Scandinavia

Authored by: Stephen A. Mitchell

The Routledge History of Medieval Magic

Print publication date:  February  2019
Online publication date:  February  2019

Print ISBN: 9781472447302
eBook ISBN: 9781315613192
Adobe ISBN:

10.4324/9781315613192-12

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Abstract

Medieval Scandinavia comprised a vast geographic region, anchored culturally in modern Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Iceland, and with important outposts in the Faroes and other North Sea islands (i.e. Shetland and the Orkneys); southern Greenland; the Isle of Man, the Hebrides, and other portions of Scotland; and areas within modern Germany, Finland and the Baltic states. Thus, although principally associated with North Germanic-speaking peoples, Scandinavia of the Viking and Middle Ages was historically highly diverse as regards populations and cultures (e.g. the indigenous Sámi), meaning that Nordic practices of magic had over the centuries been shaped in contact with cultural traditions of many different sorts, including, after Christianization, Church thinking about magic. 1 The Conversion process played out over some three centuries but is generally held to have had been accomplished, at least with regard to politically powerful segments of Norwegian, Danish and Icelandic society, by the millennium, whereas Sweden is considered to have been similarly converted by c. 1060.

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