What is Iconoclasm?


The word Iconoclasm has its origin in 
A dispute over the use of religious images (icons) in the Byzantine Empire in the 8th and 9th centuries. 
The Iconoclasts (those who rejected images) objected to icon worship for several reasons, including the Old Testament prohibition against images in the Ten Commandments (Ex. 20:4) and the possibility of idolatry.  
The defenders of icon worship insisted on the symbolic nature of images and on the dignity of created matter.

Physical Destruction

It is important to distinguish between iconoclasm in its literal and figurative senses. One of the definitions in the Collins Dictionary is strong opposition to generally accepted beliefs and traditions with one example given as 

The artwork draws its power primarily from iconoclasm and irreverence.

This is clearly a long way from the violent disputes over icons (political and religious) have resurfaced in extreme modern forms via the Nazis, Taleban, Khimer Rouge etc.