Why Viking Kings Decided to Convert to Christianity?

Posted by Ms Elly on

Why Viking Kings Decided to Convert to Christianity?

With many sources that we have in this day and age, those in Viking Age that favored Christianity the most should be the kings and the women. As to women, many scholars believed that converting to Christian would help women to have more rights. Meanwhile, the Viking kings also enjoyed the endless fruits of Christianity. 

So here is a quick look at the Viking king reign back in Viking age. The historians once claimed that the Viking king possibly lived for 10 years to rule over their kingdom (at that time it was not really kingdom, but unified tribes). And their death causes were probably related to violence and wars. 

To protect the crown

We can imagine that the Viking king was like the CEO in modern times. He (the king) was elected by his people to become the ruler. Because his people believed that this man could bring them fortune and wealth, they elected him. And if the king failed to please his people, he could do nothing but step back from the throne and let a new and potential man replace him. This was quite a chaos during a reign by a Viking king. Because civil war could happen all of a sudden.

Rollo betrayed his clan

Civil wars were something common back in the Viking Age if the elected ruler could not please his people

Unlike the Viking community, the King in Christianity would be protected, either his life or his power. Well, the king in the Christian community was not only the selected one (by the people) but also picked by Lord. Killing the Chosen One meant to go against Lord and that was one of the most horrible crimes. 

To boost the economy

According to the historians, the Christians in the medieval time would only do trade with their fellows. To put it simply, Christians did business with Christians. Those who came from another religion would never have a single chance to do trade with the Christians. 

Although the Vikings at this time worshipped their gods, they still wanted to do business with these newcomers (Christians). The only way to do this was to temporarily submit themselves to the cross. Many scholars told that the Vikings once wore the Thor hammer necklace which resembled the cross. When meeting the Christians, they would introduce themselves as the followers of Jesus but when they came back home, the cross-like hammer necklace turned out to be the Mjolnir hammer amulet. 

Thor hammer that resembled the cross in the 9th and 10th century

Rare find of silver Thor hammer pendant dating back to the 9th and 10th century

So to make ends meet every day, they had to call themselves Christian. One possible reason for why the Viking easily convert themselves to another religion was because they were possibly the polytheists who worshipped multiple gods. Meanwhile, Christians only worshipped their only God. That's why the Christians hardly could accept any other religions. 

The strict discipline and religious difference of Christianity prevented many commercial contracts between the Christians and the Islamic states also. 

To maintain peace

Commonly, the Vikings would utilize violence to solve their problems. But as time went by, the violence method would not always be a wise reason why it caused exhaust and too much death. 

Meanwhile, the Vikings were promised to have peace when they converted themselves to Christians. Because it was a part of the Christian tenet that ban murder and robbery stating that "You shall not murder". 

Reason why the Vikings submitted to the Cross

This might have become one reason why the Vikings desired to abandon their religions. But the truth was, even the Christians fought their fellows regardless of their Lord's teaching.

After all, the teaching initial and forever remains good and the religion is never a reason for conflict and war. It was the human's greed and selfishness that brought chaos and destruction to the world. 

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