The religion of the ancient scandinavians

Greek religion as it is currently understood probably resulted from the mingling of religious beliefs and practices between the incoming Greek-speaking peoples who arrived from the north during the 2nd millennium bce and the indigenous inhabitants whom they called Pelasgi. But there was also a Cretan sky god, whose birth and death were celebrated in rituals and myths quite different from those of the incomers. The incomers applied the name of Zeus to his Cretan counterpart.

The religion of the ancient scandinavians

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DuBois said Old Norse religion and other pre-Christian belief systems in Northern Europe must be viewed as "not as isolated, mutually exclusive language-bound entities, but as broad concepts shared across cultural and linguistic lines, conditioned by similar ecological factors and protracted economic and cultural ties".

Many skaldic verses are preserved in sagas. Of the originally heathen works, we cannot know what changes took place either during oral transmission or as a result of their being recorded by Christians; [38] [39] the sagas of Icelandersin particular, are now regarded by most scholars as more or less historical fiction rather than as detailed historical records.

In the Middle Ages, several Christian commentators also wrote about Scandinavian paganism, mostly from a hostile perspective. Theophoric place-names, including instances where a pair of deity names occur in close proximity, provide an indication of the importance of the cult of those deities in different areas, dating back to before our earliest written sources.

Magnus Olsen developed a typology of such place-names in Norway, from which he posited a development in pagan worship from groves and fields toward the use of temple buildings.

It may have had links to Nordic Bronze Age: Some of these areas, such as Iceland, the Orkneys, Shetland, and the Faroe Island, were hardly populated, whereas other areas, such as England, Scotland, the Western Isles, Isle of Man, and Ireland, were already heavily populated.

Christianization of Scandinavia The Nordic world first encountered Christianity through its settlements in the already Christian British Isles and through trade contacts with the eastern Christians in Novgorod and Byzantium. On returning to Norway, he kept his faith largely private but encouraged Christian priests to preach among the population; some pagans were angered and—according to Heimskringla —three churches built near Trondheim were burned down.

Private, albeit not public, pagan sacrifices and rites were to remain legal. We also have depictions of some of these stories on picture stones in Gotland and in other visual records including some early Christian crosses, which attests to how widely known they were.

Archaeological evidence on worship of particular gods is sparse, although placenames may also indicate locations where they were venerated.

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For some gods, particularly Loki[] [] [] there is no evidence of worship; however, this may be changed by new archaeological discoveries.

Regions, communities, and social classes likely varied in the gods they venerated more or at all.

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Although our literary sources are all relatively late, there are also indications of change over time. Very few Vanir are named in the sources: As far back as Sophus Bugge suggested this was a version of the myth of Lucifer.

Snorri describes them as a group of three, but he and other sources also allude to larger groups of norns who decide the fate of newborns. Fylgjurguardian spirits, generally female, were associated with individuals and families. There then appeared a giant, Ymirand after him the gods, who lifted the earth out of the sea.

The religion of the ancient scandinavians

From this emerged two realms, the icy, misty Niflheim and the fire-filled Muspellthe latter ruled over by fire-giant, Surtr.The history of Scandinavia is the history of the geographical region of Scandinavia and its peoples. It is not known what language these early Scandinavians spoke, Phoenicia and Ancient Egypt have all been identified as possible sources of influence in Scandinavian artwork from this period.

The native religion of the ancient Scandinavians was in its main features only a special form of that common to all the Germanic peoples, and this again was only a particular development of primitive beliefs and practices characteristic of the whole Aryan race.

It is impossible to say how far back. Feb 17,  · As well as conversion abroad, the Viking Age also saw a gradual conversion in Scandinavia itself, as Anglo-Saxon and German missionaries arrived to convert the pagans. The religion of the ancient Scandanavians varied greatly between different areas.

Many beliefs were totally different from one town to the next, but they do share several main deities. Though worship of these may have varied as well, the main idea behind these major gods remained somewhat c.

The religion of the ancient scandinavians

The native religion of the ancient Scandinavians was in its main features only a special form of that common to all the Germanic peoples, and this again was only a particular development of primitive beliefs and practices characteristic of the whole Aryan race.

Greek religion was not based on a written creed or body of dogma. Nevertheless, certain sacred writings survive in the form of hymns, oracles, inscriptions, and instructions to the dead.

Nevertheless, certain sacred writings survive in the form of hymns, oracles, inscriptions, and instructions to the dead.

The Religion of Ancient Scandinavia by William A. Craigie