Eikonomachia: The Afterlife of the “Iconoclastic Controversy” in Byzantium

Eikonomachia: The Afterlife of the “Iconoclastic Controversy” in Byzantium

By Charles Barber

Iconoclasm: The War on Images: 6th Annual Platsis Symposium (2007)

Introduction: The so-called iconoclastic era has long dominated our thinking on the icon in Byzantium. With the Acts of the Seventh Oecumenical Council, the definitive statement that is the Synodikon of Orthodoxy, and the extensive writings of theologians such as John of Damaskos, Nikephoros of Constantinople, and Theodore of Stoudios among many others, we appear to have a settled body of doctrine that defines the icon in perpetuity. However, in the brief time permitted me today, let me attempt to disabuse ourselves of such an understanding, and instead to suggest to you that images and the legacy of iconoclasm remained a contested territory (the eikonomachia of my title) throughout the history of Byzantium. As such, their very real significance for this culture can be underlined.

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