Historians blast Salonica protest

Archaeologists and historians participating at an international conference in Thessaloniki yesterday condemned the «barbarous» disruption of the proceedings on Wednesday by an angry mob aghast at papers discussing homosexuality and witchcraft among the ancient Macedonians. «This was a barbarous breach of the rules of hospitality that blemishes Greece’s name,» participants said in a joint statement. «The truth can only be approached through the free exchange of ideas.» Members of a 400-strong crowd incensed by two papers presented by British and US historians invaded the conference venue and heckled participants. More than the issue of witchcraft practiced by Macedonian noblewomen, what most angered protesters was the discussion of homosexuality in the court of King Philip II, father of Alexander the Great – whose fondness for the same sex is well documented. While Greek historians blasted the «ignorant demagogues» who led the protest, some noted that the paper on homosexuality used unreliable ancient sources.