Book Series Medieval Identities: Socio-Cultural Spaces, vol. 5

Conversion and Identity in the Viking Age

Ildar H. Garipzanov (ed)

  • Pages: x + 256 p.
  • Size:156 x 234 mm
  • Illustrations:36 b/w
  • Language(s):English
  • Publication Year:2014

  • ISBN: 978-2-503-54924-8
  • Hardback
  • Available
  • ISBN: 978-2-503-55004-6
  • E-book
  • Available


"The volume as a whole has been well executed and carefully edited. (...) Illustrations and other visual aids are well-chosen and well-placed within the text." (Kevin Wanner, in: The Medieval Review, 15.05.28)


This volume presents a state-of-the-art collection of essays on the socio-cultural aspects of the conversion to Christianity in Viking-Age Scandinavia and the Scandinavian colonies of the North Atlantic. The nine scholars, drawn from the disciplines of history, archaeology, and literary studies, have been brought together to address the overarching topic of how conversion affected peoples’ identities - both as individuals, and as members of broader religious, political, and social groups - on either side of the ‘divide’ between paganism and Christianity. Central to this exploration is the question of how existing and changing identities shaped the progress of conversion as a process of societal, and more specifically cultural, change.

Each of the papers in this volume provides examples of the complicated patterns of interaction, influence, and identity-modification that were characteristic of the transition from paganism to Christianity in the Viking world. The authors look for new ways of understanding and describing this gradual intermingling between the two fuzzy-edged religious communities, and they provide a challenging redefinition of the nature of conversion in the Viking Age that will be of interest both to a wide variety of medievalists and to all those who work on conversion in its theoretical and historical aspects.

“This important work is not for undergraduates; scholars of the period will find that each chapter requires—and repays—the reader’s close attention.” (Margaret Cormack, in Speculum, 91/4, 2016, p. 111)



Introduction: Networks of Conversion, Cultural Osmosis, and Identities in the Viking Age — ILDAR GARIPZANOV

The Two ‘Modes of Religiosity’ in Conversion-Era Scandinavia — CHRISTOPHER ABRAM

The Conversion and Christianization of Scandinavia: A Critical Review of Recent Scholarly Writings — HAKI ANTONSSON

Shopping for Identities: Norse and Christian in the Viking-Age North Atlantic — ORRI VÉSTEINSSON

Conversion and Coercion: Religious Change in the Faroe Islands — ROSALIND BONTÉ

The Conversion of the Viking Settlers in the Isle of Man — DAVID M. WILSON

Christian Identities, Social Status, and Gender in Viking-Age Scandinavia — ILDAR GARIPZANOV

Crossbreeding Beasts: Christian and Non-Christian Imagery in Oval Brooches — SØREN M. SINDBÆK

Late Viking and Early Medieval Ornaments: A Question of Faith — ANNE PEDERSEN

Conversion and Identity in the Viking-Age North: Some Afterthoughts — JÓN VIÐAR SIGURÐSSON