Religions in Conflict: From Polemics to Wars (Late Antiquity - 18th Century)
About Programme Abstracts


In this symposium we approach the term “religion” in its broader sense, that is, institutionalized expressions as well as culture and practices. Our aim is to explore strategies of construction of identities and of otherness in religious groups and communities as well as to examine mechanisms and processes of confrontation and of stigmatization of the other. What primarily interests us is the shift from previously tolerated images of the other to a climate of religious intolerance in various historical eras. This obviously brings into discussion the question of the formation of “persecuting societies”, of the identification and gradual crystallization of the enemy, be it a dissenter, a heretic or a different religious creed. “Religions in conflict” thus refers to clashes between different religions as well as between dominant majorities and dissenting minorities within the same religion, in their different levels of confrontation (clash of propagandas to open, all-out war).

We propose several fields of investigation such as: Wars of Narratives: Rhetoric (including iconoclastic violence) and Representations (including the construction of the enemy in art and literature); Persecuting Societies: Inquiring, identifying, excluding or expelling and Historiographical approaches.

We begin our investigation from Late Antiquity, when the rise and gradual consolidation of monotheistic religions had a far reaching impact on the ways of self perception and of identification of the other. We choose to close our investigation roughly in the 18th century. The rise of colonialism and the historical experience of the 20th century have radically altered the phenomena and events sometimes described as “religious conflicts” or “religious wars”, despite the fact that modern day rhetoric frequently refers to age–old stereotypes and seeks to revive “everlasting” and “eternal truths” regarding religious and cultural identities.

Our aim is to bring together Greek and International scholars of Late Antiquity, the Middle Ages and Byzantium, of the Frankish, Venetian and Ottoman Rule as well as the Early Modern Period so as to appreciate the possibilities and the limitations of a comparative approach and of a common historicization.

Organizing Committee: 

R. Benveniste, C. Gaganakis, E.Gazi, P. Gounaridis, D. Kyrtatas, M. Vassilaki


Dpt. of History, Archaeology & Social Anthropology
Argonafton & Filellinon
38221 Volos

tel: (+30) 24210 74794
fax: (+30) 24210 74781


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Travelling info: 
    You may reach Volos from Athens by:
  1. Private car. The distance is 318km. You follow the national road towards Lamia and then towards Larissa. You leave the motorway either at Mikrothives junction or at Velestino junction.
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    You may reach Volos from Thessaloniki by:
  1. Private car. The distance is 218km. You follow the national road to Larissa and then towards Lamia. You leave the motorway at the Velestino junction.
  2. KTEL bus ( There are 8 scheduled services per day.
  3. OSE Intecity train ( There are 7 Intercity services daily to Larissa, from where you can catch one of the 12 local trains to Volos. Return tickets are discounted.
  4. To go to the train station from the Thessaloniki airport take the bus no. 78 and get off at the "New Railway Station".

Participants coming from abroad, may also check if there are available charter flights to Skiathos or Anghialos that they may use. The Anghialos airfield is approximately 30km from Volos, while the island of Skiathos is about 1:45 by hydrofoil.

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