Vikings, Christians And Pagans Essay, Research Paper
Throughout the late 10th century in Scandinavia, many societies were adversely affected by the spread of Christianity. The Vikings were traditionally a heathen community believing in many Gods and pagan rites, such as human and material forfeit. Through the influence of powerful Christian swayers many Vikings did change over to Christianity during the 10th century. Some converted from their pagan ways by pick and others were forced to except these thoughts or be killed by order of the male monarch. But as the new millenary approached, Christians and Pagans believed that an apocalypse would truly make up one’s mind the hereafter of the rightful belief.
By the 10th century, the Roman Empire, France, and England had already been Christianized. In 962 A.D. , Otto II, the Holy Roman Emperor, decided to seek and distribute the faith into Scandinavia. ? Sending word to the Danish male monarch Harald Bluetooth that the male monarch must change over, the German emperor demanded that Denmark go Christian or he would occupy? ( 84 ) . This menace finally led to an invasion on Denmark by the Saxons. Bluetooth called upon his pagan brother to assist support their state, but Otto? s military personnels prevailed. Without much pick, the two pagan brothers opened up to Christ, ? they declared, but they insisted that their Scandinavian Gods were stronger because they revealed themselves to work forces with marks and miracles? ( 84 ) . In return, the emperor Otto had one of his Bishops stick has manus in a fire and he pulled it out without firing himself. This effort astonished the two work forces and afterwards they were baptized to the satisfaction of Otto. Otto so removed his military personnels in hope that the freshly baptized heads would distribute this religion to the remainder of the Vikings.
For the following few? decennaries, the Christian male monarch of Denmark Harald Bluetooth held sway over the country [ in Norway called the Vik ] , many converted to Christianity? ( 30 ) . However, his pagan brother, Earl Hacon reverted back to paganism every bit shortly as Otto II was far plenty off. Equally shortly as Hacon got control of Norway? the converted reverted, and one time once more, the Gods of Aesir were transcendent? ( 30 ) .
The first Viking swayer to take enterprise in genuinely distributing Christianity was Olaf Trygvesson. In 994 A.D. , ? staying his clip in the Scilly Islands, away Land? s End, the Viking [ Olaf ] heard of a local fortune-teller personally? ( 17 ) . At foremost he tried to flim-flam the fortune-teller by directing one of his work forces to present as the male monarch. However the fortune-teller was non fooled, he knew that it was non the male monarch. This intrigued Olaf and he had to run into this cryptic adult male. Upon run intoing the anchorite, Olaf was pleased to hear that he would be king and? many work forces wilt 1000 bring to baptism? ( 17 ) . At that point Olaf knew his religion and was inspired to distribute it throughout the universe.
In 995 A.D. Olaf began his journey to Norway to distribute his divinity and derive his rightful position as male monarch of Norway. His first achievement was to Christianize the Orkney Islands. ? Confronting the earl of the Orkneys, Sigurd, he said:
? I want you and all your topics to be baptized. If you refuse, I? ll have you killed on the topographic point, and I swear that I? ll depredation every island with fire and steel? ? ( 22 ) .
Olaf? s usage of force to baptise was successful and he continued utilizing menaces to distribute his beliefs. In 996A.D. , Olaf became male monarch of Norway and his first mission was to guarantee that? all of Norway will be Christian or decease? ( 30 ) . Bing that Norway was really sparsely populated, Olaf made his manner to the Vik, the most populated part of the
state. ? By the terminal of the twelvemonth, between his blade and his axe, he had claimed all of the Vik for Christ and dared anyone to claim otherwise? ( 31 ) .
Traveling on, he headed West, and was met by three work forces who were to talk against his beliefs. These talkers were organized by local heads and when it came clip for them to show their statements, some thing? supernatural? came over them and th
ey were unable to transport on. ? Thereafter, the part voted for Christianity and the people were baptized? ( 31 ) .
At this clip, Olaf had made a batch of menaces and finally began to? fire pagan temples and pagan graven images? ( 32 ) . He lured pagan heads into topographic points with all right banquets and torched the edifice while they were still indoors. By 999A.D. , Olaf had successfully Christianized Norway.
Many people, like Olaf? s scald Hallfred, were captivated by Christianity. Hallfred was an huge protagonist of heathen Gods, because he felt that they helped him compose his poesy. He believed that he had been rescued from decease by the grace of God, and such a miracle was plenty for him to give up his Pagan beliefs for Christ. Most citizens, nevertheless, were sceptics about Christianity. They were raised with the beliefs that Pagan Gods such as Thor would do them stronger. Since Christianity was forced on them, the? work forces would believe in Christ, but name upon Thor for ocean trips and big projects? ( 49 ) .
The lone thing that this new faith offered these people was a opportunity to go on populating. Besides the few miracles like Hallfred and the three talkers who were taken over by supernatural force, the pagans were largely change overing in fright of the
king? s wrath. Olaf ne’er produced any grounds or benefits to Christianity ; the lone things different from their original beliefs were that? they should believe in one God, non abandon kids to decease at birth, nor shall they eat Equus caballus flesh? ( 47 ) . Christianity failed to offer anything of significant value to the pagans, except for the certainty that the male monarch would non kill them.
Around the late 10th century, many Christians and pagans believed that the approaching millenary would convey about an revelatory alteration in the society and perchance the hereafter of human civilisation. Between the pagans? there had been talk of Ragnarok, that awful end-time when the universe sinks into moral pandemonium, into anxiousness and greed, into an poisoning with gold, when brothers kill brothers and incest is rampant. In this wolf? s age, Odinn becomes an agent of violent decease and is himself killed violently, when war breaks out between Vanir and the Aesir, and the Gods mete out penalty to curse surfs, liquidators and rapers? ( 23 ) . They believed that this concluding conflict of good and immorality was to be the terminal of the universe. The Christians besides believed that something was traveling to go on on the 1000th birthday of Jesus Christ. It was said to be a Second Coming of Christ with a? concluding climatic conflict between the forces of good and evil? ( 23 ) . King Olaf knew that this twenty-four hours was coming and Christianity would reign over evil. In the winter of the new millenary, the Christian and Pagan forces did collide and Olaf had been prepared. Four old ages before, he had started to construct his fleet, which had now reached about 71 conflict ships. Not to advert his ship, the Long Serpeant which, ? in its size, its velocity, and sheer beauty, it was unmatched in the universe? ( 102 ) . The Battle of Svold pitted Olaf? s Christian Norsemen against pagan
Norwegians from Denmark, Sweden, and Norway. ? Ragnarok and Armageddon were conjoined ; the conflict was between work forces, but it was besides a conflict between Gods and between good and evil? ( 103 ) . Olaf? s military personnels fought hard and pushed back to Danes and the Swedes with no jobs, nevertheless Earl Eric? s Norsemen were the true trial. After contending long and hard, the Christians were in problem. Fearing for his life, ? Olaf jumped overboard? ( 107 ) .
The Battle of Svold was non needfully what the Vikings had expected. Although it was a conflict between good and evil, it was non a Ragnarok or an Armageddon. It did non clearly distinguish any victor or also-ran. The lone thing revelatory about the new millenary was that leaders like Olaf Trygvesson had made a name for Christianity and it has spread throughout the universe of all time since.
How Swede it is, to be a Christian Viking
T.A. David Lunt