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Vikings didn’t just murder monks and pillage monasteries – they helped spread Christianity too

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Republication from /theconversation.com/

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Stipendiary Lecturer in Medieval History, University of Oxford

Vikings are often seen as heathen marauders mercilessly targeting Christian churches and killing defenceless monks. But this is only part of their story. The Vikings played a key role in spreading Christianity, too.

Norse mythology has long captured the popular imagination and many today have heard stories about the pagan gods, particularly Odin, Thor and Loki, recently reimagined in Marvel’s comic books and movies. Some now even follow reconstructed versions of these beliefs, known as Ásatrú (the religion of the Aesir).

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100 Viking swords found in Estonia are the largest discovery to date

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Republication from Norway today

Viking swords in Wikimedia commons

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Scandinavia is an archeological hotspot when it comes to Viking discoveries.

But there’s another Northern European area that has been especially important for Viking finds, too: the Baltic region – and Estonia in particular.

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Kievan Russian warriors, 9th-11th centuries

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A reenactment of an onslaught of Kievan Russian warriors (9th-11th centuries). Reenactors and creators of the weapons, shields, helmets etc, are unknown: kudos to them for their fine work.

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Scandinavian warriors found in medieval graves in Poland

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Republication from the history blog  

Z-type sword found in chamber grave. Photo by J.Szmit.

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Four richly-adorned graves found in a medieval cemetery in the village of Ciepłe, Eastern Pomerania, Poland, contained the remains of Scandinavian men, not the early Piast elite. The burials date to the time of the first king of Poland, Bolesław I the Brave (b. 967 – d. 1025) and were located in the center of the cemetery. They are the oldest of the 60-plus graves unearthed thus far and stand out for their high quality and their grave goods.

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Varangians

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An interesting reenactment of Varangian warriors. Note their full-body mail cuirass. Creator and reenactment group unknown – felicitations on their work.

The term ‘Varangians’ was actually a generic term for the Byzantines, describing

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