Wars of religion

George Wilkes

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingEntry for encyclopedia/dictionary


This article presents the historical connections between religious warfare and
empire. It first examines contextual factors which frame the changing
relationship between the two. Secondly, it presents divergent maximalist and
minimalist historiographies focused on arguments about the role of religion in
causing the wars which affected imperial histories across the ages, giving careful
attention to the challenges presented by minimalists who dismiss religion as a
cause of these wars. Finally, it describes developments in the role of religion in
the conduct of wars, from ancient to contemporary times, exploring the political
and social factors which have led recent trends in imperial histories which again
emphasise religious warfare.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Encyclopedia of Empire
EditorsJohn M. McKenzie
Place of PublicationOxford
ISBN (Electronic)9781118455074
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Religion
  • war
  • crusades
  • jihad
  • missionaries
  • secular
  • ancient
  • Axial
  • classical
  • medieval
  • early modern
  • Wars of Religion
  • Sacred Wars
  • holy war
  • Greece
  • Rome
  • Christian
  • Muslim
  • Byzantine
  • American
  • Cold War
  • Asia
  • Africa
  • Latin America
  • Europe
  • Near East
  • Reformation
  • Counter-Reformation


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