The Religion of the Vikings

Authored by: Anders Hultgård

The Viking World

Print publication date:  October  2008
Online publication date:  October  2008

Print ISBN: 9780415333153
eBook ISBN: 9780203412770
Adobe ISBN: 9781134318261

10.4324/9780203412770.ch16

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Abstract

What will be outlined here are the religious beliefs and rituals of the Scandinavians in the eighth to the eleventh centuries including those who went for trade, plunder or settlement abroad, that is, the ‘vikings’ properly speaking. Some among them were already Christians but the vast majority of the population still clung to their traditional religion. From a modern point of view their religion can be classified as a ‘non-doctrinal community religion’ in contrast with the ‘doctrinal transnational religions’ as represented by Christianity, Buddhism and Islam. Religion was strongly integrated with social life, warfare and subsistence activities, and this means that religious elements can be expected to occur within the total range of Viking Age culture and society.

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