The Vikings were a very artistic people, and they created some of the most beautiful and intricate jewelry of their time. The Christianization of Scandinavia began in the 8th century, and by the 11th century, Christianity had become the dominant religion in Scandinavia. This change in religion had a profound effect on Viking jewelry.
Christian influences can be seen in the design and symbolism of Viking jewelry from this period. The most obvious Christian impact on Viking jewelry is the use of cross pendants. The cross was a symbol of Christianity and was used to show that the wearer was a Christian.
Viking Jewelry and Christianity: The New Faith & Its Effects On Viking Culture
Though Vikings had once had a tumultuous time with Christianity, by the 10th and 11th centuries, many of them had come to accept it. Christianity became the dominant religion in Scandinavia by the 11th century, and it had a significant impact on Viking jewelry, weapons, social structure, and art.
The Christianization of Scandinavia was a complex and gradual process that took place over several centuries. It began in the 8th century with the missionary work of Ansgar, the “Apostle of the North.” Missionaries like Ansgar helped to convert some Vikings to Christianity, but it wasn’t until the 10th century that Christianity began to take hold in Scandinavia. In the 11th century, Christianity became the dominant religion in Scandinavia.
The impact of Christianity on Viking jewelry can be seen in the design and symbolism of Viking jewelry from this period. Viking jewelry from this period shows clear Christian influences, including:
- Viking wedding rings
- The use of crosses in jewelry design
- Changes in the design of Norse pagan symbols
The use of Christian symbols to ward off evil
Viking wedding rings were also often decorated with Christian symbols such as the cross. Viking wedding rings from this period also often had two crossed hands carved into them, symbolizing the union of man and woman in marriage. Christianity also influenced the way Viking jewelry was made. In the past, Vikings had made their jewelry by hand, but after they were exposed to Christian beliefs, they began to use gold and silver instead of copper, iron, and bronze.
This change in materials was likely due to the fact that gold and silver were seen as being more valuable than iron and bronze. The use of Christian symbols and materials in Viking jewelry suggests that the Vikings who wore this jewelry were probably Christians.
However, it is also possible that some Vikings continued to wear pagan jewelry as a way to show their Norse heritage.
Viking Social Structure, Art, & the Christian Influence on Jewelry
Viking social structure also changed after the Christianization of Scandinavia. In the past, Viking society had been divided into three classes:
- Freemen, and
- Enslaved people (or thrall, karl, and jarl.)
After the Christianization of Scandinavia, a fourth class was added: the clergy. The clergy was responsible for spreading Christianity throughout Scandinavia.
They also played an important role in Viking society by owning land and serving as advisors to the King. The Christianization of Scandinavia also led to changes in Viking art. In the past, Viking art had been primarily pagan, but after the Vikings were exposed to Christianity, their art began to reflect Christian influences. This can be seen in the many beautiful and intricate pieces of Viking jewelry from this period.
Viking men also wore a lot of jewelry, but not as much as women. The most common type of jewelry worn by Viking men was the arm ring. Arm rings were made of metal and were worn on the upper arm. They were often decorated with symbols such as animals or dragons. Other types of jewelry worn by Viking men included necklaces, rings, and brooches.
Viking women wore a lot of jewelry, including
- brooches, and
- arm rings.
Viking women’s jewelry was often very intricate and beautiful. It was made of gold, silver, and other precious metals and decorated with gems, enamel, and glass. Viking jewelry was not only beautiful, but it also had a purpose. Jewelry was often used to show wealth, status, and power. With the adoption of Christianity, these pieces were also used as a way to ward off evil spirits.
From Viking wedding rings to jewelry and rings for Viking men and women, the adoption of Christianity in Scandinavia changed Viking jewelry significantly. While before art and design for Vikings were primarily pagan, after their exposure to Christianity, their jewelry became much more reflective of Christian influences. It is also likely that some Vikings continued to wear pagan jewelry as a way to show their Norse heritage. Nonetheless, the majority of those who wore Viking jewelry during the Christianity period were Christians.
- Viking rings for men
- Viking wedding rings
- Viking jewelry for men