Department of History

Department of History
Department of History

Richard Greenfield richard greenfield

(with a cross appointment in the Department of Classics)

Byzantine History, Crusades, Late Antiquity


Phone: 613-533-6000, ext: 77507
Fax: 613-533-6298
Office: Watson Hall 237



Degree, University, Year
Ph.D.,  University of London, England; (King's College; Department of Modern Greek and Byzantine Studies), 1985
B.D., University of London, England (King's College; Faculty of Theology), 1977



Richard Greenfield attended Christ's Hospital school at Horsham in the UK before studying Theology as an undergraduate at King’s College, London. His graduate work was also completed there in the Department of Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies, although his research was conducted primarily in Oxford and in Athens, Greece (at the British School). His thesis, ‘Traditions of Belief in Late Byzantine Demonology,’ was supervised by the late Professor Donald Nicol and was examined by Professor Averil Cameron and Dr. Kallistos Ware in 1985.

The main focus of his research has been the broad field of Byzantine popular religion. His early work looked at Byzantine demonology and sorcery, but for the last twenty years or so he has turned primarily to Byzantine hagiography and monasticism while maintaining interests in Byzantine magic. Most recently he has been studying aspects of the history of Medieval Greece. He also works on the Crusades and their interaction with the Byzantine world of the eastern Mediterranean.

After teaching briefly at Queen’s University, Belfast and Concordia University in Montreal in the mid 1980’s, he became an Adjunct in the Departments of History and Classics at Queen’s in 1988. Since 2002 he has been a tenured Professor in the Department of History with a cross appointment to Classics.

He is proud to have served in the past in various roles in the Queen’s University Faculty Association, particularly as a representative of Adjunct faculty and as a member of two Collective bargaining teams, and was honoured to be President of the Association in 2002-03. From 2003-2009 he was Chair of the Department of History. He is currently co-editor (with Alexander Alexakis) of the Dumbarton Oaks Medieval Library Greek series for Harvard UP, and the Secretary/Treasurer of the Canadian Committee of Byzantinists.

He is also proud to be the parent of two Queen’s alumnae.

Courses Taught


For the Department of History:

HIST 121 Intellectual Origins of the Contemporary West (seminar)
HIST 218* Byzantium (lecture)
HIST 239 Making of the Middle Ages (seminar)
HIST 243* The Crusades (lecture)
HIST 301 Medieval Societies (Byzantium) (lecture/seminar)
HIST 400/441* Medieval Greece (seminar)
HIST 430 The Crusades and the Latin Kingdoms [formerly HIST 343] (seminar)
HIST 417 Byzantine Society [formerly HIST 317] (seminar)

For the Department of Classics:

GREK 112 Introductory Classical Greek (language)
CLST 321* World of Late Antiquity (lecture)
ANCH 320 Late Antiquity (seminar)


For the Department of History:

HIST 880 Miracles and Magic in Byzantium
HIST 801 Religious Identity, dissidence and interaction in the pre-modern Mediterranean [co-taught with Dr. Adnan Husain]
HIST 817 Byzantine Society [with HIST 417 or by tutorial]
HIST 828 The Crusades and the Latin Kingdoms [with HIST 430]
HIST 881 Religious identity in Byzantium
HIST 895 Medieval Greece
HIST 896* Byzantine Hagiography (Directed reading)
HIST 897 Directed Reading [Topics in Byzantine history and religion]

For the Department of Classics:

ANCH 831 Selected Topic in Greek History
Principal fields for graduate supervision: Middle and late Byzantine social and religious history; the Crusades.

Major Publications


Holy Men of Mount Athos. (Ed. and trans. with Alice-Mary Talbot) Dumbarton Oaks Medieval Library 40, Greek Series (Harvard UP), April 2016. 746pp.

The Life of Symeon the 'New' Theologian by Niketas Stethatos. (Edition and Translation) Dumbarton Oaks Medieval Library (Washington, D.C.: Dumbarton Oaks, May 2013).

The Life of Lazaros of Mt. Galesion: An Eleventh-Century Pillar Saint. (Translation, together with an introductory study and notes), Dumbarton Oaks Byzantine Saints' Lives in Translation, 3, (Washington, D.C.: Dumbarton Oaks, 2000). 423 pp.

Traditions of Belief in Late Byzantine Demonology. (Amsterdam: Adolf M. Hakkert, 1988). lxxxvi +369 pp.

Articles and Book Chapters:

“Making magic happen; understanding drugs as therapeutic substances in later Byzantine sorcery and beyond,” in P. Bouras and D. Stathakopoulos, Drugs in the Medieval Mediterranean: Pharmacological Exchange across Cultures, Genres, and Languages (11th-14th c.) [in Press]

“Magic and the Occult Sciences” in Antony Kaldelis and Niketas Siniossoglou eds., The Cambridge Intellectual History of Byzantium, Cambridge UP, 2017, 215-233.

"Children in Byzantine Monasteries: Innocent Hearts or Vessels in the Harbor of the Devil," in Arietta Papaconstantinou and Alice-Mary Talbot eds., Becoming Byzantine: Children and Childhood in Byzantium. (Washington D.C., Dumbarton Oaks: 2009), 253-282.

"Shaky Foundations: opposition, conflict and subterfuge in the creation of the Holy Mountain of Galesion," in Peter Soustal, ed., Heilige Berge und Wüsten: Byzanz und sein Umfeld. (Vienna, Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften, Institut für Byzanzforschung: 2009), 25-40.

"Drawn to the Blazing Beacon: Visitors and Pilgrims to the Living Holy Man and the Case of Lazaros of Mt. Galesion," Dumbarton Oaks Papers 56 (2002), 207-235.

"The Wayside Shrines of the Argolid," in J. Fossey and P.J. Smith, eds., Proceedings of the First Montreal Conference on the Archaeology and History of the North East Peloponnesos. (November 1993), McGill University Monographs in Classical Archaeology and History.  J.C. Gieben (Amsterdam, 1999), 73-91 and Pls. 8-25.

"A Contribution to the Study of Palaeologan Magic," in H. Maguire, ed., Byzantine Magic, (Washington, D.C.: Dumbarton Oaks, 1995), 117-153.

"Sorcery and Politics at the Byzantine Court in the Twelfth Century: Interpretations of History," in R. Beaton and C. Roueché (eds.) The Making of Byzantine History. Studies dedicated to Donald M. Nicol, (London: Variorum, 1993), 73-85.

"Fallen into Outer Darkness: Later Byzantine Conceptions and Depictions of Evil," Etnofoor 5 (1992), 61-80.

"Saint Sisinnios, the Archangel Michael and the Female Demon Gylou; the Typology of the Greek Literary Stories," Byzantina 15 (1989), 83-142.

Typology of the Greek Literary Stories," Byzantina 15 (1989), 83-142.