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Spread of Christianity: How King Harald Bluetooth tamed the Vikings / Culture News


The Vikings were the terror of Europe – then came King Harald Bluetooth and brought the Northmen Christianity. This started a new era.

t was a miraculous encounter with far-reaching consequences. At a banquet came King Harald Bluetooth and the priest Poppo also in dispute, who have the greater power: the Christian God or the gods of the Vikings. Poppo was the pagan north go to preach the word of Christ. But the skeptical ruler wanted more than the message of the Bible.

Give me proof! What the missionary took a red-hot iron in his hand, in the Middle Ages a popular method to find out the truth in court. And indeed, as contemporary chroniclers report: As Poppo lifted his hand, she was unhurt. A sign from God! All it took to convince Harald.

With his baptism in 965 began a new era for Harald Bluetooth and the Vikings. His politics changed forever and Scandinavia laid the foundation for the kingdoms of the north, as it exists today.

Probably no nation in European history is in such bad reputation as the Norsemen. They plundered as they pleased, murdered, spread fear and terror from the North Sea to the Mediterranean. “Drive on Viking”, so they called these raids, which the Danish archaeologist Ole Crumlin-Pedersen as early “clash of civilizations”: The Northmen kept to Odin and Thor – the do’s and don’ts of Christians cared little.

Viking Berserkers
Viking Berserkers

And then came Harald Bluetooth and brought them Christianity. Within a few decades, everything changed what had previously identified a proud Viking.

The system of ramparts near the present town of Schleswig separated the Christian Europe of the nations of the region, where Harald Bluetooth ruled at the same time. In the late 8th century Vikings established at the end of the loop, a 42 km long estuary in the south of the Jutland peninsula, a port and trading center and called him Hedeby.

Missionaries got there early after Hedeby. The Vikings were willing to commit themselves to Christ, if he has an advantage over the traditional deities promised them – or if Odin and Thor had abandoned them.

Blue tooth knew that he – like other European rulers of the early Middle Ages – could help the church to secure and expand his power. “. Christianity has long been known in Scandinavia now it was accepted by the political elite,” says Mads Kähler Holst He was instrumental in the exploration of Harald Bluetooth royal court in Jelling. Symbol of this new era. Today Jelling is a village near the town of Vejle in Central Jutland.

Harald Bluetooth leads Christianity as new state religion


Especially steer two rune stones at the church the eye. The larger has three sides. And on all sides runs in runic writing the sentence: “King Harald commanded to make this monument in memory of Gorm his father and Thyra, his mother That Harald, the whole of Denmark and Norway won for themselves and the Danes Christians. made.

Harald Bluetooth had this rune stone set up in memory of his parents. Today he is regarded as a monument of a new era. It combines traditional Viking art with Christian symbols, refers to tradition and at the same time calls Christianity as a new state religion.

Vikings in the time of Harald Bluetooth
Vikings in the time of Harald Bluetooth

In foreign policy secured Christianity Harald Bluetooth, the recognition of European royal houses – and the domestic political power. The church administration asked the king their scribes available, helped collect taxes and build a new economic system.

The fateful year 1066 the Viking Age ends

Norway Oslo Viking Longship
Norway Oslo Viking Longship

Is Reported that Harald Bluetooth badly injured in a battle and was then taken into exile in Jomsborg. On November 1 987 he died. The new king was a warrior of the old type. Sven Forkbeard took the raids of the Vikings again.

In 1013 he ascended the English throne. After his death, his son Knut the Great created the so-called North Sea Empire. 1035 Knut was buried in a Christian church. Seven years later the Danes rule ended in England.
Around this time, Christianity prevailed throughout Scandinavia and became the state religion of the emerging kingdoms of Norway and Sweden. Then the fateful year of

1066 came Slavic troops burned down Hedeby. 1066 also defeated William the Conqueror from Normandy, a descendant of Vikings at the Battle of Hastings the English king Harold Godwinson and founded the Norman royal house.

For historians, ends with this year the Viking Age. Their great king Harald Bluetooth applicable in Denmark today as founders of states, Jelling is a national monument. One last great honor for Harald Bluetooth, more than a thousand years after his death.



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