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Richard Greenfield


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 Dame Averil Cameron and the late Dr. (Metropolitan) 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 and aspects of the medico-magical miscellany Bononiensis 3632. 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 [for further information see ], and the Secretary/Treasurer of the Canadian Committee of Byzantinists.

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

Selected Publications

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.), (Cambridge UP, 2023), 245-276.
  • “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.
Graduate supervision
  • Byzantine popular religion
  • Byzantine history
  • Crusades

Department of History, Queen's University

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Queen's University is situated on traditional Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabe territory.