Conference: Dissidence and Persecution in Byzantium

20th Australasian Association for Byzantine Studies Conference, Macquarie University, Sydney, 19-21 July 2019

The Byzantine empire was rarely a stable and harmonious state during its long and eventful history. It was often in strife with those outside its borders and with those within them, and with so much power invested in its political and ecclesiastical structures it was ready to implode at times. This could result in persecution and the silencing of dissident voices from various quarters of society. The mechanisms by which the authorities controlled civil disorder and dissent, as well as discouraging criticism of imperial policies, could be brutal at times. In what sense was it possible, if at all, to enjoy freedom of speech and action in Byzantium? Was the law upheld or ignored when vested interests were at stake? How vulnerable did minorities feel and how conformist was religious belief at the end of the day? The theme of the conference aims to encourage discussion on a number fronts relating to the use and abuse of power within the history of Byzantium.

Keynote speakers:

Professor David Olster (University of Kentucky)
Title: The Idolatry of the Jews and the Anti-Judaizing Roots of Seventh- and Early Eighth-Century Iconoclasm

Associate Professor Jitse Dijkstra (University of Ottawa)
Title: The Avenging Sword? Imperial Legislation Against Temples in the Fourth and Fifth Centuries

For full details and registration, see http://events.mq.edu.au/AABS20