Vikings Christians And Pagans Essay Research Paper

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Vikings, Christians And Pagans Essay, Research Paper Frank 1 Throughout the late tenth century in Scandinavia, many societies were adversely affected by the spread of Christianity. The Vikings were traditionally a pagan community believing in many gods and heathen rituals, such as human and material sacrifice. Through the influence of powerful Christian rulers many Vikings did convert to Christianity during the tenth century. Some converted from their heathen ways by choice and others were forced to except these ideas or be killed by order of the king. But as the new millennium approached, Christians and Pagans believed that an apocalypse would truly decide the future of the rightful belief. By the tenth century, the Roman Empire, France, and England had already been

Christianized. In 962 A.D., Otto II, the Holy Roman Emperor, decided to try and spread the religion into Scandinavia. ?Sending word to the Danish king Harald Bluetooth that the king must convert, the German emperor demanded that Denmark become Christian or he would invade?(84). This threat eventually led to an invasion on Denmark by the Saxons. Bluetooth called upon his heathen brother to help defend their country, but Otto?s troops prevailed. Without much choice, the two heathen brothers opened up to Christ, ?they declared, but they insisted that their Norse gods were stronger because they revealed themselves to men with signs and miracles?(84). In return, the emperor Otto had one of his Bishops stick has hand in a fire and he pulled it out without burning himself. This feat

astonished the two men and afterwards they were baptized to the satisfaction of Otto. Otto then removed his troops in hope that the newly baptized chiefs would spread this faith to the rest of the Vikings. Frank 2 For the next few ?decades, the Christian king of Denmark Harald Bluetooth held sway over the area [in Norway called the Vik], many converted to Christianity?(30). However, his heathen brother, Earl Hacon reverted back to heathenism as soon as Otto II was far enough away. As soon as Hacon got control of Norway ? the converted reverted, and once again, the gods of Aesir were transcendent?(30). The first Viking ruler to take initiative in truly spreading Christianity was Olaf Trygvesson. In 994 A.D., ?biding his time in the Scilly Islands, off Land?s End, the Viking [Olaf]

heard of a local fortune-teller personally?(17). At first he tried to trick the fortune-teller by sending one of his men to pose as the king. However the fortune-teller was not fooled, he knew that it was not the king. This intrigued Olaf and he had to meet this mysterious man. Upon meeting the hermit, Olaf was pleased to hear that he would be king and ?many men wilt thou bring to baptism?(17). At that point Olaf knew his faith and was inspired to spread it throughout the world. In 995 A.D. Olaf began his journey to Norway to spread his theology and gain his rightful status as king of Norway. His first accomplishment was to Christianize the Orkney Islands. ?Confronting the earl of the Orkneys, Sigurd, he said: ?I want you and all your subjects to be baptized. If you refuse, I?ll

have you killed on the spot, and I swear that I?ll ravage every island with fire and steel??(22). Olaf?s use of force to baptize was successful and he continued using threats to spread his beliefs. In 996A.D., Olaf became king of Norway and his first mission was to ensure that ?all of Norway will be Christian or die?(30). Being that Norway was very sparsely populated, Olaf made his way to the Vik, the most populated region of the Frank 3 country. ?By the end of the year, between his sword and his axe, he had claimed all of the Vik for Christ and dared anyone to claim otherwise?(31). Moving on, he headed west, and was met by three men who were to speak against his beliefs. These speakers were organized by local chiefs and when it came time for them to present their arguments, some