When the Danes became Christians
At the beginning of the Viking Age, people in the Nordic Countries believed in the Nordic gods. But gradually the Vikings became Christians.
The Vikings became acquainted with Christianity abroad or by way of the monks and merchants who travelled to the Nordic Countries to spread the Christian faith or to trade. Christianity was a strong religion in the countries to the south of the Viking kingdoms and the Danish kings could also see the foreign and internal political advantages of the "new" faith.
- How did Christianity reach Denmark?
- Under which conditions and circumstances was Christianity able to spread?
- Who in Danish society wanted Christianity to be the new religion and why?
- Who was responsible for building churches?
- Why did the Danish kings wish to forge stronger links between the Danish and English churches? Was it only because England was under Danish rule at that time?
- How do we know today that there was a wish to link the Danish church to the English?
- The Vikings journeyed out into the world and became acquainted with Christianity in several places. The Christianity they met was not always the same - why not?
- Discuss why the Vikings became Christians?
- How do you think the story of Poppo and his ordeal by fire arose – and why?
Thor's hammer or the cross?
In this mould from Denmark, both Thor's hammers and crosses could be cast. What does that imply for the transition from paganism to christianity in Denmark?
Click the image to enlarge it.