The Vikings were Norse seafarers, who mainly spoke the Old Norse language. They raided and traded from their Northern European homelands across wide areas of northern, central and eastern Europe, during the 9th to 11th century. The Vikings originated from Scandinavia, and the beginning of the Vikings expansion often originates from the raid of the Lindisfarne Monetary on 8 June 793. The Vikings were the first Westerners to sail to Iceland, Greenland, and over to the New World. However, the story of the Vikings is also an important story for the development of the Christian world in the West. Throughout this essay, I will explain the importance of Viking religion, Viking trade, and how the Viking age had an impact on the way Western and
Viking history and culture have been depicted in many movies, television series, and stories. Vikings are commonly known as barbarians that raid villages and intimidate others with huge ships with dragon heads, and horned helmets. This information is based on facts, but has been distorted and exaggerated over many years and tales. Viking history spans from the years 780 until 1100, which is the time span of the Viking raids. Not every Scandinavian was a Viking; Vikings were known as the men that conducted raids and bloody battles. The old definition of Viking was synonymous with the term pirate. The modern definition is relevant to the Scandinavian medieval culture, to include farming, crafting and trading.
Many Christian missionaries tried to force Native American people to abandon traditional religious beliefs and practices (Mayo, 33). Christian missionaries would sometimes launch attacks on Native American religious institutions when forcing them to convert to Christianity did not work. These harmful attacks destroyed not only their temples and religious artifacts, but also a huge part of their culture.
In 982 C.E, Erik the Red sailed west from Iceland after being banished for murder, discovering a new land which he named “Greenland.” After exploring the newly discovered land for two years, naming many fjords after himself
When one sees the word Viking, the mind firstly shifts to men who are uncivilized and unprincipled. Using evidence of achievements and victories will not only show how much they impacted Europe, but how sophisticated Vikings actually were. As Charlemagne’s empire ended, the people of Europe showed extraordinary resilience toward the new movements of the era. From 800 to 1200 CE, Vikings ruled medieval Europe. These Vikings, along with thick soil, are credited with shifting Europe from endemic violence toward cooperation and legal order. An attack on the Lindisfarne monastery off the coast of Northumberland in northeastern England marked the beginning of the Viking Age. Vikings began to appear in Europe due to Scandinavian raiders repeatedly visiting the Christian countries of Europe. At first they were content with just raiding lands, but soon they began to seize land and proclaim rule. They sought riches, not land. With this established rule, Vikings promised safety and began to reform the lands they had acquired. The people agreed due to starvation and possible attacks from eneimes. The new lands had a need for settled agriculture, defensive warfare and commerce. As the Vikings began to fulfill these needs they saw an expansion in cooperation and rule of law among the villagers.
"How the Almighty had made the earth a gleaming plain girdled with waters; in His splendor He set the sun and the moon to be earth's lamplight, lanterns for men and filled the broad lap of the world with branches and leaves; and quickened life in every other thing that moved."(Line 92)
The first Viking attack on Ireland was in 820, and like the monk’s attacked in 793, the people of Ireland had no chance against the powerful Viking army. In the years following the first attack Viking’s gained leadership, and by 839, a brave Viking chieftain named Turges, declared himself king of Ireland. Turges sacrificed the Irish kings Armagh and Clonmacnois, to Thor, a Viking god.
Many of the texts written throughout the Middle Ages had one similar theme: Religion. Many of the texts read in the Middle Ages segment of British Literature, have all had at least one element of religion. Stories have ranged from Beowulf to The Canterbury Tales. Sources directly from the text read and from scholarly journals, both have evidence that religion was a huge aspect in readings and life during the Middle Ages time period.
The Vikings spent most of their time raiding villages and killing people. They sailed very far distances in their longships to find land to raid. The Vikings mostly raided western and eastern parts of Europe. They also raided places like Greenland and Canada. While raiding the Vikings would basically kill anyone that got in their way and they would destroy villages completely. If you survived a Viking raid, you were extremely lucky. When the Vikings raided they would steal anything they could, including money, food, cattle and loot from churches. The Vikings would usually not leave places alone. Once they had raided them one time, they would do it again and keep stealing and killing. One famous raid that the Vikings did was in Northumbria, North-east England. Here the Vikings arrived in their longships and burned down buildings, murdered monks, stole things and frightened everyone. Apparently some of the Christian church leaders said
In the story Beowulf, there are a few different religions that are represented by the author. All the religions are portrayed in the story through the author’s eyes and his beliefs. The author makes clear what religion he believes in and his views. Some instances in the story also relate to the conflict between Christianity and the code of warriors. Throughout the story, the author is faced with the challenge of trying to portray his beliefs with a character whose actions are in conflict with his beliefs. Beowulf, in this story is based on the total opposite of the author’s beliefs and there are instances when his behavior is shown, and after there is symbolism of Christianity, to show its conflict with his behavior.
Warriors are considered among the bravest of men. In the Anglo-Saxon community, the warriors were of the most respected class, and made up the foundation for their way of living. Anglo-Saxon warriors would not stop fighting until either they were victorious or they were dead. Written during this Anglo-Saxon period, the epic Beowulf contains many pagan ideals, in addition to several references to Christian philosophy. Beowulf is a tale of dual ordeals; an external fight against treacherous enemies, and an internal struggle with human tendencies of pride, greed, cowardice, and betrayal. The story intertwines them with both pagan and Christian beliefs.
The Althing in Iceland accepted Christianity in 1000 A.D. (Roesdahl 269). Before that, I majority of Icelanders practiced the old faith, worshiping multiple gods. Many elements of Christianity were introduced though Viking exploration and cooperation with Christian nations, however. This is exemplified in The Saga of Gisli Sursson. Gisli died around twenty years before the particular Althing, but many aspects of his life indicate he was influenced by Christianity. The saga never mentions the faith by name, but references to the religion are there. Through the events portrayed in The Saga of Gisli Sursson, support is given for Christianity.
Throughout the story of Beowulf, the concept of religion plays a significant role. The Christianity ideology views state that man can survive and do great things through the protection of God. A strong desire of pride is also represented in the form of a hero in Beowulf, which in a sense goes against Christian morals. This clash with Christian morals in Beowulf was in the context of pride vs. humility and selfishness vs. sacrifice. In the book, Hrothgar first explained to Beowulf that pride without humility will only kill him. Beowulf struggles to find his roots as a follower of God, as well as maintaining his views and actions of Paganism.
Eller makes a point that anthropological method of studying religion is different because it focuses on the social and diverse aspects of religion with the intention of understanding the impact on society rather than the definition of religion itself. Anthropological method of studying religion is not looking to interpret or explain the theology of religion. So the aim is not to provide defense or offence against the religion. In order for the participant to be unbiased while studying religion and to be more objective, the method used by anthropology is fieldwork wherein the participant observer does a case study or ethnography by immersing himself in the practices of the religion and experiencing not only as an observer but as an active participant