Phyllis Jestice

Professor, Chair

Address: Maybank 203
Office Hours: MWF 1:00–2:00 or by appointment
Phone: 843.953.5938

Dr. Phyllis Jestice is a historian of medieval Europe, for her sins currently serving as chair of the Department of History.  She is a west-coaster, with a Ph.D. and M.A. in History and Humanities from Stanford University and a B.A. in European History from the University of Puget Sound.  Dr. Jestice is currently vice president of the Southeastern Medieval Association and also chair of the CofC Faculty Welfare Committee in addition to her department responsibilities.

Having (finally) completed a long-time study of empresses in tenth-century Germany, Dr. Jestice declared herself sick of both the tenth century and of Germany, and is currently engaged on a new project investigating the relationship between the papacy and the Crusader States in the twelfth century.  Besides scholarly writing, she also translates from German and has developed an odd sideline in medieval (especially naval) warfare, with a large number of book chapters and volumes intended for a popular audience.  In her spare time, she indulges shamelessly in music, and has the strange distinction of being the only faculty member of the CofC Orchestra.


Ph.D., History and Humanities, Stanford University, 1989

M.A., History and Humanities, Stanford University, 1985

B.A., History, University of Puget Sound, summa cum laude, Coolidge Otis Chapman Honors Scholar, 1982

Research Interests

History of medieval Europe with current emphasis on twelfth-century ecclesio-political history.

Work in progress: “The Unreformed Holy Land: The Crusader States and Twelfth-century Christendom.”

Courses Taught

Just about anything medieval, including Church-state relations, medieval Ireland, medieval England, the Crusades, medieval frontiers, the 100 Years War, the Vikings, and the Early Middle Ages.

Honors and Awards

2005 USM Aubrey K. and Ella G. Lucas Faculty Excellence in Teaching Award 
2008 Mississippi Humanities Council Humanities Teacher Award.


Recent Publications:

The Imperial Ladies of the Ottonian Dynasty: Women and Power in Tenth-Century Germany (Palgrave MacMillan, April 2018)

Castles of the World (Amber Books, 2019)

Medieval Knight (Amber Books, 2018)

Translation of Jochen Schenk and Graham A. Loud, eds., The Origins of the German Principalities, 1100–1350 (Ashgate, 2017)

Other Publications:

Wayward Monks and the Religious Revolution of the Eleventh Century. E.J. Brill, Studies in Intellectual History, 1997.

 "A Great Jewish Conspiracy?  Worsening Jewish-Christian  Relations and the Destruction of the Holy Sepulcher." In Christian Attitudes toward Jews in the Middle Ages: A Casebook, ed. Michael Frassetto.  Routledge, 2007.

"A New Fashion in Imitating Christ: Changing Spiritual Perspectives around the Year 1000." In
The Year 1000: Reactions and Responses, ed. Michael Frassetto.  Brill, 2003.

Encyclopedia of Irish Spirituality (ABC-Clio, 2001).

"Why Celibacy?  Odo of Cluny and the Development of a New Sexual Morality," in Medieval Purity and Piety. Essays on Medieval Clerical Celibacy and Religious Reform, ed. Michael Frassetto, Garland, 1998.