Reading Groups

Proficiency in medieval studies necessarily involves developing key translation and palaeographical skills. Various members of the Centre voluntarily run informal groups that aim to assist both undergraduate and postgraduate students in this regard. The groups, some current, some in abeyance, are:

  • Advanced Latin
  • Old English
  • Middle English
  • Old Irish
  • Old Norse
  • Middle Scots


The ‘advanced’ Latin Reading Group continues to meet in the Centre room in the John Woolley Building whenever John Ward is in town ( or phone John on 02 9799 6237), 1-3pm, Fridays. We usually meet first in the Holme Cafe, from 12.30pm onwards. We have just finished reading William of Malmesbury's 'Polyhistor' (an excellent text as it consists of an intelligent twelfth-century scholar’s rummaging through a large variety of Christian and Classical texts) and hope to publish our translation with full annotations. We are now reading, with a view towards publishing a translation, a twelfth century dream theory masterpiece, called the 'Liber Thesauri Occulti', by Pascalis Romanus. We plan also to read Catullus poem 64 (his masterpiece), Ovid on Semele (from the 'Metamorphoses'), portions of Livy (difficult, but REAL Latin) and other texts mentioned by participants. You don't need a great deal of Latin to attend but it will certainly keep up what you’ve got if you do! Please contact John Ward.


OERG meets fortnightly on Monday evenings to read aloud and translate literature in Old English. OERG aims, in an informal environment, to foster interest in Old English language and literature; to increase awareness of the richness of the language itself and the diverse texts which were written in it; and to improve translation skills. Attendance is flexible and no preparation is required, although a knowledge of Old English is beneficial. For more information, please contact .


MERG meets weekly for an hour, to read aloud English literature written from the eleventh century to the sixteenth. MERG is an informal meeting of students, staff, and others interested in medieval literature in English. No preparation is required, nor is experience with Middle English. Suggestions for texts are always welcome, as are new members of all abilities. For more information, please contact .


OIRG meets weekly from 5.30pm to 7.30pm on Mondays to read aloud and translate literature in Old Irish, the Irish language spoken and written between the fifth and ninth centuries. We work through a few exercises to strengthen our grasp of the structure of the language and spend the rest of each meeting reading texts, which include poetry, tales, and law texts. Attendance is flexible and preparation is optional. Undergraduates, postgraduates, and community members are all welcome. No prior knowledge of the language is required, but enthusiasm and a sense of humour would be helpful. For more information, please Pamela O'Neill.


The Old Norse Reading Group meets fortnightly on Monday evenings, to practice translating a variety of texts in an informal atmosphere. No preparation is required, but some prior knowledge of Old Norse is beneficial. Please contact .


The Middle Scots Reading Group meets fortnightly for an hour, generally on the Holme Terrace. The group reads texts in Middle Scots, the Anglic language of Lowland Scotland in the later Middle Ages. No preparation or knowledge of Middle Scots is required, although familiarity with Middle English is an advantage. Please contact or .