The spread of Christianity in Scandinavia

"The (evangelical) mission by cultural exchanges, then by the word, then by the sword" (1). This sentence essentially sums up all the processes which allowed the evangelization of those that the Latin chroniclers call the Nortmanns, the peoples established beyond the Carolingian empire to the north, that is to say the Scandinavian. This appellation brings together the peoples who live in what is today Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Iceland (2).

The Christianization of the Germanic peoples and of northern Europe spread over nearly 300 years between the 9th and 11th centuries, thanks to the missions of zealous preachers who `` bring '' the word of Christ, by opening up to the world , in particular the Frankish world, which Scandinavia knew during this period - partly due to the Viking raids - and finally by the emergence of large centralized kingships in search of legitimacy which favored Christianity as the new state religion.

The arrival of Christ and the values ​​advocated by the Catholic Church upset the Scandinavian way of life, from a religious point of view of course, but also in the legal, artistic, architectural framework ... the practices of daily life as the new religion influences the spirits and mores.

Political Christianization

The first raid of the so-called "Viking Age" is usually located in 793, when a band attacked Lindisfarne Abbey in the north of England. However, this should not be seen as the first "meeting" between Christians and Scandinavians. The religious model of the Nordic populations is widely spread and shared by other peoples, sometimes geographically distant (Goths in the Balkans, Vandals of North Africa, Anglo-Saxons in England ...) even if these beliefs experience significant differences. We prefer to speak of German-Nordic religion as the worship aspect is so close between these peoples. From the 4th century, the conversion of the Goths to Arianism introduced Christendom in the spaces of Northern Europe. The Christianization of the Frisians, at the time of Charlemagne between the end of the 8th century and the beginning of the 9th century, allowed the attachment of this province to the Carolingian Empire and allowed Christianity to be established on the borders of Denmark, south of Scandinavia.

The first attempts at evangelization are located in this area at the beginning of the 8th century. In 725, Willibrord, bishop of Utrecht tried to convert the Danes, without much success. The real wave of Christianization comes in three stages. The first concerns the missions dispatched by the kings of the West from the 8th century. Louis the Pious inaugurates a new policy and sends Archbishop Ebon of Reims and Abbot Wala de Corbie who convert King Harald in Maintz. The first Scandinavian parish was built the following year in 830 in Birka.

The second wave is located in the first half of the tenth century, ie the period when the Carolingian Empire breaks up and the Viking attacks intensify. Raids and other incursions allow the Scandinavians to discover another world and to be confronted with another religion, richer and better structured than theirs. from 950, the great evangelization missions in the north resume and last until 1050. King Haraldr of Norway (1047-1066), converted by Bishop Popo, proclaims his kingdom Christian land.

In the runestone that he has raised in front of his parents' tomb in Jelling (in Sjalleland in Denmark) is inscribed: "King Haraldr had this monument made in memory of his father (...) this Haraldr appropriated all of Denmark and Norway and made the Danes Christians ”. On the other side of the stone is a polychromic depiction of Christ, which happens to be the oldest depiction of Christ in Scandinavia.

Adam de Bremen writes in his Gesta hammaburgensis (3) that: "Scania, today the southern province of Sweden which was for a long time Danish territory" is now Christian land. The king of Norway Olafr Tryggvason forces the Icelanders, unofficially his vassals, to convert into 999 under penalty of killing the members of their families who are in his kingdom (4). Sweden was converted in 1020 but its geographic remoteness and the difficulty for priests to get there meant that the country remained largely pagan until the 12th-13th century. It was not until 1090 that the great pagan temple of Upssala was replaced by a church and only in the 13th century that a structured ecclesiastical organization was set up. It should however be noted that a Swedish contingent enlisted during the First Crusade, proof that Christianity was established at the end of the 11th century.

The conversion of the Scandinavian kingdoms (between 960 and 1020) may seem rapid and above all `` easy '', but ultimately only corresponds to an official political order. In Nordic culture, the leader, whether head of the family or king, imposes his model on those they lead, a father on his family, a king on his subjects. When a leader converts to Christianity, all his men do the same: "It was to the aristocracy that we had to address and to it alone" writes Lucien Musset, speaking of Sweden (5). The example of the conversion of Rollo and all his warriors in Normandy in 911 responds to this classic model. This does not mean, however, that pagan cults cease overnight, quite the contrary. In Iceland for example, if Christianity is adopted by the parliamentary assembly meeting in Pingvellir (6), the country does not have enough priests to ensure baptisms, marriages, masses ... It is necessary to wait for the middle of the 11th century. century so that society ultimately becomes Christian in customs. King Olafr Tryggvasson, one of Scandinavia's most important evangelizers, which earned him canonization under the name of Saint Olaf, owes his nickname "Tryggvason" (crow's paw) to the fact that he read the future in bird bones.

Scandinavia offers a unique experience of the conversion of peoples. The classic model, as it has spread in the East and the West, spreads from the pyramidal base of society, the people, and gradually goes up towards the highest social spheres, the nobility, and the heart of the central power, the king, who made Christianity the state religion. In the Scandinavian space we observe the reverse model. It is the sovereigns who first embrace the Christian faith and then submit their people to this religion in a second time.

The opening of Northern Europe to the rest of the world in the 9th century, in particular the Anglo-Saxons and the Franks, allowed the spread of a new socio-political model. Until this period, there are only small states which fail to impose themselves on their neighbors. The example of the Carolingian Empire, even decadent and weakened, constitutes a political model much more developed than anything that the Scandinavians know. From the first contacts at the end of the 8th century, the Church will seek to spread the Christian faith in the north, "confident in the supernatural virtues of baptism" (7). The Annals of Saint Bertin mention the baptism of two Viking chiefs, Weland in 862 and Hundeus in 897.

Becoming a Christian offers opportunities for even the most ambitious leaders. In his Gesta Normannorum, Saxo Grammaticus tells us that the Danish king Harald does not obtain the military reinforcements which he asked of king Louis II the Pious to fight the Saxons until after being baptized. Likewise in 830, King Björn authorizes the construction of a chapel in his kingdom that in order to obtain trade agreements with the Franks.

The Scandinavian king is a sacred person, he is elected "by a small circle of families to ensure his subjects fruitful years and peace" (8). He is appointed for one year during which he can earn fame and respect by carrying out his office. In the event of a breach, he is burned alive. Because of the isolation that affects all of Scandinavian society, survival inevitably depends on trade, which requires dealing with the Christian world. However, the latter refuse to bargain with pagans and only agree to exchange with them if they submit to the primasignatio (9), a sort of expedient baptism. La Vita Anskarii (10) reports that “many people received the sign of the cross to become catechumens through which they had access to the church and attended holy offices”. This sign, essential for doing business with Christians, in no way prohibits those who receive it from the practice of their worship but it allows the opening to a new world and the introduction of Christian culture in Scandinavia.

Scandinavian society is essentially rural (it remained so until the 19th century). Urban structures are scattered over a vast territory and far from each other. Each group lives in a self-sufficient way. The city, the urbs, as it is conceived in the West is then a totally non-existent model. The Church, on the other hand, is an urban institution centered on a city or The city, Jerusalem. The daily practice of Mass requires that the habitat be at a short distance from the church. It is interesting to note that the first urban centers in Scandinavia, the trading posts, are the first to have churches. In Hedeby (formerly Haithabu, Jutland in Denmark) city founded in 808 by King Godfrey of Denmark, Bishop Osgard of Hamburg built the country's first Christian church.

The Christian model reinforces the “sacredness” of the royal person, who is designated by God and no longer elected by his fellows. The king becomes less accessible to his subjects as Christ is to his followers. Until now the pagan cultural practice is personal, a person can address himself where and when he wishes to a god, provided that he respects the rites in force. Religion has a practical meaning, we invoke a god according to his attributes because we need his services quickly (Freya for the harvest, Thor for the war ...). The priests do not have to interfere and no need to be in a particular place to address the gods. On the other hand, the obligation to go to church and share one's faith with a priest allows tighter control of the population. From a purely religious point of view, Christianity introduces new notions such as sin and repentance, which make it possible to have power over consciences, while pagan, personal practice offers little hold over individuals.

Christ, a god among the gods

The Nordic pantheon, or rather German-Nordic, is tumultuous. Georges Dumézil releases the idea of ​​a tripartite organization: Odin, lord of the war governs the victory and gives the gift of peace. He occupies an eminent place alongside Freyr (god of fertility and general abundance) and Thor, the strongest of the gods who masters storms. Belief in these three entities is shared by the entire Germanic and Scandinavian world. There are also more than 70 other gods, more or less important and revered.

The Nordic pagan cosmogony is known thanks to the poems of the Edda (11) which serve as the basis for the story of Snorri Sturluson which tells how Gylfi, the legendary king of Sweden goes to Asgard, to the abode of the Gods. This story, written around 1218, suggests strong disparities between the two beliefs. There is no notion of time in pagan mythology and we cannot situate events on a chronological scale (12). Adam of Bremen describes the giant chasm (Immane abyssi barathrum) (13) which exists before the world was created, which the Viking call Ginnungagâp. The gods appear almost by chance and without any real hierarchy. It was not until the 13th century that Christian mythographers offered a coherent conception of this universe by taking up the Greco-Roman model. Scandinavian mythology is transmitted mainly orally. The poets, who are called scalds, sing the exploits of the gods. Religious, complex and highly codified rites vary from one people to another. The world-tree, at the center of the German-Nordic cosmogony that the Scandinavians call Yggdrasil does not have the same properties as in the Germanic belief where it is called Irminsul.

Christianity offers an opposite model. The biblical message is that of the Gospels, it remains constant and unchanged. This discourse touches the populations by its overall coherence as much as by the values, sometimes unprecedented, that it conveys. In addition, structures common to both religions make it possible to build bridges and make a compromise possible. The Church chooses not to fight paganism head-on but to make sure to keep the bases of Scandinavian beliefs to integrate them into the Christian religion. The character of Baldr, generous and innocent god, is sneakily killed by the evil and slanderous god, Loki, at the hand of a blind man, the god Hodr. Baldr can easily be associated with the Christ figure. The Christian hierarchical model is simple and obeys an obvious family principle: Father, Son, Mother; where Christ occupies the central figure.

Before the political conversion of the Scandinavian kingdoms, we can speak of `` cohabitation '' between the pagan gods and Christ who is quickly assimilated into the Nordic pantheon. We have said that paganism favors a utilitarian conception of religion. A pragmatism that values ​​the most useful practices, that is to say those whose effects are recognized as superior and obvious, "as long as the Christian faith did not threaten the ancient customs, the pagans regarded Christ with indulgence" (14) .

Régis Boyer explains that:

“At the level of ethics or the overall vision of life, we find the same structure between Nordic paganism and Christianity. The relationship of a Scandinavian and his god is personal: a principle of friendship and fidelity governs the relationship between men and gods. The latter is faithful to those who serve him. The teachings of missionaries in the north will not vary. Christ is also faithful to those who love him and Christianity will essentially be presented as fidelity to Christ. Nothing therefore incompatible with the "drengskapr", the pagan ideal and the Christian rule "(15).

Thor national museum of copenhagen "width =" 300 "height =" 260 "style =" margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 10px; margin-right: 10px; margin-left: 0px; float: left; border: outset 1px # C4C4C4 "title =" foundry mold with Christian cross and hammer of Thor national museum of copenhagen "/> Scandinavians show great tolerance in matters of religion. Raimbert's Vita Anskarii has a passage where a Swedish pagan with the vision of a great assembly of the gods during which they decide to adopt a certain Eirìkr. The ease with which this one is accepted appears to be disconcerting. Some historians see in it an illustration of the adoption of Christianity in the form of an apologue: from an etymological point of view, Eirìkr is written ein-rìkr, that is to say the one who alone has power, therefore Jesus Christ. In chapter XXVII, the King of Sweden consults his advisers to find out whether he should adopt Christianity. One of them addresses him: "As regards the worship of this already well-known god (...) that he can bring great help to those who hope in him.Why then do we reject what we know s be necessary and useful? If we can enjoy the good graces of our gods, it is good to have the favor of this one who always and in everything can and wants to help those who invoke him ».

The Church brings a continuation, for example by building churches on old places of worship, as in Jelling where King Harald at the Blue Tooth, after having had his parents buried in tumuli, then built a wooden church on the ancient pagan site. Certain rituals such as the waving of the newborn are repeated and transformed into baptism. The same goes for the feasts: sumarblòt (summer sacrifice) in Easter, midvetrablòt (mid-winter sacrifice) in Saint-Michel, and jòl (winter or fate sacrifice) on Christmas. In chapter XXXV of Olaf Tryggvason's Saga, a funeral banquet is described where libations are made in honor of Christ who replaces Odin, Porr and Freyr. The ceremony remains the same but the beneficiary of the act has changed. In the popular representation, the Saints replace the Ases, the Valkyries become angels and the Christian notion of soul is associated with that of Hugr, a pagan conception of human thought, the "spirit". Men, even baptized, do not necessarily become Christians. Helhi the Mayor, of whom the Book of Colonization speaks, and who is one of the great colonizers of Iceland "was of very mixed faith, he believed in Christ and yet he invoked Pòrr in the perils of the sea ..." ( 16) Pragmatism obliges.

The religious buildings offer a concrete mark of this syncretism, although late. From the eleventh century are built many churches "stave" where Stavkirker. Most have disappeared but that of Roskilde (erected around 1050) still exists. The architectural conception of "cross" churches, which can be found throughout the Christian world, is not respected here. Outside, the Drekki, sculpted dragon heads that gave their name to the longships, are turned outwards and protect the place from evil spirits, the geniuses that the Vikings call landvaekir.

On the doors of the Church of Setesdal, a representation of Saint Michael slaying the dragon refers to the image of Sigurd facing the dragon Fafnir in pagan mythology. Among Christians, ringing bells is believed to frighten pagan demons. This idea is associated with that of protection against evil forces which the Scandinavians recognize to exist.

In the artistic field, the Christian religion takes an increasingly important place. On a timpani from the funerary furniture of the tomb of Harald's father with the Blue Tooth appears the representation of a dragon or a serpent (referring to Jörmungand, serpent which encloses Midgard, the world of men) which climbs on an altar with a vine, symbol of Christ. Several runic stones appear in a decoration interwoven with this same serpent with a Christian cross in the center. Certain Scandinavian peculiarities, such as runic writing, experienced a revival of activity with Christianization around the tenth century. The Church, rather than imposing a foreign model, makes use of local particularisms which she highlights by reappropriating them for her own service.

Talismans, usually worn around the neck, are believed to protect the wearer from bad luck. Thor's worshipers wear one in the shape of a hammer, referring to Mjöllnir, the weapon with which he fights. The `` foundry mold '' on display at the National Museum in Copenhagen is a mold that was used to melt both Thor's hammer-shaped and cross-shaped talismans. The two beliefs to which these symbols refer are sometimes associated on the same piece of jewelry. A talisman in the shape of a Thor's hammer and struck with a Christian cross in its center, and another in the shape of a hammer, decked out at its end with a dragon's head, is hollowed out with a cross in the middle.

The assimilation of cultural particularities for a Scandinavian Christianity

There is no blockage from the Nordic point of view to the adoption of Christianity as long as it is associated with the old legal system, that it preserves the religious events which keep the religion alive (festivals, sacrifice, libations ...) and that it adapts to social norms. The difficulties or incompatibilities between the Christian message and the pagan Scandinavian religion are found especially in the daily aspects of life. The notion of sin, Snyd, in Norse only appears with Christianity (17). Christian missionaries prefer to insist on the omnipotence of Christ than on the errors of which men become victims towards him. The concept first takes on a legal acceptance, that of the offense which is better accepted. According to an old Swedish version of the Bible, to sin is to be guilty of an offense against God, and not against one of his fellows: "Saint Ambrose says that sin is an offense and a disobedience to the commandments of God" ( 18). The notion of "fault towards God" leads to the idea of ​​redemption. In the Scandinavian legal language, the bòt, is a term which indicates the compensation which is entitled to claim the victim of a fault or a crime. The bòt can take the appearance of "just revenge" in the event of murder, for example. We are talking about compensation linked to a human circle where the gods are not involved, and where they do not have to intervene.

The principle of vengeance is categorically opposed to that of repentance (19). The idea of ​​Hell like that of Paradise is foreign to the Scandinavians and death does not appear as a brutal cut with the world of the living. The humans all find themselves after their demise in the underworld of Hel, except the most valiant warriors who have a place in Valhalla, where they await Ragnarök, the end of the world, to fight alongside the gods. Therefore, the principle of forgiveness of offenses is difficult to accept because it is opposed to the principle of compensation. The very notion of forgiveness and mercy goes against the fundamental principles illustrated in the sagas: revenge, even late, necessarily intervenes in history. From a legal point of view, this possibility of resorting to revenge is indeed a right and not an obligation, which the beneficiary can exercise, if and when he wishes. The idea of ​​a god who intervenes in human affairs to ask for forgiveness from his attacker is incompatible with the pagan Scandinavian conception of jurisprudence and law.

The Church, if she shows herself to be intolerant of the idea of ​​polygamy "has shown, in the face of the problems of the Scandinavian world, unparalleled flexibility" (20). It respects local mentalities and the structures put in place. Culture, whether spiritual or intellectual, is also valued. The indigenous words are repeated in the liturgical language: “Güd” (God) for God, “Hel” (Hell) for hell.

In the end, what pushes the Scandinavians to embrace the Christian faith lies in the recognition of Christ as a god superior to others. In Gula's Ping collection of laws in Norway, it is said that: “the beginning of our laws is that we are all to bow to the east and pray to the Most Holy Christ for a happy new year and for peace and for that we can keep our country inhabited and keep our sovereign's luck intact ”(21). We expect from Christ prosperity and peace as well as the maintenance of the sovereign's “luck”, that is to say that he governs his people well and that he is re-elected the following year. This bond which unites them to God is give-and-take and makes the immemorial legal customs coexist with Christianity, Christ becoming at the same time the guarantor of these traditions.

Norse pagan myths are not particularly enthusiastic and offer no hope for a better life after death. Whether you have been good or bad does not play a role in the hereafter. The only important thing is to keep his good reputation intact, especially after his death. Christianity, on the other hand, offers eternal life and Paradise. It spreads hope to society, which is largely poor, and seeks to protect it from the tyranny of the powerful. It also offers a coherent perspective to the world: Creation, original fault, history of the people of God, end of time and redemption. Christ triumphs over his enemies and destroys the Antichrist.

The Rägnarok (22) is an end-time perception for Scandinavian pagans. We find the theme of the struggle of Good and Evil but the gods are on the losing side. Thor and the Jörmungand kill each other, Odin is devoured by the wolf Fenrir, Sütrt sets the Yggdrasil world tree on fire, and the waves overwhelm what remains of the world. This Ragnarök can be assimilated to the end of Christian times and resembles the Apocalypse described in the Gospel of Saint Mark. The causes are identical; pride, rivalry, violence ... men are the cause: "The brothers will fight, And put each other to death (...) Rough weather in the world, Universal adultery, Time of axes, time of swords (...) Before the world collapses, No one will spare anyone ”(23). To choose, it seems more judicious to side with the Christian god who is victorious. For the populations, the observation goes beyond the simple notion of victory with which Christ is haloed, the important thing is that he triumphs where all the other gods have failed, this is proof that he is more powerful than them. .

The saints supplant the pagan gods and monopolize their heroic attributes. The popularity of Saint-Michel is explained through this notion. He fights and defeats Lucifer in the guise of Leviathan which refers to the image of the dragon Fafnir or the Jörmungand. He fights with a spear like Odin and his trunk recalls the hunting horn of the god Heimdallr who guards the entrance to Asgard. In the Christian tradition, Saint-Michel is “psychopomp”, that is to say that he accompanies the souls of the dead towards the other world, a function that can also be attributed to Odin.

Conversion to Christianity is a balance of power between the pagan gods and Christ. In the Saga of Eric the Red, an episode in Chapter VIII relates how men recently converted to Christianity go hungry as they explore the ocean. One of the crew described as a "bad Christian" calls on Pòrr to help them, after which the sailors catch a whale but its flesh turns out to be bad and everyone gets sick. They decide to rely on God and throw the whale meat into the sea, that is, they reject Pòrr's gift. The sailors immediately regained health and food in abundance. This story puts the gods in confrontation and shows how Christ showed himself superior to Pòrr. Ordeal, that is to say the ordeal in which God intervenes (or not) to defend the cause of the one who submits to it, and the miracles which result from it translate this confrontation in an even more explicit manner. According to tradition, Bishop Popo went to the court of King Harold of Denmark in 960 to convert him. To prove that his god is superior to Odin, he dons a white-hot metal gauntlet without his hand being burned. The king, impressed, asks to receive the baptism. Even if Harold's conversion is in reality not necessarily due to this miracle - he converted to prevent Emperor Otto I from invading his kingdom - his resumption by medieval iconography from the 11th century testifies to the importance of this type of event in the conversion of Scandinavia.

Once the kingdoms were converted in the tenth and eleventh centuries, the Church showed itself to be less and less tolerant with the gods that it considered to be demons and forces of evil. Freyja, the fertility goddess, is ridiculed and treated with contempt by Christians. Icelandic skald Hallfredr Vandraedaskald, friend of King Olafr Tryggvasson (who is also his godfather) regrets not being able to celebrate Odin whose power he appreciated, since he is now a Christian and that he is forbidden to do so: "I remember the practice highly esteemed by the ancients. It is reluctantly that I hate Frigg's first husband, because the power of Vidrir fell to the skald who now serves Christ ”(24). He concludes further “I would die soon, and without sorrow, if I knew my soul saved (...) You must die one day but I fear hell; may God decide when I will have finished my time ”. The heathen who had no hope now lives in fear of God who judges his actions.

The formula in the runic staff of Ribe in Denmark is a prayer which translates as "I pray the earth to take heed, and the sky which is above, the sun and holy Mary, and the Lord God himself, so let them give me the hand that heals ”. This inscription, dated from the 13th century, definitively associates the figure of Christ with those of the natural forces that make up the figure of the sacred at the origins of this culture. At that time, therefore, Christ was the universally recognized god.



- English translation of Gesta hammaburgensis of Adam de Brème by Hallencreutz Carl F., In, Adam Bremensis and Suenia "Gesta Hammaburgensis Ecclesiae Pontificum", Stockholm, Almqvist och Wiksell, 1984.

- Book of the colonization of Iceland, according to the version of Sturla Pòrdarson, trad. Régis Boyer, Turnhout, Brepols, 2000.

- The History of the Kings of Norway by Snorri Sturluson, trad. François-Xavier Dillmann, Dawn of the Peoples, Gallimard, Paris, 2000.

- La saga d'Òlafr Tryggvason dans la Heimskringla de Snorri Sturluson, trad.. Régis Boyer, Paris, La Salamandre, Imprimerie Nationale, 1992.

- Vie de Saint Anschaire par Rimbert, trad. Jean-Baptiste Brunet-Jailly, Éd. Du Cerf, 2011.

Travaux et ouvrages

- BOYER Régis, Le Christ des barbares, Éditions Du Cerf, Paris, 1987.

- BOYER Régis, Le christianisme scandinave, Histoire et particularité, Clio, 2002.

- BOYER Régis, Les Valkyries, Les Belles Lettres, France, 2014.

- GUELPA Patrick, Dieux et mythes nordiques, trad. Régis Boyer, Septentrion, Presses Universitaires, 2009.

- MUSSET Lucien, « La pénétration chrétienne dans l'Europe du Nord et son influence sur la civilisation scandinave, In, Nordica et Normannica. Recueil d'études sur la Scandinavie ancienne et médiévale, les expéditions des Vikings et la fondation de la Normandie, 1997.

- RENAUD Jean, Les dieux des Vikings, Editions Ouest-France Université, Rennes, 1996.

- REYNOLD Gonzague de, « Le monde barbare et sa fusion avec le monde antique » tome II., Les Germains, Fribourg, Egloff, 1953.

- SACCHELLI Benjamin, « Quand Jésus succède à Odin : la christianisation des Vikings ». Le site de L'histoire, Article du mercredi 20 avril 2011.


- « Le crépuscule des Dieux : L'Europe nordique de l'an mil », Documentaire fiction de Wilfried Hauke, diffusé par ARTE, Allemagne/France, 2007, 1h28mn.

- « Le drakkar et la croix » Documentaire de Christopher Paul diffusé sur ARTE, 2010, 46 mn.

1 L'histoire des rois de Norvège par Snorri Sturluson, traduction par François-Xavier Dillmann, L'Aube des peuples, Gallimard, p.34.
2 Cette dénomination comprend également l'Islande, en dehors de cet espace d'un point de vue géographique mais colonisé par des ressortissants des royaumes scandinaves.
3 Livre II chapitre LV.
4 En tant que vassaux, les jeunes issues de la noblesse islandaise se rendaient à la cour de leur suzerain, comme le droit féodal le permet, pour parfaire leur éducation.
5 « La pénétration chrétienne... » Lucien Musset, p.313
6 Littéralement « Les Plaines du Parlement », ce parlement qui porte le nom d'Althing est fondé en 930 et considéré comme le plus ancien parlement européen.
7 « La pénétration chrétienne... » Lucien Musset, p.277.
8 Régis Boyer, Le Christ des barbares, Ed Du Cerf, Paris, 1987, p.51.
9 Attesté dés le IIIe siècle, la primasignatio consiste à marquer un païen du signe de la croix, indépendamment de tout autre rite. Sa validité est de trois ans mais il peut garder des propriétés plus longues.
10 Vie de Saint Anschaire par Rimbert, trad. Du Cerf, 2011.
11 Deux recueils du XIIIe siècle, le Codex Regius qui contient les grand poèmes sacrés et l'Edda de Snorri de Snorri Sturluson qui compile les récits mythologiques nordiques pour l'initiation des jeunes scaldes. C'est grâce à ces deux manuscrits que nous connaissons la mythologie scandinave ancienne.
12 Seul la Völuspà, l'Edda poétique et les mythes relatifs à la création du soleil et de la lune renvoient à l'idée de commencement.
13 Renvoi au chaos originel dépeint par Ovide dans les Métamorphoses .
14 L'histoire des rois de Norvège par Snorri Sturluson, traduction par François-Xavier Dillmann, l'Aube des peuples, coll. Gallimard, p.34.
15 Le Christ des barbares, Régis Boyer, Ed Du Cerf, Paris, 1987, p.57.
16 Chapitre VLXXXIV.
17 La première mention de péché apparaît dans le pomème scaldique la Glaelognskvida en 1030 « Le roi Olafr est mort sans pêché » chapitre CCXLV.
18 « Svenska medeltidens Bibel-arbeten », éd. G.E. Klemming en 1848, cité dans Le Christ des barbares, Régis Boyer, p.95.
19 G. De Reynold dit que « les anciens germains ignoraient le sentiment du péché, par conséquent celui du repentir et de la rédemption ». Le mot Snyd, qui appartient au champ lexical de la guerre renvoie à l'idée de réparation, de rançon pour un meurtre ou de sacrifice expiatoire, In, Les Germains, paris, 1952.
20 Lucien Musset, ibid., p.305.
21 Régis Boyer, p.124
22 « Crépuscule des Dieux » ou « Destin des puissances » selon Régis Boyer.
23 Patrick Guelpa, Dieux et mythes nordiques, trad. Régis Boyer, Septentrion, Presses Universitaires, 2009, p.185.
24 Jean Renaud, Les dieux des Vikings, Editions Ouest-France Université, Rennes, 1996, p.185.

Video: History Summarized: Spread of Christianity (January 2022).