With Regrets (8th Week, MT)

It’s hard to believe that Michaelmas Term is over, despite the fact that those first presessional Latin classes feel like they happened years ago. Eighth Week disappeared in a flurry of choir services, final lectures, and a Christmas MCR dinner at college (complete with Christmas crackers, of course).

Of course, despite the books I’ve read and seminars I’ve attended, it’s only too easy to remember all the things I haven’t done this term: the lectures I missed, the books that are still unread, the concerts and book-signings and talks I didn’t attend . . . And above all that, the great massive chasm of all the many, many things I still don’t know about medieval history.

But that’s all right. In my saner moments, I realize the only reason I can appreciate the size of that chasm is precisely because of everything I have learned over the past term (and that one term probably wouldn’t result in historical omniscience!). After all, I am now on a first-name basis with all sorts of people I had barely heard of at the start of 1st Week: Hincmar of Rheims and Walter Map, Vincent de Beauvais and John of Salisbury, not to mention all of the brilliant medieval historians whose names now ring at least vague bells in my head. I can hold a reasonably intelligent conversation about the influence of anthropology on the study of history, or twelfth century ideals of kingship, and I now know just enough to bore you on the subject of medieval scripts and seals.

And while I may still be a little fuzzy on Latin  gerunds versus gerundives, I can still spot a pluperfect subjunctive a mile away . . .


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