Answer to Question #179079 in History for Feby Abraham

Question #179079

Norse archaeological site at L'Anse Aux Meadows in Newfoundland in Canada.

 In what ways can we use the sagas as evidence of the Norse transition from paganism to Christianity? Of the two sagas, which one displays more Christian influence? Which one displays more pagan influence?

Expert's answer

Christianity played a central role in the development of the Viking culture during the Viking Era. Pagans have historically been seen as the enemy of the Church, but to understand the motives of the Vikings, you must look at their pagan past, at the current conditions. It is clear that the whole populace of Scandinavia was pagan at the time of the Viking Era, but the Vikings easily accepted the Christian God. Scholars today claim that most Viking assaults on Christian churches have much to do with the fact that monasteries were traditionally both easily accessible and badly protected, rendering them a convenient target for pillage.

Though the Greenlanders were a minority within the population, their population was almost exclusively Christian (the result of the Norse Vikings converting the population to Christianity), it is also possible that they were the latter (the last settlers on the Old-Viking population's) as the result of a combination of the two minorities. I believe it is possible to demand more than she is able to attempt. She complicates the issue by insisting, though, on the importance of conversion's seeming something that can't be imparted instantly; this acknowledges the difficulties that arise from trying to deem the topic as significant as something that happens instantaneously. In this is likely to be easier to comprehend if we accept the notion that conversion happened suddenly, where a man is deciding the destiny of faith in Iceland under a layer of cloth, as presented by the scene in Íslendingur.

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