Religions in Conflict: From Polemics to Wars (Late Antiquity - 18th Century)
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Religions in Conflict: The Case of Venetian Crete

Maria Vassilaki, University of Thessaly

The Venetian occupation of Crete that started in 1210 resulted in a total change of the islandís prevailing political, ecclesiastical and social conditions. The Byzantine political leadership was abolished and Crete was transformed into a Venetian colony, the so-called Regno di Candia. The Greek orthodox archbishop and bishops were replaced by a Roman catholic hierarchy, which acquired all the property of the Church, totaling one third of the island. Though both sides were Christians, their religious differences appeared to them to be major and the Venetians were resented by the Cretans not only as conquerors of Crete but also as heretics. But even though the Cretans were separated from the Venetians by such conditions, they still shared the same environment and were influenced by it.

The aim of this paper is to look at the painted churches and icons executed on Crete during the Venetian occupation (1210-1669) and use their evidence in order to discuss issues of religious hostility but also of religious reconciliation and cultural interaction between the Cretans and the Venetians.

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© 2004: Univeristy of Thessaly - Department. of History, Archaeology and Social Anthropology