Over the centuries, the Scandinavian territories converted to Christianity. This process, while slow, was completed around 1100 C.E.
Unlike societies subjected to colonization, the Scandinavian people were not forced to give up their cultural identities when converting. The extent of their “conversion” involved slotting Christian divine figures into places previously filled by the Norse gods. The rest of Old Norse heathen practice, beliefs, and attitudes continued within cultural customs and folklore.
The Christian conversion brought about a time of very interesting syncretism. Old Norse superstition and artistry blended with new religious figures and motifs. New forms of magic emerged which evoke the figures of Jesus, God, and Mary alongside older protective figures like Thor. Mythological stories, such as those found in the Eddas, developed Christian-flavored motifs to them.
This period of time also introduced long-form writing to Scandinavia. Most of what is written about the Old Norse people comes from this time.
Last revised on January 1, 2022.