Associate Professor of Medieval History and the College

Affiliated Faculty, Center for Gender and Sexuality Studies
Director, Undergraduate Program in Medieval Studies
Faculty Member, Medieval Studies
Senior Fellow, Society of Fellows in the Liberal Arts, the College

PhD'05 University of Notre Dame

On Research Leave: Autumn 2021 and Spring 2022

Winter Quarter Office Hours:
By appointment via Zoom.
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Mailing Address

The University of Chicago
Department of History
1126 E. 59th Street, Mailbox 29
Chicago, IL 60637

Social Science Research Building, room 510 – Office
(773) 834-0584 – Office telephone
(773) 702-7550 – Fax

Field Specialties

Medieval European political and social history; history of the family; the European nobility; medieval Germany and the Holy Roman Empire


Jonathan Lyon's research and teaching focus on the political and social history of Germany, Austria, and the Holy Roman Empire in the medieval period, particularly the eleventh through thirteenth centuries. He has held fellowships from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation (2017–18 University of Heidelberg, Germany) the Austrian Science Fund (2013–14 FWF Lise Meitner Programme #1534-G18, University of Vienna), the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), the J. William Fulbright Program, and the Dolores Zohrab Liebmann Foundation. His first book, Princely Brothers and Sisters: The Sibling Bond in German Politics, 1100–1250 (Cornell, 2013), won the 2017 John Nicholas Brown Prize for the best first book from the Medieval Academy of America. In it, he argues that sibling relationships played a pivotal role in shaping political dynamics both inside individual noble families and at the courts of the German kings and emperors. His current research projects include a study of the office of church advocate in medieval Germany and a general survey of the history of the medieval Holy Roman Empire. He has also published a volume of translated Latin sources entitled Noble Society: Five Lives from Twelfth-Century Germany (Manchester, 2017). He teaches courses on topics relating to medieval Central Europe and the Holy Roman Empire, premodern political cultures, and European family and gender history.


Noble Society: Five Lives from Twelfth-Century Germany. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2017.

"Noble Lineages, Hausklöster, and Monastic Advocacy in the Twelfth Century: The Garsten Vogtweistum in its Dynastic Context," Mitteilungen des Instituts für Österreichische Geschichtsforschung 123, no. 1 (2015): 1–29.

“Otto of Freising's Tyrants: Church Advocates and Noble Lordship in the Long Twelfth Century.” In Christianity and Culture in the Middle Ages: Essays to Honor John Van Engen. Edited by David C. Mengel and Lisa Wolverton, 141–67. Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 2015.

Princely Brothers and Sisters: The Sibling Bond in German Politics, 1100–1250. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2013.

"The Letters of Princess Sophia of Hungary, a Nun at Admont. In Writing Medieval Women’s Lives, edited by Charlotte Newman Goldy and Amy Livingstone, 51–68. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012.

"The Medieval German State in Recent Historiography." German History 28 (2010): 85–94.

"Fathers and Sons: Preparing Noble Youths to be Lords in Twelfth-Century Germany." Journal of Medieval History 34, no. 3 (2008): 291–310.

"The Withdrawal of Aged Noblemen into Monastic Communities: Interpreting the Sources from Twelfth-Century Germany." In Old Age in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, edited by Albrecht Classen, 143–169. Berlin and New York: De Gruyter, 2007.

"Die Andechs-Meranier und das Bistum Bamberg. In Das Bistum Bamberg in der Welt des Mittelalters, vol. 1, edited by Christine van Eickels and Klaus van Eickels, 247–262. Bamberg: University of Bamberg Press, Bamberger interdisziplinäre Mittelalterstudien, 2007.