What are the first 3 and biggest 3 "wars of religion"


Ad Honoris
Jan 2011
By war of religion I mean a war where the stated reason for the war was that the ennemy did not believe in the same god(s) or believed in the same god(s) but in the wrong way (heretics)

To be clear by "first", I mean earliest in chronological order

By "biggest" I mean those that had the biggest total (i.e of all sides) combattants involved

Obviously "first" and "biggest" are different categories , hovewer it is possible that a war might be both among the first 3 and the biggest 3....
Jan 2013
Toronto, Canada
The first three wars of religion happened long before the invention of writing and are lost to history.

My votes for the three largest are: 1) Thirty Years War, 2) Taiping Rebellion and 3) Arab Conquests.
Feb 2019
In terms of casualties the Thirty Years' War was massive, some German states lost as much as 1/3rd of their population IIRC. However I'm not sure if it counts as it was a set of several conflicts and phases, several of which were political rather than religious. The prime example would be the French involvement.

French Wars of Religion were quite large but were also a series of conflicts rather than a single war.

There are conflicts that might have used religion as justification but the actual aim of the war was something else, do these still count for this?
Oct 2018
In terms of early wars of religion, Constantine justified his wars against Licinius (324) and Shapur II (337) as efforts against persecutors of Christians. But I'm not sure if they therefore count as wars of religion. It doesn't really fit your definition. In any case, I've seen the war with Shapur be referred to as the earliest crusade. Earlier than both these wars, Licinius went to war with the persecutor Maximinus (313), and similarly the war was later revered as an effort that helped Christians. I think it is the modern scholar Noel Lenski who suggested that the Edict of Milan (313) by Constantine and Licinius, granting religious toleration and the restitution of church property, was partly intended to goad Maximinus into war.

In the context of the Arian controversy, in 344 Constans threatened war with Constantius II if he did not re-instate the pro-Nicene Athanasius as bishop of Alexandria. Constantius yielded.

Christian contemporaries presented the usurpation of Eugenius (392-394) and his defeat by Theodosius I as the last stand of the Roman pagans against Christianity, but paganism doesn't actually appear to be the reason for the revolt.
Oct 2018
In the times of classical Greece there were the Sacred Wars fought over matters of sacrilege. Famously, Philip II of Macedon used one of these wars to intervene to his south.
Aug 2019
Livingston 62° 38′ 27″ S, 60° 22′ 0.98″ W
On 10.11.1444. near Varna a Union Christian army was defeated trying to drive the Turks out of the Balkan Peninsula. This is the latest attempt by the crusade to stop the Turkish offensive and to reclaim the lost European lands of Christianity. Because of the diverse composition of the armies involved in the battle, it is sometimes called the "battle of the nations."
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Jun 2017
Thirty Years is complicated because a defining feature of the later phases of the war was that the coalitions crossed religious lines. Catholic French supporting the Protestant Swedes showed for the first time in Europe that state interests trumped religious similarities.