Historical knowledge

Religion, magic, death and rituals

The Vikings’ belief in the Norse gods was of significance to almost all activities – in everyday life or for warriors in battle. They therefore sacrificed to the gods to obtain their goodwill. In recent decades dramatic finds have shown that large religious sacrifices in honour of the gods were held at magnates’ residences.

Christianity was a potent force throughout the Viking period and by the 800s part of the population was already Christian. The first churches also appeared at this time. Kings and magnates erected the first buildings in honour of the new god. But why was the old Nordic religion replaced by Christianity? In addition, why did some Vikings never completely abandon Odin, Thor and the other old gods in favour of Christ?

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