Iconoclasm is the deliberate destruction of religious icons and other symbols or monuments, usually for religious or political motives. It is a frequent component of major political or religious changes. The term encompasses the more specific destruction of images of a ruler after his death or overthrow (damnatio memoriae), for example, following Akhenaten's death in Ancient Egypt.
People who engage in or support iconoclasm are called "iconoclasts", a term that has come to be applied figuratively to any person who challenges established dogma or conventions. Conversely, people who revere or venerate religious images are (by iconoclasts) called "iconolaters". In a Byzantine context, they are known as "iconodules", or "iconophiles".