambridge) will be co-ordinating the sessions. We’re hoping to propose about 2-3 sessions (maybe even more according to your response) and we hope to come up with a good mix of junior and more senior researchers.

Mastering Knowledge and Power: Bishops, Schools and Political Engagement in Early Medieval Europe (650-1050)
Standing at the top of the ecclesiastical hierarchy, bishops were the heads of large Christian communities placed under their responsibility. Leading their flock along the path to salvation was the first and foremost duty of their office, a task that a bishop of the calibre of Ambrose considered to fall under the overarching duty of teaching (De Officiis, Book I, ch. I). In order to provide effective guidance to the faithful, bishops had to rely on their own education, based upon their knowledge of holy scripture, their familiarity with the wider and multifaceted range of Church traditions (patristics, canon law, exegesis, etc.) and their mastery of the communicative skills necessary for delivering their pastoral and political discourse. The ecclesia committed to episcopal pastoral care encompassed all the layers of society from the humblest flock to kings and emperors. Bishops were a structural element in the medieval regna and in the empire: they cooperated with public officers - with whom they often took care of administrative and juridical affairs - as well as watched over the good morality, the doctrinal beliefs and, at a more general level, the righteousness of those under whose responsibility fell the earthly and heavenly well-being of the Christian people. As a result, the episcopal ministerium demanded that bishops uphold a constant dialogue with the elites, both at the local level (the diocese or the metropolitan region) and, in some cases (often the best documented ones), at the royal and imperial scale.
The connection between culture and political influence is the primary area of interest we would like to investigate in our sessions at the IMC 2016. Our attention will therefore focus on the schools and centres of learning where bishops acquired the knowledge and the tools necessary for the performance of their duties and the wielding of their authority. Bishops had often been teachers before taking up their office and “education” – both in a restricted and wider sense – often remained a primary area of interest after their episcopal election. The education bishops received before reaching the top of the church hierarchy, their personal involvement in teaching and the impact their learning and didactic experience had on their political actions are three intertwined aspects we shall like to explore.
The main question we would like to address is the following: how was the education and learning of bishops actualised in their writings – in the form of authorial works as well as commentaries, glosses and annotations in margin of other texts – and, more generally, in their pastoral and political discourse and activities? We therefore particularly welcome papers investigating the relation between written production and bishops’ scholastic and intellectual backgrounds as it can be assessed through the analysis of the books they had at their disposal (personal books, books belonging to local libraries and schools together with books obtained through scholarly exchange). We would also like to gauge the impact of a bishop’s knowledge on his political engagement through the investigation of the strategies of communication and persuasion put to use to address other office-holders and rulers. The analysis of the choices of literary genre and register, the uses of particular rhetorical devices, and borrowings from specific sources could all be taken into account to unveil, on the one hand, the individual education of bishops and, on the other, the intentions and purposes behind specific texts. The reference to holy scriptures and the resort to exegetical arguments, called in to enhance the authority of the author, are also constitutive elements of the episcopal discourse that we shall consider and discuss in the course of our sessions.
Bringing together scholars working on different areas and periods of the history of early medieval Europe, we also hope to address the question of whether homogeneous traditions of episcopal culture existed in specific regions or within networks connecting particular centres of learning and power. Furthermore, we wish to shed light on how scholastic and cultural networks interacted with political ones.
We equally welcome all proposals which fit the overall framework of the topic. Also don’t be alarmed if you see your paper does not address the IMC special thematic strand for 2016 (Food, Feast and Famine): with more than 600 sessions, the IMC makes room for many different topics and research approaches.

Practical issues
We ask those of you interested in giving a paper to send anemail by AUGUST 23, 2015, to
Giorgia Vocino ( or and Giacomo Vignodelli ( or )
You can propose individual papers, but we also encourage you to think about who you might collaborate with, or who could be interesting as a co-speaker, respondent or moderator in your session. And, of course, please forward this call for papers to any student or colleague who might be interested in participating in our strand!
At any rate, please include the following information:
1) paper title
2) a short abstract/brief description indicating what the paper will be about (max. 200 words)
3) your contact details and affiliation
4) Equipment needed? (Laptop, Beamer, etc.)

We will then think about how the papers (20 minutes each) fit together in sessions and let you know the results as soon as possible, certainly before the beginning of September to allow time for readjustment if necessary.
Please note that unfortunately we will not be able to cover travel, registration and accommodation expenses for our speakers. We thus encourage PhD students and independent scholars to consider the bursary application offered by the IMC (deadline 17 October) which you can find following this link:*context=IMC&*id=0&*formId=83&conference=2016&*servletURI=

For general information on the IMC, see

Romance Geographies and Geographic Literacies: Theoretical and Practical Concerns in Mapping Medieval Texts [Roundtable]

Kalamazoo 2016 #Kzoo2016

Romance Geographies and Geographic Literacies: Theoretical and Practical Concerns in Mapping Medieval Texts [Roundtable]
51st International Congress in Medieval Studies, Kalamazoo, Michigan (May 12-15, 2016)

John A. Geck
Department of English
Memorial University

The related subjects of mapping and geocriticism in medieval studies have been growing in popularity, and mapping literary spaces has become an increasing area of interest for literary specialists. Place and space figure largely in much of medieval literature, and this is particularly true for medieval romance, wherein romance protagonists often undertake wide-ranging journeys across much of the known world.

However, in exploring the use of space and place in medieval texts, scholars engaged in small- or large-scale mapping projects find themselves facing a number of concerns. On the theoretical level, we must ask what these exotic place names mean, for instance, to a thirteenth-century English readership. Do “Lettow” or “Arabe” correspond in any useful way with the lands we now understand as “Lithuania” or “Arabia”? Can we map this medieval sense of place on or over our modern, Cartesian-derived, projection of the world? Do modern maps possess a more specifically-delineated scope and purpose (to reflect physical space) than their medieval counterparts? How do medieval maps represent conceptual units such as “nation”/people, city/citizenry, or Christendom/Christians?

These theoretical questions ought to be addressed before any researcher considers practical concerns, such as how this data should be presented. Is a single, static map sufficient, or is a more functional, but also more complex solution such as a Geographic Information System (GIS) application suitable? How transferable is this collected geographic data for other scholar's uses? Is the end result ultimately useful for publishable research or classroom pedagogy?

This session seeks presenters from the diverse but interrelated fields of Digital Humanities GIS and medieval literature to talk across disciplinary boundaries and arrive at some possible answers to both theoretical and practical issues in mapping projects.

Please submit abstracts of 300 words or less, and a Participation Information Form (available here: to John A. Geck (

Deadline: September 15th 2015

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Technical Communications in the Middle Ages

Kalamazoo 2016 #Kzoo2016

CFP, ICMS ("Kalamazoo") 2016: Technical Communications in the Middle Ages
Scholars have long recognized Chaucer’s “Treatise on the Astrolabe” as an early technical document, yet few similar medieval texts have been discussed as specimens of technical communication. This session seeks to consider the traditions and conventions of medieval technical communication, as well as the connections between medieval and contemporary technical writing.
Possible texts for consideration might include (but are not limited to) penitential and conduct manuals, monastic rules, business correspondence, medical treatises, scientific and pseudo-scientific manuals (including alchemical and astrological ones), cookery books, law codes, and government and military documents. Papers should consider the texts as technical communication, but may focus either on any aspect, including writing, layout, design, etc.
Please send abstracts and participant information forms via e-mail to Wendy Hennequin ( by September 15.

51st International Congress on Medieval Studies May 12-15, 2016, Kalamazoo, Michigan, United States

Kalamazoo 2016 #Kzoo2016

51st International Congress on Medieval Studies
May 12-15, 2016, Kalamazoo, Michigan, United States

Sessions Sponsored by the Hispanic Seminary of Medieval Studies (HSMS)

1) Koineization and Standardization in Medieval Ibero-Romance languages

The focus of this session will be to discuss whether or not a common variety can be argued for Ibero-Romance medieval languages and if so, how each variety was configured, either by spontaneous koineization or by deliberate standardization processes, or perhaps both. Papers are invited to discuss issues such as what type of variation is present in Ibero-medieval texts and how modern scholars have come to the understanding of what features characterize and define such languages and varieties, how conventional linguistic varieties have been defined and what processes and ideologies made them reach such conclusions in the face of the immense variation present in medieval Ibero-Romance texts.
Please send abstract and Participant Information Form (available at to Gabriel Rei-Doval, by Sept. 15, 2015.

2) Medieval Iberian Languages: Linguistic Perspectives

This session seeks to bring together advances in our knowledge of medieval Iberian languages. Presentations adopting either on intrinsic linguistic features found on medieval textual evidence, or on extrinsic aspects of language change, such as the socio-cultural/historical context or the textual production milieu, will be considered. Please send abstract and Participant Information Form (available at to Sonia Kania, by Sept. 15, 2015.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Violence and Politics: Ideologies, Identities, Representations

Τhe Postgraduate Association of the Faculty of History and Archaeology of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens is organizing a colloquium devoted to the memory of Professor Nikos Birgalias, entitled “Violence and Politics: Ideologies, Identities, Representations” to be held in Athens, 15-16 January. The conference will be under the auspices of the Faculty of History and Archaeology of the University of Athens.

The principal aim is to bring together a multi-disciplinary group of new researchers concerned with theories and practices of violence and its relations to politics from a historical perspective. The colloquium will focus mainly on the following topics:

Historiographic Approaches of Violence
Legitimate and Illegitimate Violence
Archaeology and Iconography of Violence
Violence and “Otherness”
Violence “from above” and Resistance
Revolts and Revolutions
Microhistory of Violence

We welcome original papers by holders of a Master’s degree, PhD candidates and early career researchers in History and Archaeology or in any related discipline.

The co-organizers invite 15-minute papers in Greek or in English. Participants are expected to make their own travel and accommodation arrangements and to cover their expenses.

Interested speakers should complete the application form (in English or Greek) and submit it to postgradsociety@gmail.comby 30 September 2015.

Please find a pdf version of the call for papers here and the application form here .

Gendered Spaces

Kalamazoo 2016 #Kzoo2016

Gendered Spaces
Hortulus-sponsored session

Session organizer and presider: Melissa Ridley Elmes, co-editor of Hortulus

The concept of gendered spaces—areas in which particular genders and types of gender expression are considered welcome or appropriate while other gender types are unwelcome or inappropriate—is a key element in the study of human geography. Gendering spaces is one way in which social systems maintain the organization of gender, and can preserve and dictate the accepted norms of gendered behavior, as well as relationships and hierarchies between men and women. Studying gendered spaces—environments, landscapes, and other places that have been designated specifically for “men” or for “women,” as well as the “public-private” divide often defined with men in public and women in private spaces, for example—can provide us with important knowledge of the ways in which the spaces we inhabit reinforce our cultural positions from a gendered perspective; for instance, how such spaces serve to segregate or to unify, to reinforce or subvert traditional forms of masculinity and femininity. This understanding, in turn, can shed light on existing power structures and the conflicts and issues that arise between men and women in a given culture.

This session seeks to examine the subject of gendered spaces from a medieval vantage point, considering ways in which medieval society powerfully shaped and sought to control ideas of masculinity and femininity through the public and private spaces that were designated for men and women and how those spaces were used. We hope to attract an interdisciplinary panel of papers including studies from historians, art historians, and literary scholars that will extend our thinking about gender in the medieval period. The session shares a theme with our Fall, 2016 issue of Hortulus: The Online Graduate Journal of Medieval Studies, and we hope to be able to publish in that issue some of the papers delivered in this session. As our journal mission is to support the professionalization efforts of graduate students, the session is organized, presided over, and comprises papers given by current graduate students.

Abstracts, brief bio, and participant information form to Melissa Ridley Elmes ( by September 15, 2015.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Manuscript Context for Early Anglo-Saxon, Caroline, and Germanic Verse

Kalamazoo 2016 #Kzoo2016

Manuscript Context for Early Anglo-Saxon, Caroline, and Germanic Verse
While there are exemplary surveys of the early insular manuscript
tradition by J.J.G. Alexander, Michelle Brown and Richard Gameson, for
example, such works focus heavily on the illumination and codicology of
sacred books and not on how vernacular production got started. This is
even more evident in the paucity of secondary literature on how
vernacular poetic texts first came to be inscribed (with the exception,
perhaps, of work on Cædmon's Hymn), how they were distinguished from
prose, and what continental exemplars they may well have used.

Therefore, this session seeks papers considering the manuscript context
and all associated matters of paleography and codicology for the
earliest poetic texts recorded (pre-950) in Old English, Anglo-Latin,
Caroline Latin, Old Saxon, and Old High German.

How much influence does the layout of Caroline and Anglo-Latin poems
have in determining the inscription of vernacular poems? Are vernacular
poems initially derivative in their layout, or low-status, compared to
their Latin cousins?

As we know that manuscripts of early Germanic verse texts, in particular
the Old Saxon Heliand, were available in England from the late
ninth-century forward and that Anglo-Saxon scribes and scholars on the
continent were likely to have seen such works in Caroline centres of
learning, were they formative for later English books such as the Junius
and Exeter codices of Old English poetry?

What factors and exemplars determine the manuscript layout of verse
texts in such instances as marginal and flyleaf recordings of poems that
clearly appear secondary to the prose texts they complement?

Papers are particularly welcome to investigate strategies of layout for
unusual poems such as acrostics and incomplete poems, and the evolution
of the use of punctuation to mark poems and aid in recitation. The
session also solicits consideration of how modern printing affects - or
rather, shapes - the reception of these early medieval verses.

Last, the session in particular solicits reappraisals of Katherine
O’Brien O’Keeffe’s landmark book, Visible Song: Transformational
Literacy in Old English Verse, now past its 25th anniversary.

Please contact by September 15th:

Bruce Gilchrist
Saint Lawrence College

790, rue Nérée-Tremblay
Québec, QC // Canada // G1V 4K2

Revisiting the Viking era: Four particularly interesting excavated sites around Iceland

Neil McMahon Revisits the Viking era

Mapping the Medieval Countryside

Mapping the Medieval Countryside is a digital edition of the medieval English inquisitions post mortem (IPMs), currently covering the period 1418-1447.

IPMs recorded the lands held at their deaths by tenants of the crown, and are the single most important source for the study of landed society in medieval England. Describing the lands held by thousands of families, from nobles to peasants, they are a key source for the history of almost every parish in England and many in Wales.
Please explore at:

Monday, July 27, 2015

42nd Saint Louis Conference on Manuscript Studies, 16-17 October 2015

42nd Saint Louis Conference on Manuscript Studies, 16-17 October 2015
Vatican Film Library, Saint Louis University
St. Louis, Missouri

Organized annually since 1974 by the Knights of Columbus Vatican Film Library and its journal “Manuscripta,” this two-day conference features papers on a wide variety of topics in medieval and Renaissance manuscript studies — paleography, codicology, illumination, book production, texts and transmission, library history, and more.

Guest Speaker:
Stella Panayotova (Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge) — “Manuscript Illumination: Art and Science”

Conference Sessions:
Representations of Representation
Spanish Manuscripts
Goings on at SIMS: New Projects, New Research
Intriguing Calendars
A Good Read: The Production of Vernacular Texts in Thirteenth- and Fourteenth-Century Italy and their Public
Work in Progress -- Digital Humanities Projects in the Vatican Film Library and the Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana
Old Book, New Book: Refurbished Manuscripts in the Middle Ages

Conference Program and Registration Information
For further information, visit the conference webpage or contact or 314-977-3090.

The Vatican Film Library is a research library for medieval and Renaissance manuscript studies that holds on microfilm about 40,000 manuscripts, principally from the Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana. In addition to its annual conference, the library also publishes twice yearly Manuscripta: A Journal for Manuscript Research, the monograph series Manuscripta Publications in Manuscript Research, and offers fellowships for research in its collections. It is part of Special Collections in the Saint Louis University Libraries. Keep in touch with us through our blog, Special Collections Currents, or Twitter.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Skeleton from medieval battlefield goes on display at York museum

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Rare medieval St George ring found in Norfolk

A 600-year-old gold ring engraved with St George and the Dragon sheds new light on the saint's medieval followers in Norwich, an expert has told the BBC.

2015 Deerhurst Lecture

The 2015 Deerhurst Lecture will take place on Saturday 12th September 2015 at 7.30 pm at St Mary’s Church, Deerhurst, Gloucestershire. Normally the lecture is given on a topic concerning the early medieval period, but this year we are venturing after the Reformation to
consider Deerhurst’s other claim to fame. The lecture will be given by Trevor Cooper, chairman of the Ecclesiological Society, under the title of ‘The post-Reformation chancel fittings at Deerhurst: a unique survival’.

Tickets will be available at the door or visit

Friday, July 24, 2015

New research on the Black Plague reveals a much more ominous truth

The boneyard of the bizarre that rewrites our Celtic past to include hybrid-animal monster myths

Hybridization in ancient history? Perhaps an act reserved for sacrificial purposes only?

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Conor Kostick helps solve climate science mystery


History’s Conor Kostick has helped to solve a climate science mystery.

In a paper published in the world-leading scientific journal Nature, Dr Kostick’s research into medieval evidence for climate events has allowed scientists to pinpoint the exact relationship between historical volcanic activity and severe winters.

Dr Kostick said: “When Michael Sigl from the Desert Research Institute in Reno, Nevada and his team learned of my work on extreme medieval climate events, they asked could I find ‘tie-points’ – years in which the historical sources suggest volcanic activity. Thanks to my Nottingham Advanced Research Fellowship and my subsequent Marie Curie Fellowship I have been able to assemble a great deal of relevant evidence for unusual climate events in the medieval period.

“I looked through my data and gave them a list of events, based not just upon obvious reports, such as eyewitness accounts of the eruption of Vesuvius in 472 CE, but also on more subtle evidence such as reports of the sun being dim, or discoloured. And the beauty of what happened next is that these examples formed a perfect match with the new ice-core data, even though I hadn’t seen their data and had no idea which years they were interested in.”

Dr Kostick’s findings tie up with the findings of a team of ice-core experts who have dug a new Arctic core and used new techniques to establish with great precision the dating of each ice layer. The results of their work show that our previous ice-core dates for the period before about 1000 CE (and therefore for volcanic activity) are wrong by about seven years. With the new data it becomes evident that for certain years, such as 79, 536, 626 and 939 CE, volcanoes did indeed cause severe cold to develop over Europe.

University of Nottingham press release here.
Posted on Thursday 9th July 2015

Was Edward the Black Prince Really a Nasty Piece of Work?

The discovery of a new letter shines a new light on the Black Prince's 1370 attack on the French village of Limoges. The attack may not have been as brutal as we are lead to believe.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

CFP: SecondInternational Conference on Medieval and Renaissance Thought

Call for Papers

Sam Houston State University’s
SecondInternational Conference on Medieval and Renaissance Thought

April 7-9, 2016

Featuring Plenary Speaker

Dr. Caroline Bruzelius,
Professor ofArt History, Duke University

The conference is slated to be held on the beautiful campus of Sam Houston StateUniversity in Huntsville, Texas.

Deadline to propose a Special Session: Aug.15, 2015
Deadline for abstracts: Nov. 15, 2015
Notification of acceptance: Dec.15, 2015

You are invited to send your 250-300-word abstract to Dr. Darci Hill, ConferenceDirector, on any topic dealing with Medieval and/or Renaissance thought. If you would like to propose a special session, you are welcome to do that as well. We welcome papers and performances on any aspect of this time period. Papers dealing with language and linguistics, literature, music, philosophy, history,art, music, and theatre are all equally welcome.
Please send all inquiries and abstracts electronically to:

Dr. Darci Hill,
Conference Director,
Department of English
Sam Houston StateUniversity
Huntsville, Texas 77340

Writing History: Scandinavia and the Wider World

Friday and Saturday, 18-19 September, 2015

Announcing the second in a series of three conferences organised by the Department of Anglo-Saxon, Norse, and Celtic, University of Cambridge.

Keynote speakers are Professors Judith Jesch and Niels Lund.

Further details below. Online registration available at the following link:


Writing History: Battles and the Shaping of the North Atlantic
World is a series of three conferences focusing on a group of military
encounters and their protagonists from a millennium ago (1014 - 1016),
which took place in the broad of the North Atlantic World (Britain,
Ireland and Scandinavia). In our elucidation of the historiography of
conflict of a particular time and region, we will also seek to highlight
the universal features of writing war and each conference will include a
modern perspective. The first conference took place in 2014.

The second conference '1015, Scandinavia and the Wider World' will
take place 18 - 19 September 2015, GR06/07, Faculty of English, 9 West
Road, Cambridge, CB2 9DP. Key note speakers will include Professor
Judith Jesch and Professor Niels Lund focusing on different aspects of
the career and context of King Cnut. Other scholars contributing to the
discussion will include Dr Haki Antonsson, Dr Clare Downham, Dr Paul
Gazzoli and Dr Rory Naismith. Continuing the modern dimension
established in the first conference, Professor Brendan Simms will
conclude the conference with a lecture on Writing History, 1015 - 1815 -
2015, recalling the Battle of Waterloo.

Commemoration: 600 years since the burning of Jan Hus

We regard Jan Hus as an important character recognise that Jan Hus had a major impact on Europe. Through his actions he was instrumental in bringing to birth a completely new European era, one which valued the individual and the each individual’s rights. A time which, with the passage of centuries, has become transformed into democracy,’ said Petr Hušek, Senior Manager of the national celebration.

The New Scholars Program seeks to promote the work of scholars who are new to the field of bibliography.

Each year, the Bibliographical Society of America (BSA) invites three scholars in the early stages of their careers to present twenty-minute papers on their current, unpublished research in the field of bibliography as members of a panel at the BSA's Annual Meeting, which takes place in New York City in late January.

The New Scholars Program seeks to promote the work of scholars who are new to the field of bibliography, broadly defined to include any research that deals with the creation, production, publication, distribution, reception, transmission, and subsequent history of texts as material objects (print or manuscript).

Those selected for the panel receive $600 toward the cost of attending the Annual Meeting and a complimentary one-year membership in the BSA.

For more about the New Scholars Program and application procedures, see:

Applications are due July 31.

One of the largest Viking longhouses in Iceland has been found in downtown Reykjavík

Archaeologists working in a former parking lot in Lækjargata street in downtown Reykjavík have uncovered what they believe is the ruins of the residence of a Viking era chieftain. The discovery has altered dramatically the view we have of Viking age Reykjavík.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Treason: Medieval and Early Modern Treachery, Betrayal and Shame

Edited by Larissa Tracy, Longwood University

Treason had very specific definitions in the Middle Ages: betrayal of the lord/king or country. But treason manifested in multiple ways throughout the medieval and early modern periods: Rebellious lords, disloyal subjects, and unfaithful queens. Treason was adjudicated and punished differently in different periods and different communities; often the shame of treason lingered long after the immediate act. This volume seeks to investigate the nature of treason in medieval and early modern society in both practice and representation—its consequences, its lasting effects, its impression on societies and social standing. Articles dealing with treason, treachery, betrayal, or the shameful consequences of such betrayal in law, literature, art history, history, from across the span of the medieval period and into the early modern period are welcome, as are studies that deal with varying regions of medieval Europe. Interdisciplinary pieces are particularly welcome.

Please send abstracts of no more than 250 words, with a brief biographical blurb to Larissa Tracy: by Nov. 1, 2015.