Monday, October 5, 2009

Comment for Historical Atlas

While I was reading in the Atlas this last week, I kept thinking about the conversion to Christianity part of Njal's saga. Were the Christianized vikings any more civil than the preconversion vikings? And does that necessarily mean that they were any less Christian than other men of the church who killed and plundered? It was interesting that the Atlas said the only difference between the Vikings and other Christianized cultures in Europe around the same time was that Vikings didn't keep from attacking the church as well. This raises a question: how can people of a certain organized religion attack their fellow followers and still be considered members of that religion? How can Christian men attack the church and NOT be condemned as barbarians? But then I think that there must be examples in history of the same thing done by other people groups...

The whole idea interested me quite a bit. Was the Viking conversion to Christianity a REAL conversion, or was is just done to get ministers to stop bothering them? Are there sagas in which some Christian Vikings refrain from killing ministers of the church? As you can see, I have more questions than answers this week...

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Egil's Skull

Egil's Skull
Here is the photo of what we saw in class on Monday - Egil's skull. I can imagine that if Egil did indeed have the disease which causes this type of disfiguration, it would have hurt constantly. Perhaps this is why Egil felt justified in killing his classmate who was beating him at the ball game. Perhaps too it was a genetic condition, which is why he, Skallagrim and Kveldulf were described as such frightening and ugly people.

Thjodhild's Church

Thjodhild's Church

Reconstructed Viking Houses

Reconstructed Viking Houses
These are houses similar to the ones that Leif the Lucky would have made when he reached America - the homes he was willing to lend, not give, you know.