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The Lore (Part One)

By Hrafnkell Haraldsson

All modern day forms of Heathenism (including the Anglo-Saxon variety) are based primarily on an understanding of the Icelandic literature known as the Poetic Edda, Prose Edda, and the various Icelandic sagas (Íslendinga sögur). All of these sources were compiled or composed from the 12th century on, a good two centuries after the official end of the Heathen era on the Continent and in Iceland. The traditional dates of conversion for the various Norse Heathen areas are Norway (995), Norse Scotland (995), Sweden (1008), Denmark (965), Iceland (1000), but it must be noted that in all areas that conversion was and is a gradual process, as noted earlier.

Georges Duby noted the slowness of the process:

Very striking, for example, is the slow progress made by Christianity…in the tribes which the great migrations of the early middle ages brought into close contact with less rudimentary civilizations. Archaeology has revealed that Christian symbols were only very gradually insinuated into the graves of Germanic burial grounds, and that pagan beliefs for long persisted under the superficial guise of rites, tales and formulae imposed by force on the rest of the tribe by the converted chiefs. Eleventh century prelates were still eager to extirpate them, and they had not wholly disappeared, at the very end of the middle ages, even in those provinces of Christianity most securely appropriated by the church.

Read the original article at: A Heathens Day

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