The richly decorated portal at Urnes stave church in Norway has often been interpreted in light of paganism. That’s wrong, according to a new stave church study.
I am going to sketch a very brief history of the so-called “Northern Crusades” – that is, the crusades undertaken by the Christian kings of Denmark, Poland and Sweden, the various German military orders, and their allies against the pagan peoples of the southern and eastern shores of the Baltic Sea.
This article explores a single such case, that of the depiction of Old Prussians in the early cluster of vitae of St. Adalbert of Prague (+997).
Did the Vikings perceive themselves subject to supernatural monitoring and punishment?
It the goal of this thesis to show how magic and Christianity form a symbiotic relationship in which both are reliant on each other in order to be successful in the medieval romance.
This thesis is a study of the cult of Óðinn as it seems to have evolved within the newly emerging warrior-based aristocracy of southern Scandinavia during the centuries prior to the Viking Age.
Released in 2009, also under its German title, ,Die Päpstin,, ,Pope Joan’ recounts the medieval legend of Johanna von Ingleheim, a woman who disguised herself as a man, lived as a monk, and eventually went on to become pope in the ninth century.
Grendel’s Mother tells the story of Brimhild, a child found abandoned in a boat on the shores of Denmark. Taken in by a…
The historical development of St. Martin’s Day in Ireland, and its relationship with the more ancient festival of Samhain is examined, revealing circumstances that saw much of the ritual nature of Samhain being adopted within a Christian context in the medieval period.
In the year 1168 a Danish bishop destroyed three pagan gods. The story is told in Gesta Danorum, by Saxo Grammaticus, which has recently been entirely translated into English for the first time.
Have you ever wondered who were/are the last pagans in Europe? Baltic Gods were never forgotten. Lithuanians have so many however who from the main ones do you resemble the most – Perkūnas, Žemyna, Vėlinas, Ragutis, Milda or Laima?
Comparison of the distribution of pagan burials in Iceland with medieval information about the number of farmers in different parts of the country allows a division of the country into three zones of low, medium and high frequency of pagan burials relative to the number of settlements.
The International Medieval Congress is taking place at the University of Leeds, I’m on hand this week to report on the conference. This blog post reports on my first session.
The 3 papers featured here looked at the development of the civic identities of Florence, Genoa and Rome through art, architecture and foundation legends.
In his latest film, From Runes to Ruins, Tom Rowsell examines how people in England are reclaiming their Anglo-Saxon heritage, including its religion.
According to hagiographers, (C)Katherine was a princess, the daughter of Roman governor named Constus. She was well educated, beautiful and highly intelligent. She converted to Christianity at the age of 13 or 14 and caught the eye of the Roman Emperor, Maxentius (278-318 AD).
Environmental archaeologist and Professor of Archeology at Reading, Dr. Aleks Pluskowski, examined Malbork and several other sites across Eastern and Northern Europe in his recent paper, The Ecology of Crusading: The Environmental Impact of Holy War, Colonisation, and Religious Conversion in the Medieval Baltic. Pluskowski is keenly interested in the impact the Teutonic Knights and Christian colonisation had on the region. His ambitious 4 year project on the ecological changes in this area recently came to a close at the end of 2014.
The Viking-age gods stemmed from two races – Aesir and Vanir.
In a letter written as part of his work for the Irish Department of the Ordnance Survey in 1840, Thomas O’Conor recorded his reaction to a “Sheela- na-gig” sculpture—the image of a naked woman shown exposing her genitalia (fig. 1)—that he saw on the old church at Kiltinane, Co. Tipperary.
This is my summary of a paper presented at the Institute of Historical Research on the causes of the Stellinga uprising in the Carolingian period.
Late medieval sources clearly refer to souls, which in traditional folk beliefs were periodically returning to feed and warm themselves by the fires made by the living. This kind of conception can be merged with Slavic eschatology. There is multiple evidence to confirm that belief some form of spirit or soul was spreading amongst the people, who in the early medieval period, bordered directly with Pomerania.
Paper by Eldar Heide given at the second meeting of the Old Norse Folklorist Network
The world of the Anglo-Saxon gods will forever remain a mystery to us, existing just beyond the reach of written history.
For James Joyce, Irish nationalism, with its appeal to patriotic emotionality and promotion of interest in the archaic and medieval Irish past, was suspect.