In the 700's A.D., there existed in central Sweden the Kingdom of Uppland, a united, strong and rich kingdom, whose territories extended both to the north and especially to the south of modern-day Sweden. The natural direction of expansion for the Svear (Swedish) and Götar (Gothic) ethnic groups of Uppland was both in an an eastern and south eastern direction, to the island of Gotland and the shores of the Baltic Sea from the Gulf of Danzig to north of the Gulf of Finland. The Russian rivers emptying into the Baltic Sea provided access via short stretches of overland portage to the Black Sea and Constantinople (Byzantium/Istanbul), and to the inland Caspian Sea. Expansion to the west, into what is now Britain, Ireland, France, the Faeroes, Iceland, Greenland, and Canada, was largely in the hands of the Norwegian and Danish Vikings (1).
According to the Russian Primary Chronicle (Povest' Vremennykh Let), in an entry for 860-862 A.D. titled 'The Calling of the Varangians,' there was no law and order among the Slavs, with the Slavic tribes of Russia warring among themselves. This situation led to the Russian tribes inviting in the Varangian Ruses of Sweden to rule over them in order to restore law and order. The Russian tribes most likely did not invite the Vikings of Sweden to rule over them, but their disunited, anarchic, feuding, and warring state of affairs made it far easier for the Swedes to conquer them. The Russian Primary Chronicle, often called the Nestorian Chronicle or Chronicle of Nestor, was edited or compiled by the monk Nestor of the Pechorsky cloister in Kiev soon after the year 1100 A.D. Kiev today is the capital city of The Ukraine (2). The first Swedish Viking ruler of Russia was the semi-legendary Prince Rurik of Novgorod. The Slavic tribes of eastern Europe were on a very similar level of social and technological development to the Vikings. Nevertheless, they lacked the unity and purposeful leadership of the Swedes. Over the generations, the Swedish Viking rulers of Russia became increasingly influenced by the Slavs, with whom they intermarried and allied with. By around 950 A.D., the Slavs formed an important component of the Swedish armies in Russia, and even numbered among their commanders. Slavic speakers formed a majority of the ruling classes among the Viking kingdoms in Russia, and by the 1000's A.D. the Viking rulers in Russia were Slavic in language and culture (3). According to Gwyn Jones, in the vast central area of Russia around 800 A.D., "dwelt several loosely organized Slavonic tribes, too independent of each other to form a confederacy strong enough to make an impression on the khaganates of the Khazars and Bulgars, or to turn back the incoming Rús and frustrate their ambition to develop the river-routes from the Baltic to the Black Sea, from the Gulf of Finland to the Caspian."(4) According to the Arab Muslim merchant Ibn Rustah, writing between 900-950 A.D., the Swedish Viking princes only travelled outside the Russian river port fort of Novgorod with an armed escort. "By the time Ibn Rustah secured his information there would have taken place a considerable fusion of the dominant Swedish-Rús and the general Slav population. At all time Rús military strength must have drawn substantially on Slav manpower."(5) The Swedish Vikings in Russia probably used the tactics that the European colonizers of Africa used from around 1880-1960, a policy of divide and rule, i.e. playing off the tribes against each other. "As European citizens and administrators penetrated inland [into Africa], they encountered resistance from dominant peoples and welcome from subordinated peoples seeking allies or protectors. From about 1880 to 1905, most of Africa was partitioned among Belgium, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, and Portugal." The Spanish conquistadors similarly recruited the assistance of many resentful, subjugated Amerindian tribes of the Aztec, Maya, and Inca Empires in their conquest of Central and South America in the 1520's and 1530's A.D. The British managed to conquer the Indian subcontinent in gradual stages by playing off the Indian princes, ethnic groups, socio-economic castes and religious sects against each other, and the big majority of lower ranking British imperial troops in India were native soldiers known as sepoys. In short, the Slavic tribes of Russia were conquered by the Swedish Vikings through a combination of civil warfare and collaboration. (6)
There were several non-Scandinavian peoples in Russia west of the Volga River around 800 A.D. In Estland, the area around lakes Ladoga and Onega, there were Finnish speakers, the Chud of the Primary Chronicle, and peoples of Finnish origin were to be found at Rostov (the Meria) and Murom (the Muroma). At the southern extremity of Russia were located two great imperial powers, the Byzantine or East Roman Empire in the Balkans and Anatolia (i.e. Turkey), and the Islamic Arab Abbasid Caliphate with its capital at Baghdad south of the Caucasus Mountains. The military strength and national wealth of these empires prevented them from being conquered by the Swedish-Slavic Rús. Another group of people, the Turkic-speaking Khazars, who originally came from Central Asia, were all-powerful from the Caucasus and the northern shores of the Caspian Sea through the lands enclosed by the lower Volga and Don Rivers, and whose influence was dominant between the Caspian Sea and the southern Ural Mountains. (7) The capital of the Khazar khanate was at Itil near the Volga delta, which empties into the Caspian Sea, near modern day Astrakhan. The Khazar territory had a geopolitical role as a buffer between the fierce nomadic Turkish tribes such as the Petchenegs and the Byzantines. In 834-835 A.D. the Byzantine Emperor Theophilus sent materials and engineers to the Khazars to help them build a stone fortress at Sarkel, known as the "White House", to secure the Don river portage, which acted as an east-west transit point of goods coming from the Volga river mouth to Constantinople. The fort at Sarkel provided protection for the Byzantines from the Turkic Petchenegs, the Finno-Ugric Magyars, and the Swedish-Slavic Rús located in the Azov Sea region, which is an inlet of the Black Sea on the eastern side of the Crimean Peninsula. The Khazars were quite successful in trade and commerce, and their ruling dynasty had converted to Judaism, although their subjects were free to worship as they pleased, with many of them believing in pagan Shamanism, Islam, Zoroastrianism, Manichaeism, Buddhism and the Arian and Nestorian Eastern Orthodox Christian heresies. West of the Khazars and north of the Byzantines were the western division of the Turkic or Ural-Altaic Bulgars, a strong, aggressive people often at war with the Byzantine Empire. The Indo-European Slavs had absorbed the Turkic Bulgars, and the Bulgarian Slavs had earlier on also absorbed the Indo-European Thraco-Illyrians, of which the Albanian language is the only surviving dialect in existence today as a spoken language. The official language of the Byzantine Empire was Greek, which had replaced Latin as the official language of the empire in the late 500's A.D. (8) Split apart from Bulgaria by the Khazars were other Bulgars of Turkic origin with their main encampment at Bulgar in the Volga bend. Bulgar and Itil were the two major trading centers of the Volga River. In the vast central area of Russia dwelt numerous Slavic tribes, who had by 800 A.D. thrown off their rule by the Turkic Avars. The Petchenegs, Bulgars, Avars, and Magyars, like their Mongol/Hunnish cousins of the Eurasian grasslands or steppes, campaigned on horseback as mounted archers with powerful composite recurve bows. (9) The Estonians were a Finnish speaking peoples, while the Latvians, Lithuanians, and Old Prussians belonged to the Baltic branch of the Indo-European language family, which was a distant cousin of the Slavic languages. The Old Prussians became gradually assimilated linguistically from 1150 A.D. onwards by conquering German knights and colonists.
The earliest significant archaeological evidence for the presence of the Swedes in Russia lies at the southern end of Lake Ladoga, where the small modern town of Staraja Ladoga or Old Ladoga is located, which the Swedes knew as Aldeigjuborg. The site was occupied long before the Swedes arrived, either by a Finnish or less likely a Slavic community. The earlier inhabitants were friendly to the newcomers, who benefited from the presence of traders and warriors in their midst. (10) From Aldeigjuborg, the Swedes had a choice of two routes to lead them into Russia, the rivers Dnieper and Volga, which were the trade arteries of the country. The land distance between the two rivers were short and manageable portages. (11) The archeaological evidence from Swedish grave sites in Russia, with their weapons, grave goods, and modes of burial, are as likely to be Slav as Scandinavian in origin, and more extensive archaeological investigation will probably reduce rather than increase the Normanist claims for the Viking principalities in what is now Russia, Belarus, and The Ukraine. The many boat-burials found in Russia are certainly Scandinavian in origin or show Scandinavian influence. (12) The Swedes founded the settlement of Tmutorokan on the Taman peninsula, located between the Black Sea and the Kerch Strait which gives access to the Sea of Azov. Early a military base of the Rús, it became the main centre of trade with Central Asia and the Caucasus. Around 850 A.D. its communications with the Rús of northern Russia were interrupted by the Khazars and Magyars. (13) The natural hazards of the Dnieper River were the rapids of the modern Dnjepropetrovsk, a forty mile long succession of cataracts where the mighty river is compressed between walls of granite. This was a place where the Rús were at risk of ambush by the Petchenegs. In 972 A.D. Prince Svyatoslav of Kiev was killed in an ambush by the Petchenegs near the rapids and his close-shaven skull was made into a drinking cup for the Petcheneg Khan Krum. (14) It suited the Byzantine Emperor to have a Swedish-Rús khaganate at Kiev strong enough to restrain the turbulence of local Slavic and non-Slavic tribes but not strong enough to challenge the Byzantine Empire with expectation of success. (15) It took almost 200 years for the Swedish Vikings to assimilate with the the Slavs through concubinage and intermarriage, and by the time of the reign of Prince Yaroslav the Wise of Kiev (1019-1054), the Swedes were speaking a Slavic dialect and were members of the Byzantine Eastern Orthodox Church (16).
The Scandinavians in Russia, who were known to their contemporaries as the Rús, gave Russia its name and its first centralized state. The Viking movement into Russia was dominated by the Swedes. The name Rús came from the Finnish name for the Swedes, Ruotsi, which in itself derived from the Scandinavian Róðr, meaning a crew of oarsmen. The word Rús was used to label the Scandinavians living in Russia. The Scandinavian warrior-aristocrats and merchants in Russia were also known as Væringyar or Varangians, which comes from the Old Norse word várar, which means "men of the pledge or oath." The name Varangian dates from around 950 A.D. and was used to distinguish newly arrived Scandinavian mercenaries and traders from the increasingly Slavicized Rús. Beginning around 750 A.D. the Scandinavians settled in the Finnish market center of Staraja Ladoga or Aldeigjuborg to the Vikings. This town had a commanding position close to a series of river routes which gave easy access to the heart of Russia. By the 830's A.D. the Rús had completed the exploration of the Russian river system and had direct trade contacts with Arab traders on the Volga River and with the Byzantines at Constantinople. The Russian river systems were an ideal highway for long distance trade. The river Lovat flowed into Lake Ladoga and the Gulf of Finland, the Dvina river flowed into the Gulf of Riga and the Baltic Sea, the Dnieper river emptied into the Black Sea, and the Volga river drained into the Caspian Sea. (17)
The navigable headwaters of these rivers rise within a few miles of each other in the Valdai Hills country south of Novgorod, and the short land distances between them meant that Viking ships had to be portaged, i.e. carried or drawn overland, from the headwaters of one river system to another, or in order to avoid river rapids. It was possible to sail the light, shallow draughted Viking ships from the Baltic to the Black and Caspian seas. The Russian river trade routes were dangerous for the Vikings at places of overland portages and river rapids where there was the possibility of attack by local Slavs or nomadic, Asiatic steppe pastoralists. (18)
The Scandinavian warrior-merchants in Russia were responsible for rapid urban growth in the country during the 900's A.D. The Rús turned Novgorod, a minor Slavic settlement on the island of Gorodische in Lake Ilmen, close to where the Volkhov river empties into it, into a major fortified market center in the 800's A.D. They moved the whole settlement to a larger fortified site called "New Fortress" or "Novgorod" in Russian a few miles to the north in the 900's A.D. Early Kievan Rús had wider ranging connections with the rest of Europe than any succeeding Russian state would enjoy before the 1700's A.D. (19) The Germanic Vikings in Russia within a few generations learnt the Slavic Russian, Ukrainian, and Belarusian languages or dialects, and there are only six or seven Scandinavian loan words in the Russian language today. (20) The West Slavs or Wends, who lived on the southern shores of the Baltic Sea, along with the Baltic Prussians, Lithuanians, Latvians and Finnish Estonians who lived on the south eastern and eastern shores of the Baltic Sea, were a warlike people, and although the Danish and Swedish Vikings occasionally managed to take control of a trading town on the coast, such as the unidentified Reric in the early 800's A.D., they made no headway inland. There was a degree of cultural interchange between the Scandinavians and West Slavs. The Slavs taught bridge-building techniques, and the Scandinavians taught shipbuilding. In the 1000's A.D., the West Slavs launched piratical hit and run raids in Viking style warships on Swedish and Danish coastal and riverine towns. (21) By the early 800's A.D. the Rús were navigating the Volga river and the Lovat-Dnieper river systems and had direct trading contacts with the Muslim, Arab Abbasid Calipate of Baghdad and the Byzantine Eastern Orthodox Empire far to the south. (22) In 907 A.D. Prince Oleg of Kiev launched an unsuccessfull attack against the strongly fortified Byzantine capital of Constantinople with a large fleet of Rús and Slav allies. (23) Kievan Rús reached the zenith of its power during the reign of Yaroslav the Wise (1019-1054 A.D.), by which time the Rús had become thoroughly Slavic in character. (24) Russian became the language of the Russian Eastern Orthodox Church after the rulers of Kievan Rús converted to the Byzantine branch of Christianity in 988 A.D., under the rule of Prince Vladimir of Kiev. (25) "Originally the Slavs during the early Middle Ages lived in clans which worshipped their ancestors, consisting of large familial communities. Several of these familial communities made up larger social units led by elders. These again made up the tribe with its military organization (the century as the basic unit of the levy, then the millenium) and its common religious cult. The leaders of the familial communities gradually developed into an aristocratic upper class. The particularism or strong independence of the tribes prevented the establishment of any great-power status for the Slavs." (26) "Historical sources speak of names and images of gods and godesses, of the temples of the West Slavs (the temple of Arkona on the island of Rügen, the shrine of the god Triglaw at Stettin and that of Svaricic at Rethra), of tree cults and oracles. The use of amulets and symbols indicates contacts with Iranian and Turkic tribes. The East Slavs knew the god of thunder and lightning, Perun. The supreme deity of the ancient pagan Slavs was Svarog, an early god of the heavens and thunder. The Slavs of the Havel area worshipped Dazbag (god of the sun) and Jarovit (god of spring). Within the familial communities the fertility gods Rod and Rozanicy were worshiped. All of the Slavic tribes worshiped nature." (27) "The Slavs occupied themselves with farming, hunting, fishing, the raising of domestic animals and bee-culture in the extended areas of their settlement. There were also - predominantly living in the towns - artisans or specialists such as carpenters, weavers, potters, tanners and furriers. Active trading developed along the rivers. Raw materials such as honey, amber, wax and furs, along with slaves, were exchanged for textiles, weapons, utensils, jewellery, gold and silver. The Jews, Germanic peoples, Greeks, Khazars and Arabs at first monopolized trade; the Slavs themselves did so later. The trading centers of the East Slavs became fortified towns." (28)
"The Vikings' success in warfare depended not on superior eqipment, organization or tactics - most Europeans waged war in a very similar way - but on their mobility, which kept them constantly one step ahead of the defenders. Their fast, shallow draughted warships were ideal for lightning attacks on coastal settlements or taking larger armies far inland along rivers. On land the Vikings campaigned as mounted infantry, covering long distances quickly on commandeered horses. By the time the local defences had been mustered, the Vikings would be long gone. In the 1100's A.D., traditional infantry tactics were abandoned in favour of armoured cavalry." (29) The Indo-European Germanic Vikings were the masters of Blitzkrieg or Lightning War strategy and tactics of the medieval era, as were also the Ural-Altaic Mongols at mounted archery. Mounted infantry were warriors who rode to battle on horseback, dismounted and fought on foot, and then remounted to charge the enemy when their defences broke down and as a result tried to flee the battle in panic. Civil wars, disunity and collaboration in Russia, France, Belgium, The Netherlands, England, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland also helped the Vikings in overrunning or conquering these countries. Civil warfare and collaboration in the Western provinces of the Roman Empire fought in 383-388, 392-394, 397-398, 407-411, 413, 421, 423-425, 427, and 432 A.D. also helped the Indo-European Germanic and Iranian, as well as the Hunnish Ural-Altaic ethnic groups, to conquer the West Romans, as opposed to the more united East Romans or Byzantine Greeks. In times of civil war, the level of training, drill, discipline and loyalty of the Roman military sharply declined. (30) Experienced Roman veteran soldiers killed in civil wars were often replaced with inexperienced conscripts or untrustworthy barbarian mercenaries. (31) Those Vikings who could afford them wore chain mail coats and metal helmets, the latter fitted with face guards. Poorer Vikings had to make do with a tough leather jerkin and a hardened leather cap. Scale armour, probably imported from Byzantium via the Russian river systems, has been found in Viking warrior grave goods in Sweden. (32) The poorer Vikings had armour made from thick layers of animal hides, perhaps with bone sewn into them for added protection. They also had somewhat cone shaped helmets made of leather. (33)
The Viking king's or chieftain's private retinue of household warriors and bodyguards was known as the lið, and they formed a félag or fellowship bonded together by mutual loyalty. Ideally a warrior was expected to follow his leader to his death in battle if necessary. Local defence within Scandinavia was based on a levy system were all able-bodied free men, as opposed to slaves, were called to bear arms in an emergency. The local chieftain's lið formed the backbone or elite core of the levies. In battle kings or chieftains lead from the front under their standards, which showed the direction of the advance, or provided a rallying point in a dire emergency. (34) The most feared of the Viking warriors were the berserkers, named after the bearskin fur shirts they wore over their chain mail coats or leather jerkins. They were devotees of the war gods Odin or Woden and of Thor, and they would go into a trance-like frenzy before battle which left them immune to the pain of wounds. (35) It is believed that the berserkers took hallucinogenic mushrooms before battle to work them up into a battle frenzy. (36) In this the Vikings resembled the Shiite Ismaili sect of Iranian and Syrian Muslim terrorists known as the Hashashins (i.e. hashish smokers) or Assassins who struck terror into the hearts of medieval Christian crusaders in the Middle East. Odin or Woden was king of all the Norse gods and goddesses, as well as the god of battle and death. The home of the gods, called Asgard, was somewhere high up among the stars, and the dining hall in Asgard, known as Valhalla, was the home of the souls of Vikings who had died fighting heroically in battle. There they would fight all day, at the end of which their wounds miraculously healed, and would dine and wine all night in Valhalla. They would be served by goddess waitresses known as Valkyries, who would also engage in sexual orgies with the Viking warriors. (37) Those Scandinavians who did not die in battle would go to the dismal twilight world known as Hel, which resembled the Indo-European Greek and Roman underworld of Hades. (38) The Japanese class of knights known as the samurai also believed according to their chivalric code of honour known as bushido that a heroic death in battle in service to the emperor (Hirohito), who in the Shinto and the Mahayana Nichiren Buddhist religions is the descendant of the sun goddess Amaterasu-Omikami and her brother the god Tsukuyomi, and represented by his prime minister or Shogun (Hideki Tojo), would lead to an afterlife in Buddhist heaven called Nirvana, which the Hindus call Moksha. Inspired by the Zen Buddhist principle of mind over matter, the samurai invented the armed martial art of kendo and the unarmed martial art of jujitsu. Samurai assassins or death squads known as ninjas combined kendo and jujitsu into the martial art of ninjitsu. (39) When the Japanese converted to Buddhism, they came to believe that their Shinto deities were created by the Buddhist-Hindu god of the universe called Brahma-Atman. Islam teaches that Muslim warriors who die in a holy war known as jihad, which is waged in the defence or where possible expansion of teritories under Islamic rule, will be rewarded in Muslim heaven by the archangel Michael, the commander of Allah's armies of heavenly angels, with sexual intercourse with seventy two female virgins, and the consumption of as much wine and food as they desire. The Muslim concept of the Jihad or Holy War, as well as the nature of Muslim heaven, can be found in several chapters and verses of the Muslim Bible known as the Koran, which Muslims believe is the literal and fundamental word of God or Allah as dictated to the Prophet Muhammad while dreaming by the Archangel Gabriel (see Koran chapters and verses 9:5, 9:29, 4:95, 8:12, 9:123, 8:60, 9:14, 9:33, 9:73, 8:38-39, 8:12-13, 61:9, 61:4-11, 2:193, 13:41, 21:44, 68:44, 33:27, 25:52, 3:110, and 48:28-29 for the concept of Jihad). The pagan Vikings, Muslims, Sikhs, Hindus, Buddhists, ancient Israelites and Zoroastrians allowed or still allow polygamous marriages and unlimited sexual access with slave concubines. The ancient pagan Greeks and Romans believed that their soldiers killed heroically in battle would be rewarded by the war gods Ares and Mars with an eternity in the Greco-Roman pagan heaven known as Elysium. The souls of traitors, oath breakers, and cowards would be sent to the lowest underworld known as Tartarus, where the giants known as Titans were imprisoned by the Olympian Greco-Roman deities, as were also the Scandinavian giants who had been overthrown by the Nordic Olympians known as the Æsir. The dethroned pagan Indo-European giants or titans and underworld of Tartarus somewhat resemble the rebel fallen angels or demons led by the former archangel and heavenly prosecutor known as Satan or Lucifer, who were cast down to Hell, called Gehenna in Judaism and Jahannam in Islam, mentioned in Revelation 12, while Hades loosely resembles purgatory or the Jewish Sheol (Matthew 27:50-54, The Acts of the Apostles 2:22-26, I Peter 3:18-22, Revelation 20:13-15, I Corinthians 15:54-56, I Corinthians 3:10-15, II Peter 3:7-13, Revelation 8:5, Luke 3:16-17, Mark 9:49, Revelation 19:19-21 and Revelation 20, Matthew 5:25-26, Luke 12:58-59, John 20:19-23, Matthew 18:18, Matthew 19:34-35, Matthew 6:14-15, Luke 12:47-50, and Matthew 13:9-17 in The New King James Version of the Bible).
The Vikings did not go out of their way to seek battle. If they had no choice but to fight, their usual tactic was to form a defensive shield wall. Two opposing forces might be locked in battle for hours, shield wall to shield wall. The battle would be decided when one force lost its nerve and tried to withdraw, or when the shield wall broke. Casualties in a Viking battle could be one sided, with the victors inflicting great slaughter on a fleeing enemy without much risk to themselves. Viking battles at sea were rare, when they did happen the main tactic was to board an enemy ship and clear the decks by hand-to-hand fighting. The most favoured weapon in Denmark and Norway was the double-edged sword, which was used more for hacking away at an enemy fighter rather than thrusting or stabbing into him. Axes were a cheaper alternative to a sword. In Sweden the most common weapon was a spear. The pattern welded socketed blade of a spear was up to 2 feet or 60 centimeters long, and was mounted (40) on a wooden shaft made from the ash tree, with a length between 6-9 feet or 2-3 meters long. Bows and arrows were also used by Viking warriors, as were also fighting knives. For defense the Vikings used a circular shield made of wood with iron bands used to strengthen the rim. An iron boss held the grip of the shield and could be used as a knuckle duster. The shields were 3 feet or 1 meter in diameter and reached from the neck to the thighs. Towards the end of the Viking age the round shield was superseded by the kite-shaped shield in Scandinavia. (41)
Around 800 A.D., under the rule of the Frankish Emperor Charlemagne and King Offa of the English Midlands Kingdom of Mercia, western Europe had a level of peace, stability and prosperity that it had not enjoyed since the fall of the West Roman Empire (395-476 A.D.). Ports, towns, and monasteries as a result were largely unfortified and undefended. The Viking raids caught the Western Europeans unprepared. The mobility of the fast, seaworthy Viking warships or longboats meant that the Vikings could strike almost without warning anywhere on the coast or on navigable rivers. (42) Irishmen, Anglo-Saxons, Franks, Bretons and Slavs all joined in collaborating with the Viking raiders at times. (43) In the 700's A.D. the Scandinavians perfected the technology of the seagoing sailing ship. Before doing so, they relied on large rowing boats, which was suitable for piracy in sheltered coastal waters, but was inadequate for long-distance raiding. (44) Viking ships were built by the clinker or lapstake technique, with the lower edge of each hull plank overlaping the upper edge of the one below it. The light, flexible hulls of the Viking warship "rode" the waves and had excellent sea-keeping qualities. Tests done on a replica of a Viking longship showed that it could do 9 knots under sail, and over 5 knots when rowed by a full crew. Fully loaded, Viking longships drew less than 20 inches or 50 centimeters of water and were ideally suited for raiding in shallow waters or for sailing far inland up rivers. (45)
Around 800 A.D. Western Europe was more peaceful than it had been at any time since the ousting from power of the last West Roman Emperor Romulus Augustulus in 476 A.D. As a result, territories away from disputed borderlands had very few fortifications. The Viking pirates as a result found Western Europe to be a relatively easy target. The Vikings sometimes killed some of their captives in the "Blood Eagle" ritual, by hacking through the ribcage on either side of the spine and then tearing the victim's lungs out as a sacrafice to the warriors' god Odin. Viking pirates went out of their way to create fear and terror in order to weaken their victims' will to resist. Usually however the Vikings tended to either enslave their captives or hold their more socially important ones for ransom. (46) The Aztecs by comparison would sacrafice some of their prisoners of war from intertribal conflicts to their gods and goddesses, because the Aztecs believed that they needed human hearts and blood to stay alive. This practice also kept their subjugated Amerindian tribes in fear and obedient respect of their Aztec imperial rulers, until the Spaniards came along from 1519-1522 and recruited the resentful tribes, who were also taxed heavily by the Aztecs, into rising up against their imperial masters, only to be later on enserfed by the Spaniards themselves. There is a remarkable consistency in the written reports from Ireland, Britain, and Francia in the size of the Viking war fleets. Before 850 A.D. fleets over 100 ships are rarely mentioned. After 850 A.D. the fleet sizes reported were on different occasions 120, 150, 200, or 250 strong. There is widespread agreement between independent written sources of the same period on Viking war fleet sizes, and therefore the figures given are at least approximately accurate figures. The Viking fleets, in addition to transporting warrior oarsmen, would also carry such supernumeraries as horses, provisions, wives and children, plunder and captives. The larger fleets post 850 A.D. had armies of a few thousand warriors, although it was difficult to keep them together for a long time. Once the Vikings had established a base on conquered foreign land, the armies split up into raiding bands of a few hundred men to plunder the surrounding countryside. (47) It was rare to have more than one or two large Viking forces active at any one time. (48) The speed and mobility of Viking hit-and-run raids meant that they could strike and leave before there was time available to gather a force against them. The Vikings were sensitive to political disunity and quick to take advantage of them. Ireland was in a permanent state of anarchic disunity. A civil war in the Frankish Empire in 830 A.D. had serious consequences for the effectiveness of the empire's coastal defences. The Vikings would sail far inland along such navigable rivers in Frankia as the Rhine, Seine, and Loire, and the Shannon River in Ireland. In the first phase of the Viking campaigns of conquest overseas, it was a seasonal activity, with fleets returning home back to Scandinavia for the winter. In the second phase they built camps and began to overwinter in Western Europe. (49) The break-up of the Frankish Carolingian Empire due to dynastic struggles was taken advantage of by the Vikings, who were sometimes even welcomed as allies in the internecine struggles. (50) In 840 A.D. the Frankish Emperor of the Carolingian dynasty called Louis the Pious died, and his empire was divided three ways by his sons Lothar, Charles the Bald, and Louis the German. The three brothers soon fell out over their inheritances into several civil wars, which damaged local authority and the system of coastal defences created by Emperor Charlemagne, who reigned from 768 to 814 A.D. The great rivers of the empire could be penetrated by the Viking longships far inland. Charles the Bald of France and Lothar of Lotharingia or Lorraine (i.e. the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, the German Rhineland, the French provinces of Alsace-Lorraine, Burgundy, Savoy and Provence, Switzerland, and northern and central Italy) had a long coastline with many navigable rivers to defend. (51) Louis the Pious of East Frankia or Germany had a shorter coastline with the North Sea and was somewhat less threatened by the Vikngs, although the German city of Hamburg on the Elbe River was sacked in 845 A.D. by the Vikings, the same year in which they sacked Paris on the Seine River in West Frankia or France. (52) Germany for a while was more unified than France or Lotharingia, although after the Viking era ended in Europe Germany tended to be more disunited in comparison, with rival German princes allying either with the Holy Roman Emperor or the Pope, or with themselves. The French and the Germans, and even for a while the Spanish, until 1945 battled each other on and off for the Middle Kingdom of Lotharingia, especially during the reigns of the Habsburg, Bourbon, Napoleonic, Hohenzollern and Hitlerian dynasties. The most effective defence in France against the Vikings were in the hands of local leaders called counts who could react more quickly than centralized royal forces. After 859 A.D. peasant bands formed to fight the Vikings, although they were suppressed by the counts in the late 860s A.D. because they regarded them as a threat to their manorial and feudal authority. (53) When the West Roman Empire was being invaded by Germanic, Iranian and Hunnish tribes during the late 300's and early 400s A.D, at a time when civil wars were frequent in the West Roman Empire, local Roman peasant bands known as the Bagaudae emerged to fight both the invaders and their manorial villa-owning landlords, the latter of whom sought protection from both the barbarians and the Roman military. The warring factions in Roman civil wars often used ethnic barbarian mercenaries to fight along side of them. "The Vikings were devastating raiders but no match for mobile, heavily armed Frankish cavalrymen. The further the Vikings moved inland, the more this told against them." (54) King Edward the Elder of Wessex, during his "reconquest" of the Danelaw territory in England, was seen by many of the English as a West Saxon conquest of England and many of the English fought on the side of the Danes. In 919 A.D. the English kingdom of Mercia was formally annexed by the kingdom of Wessex. (55) In the early 800's A.D. Ireland was divided into five competing high kingdoms, and the Irish high kings had little control over their quarrelsome sub-kings, which meant that the Irish showed no coordinated response to the Viking raids. The Vikings alternately fought and allied with their Irish neighbours. (56) During the 800's A.D. Scotland was divided by four different ethnic groups, with the Picts controlling the Highlands, the northern Irish Scots in Dalriada, Britons in Strathclyde, and the Anglo-Saxons in Northumbria. (57) Scotland in addition was divided by many clans.
The Viking raids on England betwen 979-1016 A.D. involved numerous raiders, who were, in contrast to the Anglo-Saxons, well organized and purposefully led. (58) The late Viking raids on England involved professional soldiers. (59) In 1016 A.D. at the Battle of Ashingdon, King Edmund II the Ironside of Wessex was betrayed on the field of battle by Eadric Streona, Earldoman (Duke) of the Mercians, while battling the Danish King Canute the Great. (60) King Canute the Great of Denmark, Norway, and southern Sweden (reign 1019-1035 A.D.), and King of England from 1016-1035 A.D., granted lands and titles to his followers in England, which resulted in the creation of a new Anglo-Danish aristocracy. He taxed the English heavily to support his housecarles or royal household troops and bodyguards and to fund a standing war fleet. However, Canute also supported the English Church, legislated wisely, and kept the peace. (61) The Danish Viking conquest of England between 979-1016 A.D. was in part assisted by the resentment of the Anglo-Saxon aristocracy towards the Cluniac monastic reform movement supported by the West Saxon royal family. A group of well-born and influential churchmen had ideas on how to reform the English Church. Around 950 A.D. reformed monastic communities had come into existence in Lotharingia or what today make up the Benelux countries of Belgium, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands, and the German Rhineland as a whole. The Rhine River estuary in The Netherlands is directly opposite to the east of the Thames River estuary in England, and the city of London is not far from the mouth of the Thames. Both the Rhine and Thames rivers empty into the North Sea, which is active with maritime trade. The reformed monasteries were modeled on the abbey of Cluny in south-eastern France, founded in or about 910 A.D. (62). During much of the 900's A.D. there was an over-successful integration of the religious life into that of the secular world of kindred groups. The family of the founder of an abbey was expected to nominate its abbot. If there was no eligible candidate to be an abbot, the right of promotion could be and was sold. (63) In the unreformed monasteries, monks were not subject to any real authority during the early 900's A.D. Monks of the Benedictine order did not have to live in poverty, hold their property in common, and obey their abbot. Individual monks enjoyed their own mensa or 'table', which was a block of estates given by some ancestor and held by right of family descent. Throughout Western Europe at the time, monasteries had family connections, who had individual or quasi-individual ownership of monastic property, and monks were often married. This situation was a far cry from Saint Benedict's intention. Saint Odo of Cluny's biographer wrote that monks under his rule lived chastely, abstained from meat and held their property in common. The reformed Cluniac monasteries struck at the interests of aristocratic families who owned monasteries. Before 900 A.D. many Church lands were family properties with an ecclesiastical nature, with the secular head of the family having somewhat limited control over them. (64) The monks of the unreformed monastic communities were not as a rule celibate. The unreformed clerks were often married with children. The Cluniac reformers as a clerical status group had their own ecclesiastical loyalties which took precedence over loyalty to their kindred group. The reformed monks supplied trained and educated clergy to fill the highest places of the Church. It was taken for granted as a de facto right that kings in Western Europe could promote bishops, but they could not demote them, because only the popes had the legal right to do so. The abbot-bishops during the reign of the English king Edgar (959-975 A.D.) accepted fully the discipline of the Rule of Saint Benedict and as a result abandoned their private property, while those monks who could not conform were expelled and their property was seized by their monasteries', which left them and their grand families with grounds for resentment. Royal provisions for the reformed monasteries meant a loss of status for the Church's tenants. (65) The Cluniac monk-bishops had religious attitudes which broke established social moulds, and as a result they needed royal support, which was used to break such moulds further to the advantage of royal power. The king could reduce the power of local, secular aristocratic establishments with alternative holders in the persons of the bishops and abbots of the Cluniac reform movement. Celibate, self-conscious members of a clerical caste, they served as a counterbalance to deeply entrenched local families. The reformed monk-bishops were dependent on the king in a way the earldormen or Anglo-Saxon dukes were not, and therefore their loyalty could be taken for granted. By 1000 A.D. the whole English episcopate were recruited from the new reformed Cluniac monasteries. (66) King Edgar died young in 975 A.D. The secular magnates, such as the earldormen (dukes), shire-reeves or sheriffs (counts), and thegns or thanes (cnihts or knights), bore the real cost of the royally sponsored monastic reform policy, and as a result there was much hostility, disappointment and factionalism in most of England south of the Trent River. Only after the Norman Conquest of England in 1066 A.D. did the monastic reform reform movement come to most of northern England. Disunion and dissent acted like a magnet to the Vikings. From 975-1066 A.D. there were crises at every royal succession in Anglo-Saxon England, with four great families disputing the royal succession. (67) The reformed Benedictine Cluniac monks had all things in common because the early Christian community in Jerusalem had so according to The Acts of the Apostles 2:42-47. Holy poverty and retreat from the secular world is found in these following New Testament passages: Matthew 10:1-15, Mark 6:7-11, Luke 9:1-5, Luke 10:1-12, Matthew 19:16-26, Mark 10:17-27, Luke 18:18-27, Matthew 3:1-6, Matthew 4:1-11, Mark 1:1-6, Luke 3:1-6, and Luke 4:1-13. Apostles, bishops, priests, and deacons were married in the early Christian Church as described in The New Testament (The Apostle Saint Paul's Epistle to Titus, Chapter One, I Corinthians 9:5-6, John 1:40-42 and I Timothy 3). Saint Paul the Apostle recommended that clerics remain unmarried so that they can concentrate fully on their ministry, but he also acknowledged it was better to marry than have sexual intercourse before and outside marriage in I Corinthians 7. The sacrament of holy ordination where clerics appoint men to the ministry is found in The Acts of the Apostles 6:1-7. The powers of the pope and his cardinals trace back to these following New Testament scriptures: Matthew 16:13-19, Luke 22:31-32, John 21:15-19, John 20:19-23, Matthew 18:18, The Acts of the Apostles Chapters 1-2, 10-11, and 15, Saint Paul's Epistle to the Galatians Chapter 2, and I Peter 2:5 and 9-10. All of the aforementioned Bible references are from The New King James Version of the Bible.
According to the 'Laws of Henry I,' the Norman King of England from 1100-1135, the English shires (counties) were divided into hundreds (cantons) and shipsokes. In the Danelaw area of England, the hundreds were called 'wapentakes' (weapon takes). In the 900's A.D. the hundred court met monthly, and was attended by all the free tenants, as opposed to serfs (laets) and slaves (thralls), of the district. The free tenants included the thanes or knights, the ceorls (churls) or yeomen middle class farmers, and urban or borough craftsmen, artisans, and merchants. The hundred courts were a means to extend royal government to the countryside, because the hundreds always had a military function. (68) The shipsokes were groups of three hundreds located by the sea or large navigable rivers, and each group had the responsibility of producing a ship and a crew of sixty men. The levying of a war fleet was known as a shipfyrd. The Bishop of Sherborne, and other Anglo-Saxon bishops got a shipsoke from the king, and it is probable that some abbots did too. The German king (reign 936-973) and Holy Roman Emperor (reign 961-973) Otto I the Great, created a great liberty at Cologne for his brother Saint Bruno the Great, archbishop of Cologne. Cologne is a German city situated on the banks of the Rhine River. Bruno was also chancellor or prime minister of the Holy Roman Empire and duke of Lorraine. He was a pious man who supported the Cluniac monastic reform movement, and the author of the biographies of several saints. The Anglo-Saxon bishop of Worcester, who was the head of his shipsoke, had the title of archiductor according to his biographer, while Bruno's biographer called Bruno an archidux, i.e. archduke. When a bishop or abbot headed a shipsoke, he replaced the ealdorman as leader of the contingent to the fyrd or military levy. The Church of Worcester was reformed during King Edgar's reign from 959-975 A.D., and was given a liberty by the king over three hundreds. A liberty was an area in which exemptions and responsibilities in regard to the exercise of justice were enjoyed. The liberty was called Oswaldlow after Edgar's bishop of Worcester, who had responsibility over a shipsoke. By the late 900's A.D. Worcester had sixty local charters. The recipients of the charters submitted to the Bishop of Worcester as their lord, and became tenants of the Church as a result. Some of the tenants had once held their lands by royal charter with hereditary tenure, and had not been tenants of the church of Worcester. During Edgar's reign, the tenants of the Bishop of Worcester had their rights of inheritance curtailed, and their legal status reduced. The Ealdorman or Duke of Mercia was responsible for the burh (borough) or fortified town of Worcester, which was one of the sources of his power. This strong-point was surrounded by warriors subject to the Bishop of Worcester. Aelfhere, the ealdorman of Mercia, reacted sharply against the Cluniac reform movement once Edgar's death in 975 A.D. made it safe to do so. The holders of the liberties were reformed and reforming churchmen. The shipsokes and liberties along with the military power which went with them were filched by the Cluniac churchmen from the ealdormen or dukes. The reaction against such churchmen was widespread and not confined to Worcester. Edgar was a West Saxon king who meant to be obeyed. King Aethelred II (reign 978-1016 A.D.) offered the status of a thegn, thane, cniht, or knight and a wergeld (blood-price) of 1200 shillings to priests of ceorlish or yeomen origin if they would remain celibate. Ceorls or churls were by birth entitled only to 200 shillings wergeld as compensation paid to their closest relative by their murderer. (69)
From the beginning of his reign, King Edgar of Wessex had a policy of alliance with eastern Mercia against western Mercia. The Mercians played an equivocal role during the reign of Aethelred II, with the Mercian ealdorman Eadric Streona twice betraying Aethelred in battle in favour of the Vikings, and then went on to betray Aethelred's son King Edmund II the Ironside at the Battle of Ashingdon against the Danes in 1016 A.D. (70) Before the establishment of the Vikings in the northern English kingdom of Northumbria on a permanent basis from 865 A.D. onwards, the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of Mercia and Wessex had been bitter enemies. An important and intransigent Mercian faction opposed to the West Saxon connection after 865 A.D. remained. (71) The Danish Kingdom, which conquered and ruled England from 1016 to 1042 A.D., had by the late 900's A.D. a remarkable talent for organization of men and material. Four fortifications found by archaeologists in Denmark at Trelleborg, Fyrkat, Aggersborg and Nonnebakken show the organized power of the Danish monarchy around 980 A.D. The forts show an ordered plan and similarity to one another, although Aggersborg is larger than the others. The Danish kingdom had a capacity to plan and control on a large scale. This capacity was reflected in the large size of the war fleets and armies sent by the Danish kings against England from 978 to 1016 A.D. (72)
In 1016 A.D. at the Battle of Ashingdon in Essex, Earl or Duke Eadric Streona of Mercia betrayed the West Saxon King Edmund II the Ironside in battle against King Canute or Cnut the Great of Denmark. There were heavy casualties on both sides, but in the end the Danes were victorious. Because of the mutually costly battle, King Canute imposed moderate peace terms on the defeated English. In the peace treaty, Edmund was recognized as King of Wessex while Canute became King of Mercia, including the city of London within his territory. Edmund died in the autumn or fall of 1016, and all of England recognized Canute as their king. Canute went on to marry Emma, a Norman princess who had been queen of England for more than twelve years by 1016 A.D. Emma was the wife of King Aethelred II, who had died on Saint George's Day in 1016, several months before Edmund. Edmund's children took refuge in Hungary, while Edmund's stepbrothers had been left at the Norman court to be brought up. (73) The national Anglo-Saxon parliament was known as the Witanegemot (Court of the Wise), and was called by the King. It's members included earls, sheriffs, the lord mayors of the boroughs known as the burh-reeves or burh-sheriffs, archbishops, and bishops. The Normans continued this institution after their conquest of England in 1066 A.D., renaming the Witanegemot the Curia Regis (King's Court).
The Old English boroughs or burhs, were not castles by and large, but were rather walled towns and cities. The Anglo-Saxon thanes or knights most likely had a fortified residence, since England had been ravaged by the Vikings from 793-1016 A.D. (74) The thanes needed fortified residences as a result. The Norman Conquest of England in 1066 A.D. resulted in a change of techniques in fortification and styles of architecture, but there was no revolution in land tenure to pay for them. The Anglo-Saxon thanes rode to battle on horseback, dismounted, fought on foot, and then used their horses to chase down their enemies afterwards if they won, as the Vikings also did. The forts or castles of Anglo-Saxon thanes tended to be made out of wood and earthen turf, as was the case with Norman castles at first, before the Normans later rebuilt their castles out of brick or stone. The Normans tended to fight more on horseback. (75) Before the Danes began in 865 A.D. in earnest their campaign of conquest against England, England had been divided into seven kingdoms known as The Heptarchy. The Anglians controlled Northumbria, Mercia, and East Anglia, the Saxons ruled Wessex (West Saxons), Sussex (South Saxons), and Essex (East Saxons), and the Jutes were in the ascendant in Kent. The Anglo-Saxons and Jutes had originally come from the lands of Denmark and Germany which border the North Sea (Jutes from the Danish peninsula of Jutland, Anglians from the area of Angeln in the German state of Schleswig-Holstein, and Saxons from Lower Saxony and East Friesland in Germany). They had invaded Britain between 450-580 A.D. The last Roman field troops had left Britain in 407 A.D. under the command of the rebel Roman general and self-appointed Emperor Constantine III for France or Gaul, Iberia (Spain and Portugal), and Italy, where they became involved in a series of Roman civil wars fought from 407-411 A.D. At the same time as civil wars were being fought in the western provinces of the Roman Empire from or in 383-388, 392-394, 397-398, 407-411, 413, 421, 423-425, 427, and 432 A.D., the Roman provinces in Gaul, Iberia, Northwest Africa, and Italy were invaded by such Germanic groups as the Visigoths, Franks, Burgundians, Sueves and Vandals, the Iranian Alans and Sarmatians, and the Mongolian Huns. See Myths of British Ancestry. (76) The Anglo-Saxons spoke the Low German or Plattdeutsch (Flat German) dialect of the lowlands of northern Germany, as opposed to the High German or Hochdeutsch dialect of the hilly and mountainous regions of central and southern Germany, the latter of which today makes up the standard or official dialect spoken in Germany. "Low German differs from High German chiefly in the sounds of its vowels and consonants. It sounds more like English and Dutch than High German does. For example, the Low German eten and twe are closer to the English eat and two than to the High German essen and zwei. Low German served as the spoken and literary language of northern Germany until the 1550's A.D., when it lost its importance as a written language. Martin Luther, the leader of the Protestant Reformation, greatly influenced the development of the German language. In the early 1500's A.D., he translated the Bible into German, using the dialect of east-central Germany, then called (Upper) Saxony. This dialect thus became important in the development of New High German spoken after 1600 A.D." (77) Today there are three Saxon states in Germany: Lower Saxony in northern Germany facing the North Sea, and Saxony-Anhalt and Saxony or Upper Saxony in east-central Germany. The Danish dialect spoken by the Jutes belonged to the Scandinavian branch of the Germanic language family, along with Swedish and Norwegian. The Scandinavian languages are also known as the Nordic, Norse, or Northmen languages/dialects. The Germanic Anglo-Saxon or English language was heavily influenced in pronunciation, spelling, accent, grammar, syntax or word order, prefixes, suffixes, inflections, place names and loan words by the Romano-British Celts they had conquered in stages between 450-580 A.D. English also has many words of French origin because of the Norman Conquest in 1066 A.D., and the French language is that of the vulgar or common Latin as spoken and pronounced with a Gaulish accent by the Gaulish Celts whom the Romans had conquered between 58-51 B.C, with many loan words from Celtic Gaulish, Basque Gascon, British Celtic or Breton, and the Germanic Frankish, Burgundian, Visigothic, and Viking-Scandinavian Normans. The far flung Roman overseas province of Britain, along with the thin, rocky soils of Armorica or Brittany in Celtic Gaul, was a neglected and economically underdeveloped backwater of the Roman Empire, as was also the mountainous western and central Balkans, with the gold rich province of Dacia or Romania in the Balkans being the exception. Greece in the far eastern part of the Balkans had a civilization older than that of Roman Italy. The Germanic invaders of Gaul or France were willing to learn the French Latin vernacular because they associated it with the grandeur of the Roman Empire, while they looked down on the Celtic language of the Britons as a low status peasant language. The Germanic peoples originally lived in the North German Plain, and over the course of many generations they gradually conquered and assimilated the Celts of southern and western Germany, Switzerland, and Austria. Both the Germans and Celts belong to the Indo-European language family. From 1150 A.D. onwards German colonists, following in the wake of the crusading monk-warriors known as the Teutonic Knights, a Roman Catholic Christian order, conquered, converted and assimilated in gradual stages the pagan or polytheist Polabian Slavic tribes of eastern Germany living east of the Elbe and Saale Rivers.
In the first century A.D. in Germany, some Germanic tribes had kings, but usually the leaders were elected from a broader aristocracy. The chieftain's power lay in the number of warriors he maintained in his personal following, what the Latin speaking Romans called his comitatus. The chieftain's band of warriors pledged to fight beside him in battle, and in return their warlord feasted them and rewarded their valour with weapons and gold. These warriors were the warlord's mead hall or beer hall drinking companions, as well as his private bodyguard and tribute or protection money enforcers/racketeers. Only a few of the wealthier warriors owned war horses and armour was rare for the majority of warriors. Most of the warriors had a spear, a javelin for throwing, and a shield for protection. A substantial minority of soldiers had swords, and by the 200's A.D. these were almost always of Roman manufacture. The semi-professional warriors of the chieftain's warbands were not especially numerous. At times, larger Germanic armies were joined by all those tribesmen of free as opposed to slave status who were able to equip themselves for war, but such forces could not stay in the field for long. With just a couple of hundred warriors in his band, a charismatic and successful chieftain could rise to dominate his tribe, and sometimes neighbouring tribes as well, but his powers were always precarious, (78) because other chieftains feared an over-successful king who aimed at permanent rule. An over-mighty chieftain rarely passed his kingly title to an heir. The Germanic chieftains often raided neighbouring tribes for slaves to sell to Roman merchants in exchange for luxuries. The sub-Saharan African tribal chiefs also sold their surplus inter-tribal prisoners of war to European, Arab, and Berber slave traders. (79) In the later Roman period, it was common for one house in a German village to be substantially larger and perhaps also fenced off from the rest. Roman subsidies allowed the Germanic chieftains allied to the Roman Empire to support larger bands of warriors. Such pro-Roman Germanic chieftains had a rise in status and power, and were often resisted by rival chieftains within a tribe. Some Germanic chieftains even brought their household warriors along with them to join the Roman army. (80) The Romans controlled German territory from the Rhine to the Elbe rivers from 12 B.C. to 9 A.D., until the Roman general Varus was defeated in an ambush in the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest at the hands of a Germanic tribal coalition led by the chieftain Arminius (Battle of the Teutoburg Forest). The Romans avenged this defeat by their victories against Arminius' coalition at the Battles of Idistaviso or the Weser River and the Angrivarian Wall in 16 A.D., led by the Roman general Germanicus Caesar (Battle of the Weser River; Angrivarii). However, Germanicus was ordered to withdraw Roman troops to the Rhine and Danube rivers in 17 A.D. by the Emperor Tiberius. The Rhine was a much more practical boundary for the Roman Empire than any other river in Germania because logistically Roman armies on the Rhine could be supplied from the Mediterranean Sea via the Rhône, Saône, and Moselle (Mosel) rivers, with a brief stretch of portage. Armies on the Elbe river, on the other hand, would have to have been supplied either by extensive overland routes or ships travelling the hazardous Atlantic seas. Economically, the Rhine was already supporting towns and sizeable villages at the time of the Gallic (Roman French) conquest. Northern Germania, however, was far less developed, possessed fewer villages, and had little food surplus. Thus the Rhine was both significantly more accessible from Rome and better equipped to supply sizeable garrisons than the regions beyond. See Peter Heather, The Fall of the Roman Empire: A New History of Rome and the Barbarians (2006). In addition, Roman senatorial aristocrats and emperors distrusted generals who won great victories over foreign and internal enemies, since they could use their popularity with the Roman army to overthrow them. (81) Sometimes the Romans launched punitive military expeditions east of the Rhine and north of the Danube rivers into unoccupied German territory. One of them reached as far deep into Germany as the Harzhorn Hill, located in the German state of Lower Saxony, east of the Weser River, between the towns of Kalefeld and Bad Gandersheim, where the Romans won a victory over Germanic tribes at the Battle of the Harzhorn in 235 A.D. Archaeological remains of the battle were first discovered in December 2008, and excavation of the site has continued since then. The battle was fought during either the reigns of the Roman Emperors Severus Alexander or Maximinus Thrax (Battle at the Harzhorn). As the Roman Empire expanded outside of the Italian peninsula, more and more of its soldiers, sailors and marines came to be recruited from the provinces, and after the frontiers stabilized, many persons living outside the Roman imperial borders joined the Roman military. In 58 B.C. Julius Caesar defeated the Germanic King Ariovistus in Celtic Gaul or France. (82) "Ariovistus' horsemen worked closely with picked light infantry - who in later centuries were known to the Germans as the 'hundred' (centeni) - capable over short distances of keeping pace with the horses by grabbing onto their manes. The warriors on foot acted as a solid support, behind which the cavalry could retreat if worsted, and rest and re-form before advancing again." (83) Many of the Germanic Goths enrolled into service in the Roman army in the late 300's and early 400's A.D. had good-quality Roman weaponry and chain mail or other body armour and helmets. (84) The Goths in the Roman army were supplied with Roman weapons and armour, and only looked a little different from the regular provincial Roman troops. (85) In the late 370's A.D. there was a shortage of readily available and willing recruits from the provinces willing to join the Roman military. (86) The pay for Roman soldiers, sailors, and marines was worth less in value because of inflation than it had been from 1 to 200 A.D., while discipline and the punishment used to enforce it remained brutal. (87) By the late 300's A.D. many senior officers in the Roman army were of barbarian descent. (88) By the early 390's A.D. the Goths in the Roman army represented a valuable resource of military manpower, and this situation was the reason why the Romans chose not to destroy them. (89) It was an old Roman practice to settle barbarians within the provinces for the purpose of supplying tax revenue and/or soldiers for the army. (90) Many barbarian tribal leaders, along with their household warriors, often found employment as senior officers in the Roman army, and many individual barbarians volunteered for it. (91) The Roman army had long relied on youths in tribal societies seeking glory and wealth as recruits. (92) During the civil wars fought in the mainly western provinces of the Roman Empire between or in 383-388, 392-394, 397-398, 407-411, 413, 421, 423-425, 427, and 432 A.D., the Roman troops were often withdrawn from the frontiers. The frequent changes in the senior and lower ranks meant that it was difficult to train armies properly. The frequent civil warfare thinned the ranks of regular troops and disrupted normal recruitment and training. As a result it was difficult to raise and train new soldiers quickly, and this situation made it easier to hire the services of a barbarian chieftain and his followers. (93) The barbarians lacked the discipline of professional Roman troops, but were more effective than hastily raised conscripts or volunteers. (94) Barbarian mercenaries and allies were often hired by one faction against another in a Roman civil war. (95) Roman senatorial villa owners who did not wish to see some of their more able-bodied tenants and slaves levied for conscription in the Roman military could commute their levy into a payment in gold, which was then supposed to be used to recruit and pay volunteers for the military, as well as conscripts. (96) Powerful Roman landowners often had bodyguards who were usually of barbarian origin (97). The Germanic tribes were, in terms of material culture, little different from the Roman provincials. (98) By 425 A.D. the surviving units of the Roman army were in appearance, including dress and weaponry, little different from the barbarians, who themselves had become increasingly Romanised in terms of material culture over the course of the previous decades. The loss of training and expertise of the Roman armies because of civil warfare in the western Roman provinces, the great cost of maintaining a standing army, and the political difficulties of having a standing army because of rival generals competing to seize the imperial throne, made it seem easier, cheaper, and safer to use barbarian federates (99).
The word "Viking" came from a pirate center and port town in southern Norway called Vik. The word Viking meant "to go a-viking" or "to fight as a pirate or warrior." (100) In Viking society the nobility was made up of kings, chieftains , and warrior-aristocrats who had great wealth and/or were the descendants of highly honoured ancestors. The freemen were farmers, merchants, and others who served the king or chief, or who worked for themselves. Slaves were made up of those Scandinavians whose ancestors had been enslaved as prisoners in intertribal wars, or non-Scandinavian Europeans captured in Viking raids and battles outside Scandinavia. The majority of Vikings stayed in one socio-economic class for life. The governing council of the Vikings was called the Thing or Folkmoot (i.e. Folk Court), and was attended by noblemen and freemen. The Things made laws, decided on war and peace, and judged criminal trials. Viking men were allowed to have polygamous marriages, although the practice of polygamy was most common among wealthy Vikings who could afford to support more than one wife. (101)
During the Roman Iron Age in Scandinavia and other Germanic tribal lands (A.D. 1-400), which followed the Early Iron Age of 500 B.C.-1 A.D., Germanic kings and chieftains gained their wealth from landownership, tolls on trade routes, and military expeditions aimed at winning plunder and enslaved or ransomed prisoners of war. This wealth was used to reward the loyalty of their comitatus or warband. As the Roman Iron Age progressed into the Early Germanic Iron Age of the Migration Period or Völkerwanderung (Folkwandering) Era (400-600 A.D.), and the Late Germanic Iron Age (600-800 A.D.), there was a concentration of power into fewer and fewer hands in Germania and Scandinavia. This concentration of power was due to the merging of tribes, either voluntarily to wage war or resist aggression more effectively, or because a weaker tribe had been conquered by a stronger tribe. (102) Germanic society, like all Indo-European societies during ancient times and the early middle ages, was a slave owning society. The treatment of slaves varied according to their skills and abilities, and many of them were freed by their masters as a reward for years of good service. The freemen in Viking society had the right to bear arms and to speak at the local assembly or Althing, as well as protection under the common customary law. Within the free class there was a great range of wealth and status, from the landless labourer right up to the warrior aristocracy. There was also an inequality in the scale of fines called wergild or man-price laid down by Germanic common law, which was used to compound a homicide, becaue the more wealthy and influential the victim was, the higher the fine that had to be paid to his family by the guilty party. Legal judgements had to be enforced by the individuals concerned, which put poorer freemen at a disadvantage, unless they had a powerful lord to force the guilty party to comply. Although Viking society was hierarchical it was not static, providing opportunities for the ambitious and able to increase their wealth and raise their status by conducting pirate or trading expeditions overeseas, or by entering royal service. Even dictators throughout history needed the consent and support of their military in the last resort to stay in power. The Viking warrior aristocracy had the power to resite and replan whole villages. At the local assembly the warrior aristocrats would arbitrate in legal disputes, and also at the more important regional assemblies or things, where major issues were discussed. The aristocracy's power and influence came from their landownership, and in their offering of protection to less powerful men in return for their political support. The highest of the aristocracy were called jarls, equivalent to the Anglo-Saxon earls or Anglo-Norman dukes. (103) The word jarl meant "prominent man." The aristocratic war leaders were responsible for organizing the local defences, and for raising contingents of troops for the royal army. During the Viking Age (800-1100 A.D.), there was a growth in royal power, and with it the direct authority at the local level which could bypass the traditional intermediary of the local chieftains. Viking kings usually got their own way at the assemblies. In 850 A.D., King Olaf of the Svear (i.e. Swedes) manipulated proceedings at the assembly, gaining its permission for the Frankish St. Anskar to preach Christianity in Sweden. Although the king had to be accepted by the more important assemblies, this was usually a formality, because the assemblies could be overawed by an impressive show of military force, as King Olaf Tryggvason used at the Norwegian assemblies in 995 A.D. (104)
The Viking king's income came from landownership, tolls on trade, tribute from conquered tribes and plunder from war. The king's armed retinue, known as the hirð, served as his royal administrators, and were appointed on an ad hoc basis for a specific task. Viking kings moved constantly from estate to estate, having favoured residences but no permanent administrative capitals. They did so to keep their large kingdoms under close personal watch and control. For a king to succeed to the throne, he had to be descended from a king on either his father's or mother's side. One of the king's sons might succeed, but any male member of the royal dynasty was eligible. As a result, their were many potential claimants to the throne, and this caused succession disputes and civil wars to happen often. (105) Sweden was divided by two major ethnic-tribal groups, with the Svear (Swedes) in lands around Lake Mälaren, and the Götar (Goths) around Lakes Vänern and Vättern. By 890 A.D. the Svear kingdom controlled most of central Sweden and the islands of Gotland and Öland. Some of the Svear kings were actually of Götar origin. Olof Skötkonung, who ruled from 995-1020 A.D., was the first king to rule both Svear and Götar, but unification of Sweden was not complete until the 1100's A.D. (106) The Swedes were cut off from the western seas of the North Atlantic Ocean by the Danes and Norwegians, and as a result they had only one outlet, and that was to the east and the great rivers that led into the heartlands of Russia. (107) Because Scandinavia only has a limited amount of fertile land suitable for farming, which was made all the more worse in the early medieval or Dark Age (400-1000 A.D.) of Western Europe by the fact that agriculture was nowhere near as advanced in productivity as it is today, a minor population increase in Scandinavia meant land hunger and a resulting pressure to conquer new, more fertile farm lands overseas. (108)
The Viking Scandinavian kings saw the potential of Biblical Judeo-Christian doctrines such as the Divine Right of kings, rulers, and masters, be they Christian or non-Christian (for example pagan Greco-Roman Emperors, magistrates, and the soldiers who wield the law enforcing sword), and of church organization (bishoprics and parishes), as a means to strengthen the monarchy and promote unity of their kingdoms. (109) Under the biblical doctrine of the divine right of rulers, whose duty it is to enforce law and order, justice, and the common peace and safety, those in the lower ranks of authority must obey those higher up in the ranks of authority. The Divine Right of kings, rulers and masters can be found in such New Testament passages as Romans 13:1-7, I Peter 2:13-25, John 19:10-11, I Timothy 2:1-4, Hebrews 13:17, Ephesians 6:5-9, I Corinthians 7:20-24, Luke 3:12-14, Matthew 5:38-48, Luke 6:27-36, I Corinthians 6:1-10, The Acts of the Apostles chapters 21-28, Galatians 4, and in the Old Testament passage Genesis chapters 9-10. In the Old Testament there is the divine anointing with oil by the Jewish prophets and priests Samuel, Zadok, and Nathan of the Hebrew Kings Saul, David, and Solomon. David refused to kill King Saul when he had the chance because he was the God Yahweh's anointed king of Israel. The Israelite general Jehu was anointed by the Jewish prophet Elisha as Yahweh's appointed King of Israel for the purpose of overthrowing King Ahab, who had abandoned the Jewish religion for the gods and goddesses of the Phoenicians (II Kings 9-10), although according to the prophet Hosea in Hosea 1:4-5 the fourth generation of Jehu's dynasty was overthrown by the Assyrians as God's punishment for Jehu's massacre of Ahab's family and the Phoenician pagan priests and worshipers. The Phoenicians were the ancient peoples of the Mediterranean coastal plains and mountains of what is now Lebanon and Syria. Martin Luther urged the nobles and knights of Germany to crush the peasant rebels in his 1525 publication called Against the Thieving and Murdering Hordes of Peasants, basing his position on the Apostle Saint Paul's teaching in Romans 13:1-7. There are however passages from the Bible which could be used to support democracy, freedom and legal equality, such as Saint Paul's Epistle to Philemon, The Acts of the Apostles 8:26-40, Acts 17: 26, Acts 5:29, Matthew 7:12, Luke 6:31, Luke 10:25-28, Matthew 22:34-40, Mark 12:28-34, Galatians 5:14, John 13:34-35, John 15:12-15, Romans 13:8-10, Deuteronomy 6:4, Leviticus 19:18, Matthew 20:25-28, Mark 9:35, Mark 10:42-45, and the largely legendary and mythological account of the exodus of the Hebrew slaves from Pharaoh's Egypt under the leadership of Moses. Bishops or Greek episkópoi ("overseers") are found in Saint Paul's Epistle to Titus chapter one, as are also priests or Greek presbýteroi ("old men," "elders"). Deacons or Greek diakonoi ("servants") are found in Philippians 1:1, I Timothy 3:8 and 12, and The Acts of the Apostles 6:1-7. Although Jesus said it was harder for a rich man, even if he follows the Ten Commandments, to enter heaven than it is for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle, He also said it is not impossible for a rich man to enter heaven if helped by the Grace of God, because nothing is impossible with God according to Matthew 19:16-26, Mark 10:17-27, and Luke 18:18-27. A rich man in God's grace would earn his money legally, invest his money legally, would not evade his taxes, and would give generously to charity (Ephesians 2:8-10, Romans 2:5-11, Romans 2:13, and Galatians 2:10). With today's taxation policies in the Western World, the rich give compulsorily to social security and foreign aid policies. God, who is all wise, and is therefore not the God of stupidity, would not support the failed economic policies of communism. Usury was the sin of a Jew lending money on interest to a fellow Jew who lived in poverty according to Exodus 22:25, Ezekiel 18:16-17, Proverbs 28:8, Proverbs 22:26-27, Proverbs 19:17, and Proverbs 22:7, although a Jew is allowed to lend money to a non-Jew or Gentile, be they pagan, Zoroastrian, Christian, or Muslim (usury is forbidden in Islam), according to Deuteronomy 23:20-21. The boundaries of bishoprics and archbishoprics helped to define the borders of the Scandinavian kingdoms. Roman Catholic Christianity replaced the pagan diversity of local practices and beliefs with a uniform religion, thereby bringing about a unifying influence and helping in the creation of a common national identity. By the late 1100's A.D. the Scandinavian kingdoms of Denmark, Sweden and Norway were thoroughly Christianized to the Roman Catholic denomination. (110) The King of the Viking pagan gods, Odin or Woden, along with his brothers, according to Germanic pagan mythology, created the human race, gave man knowledge of poetry, and writing in the alphabet of runes. Odin was the god of wisdom, power, war, and poetry. He was also a sorcerer who could deprive men of their wits, and could exercise the power of life and death in wildly unpredictable ways. These attributes of Odin made him the god of kings, chieftains, warriors and poets, and both the Danish royal family and the Norwegian earls of Hlaðir claimed descent from him. (111) In other words, the pagan Vikings themselves had their own version of the doctrine of the divine right of rulers and masters, as did the pagan Roman Emperors and Greco-Macedonian Hellenistic kings, who claimed descent from the King of the Greco-Roman deities known as Jupiter, Diespiter or Deus-Zeus. In 975 A.D. Olof Skötkonung became King of the Svear and Götar of Sweden, although they were not securely united until the 1100's A.D. The Svear collected tribute from the Finnish areas east of the Baltic Sea, and the surname Skötkonung meant tributary king. Nevertheless, Olof Skötkonung recognized the Danish King Svein Forkbeard as his overlord. (112) After 1150 A.D., the by then Christianized Danes conducted crusading missions of conquest against the still pagan Indo-European Slavs or Wends, Baltic Indo-European Prussians, Latvians, and Lithuanians, and the Finno-Ugric Estonians and Finns who lived on the southern and eastern coastlands of the Baltic Sea. In this they were joined by the crusading Roman Catholic German monk-knights known as the Teutonic Knights, and by the recently Christianized Swedes. The Wends were active and skilled pirates, and the Danes and Swedes suffered from their Viking-style raids which reached a peak before 1150 A.D. In the 1100's A.D., there was an abandonment of the traditional Viking style of battle in the form of mounted infantry, that is warriors who rode to battle but then dismounted and fought on foot, and then remounted to chase a fleeing, broken enemy, in favour of mounted knights who fought usually on horseback and who were clad in steel helmets and chainmail, armed with short lances and pointed kite-shaped shields. The New Testament has several passages calling for missionary activity aimed at gaining converts to Christianity from all the peoples of the world (Matthew 28:18-20, Mark 16:15-16, Luke 24:46-48, Romans 10:11-17, The Acts of the Apostles 1:6-8), and some theologians have argued that Luke 14:23-24 calls for the forcible conversion to Christianity of pagan non-Jews, Zoroastrians, and Muslims. (113) In 1172 A.D. the Svear and Götar were permanently united under the one king called Knut Erikson, thereby bringing permanent unity to Sweden. Christianity gave advantages to Scandinavian kings who wanted to centralize their authority through the Biblical doctrine of divine right, and through the members of the Church who provided able and literate clerics to serve as bureaucratic administrators. The seat of bishoprics located in large towns and small cities became the new administrative centers, raising revenue for the monarchies from taxes, tolls on trade, and legal fines. Revenue raising for the Scandinavian kings became easier and more reliable, and less dependent on such hazardous means of acquiring wealth as plundering expeditions. Service to the royal government now offered the ambitious and able a relatively more peaceful route to the acquisition of wealth and status. (114)
Marriages in pagan Viking Scandinavia were usually arranged, and involved negotiations between the prospective husband and the bride's father. A marriage was an alliance between two different families as equals. The bride brought a dowry to the partnership and the husband paid her a "bride-price." Both the dowry and the bride-price remained the property of the wife after her marriage. Viking wives had the right to a divorce if a marriage proved to be unworkable. The marriage contract stipulated how the joint estate would be divided in a divorce. Viking wives had great authority over their husbands' slaves and family dependents, and were always closely involved in major decisions affecting the family. Scandinavian women who accompanied campaigning Viking armies of conquest did the cooking for the warriors and took care of the wounded. (115)
In the North Atlantic volcanic islands of Iceland and the Faeroes, usually settled by Norwegians and to a lesser extent by the Danes, the leaders of the Viking setlements there were warrior-aristocrats of middling rank, with no jarls (earls, dukes) or kings among them. These local chieftains were the main losers in the growth of centralized royal authority in Scandinavia between 700-900 A.D. In Iceland there were the district things (assemblies) and the national Icelandic Althing (supreme assembly), where the chieftains or goðar (plural) played the leading role. This arrangement was the traditional form of government before the rise of royal power in Scandinavia. The only significant national official was the Lawspeaker (prime minister), an elective position with no executive authority. Although only the goðar could vote in the Althing, their freemen supporters could withdraw their allegiance for another goði (singular) if they wished. When the goðar were roughly similar in wealth and status, the Icelandic system of government worked. Although the status of goðar was inherited, men could fall out of the class or rise into it. Eventually a few pre-eminent chiefly families emerged and the consensual system broke down in the 1200's A.D. into a series of civil wars when the chiefly families fought each other for supremacy. The Icelanders asked King Hakon IV of Norway to restore order and as a result Iceland was formally annexed to Norway in 1263 A.D. (116) In 895 A.D. the Viking settlements in the Faeroe Islands came under the direct control of Norway. (117) In Iceland under the local leadership of the goðar, who were wealthy pagan chieftain-priests, meant that the goðar could resolve or manipulate disputes, as well as offer advocacy and protection to smaller landowners. The goðar presided at the district assemblies or Things which were held to solve local disputes. In 930 A.D. the annual all-Iceland assembly called the Althing was established to solve major disputes and to decide what was the common law. (118) The word goðar is related to the Germanic English word "god." Although the freemen or thingmen of Iceland could transfer their loyalty from one goði to another, they could no do so without weakening the power of one without strengthening that of another. (119) In 965 A.D. Iceland was divided into four Quarters, North, South, East, and West, and the number of goðar for the all-Iceland Althing or national parliament was raised to 39, with the addition of the Lawspeaker raising it to 40. There were 10 goðar for each Quarter (120). Within each Quarter there were district Things, somewhat analagous to state parliaments.
"Unlike Christianity, Scandinavian paganism did not have a systematic theology and lacked absolute concepts of good and evil or of the afterlife. Religion was a matter of the correct performance and observance of sacrafices, rituals and festivals, rather than of personal spirituality. There was no full-time priesthood; it was usually the king or local chieftains who had the responsibility for ensuring that festivals were observed. A cycle of cosmological myths told of the creation of the world and of its ultimate destruction. Vikings believed that all things were subject to fate, including the gods who would perish at Ragnarök, the final cataclysm that would destroy the world. As in other polytheistic religions, the Viking gods ruled over different aspects of human life. The Vikings had rather vague ideas about the afterlife. The souls of heroic warriors who had died in battle were taken by the Valkyries - female demigods - to feast and fight in Odin's home in Valhalla, the hall of the slain, until the time came for them to march out to fight side by side with the gods against the giant or Titans at Ragnarök. Freya, the Scandinavian goddess of love and sensuality, might also claim a share of the warriors' souls, as well as at least some women. Others went to the dismal twilight world of Hel. It was also believed that the dead could live on in the (121) grave. The common practice of placing everyday objects, weapons, tools and even horses, wagons and ships in graves is probably a sign that people believed that the afterlife would resemble this life, and that somehow these objects would be useful to the dead. However, in some cases, such as the rich ship burials at Oseberg and Gokstad in Norway, the grave goods may have been intended more to impress the living with the wealth and status of the deceased's family than to help the dead." (122) "The authors of the Icelandic family sagas were much concerned with the workings of fate. This does not mean that their characters are the pawns of blind fate, however; they control their destinies, and meet their fates as a consequence of their own weaknesses and errors." (123)
"According to the Eddas (two oral poems written down in Iceland in the 1200's A.D.), two places existed before the construction of life - Muspellsheim, a land of fire, and Niflheim, a land of ice and mist. Between them lay Ginnungagap, a great emptiness where heat and ice met. Out of this emptiness came Ymir, a young giant and the first living thing. A second creature soon appeared, a cow named Audhumla. Ymir lived on Audhumla's milk. As Ymir matured, he gave birth to three beings. He bore them from his armpits and from one leg. The first divine family was thus born. Meanwhile, a second giant, Buri, was frozen in the ice of Niflheim. Audhumla licked the ice off his body, freeing him. Buri created a son named Bor, who married the giantess Bestla. They had three sons - Odin, Ve, and Vili. The sons founded the first race of gods." (124)
"After Odin became an adult, he led his brothers in an attack on Ymir and killed him. Odin then became supreme ruler of the world. The gods defeated the giants in battle, but the surviving giants planned revenge on their conquerors (compare with the battle in Christian heaven between the loyal angels of God led by the Archangel Michael versus the fallen, rebel angels led by the Archangel Lucifer or Satan in Revelation 12:7-9). Odin and his brothers constructed the world from Ymir's body. His blood became the oceans, his ribs the mountains, and his flesh the earth. The gods created the first man from an ash tree and the first woman from an elm tree. They also constructed Asgard, which became their heavenly home. Valhalla, a great hall in Asgard, was the home of warriors killed in battle. Many divinities lived in Asgard. These divinities were called the Aesir, just as the leading Greek gods and goddesses were called the Olympians. The ruler of Asgard was Odin. Thor, Odin's oldest son, was god of thunder and lightning. Balder, another of Odin's sons, was god of goodness and harmony. Other divinities included Bragi, the god of poetry, and Loki, the evil son of a giant. The most important goddesses included Frigg, Odin's wife; Freyja, goddess of love and beauty; and Hel, goddess of the underworld. A giant ash tree known as Yggdrasil supported all of creation. In most accounts of Yggdrasil, the tree had three roots. One root reached into Niflheim. Another grew to Asgard. The third extended to Jotunheim, the land of the giants. Three sisters called Norns lived around the base of the tree. They controlled the past, present, and future. A giant serpent called Nidhoggr lived near the root in Niflheim. The serpent was loyal to the race of giants defeated by Odin. It continually gnawed at the root to bring the tree down, and the gods with it." (125) (compare with the serpent in the Garden of Eden, the Mediterranean Sea and River Nile monsters Leviathan and Rahab in The Old and New Testaments in Isaiah 27:1, Isaiah 51:9-10 and Revelation 13:1, and Satan likened to the old serpent in Revelation 12, and the Trees of Knowledge and Life in the Garden of Eden).
Germanic Mythology:-The End of the World
"Unlike many other major Western mythologies, Teutonic (Germanic) mythology includes an eschatology (an account of the end of the world). According to Teutonic mythology, there will be a great battle called Ragnarök (compare with The Battle of Armageddon or Har-Megiddo in Ezekiel Chapters 38-39, Revelation 9:13-21, Revelation 16:12-16 and Revelation 20:7-10 in The Bible). This battle will be fought between the giants, led by Loki, and the gods and goddeses living in Asgard. All the gods, goddesses, and giants in the battle will be killed, and the earth will be destroyed by fire (compare with II Peter 3:7-13, Revelation 20:9, Revelation 8:5, I Corinthians 3:10-15, and Revelation 20:11). After the battle, Balder will be reborn (compare with The Second Coming of Jesus Christ, the Parousia, the Son of Man) (126). With several sons of dead gods, Balder will form a new race of divinities. The human race will also be re-created. During Ragnarök, a man and woman will take refuge in a forest and sleep through the battle. After the earth again becomes fertile, the couple will awake and begin the new race of human beings (comapre with Adam and Eve, Jesus Christ as the Second Adam of I Corinthians 15:45-49, the Gnostic Christian Gospel of Saint Mary which claimed that Jesus Christ was married to Mary Magdalene). The new world, cleansed of evil and treachery, will endure forever." (127) (compare with the eternal, heavenly New Jerusalem in Revelation Chapters 21-22, Ezekiel 47, Zechariah chapters 12-14, and Revelation 4:6).
"Balder was the god of beauty, goodness, and light in Norse mythology (compare with Jesus Christ and the Greco-Roman god Apollo). He was the most beloved of the Norse gods. Balder was the son of the chief god, Odin, and the goddess Frigg. The most important myth about Balder concerns his death. Frigg had made all things - animals, plants, and even stones - swear an oath not to harm Balder. The gods amused themselves by throwing things at Balder because they knew he could not be hurt. But the evil god Loki, who envied Balder's beauty (compare with Satan trying to destroy Jesus Christ at birth in Revelation 12), learned that one plant, the mistletoe, had not sworn the oath. Loki gave the blind god Hoder (Balder's brother), a sprig of mistletoe and helped him throw it at Balder. The mistletoe pierced Balder's body, killing him instantly (compare with the blind pagan Roman soldier Longinus who pierced the dead Jesus Christ on the cross with a spear in John 19:37, Revelation 1:7, and Zechariah 12:10). The gods were grief - sticken by Balder's death. Hel, the goddess of the dead, sent word that Balder could be restored to life if all things wept for him. Everything began to weep except one giantess, who was really Loki in disguise. As a result, Balder must remain dead until Ragnarök, a great battle in which the world will be destroyed by fire. A better world will rise from the ashes, and Balder will return from the dead and rule it." (128) (compare with the Second Coming of Jesus Christ and the heavenly, eternal New Jerusalem). Balder's wife was the goddess Nanna, and their son was Forseti. According to the Gnostic Christian Gospel of Mary, Jesus Christ was married to Mary Magdalene. Balder will become reconciled with his brother the god Hoder at Ragnarök, and the two will rule the new world with the sons of the god Thor.
"Loki was a god of Norse mythology who was known as a troublemaker and trickster (compare with Satan in Revelation 12, and the Antichrist in Revelation 13). He was the son of a giant but lived among the gods, who were the enemies of the giants. Most stories of Loki portray him as evil, though some myths tell of occasions when he helped the gods. Loki could change his shape at will, and often appeared in the form of an old woman or an animal (compare with Satan disguised as a serpent in Genesis Chapters 1-3 and Revelation 12). The principal myth about Loki concerns his role in the murder of Balder, the handsome son of Odin, the chief god. Loki was jealous of Balder's beauty and popularity (see Lucifer, son of the morning, trying to take away the position of the morning star from Jesus Christ in Revelation 22:16, Revelation 12:1-7, Isaiah 14:12-14, Revelation 13, and Revelation chapters 17-18). Balder could be killed only by mistletoe, and so the gods made a sport of throwing things at him because he would not be hurt. One day, when the gods were amusing themselves in this way, Loki handed the blind god Hoder a sprig of mistletoe. Loki helped the unknowing Hoder aim the branch and throw it at Balder. The mistletoe pierced Balder's body and killed him. When the gods learned what Loki had done, they sentenced him to be chained across three rocks, with a snake dripping poison onto his face. His devoted wife, Sigyn (compare with The Whore of Babylon in Revelation chapters 13, 17 and 18, and Isaiah chapter 14), caught the drops of poison in a bowl. But each time the bowl filled up and she left to empty it, the venom struck Loki and made him twist in agony. According to legend, Loki will remain chained until the time of a battle called Ragnarök. He will then break free and lead the giants in an attack on the gods (compare with Satan released from his prison in the abyss after a thousand years in order to do battle at Armageddon or Har-Megiddo in Revelation 20). The world will be destroyed in this battle, and all the gods and giants will die." (129)
"Odin was the chief god in Norse mythology (compare with the chief Greco-Roman god Jupiter, Diespiter or Deus-Zeus). He is also calle Wotan or Woden. Odin became the ruler of the universe after he and his two brothers, Ve and Vili, killed the frost giant Ymir, the first living being. From Ymir's huge body, they made Midgard, the earth; and began to build Asgard, the dwelling place of the gods. Valhalla was the home of Odin in Asgard. There he feasted with the souls of heroes who had died in battle. Odin, a fearless fighter, carried a spear as his special weapon and rode an eight-legged horse named Sleipnir. Odin was also the wisest god. He gave up one of his eyes for the right to drink from the spring of wisdom, guarded by Mimir, the water demon. Odin was also known for his magic powers. By wounding and hanging himself from a tree (compare with Jesus Christ on the cross), he acquired the power of spells called runes. They enabled him to predict the future (compare with foreknowledge, predestination and prophecy), change his shape at will, and visit the underworld. Odin had many sons. They included Thor, the god of thunder, and Balder, the god of goodness and harmony. According to Norse mythology, Odin will lead the gods against the evil giants at Ragnarök, the battle that will destroy the world. He will be eaten by Fenrir, a ferocious wolf. The Anglo-Saxon's name for Odin was Woden. It was the source of the word Wednesday." (130)
"Norns were the three Fates of Scandinavian mythology. They were three sisters: Urd (Past), Verdandi (Present), and Skuld (Future). Urd was old and looked toward the past. Verdandi faced straight ahead into the present. Skuld represented the future, and looked in a direction opposite from that of Urd. The fate of people and gods was decided by the Norns. The Norse people believed that there were many lesser Norns, and one for each person." (131) The ancient pagan Greeks and Romans had three goddesses of the Fates, called Parcae by the Romans and Moirai by the Greeks. The Fates of pagan or polytheist Indo-European mythology somewhat resemble the Apostle Saint Paul's concept of predestination and foreknowledge found in Romans 7 and 9 and Ephesians 2:8-10 of The New Testament, as well as The Acts of the Apostles 15:18 and 13:48, Matthew 26:41, and Jeremiah 13:23 of The Old Testament. Martin Luther defended Saint Paul's doctrine of predestination in his 1525 publication called On the Bondage of the Will. The Sunni Muslims also believe in predestination, while the Shiite Muslims support free will. Islamists are to be found both among the Sunnis and Shiites. There are passages in both the Old and New Testament which support free will, and they are as follows: II Corinthians 5:15, I Timothy 2:3-4, II Peter 3:9, I John 4:8, Ezekiel 18:32, Ezekiel 33:11, Deuteronomy 30:19, Joshua 24:15, Jeremiah 18:7-10, and Revelation 2:5, 2:16, 2:21, 3:3, and 3:19. According to II Timothy 3:16-17, all of the Bible is inspired by God. Although the Jansenists were a Roman Catholic heretical sect which believed in predestination, they also believed that the elect could lose their salvation if they grew weary in doing good, as is taught in Ezekiel 18. The Jansenists also said that repentance out of contrition or sorrow for causing hurt to God and neighbors was the only kind of valid repentance, and that repentance out of attrition or fear of God's punishment made the sinner a hypocrite, even though attrition is acceptable according to Proverbs 13:13, Proverbs 14:26-27, Proverbs 19:23, and Philippians 2:12. There is also the example of the Assyrian Ninevites repenting out of fear in response to the warnings of the Prophet Jonah, and as a result avoiding God's punishment, even though Nineveh was to later on be destroyed when the Assyrian Empire fell to a combined assault from the Iranian Medes and the "Central Iraqi" Babylonians in 614 and 612 B.C. Presumably Assyria committed fresh crimes after the time of Jonah. Various passages in the Bible which suggest eventual eternal salvation for all are as follows: I Peter 3:18-20, I Peter 4:6, John 12:32, I Corinthians 15:28, I Timothy 4:10, Ephesians 1:9-10, Titus 2:11, and Luke 3:6. The scholar, early Christian theologian and Church father Origen Adamantius (184/185-253/254 A.D.) taught universal salvation in a doctrine known as Apokatastasis. The Christian Universalists believe that hell is temporary, i.e. with a time limit, rather like purgatory, and not eternal. Of course, a temporary stay in hell could last anywhere from one day to a hundred million years.
The Nazis seem to have argued by implication that the Jews by genetic predisposition or heredity were allegedly predestined to be an evil people who could not be morally reformed and therefore deserved genocide, a case of the theory of eugenics being used to justify ethnic extermination. That is why the Nazis even persecuted those German Christians of Jewish descent, despite the fact that the earliest converts to Christianity were Jews. Adolf Hitler in his manifesto known as Mein Kampf (My Struggle), published originally in two volumes in 1925-1926, on several occasions refers to predestined Fate and the role of genetic predestination in forming character. (132) Although Hitler was baptized a Catholic, and Catholicism believes in free will, there was a heretical sect within Catholicism called Jansenism which believed in predestination, like the Lutherans and Calvinists still do. Hitler at one point writes that "the born criminal is and remains a criminal". (133) Hitler apparently believed that all the Jews were born criminals, for he writes "Was there any form of filth or profligacy, particularly in cultural life, without at least one Jew involved in it? If you cut even cautiously into such an abscess, you found, like a maggot in a rotting body, often dazzled by the sudden light-a kike". (134) Hitler claimed that in defending himself against the Jew, he was "fighting for the work of the Lord". (135) On several occasions Hitler quotes passages from both the Old and New Testaments of the Bible, and on one occasion he mentions that Jesus Christ, the founder of Christianity, was strongly opposed to those Jews who refused to convert to Christianity, and found it necessary to drive the Jewish moneylenders out of the Temple in Jerusalem with a whip, which Hitler regards as one of the reasons why the Jews handed him over to the then pagan Romans to be crucified. (136) Hitler also wrote that Protestantism in Germany was a better defender of the interests of Germanism than Catholicism, and was a strong opponent of the Jews. He also classed Martin Luther as one of the great reformers of Germany, along with Frederick the Great and Richard Wagner. (137) The Nazi pseudo-sciences of Social Darwinism and Eugenics as applied to racial politics showed that National Socialism or Nazism, in other words German Fascism, was the twentieth century version of emotional, irrational Romanticism hiding behind the facade of scientific rationalism, an instance where the facts were forced to fit the theory rather than the theory fitting the facts. The Nazis believed in a secular version of predestination in the form of eugenics, Social Darwinism, phrenology, geopolitical determinism, and economic determinism.
"Rune is any one of the earliest written alphabet used by the Germanic peoples of Europe. The oldest runic writings date back to the A.D. 200's. Most of the runic inscriptions known today were written before the 1000's A.D. Most runes were carved in wood, but the majority of surviving runes were written in stone. The word rune comes from a Gothic word meaning secret. Members of early Germanic tribes associated runes with secrecy or mystery because few people understood the inscriptions. Runic characters were probably first used by pagan priests in making charms and magic spells. The characters were also scratched on coins, jewelry, monuments, and slabs of stone or wood. The earliest runes consisted almost entirely of straight lines arranged singly or in combinations of two or more. Later runes had more complex forms." (138)
"Thor the god of thunder and lightning, was the ruler of the sky in Norse mythology (compare with the Roman god Jupiter or Diespiter, and the Greek god Deus-Zeus). He was the oldest and most powerful son of Odin, the king of the gods and goddesses. Thor had great strength and was a skilled fighter. His chief weapon was a hammer named Mjollnir, which he threw at his enemies. Mjollnir never missed its mark and always returned to Thor after hitting a target. Thor created lightning whenever he threw Mjollnir, and thunder was the rumbling of his chariot as it moved across the sky. The day Thursday was named for Thor. Of all the Norse gods, Thor best represented the way of life of the ancient Vikings. For example, the Vikings held great feasts and glorified war (compare with the Roman god Mars and the Greek god Ares). Several myths describe Thor's huge appetite. Many myths tell of Thor's encounters with the giants, the chief enemies of the gods and goddesses. Someday, according to Norse mythology, the gods and goddesses will fight the giants in a great battle called Ragnarök, and the world will be destroyed. Thor and the Midgard Serpent, a vicious snake coiled around the world under the sea, will kill each other during the battle." (139) (compare with the serpent in the Garden of Eden, the Mediterranean Sea and River Nile monsters Leviathan and Rahab in The Old and New Testaments in Isaiah 27:1, Isaiah 51:9-10 and Revelation 13:1, and Satan likened to the old serpent in Revelation 12). The Archangel Michael fought the fallen, rebel angel Lucifer or Satan in Revelation 12, who is called the old serpent, and so did Saint George according to legend. Saint George was a soldier in the Roman army who rose to high rank. He either was born or died in the Roman Palestinian town of Diospolis, which is now the city of Lod in Israel. He was a Christian who was executed in 303 A.D. when the pagan Roman Emperor Diocletian was persecuting the Christians. The Archangel Michael is one of the seven great archangels mentioned in the Old Testament, several of whom also appear in the New Testament. Michael was the leader of the army of heavenly angels, as opposed to the rebel fallen angels led by the archangel Satan or Lucifer, the latter of whom was God's prosecutor of sinners in the heavenly court before his expulsion from heaven. Medieval knights and crusaders claimed Saints Michael and George as their patron saints. Saint Michael is the patron saint of Germany, while Saint George is the patron saint of England, the East Roman or Greek Byzantine Empire (395 - 1453 A.D.), and of Tsarist Russia (988 - 1917 A.D.). The seven archangels of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are borrowings from the Iranian-Persian Zoroastrian religion, which greatly influenced Israel/Samaria and Judah when they were provinces of the Persian Empire from 539-332 B.C., a time when many of the books of the Old Testament were first written or re-edited. The Persian Emperor or Shah Cyrus the Great freed the Jews from their exile and captivity in the Babylonian Empire, and the three wise men (i.e. Melchior, Gaspar, and Balthazar), who visited the Christ Child in Bethlehem, were Zoroastrian priests or Magi. The Zoroastrians believed in an all good god called Ahura Mazda (compare with the God Yahweh), an all evil god called Angra Mainyu (compare with Satan or Lucifer), the coming of the Saoshyant or Messiah before the end of the world (compare with the Second Coming of Jesus Christ as the Parousia and the Son of Man), the sacred fire from heaven (compare with II Peter 3:7-13, Revelation 20:9, Revelation 19:19-21, Revelation 20, Revelation 8:5, I Corinthians 3:10-15, Luke 3:16-17, and Mark 9:49), and the archangel Mithras, who, like the archangel Michael, was the commander of the heavenly angelic armies of Ahura Mazda. The Zoroastrian god Mithras was popular with the soldiers of the last generations of the pagan Roman army. See Zoroastrianism, Judaism, and Christianity by Hannah M.G. Shapero, 9/6/1997. The seven archangels of heaven are Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, Uriel or Arael, Simiel, Oriphiel, and Raguel, and sometimes the list includes Azrael. See List of Angels in Theology and List of Theological Demons or Rebel, Fallen Angels. Thor was the most popular god among the Viking peasantry. He was the god of physical strength, thunder, lightning, wind, rain, good weather and crops. He was straight forward, reliable, but none too bright, and the Germanic myths concerning his deeds highlight in a humorous way the limitations of brute strength. (140) While Thor was more brawns than brain, his father Odin was both.
"Valhalla was the great hall of the dead heroes in Norse mythology. The word means Hall of the Slain It was the most magnificent palace in Asgard, and Odin feasted there with his heroes. The dead heroes had been brought to Valhalla by the Valkyries, or battle maidens. The Valkyries waited on the tables and served luxurious food. The heroes rode out to the battlefield to fight every morning. They often wounded each other terribly, but their hurts were healed and they returned to Valhalla for the noonday feast." (141)
"Valkyrie was one of the warlike goddess-maidens of Norse mythology. The Valkyries rode on swift horses and were armed with spears, shields, and helmets. Odin sent them to battlefields to choose dead heroes, take them to Valhalla, and serve them with feasts. The name Valkyrie means those who choose the fallen." (142) In Islamic heaven, according to the teachings of the Muslim Bible known as the Koran and Quran, as well as the recorded sayings and deeds of the Prophet Muhammad known as the Hadith or Sunna, Muslim men, especially those who fall in battle while engaged in a Jihad or Holy War aimed at defending or expanding the territory under Islamic rule (Koran chapter 9, verse 29), will enjoy sexual orgies with a harem of seventy two female virgins, as well as with immortal male youths, and the consumption of as much wine and food as they desire. However, in their earthly lives, the Koran and Sunna forbids Muslims from pre-marital sex or fornication, extra-marital sex or adultery, homosexuality, lesbianism, and bisexuality (i.e. God is neither a man or a woman according to progressive Christians), prostitution, pornography, cross-dressing, the consumption of alcohol and pork, the use of narcotic, addictive drugs, gambling, usury or lending money on interest, theft, and apostasy or abandoning the Islamic faith. First time offenders are to be flogged or amputated, and second-time offenders are to be stoned to death, crucified, beheaded or burned to death, as prescribed by the Muslim law known as Sharia, which is based on the teachings of the Koran and Sunna. Muslim men are permitted to engage in polygamy, up to a maximum of four wives, marital rape, slavery, the rape of slave concubines, and wife beating as a disciplinary action, as is also permitted in the Jewish Old Testament. The Prophet Muhammad owned slaves, slave concubines, engaged in slave trading, and polygamy with ten wives, one of whom he married at the age of nine. I found out about the nature of Islamic heaven in a website article called Islamic Heaven: Allah's Whore House - The Naked Truth, posted on May 13, 2015 by a disillusioned former Muslim called Syed Kamran Mirza who quoted many chapters and verses of the Koran, as well as the Sunna, to back up his accusations. Jesus Christ, when asked by the Jewish scribes and Pharisees whether a woman caught in adultery should be stoned to death as the Law of Moses prescribed in the Torah, told the scribes and Pharisees they could do so if they were without sin. Jesus, who is without sin, because He is God Himself in the body of a man according to John 1:1-5, refused to condemn the adulterous woman, although He advised her not to sin again, according to John 8:1-11, for adulterers will be punished in Hell. Jesus also drank wine at the wedding celebration in Cana in Galilee, where He also performed His first miracle, although Jesus agreed with the Apostle Saint Paul that Christians should not drink to get drunk (Romans 13:13-14, The Acts of the Apostles 9:1-31 and 13:9). Adolf Hitler in his autobiography Mein Kampf or My Struggle spoke out against prostitution, although during World War Two he allowed prostitution and brothels in order to raise the morale of his troops, and he also allowed SS men to fornicate with unmarried members of the Hitler Youth Maidens in order to produce children out of wedlock, and thereby increase the population of the so called Aryan Germanic master race. The SS Troops or Schutzstaffel (literally protective staff), were "a select military unit of fanatical Nazis who served as a bodyguard to Hitler, in special units, as a policing unit of the German army, and as the force in charge of concentration camps and deportation." (143) The Waffen S.S. were "an elite corps of troops in the Wehrmacht," and Waffen Schutzstaffel literally means weapons defense-staff (144). The Wehrmact were "the armed forces of Nazi Germany [German Wehr defense; weapon + Macht power; might]." (145) The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) of the theocratic, Islamist Republic of Iran somewhat resembles the Waffen-SS, as did also the Praetorian Guard of the Roman Emperors. Nazi Germany was in some ways a reincarnation of the Roman Empire, both in its pagan and early Christian phases, as well as the Mongol Empire in its brutality and cruelty. The militarist, imperialist Japanese in World War Two, while not genocidal, were just as brutal and cruel as the Nazis and Mongols, and both Russia and China, once conquered by the Mongols, were nearly so again by the Nazi Germans and the Fascist Japanese in The Second World War. The Fascist Japanese in World War Two wished to bring all of East and South East Asia under Japanese colonial or rather imperial rule, in accordance with the doctrine of the Shinto religion known as Hakko Ichiu, i.e. all eight corners of the world under the Japanese roof, in other words Japan's manifest destiny, as espoused by Japan's first semi-legendary emperor Jimmu Tenno, who became emperor in 660 B.C., and who claimed descent from the Japanese sun goddess Amaterasu-Omikami. (146) According to chapter 9, verse 29 of the Koran, Muslims are to keep fighting an aggressive war of expansion until the whole world embraces Allah's religion of Islam. The Iranian Shiite Ismaili Assassins or Hashashins (i.e. Hashish smokers), led by Hasan-bin-Sabah, who was called "The Old Man of the Mountain," promised their recruits a heavenly orgy of sex, wine, and food, if they carried out terrorist attacks against the European Crusaders in the Holy Land. (147)The medieval and Renaissance Christian heretics known as The Brethren of the Free Spirit, as well as the Taborite splinter group called the Adamites, and the Protestant Reformation, Puritan splinter group called The Ranters and Fifth Monarchists, all of which were antinomian, libertine, sexually promiscuous and polygamous, anti-Semitic and apocalyptic Christian sects, believed that as members of the saved, predestined elect they could do no wrong, and were therefore exempt from the conventional Christian laws of morality. They believed they could return to the state of innocence enjoyed by Adam and Eve before their expulsion from the Garden of Eden (Romans chapters 2 to 7, Matthew 26:41, Romans 8:29-33, Galatians chapters 2 to 4, and II Peter 3:15-16 in The New Testament). (148) In some ways they resembled the Charles Manson Family. Charles Manson believed himself to be the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, the Parousia, the Son of Man, i.e. "Man-son." Manson believed he was Jesus Christ reincarnated. The Bible says that John the Baptist was the Old Testament Prophet Elijah reincarnated, although Elijah did not die but was raptured up to heaven alive on a chariot of fire (Matthew 11:10-14, Matthew 17:1-13, Luke 1:11-17, and II Kings 2:1-18). When it is written that the dead go out no more in Revelation 3:12, this may refer to the end of the cycle of reincarnation. Manson also idolized Adolf Hitler, whom he said had "levelled the karma of the Jews" (because the Jews refused to convert to Christianity, I John 2:22-23, I Thessalonians 2:14-16, Revelation 2:9 and Revelation 3:9), and that the blacks or very dark brown Africans were the sons of Noah's son Ham, whom Noah had cursed to be a race of slaves in Genesis 9:18-29 and Genesis 10, although these Old Testament passages do not mention skin colour, and in addition the Book of Genesis has been largely disproven by the sciences of physics, chemistry, geology, paleontology, evolution, genetics, archaeology, anthropology, linguistics, and paleography, as have many other books of the Bible. Charles Manson's maternal aunt and uncle, who raised him for a while, were strict followers of the Methodist splinter group called The Church of the Nazarene, although Manson himself as an adult had sympathies towards the Scientology splinter group called The Process Church of the Final Judgement, whose adherents believe they have a duty to hasten the Second Coming of Christ and the end of this world, to be replaced by The New Jerusalem (II Peter 3:7-13). (149) Like the Muslims and the Old Testament Jews, the Manson Family was heavily into polygamy, concubinage, and would-be slavery. Like the medieval Islamic Assasins-Hashashins or Hashish smokers, the Manson Family was also into LSD, as well as hashish and marijuana. Islam also has an eschatology or end of the world account in both the Koran and Sunna. See Islamic Eschatology.
The Christian missionaries to the pagan Scandinavians were assisted in their task by those similarities between Christianity and Germanic mythology. The Apostle Saint Paul told the ancient Athenians that their statue dedicated "To the Unknown God" (The Acts of the Apostles 17:23) is actually the God Yahweh, as is the god of the ancient Athenian poets who wrote that "we are also His offspring" (Acts 17:28). However, Saint Paul wrote in I Corinthians 10:18-21 that the idols of pagan gods and goddesses worshiped by the Gentiles are really demons, i.e. Lucifer's fallen angels, in disguise. Moses became extremely angry when the Israelites worshiped a statue of a golden calf, which was either the Egyptian bull god Apis, or the Canaanite bull god El (Exodus 32). One of the Ten Commandments forbids the Jews from worshiping idols dedicated to pagan deities (Exodus 20:3-5 and Deuteronomy 5:7-9), although the Jews were allowed to make statues and embroideries of Yahweh's angels, for example the cherubim order of angels (Exodus 25:18-22, Exodus 26:1, and Exodus 26:31). Holy relics of saints are mentioned on two memorable occasions in the Bible: firstly the bones of the dead prophet Elisha bringing a recently deceased man back to life in II Kings 13:20-21, and the handkerchiefs and aprons of the Apostle Saint Paul healing the sick and driving out evil spirits from those possessed by demons in The Acts of the Apostles 19:11-12. The early Christian missionaries to the Scandinavians may have on occasions told the Vikings that they had got the wrong version of the angels whom they called gods, rather than that their gods were demons or evil spirits in disguise, although the Viking Giants or Titans would have been portrayed as demons by the missionaries. Roman Catholic Christianity, with its promise of eternal heaven, usually via purgatory, for the righteous, and eternal damnation for the unrighteous, would have appealed to the hopes and fears of the poorer and unfree Scandinavians.
Adolf Hitler believed that Islam and the samurai code and religion of bushido and state shinto would have been more suitable for the "Germanic temperament" (150) and German Nazism or Natonal Socialism, i.e. German Fascism, than Christianity. According to Albert Speer, Hitler said in private that "you see, it's been our misfortune to have the wrong religion. Why didn't we have the religion of the Japanese, who regard sacrafice for the fatherland as the highest good? The Mohammedan religion too would have been much more compatible to us than Christianity. Why did it have to be Christianity with its meekness and flabbiness?" (151) According to Speer, Hitler believed that if the Muslim Arabs and Berbers had won the Battle of Tours fought in France in 732 A.D. against the Frankish general Charles Martel, the Germans would have become heirs to "a religion that believed in spreading the faith by the sword and in subjugating all nations to that faith. Such a creed was perfectly suited to the German temperament." (152) Hitler was transcribed as saying "had Charles Martel not been victorious at Poitiers [...] then we should in all probability have been converted to Mohammedanism, that cult which glorifies the heroism and which opens up the seventh Heaven to the bold warrior alone. Then the Germanic races would have conquered the world." (153) According to Speer, "Hitler said that the conquering Arabs, because of their racial inferiority, would in the long run have been unable to contend with the harsher climate of the country. They could not have kept down the more vigorous natives, so that ultimately not Arabs but Islamized Germans could have stood at the head of this Mohammedan Empire." (154) In one speech that Hitler made, he said that "the peoples of Islam will always be closer to us than, for example, France." (155) See Religious Views of Adolf Hitler, Relations Between Nazi Germany and the Arab World, Islamofascism, Islamism, Nazism, and Fascism.
"Edda is a term that refers to two separate works of medieval Icelandic literature. The Poetic, or Elder Edda is a collection of anonymous poems composed in the 1000's and 1100's A.D. The Prose, or Younger Edda is a textbook for poems written in the 1200's A.D. by the Icelandic poet and historian Snorri Sturluson. Snorri was the first to use the term Edda, which is probably related to an Icelandic word meaning song or poem. Later, the term was applied to the Elder Edda. Snorri's Prose Edda consists of three sections. One is a poem of 102 verses, each illustrating a different type of meter. Another explains the type of extended metaphor (figure of speech called a kenning that was used by poets called skalds). The third section narrates myths about Scandinavian gods." (156)
1. Adolf Hitler is the completion of the Protestant Reformation in Germany, 2. Baptized Jews are to be dismissed from the Church, and 3. The Old Testament is to be excluded from the Bible. (166)See Religion in Nazi Germany. The German Christians had respect for temporal or secular authority, which had been emphasized by Martin Luther in his 1525 publication called Against the Thieving and Murdering Hordes of Peasants, and Luther had used the Apostle Saint Paul's teachings in his Epistle to the Romans 13:1-7 to support his position. Luther had also strongly denounced those Jews who refused to convert to Christianity in his 1543 publication called On the Jews and Their Lies (see I John 2:22-23 in The New Testament). According to the historian Robert Michael, just about every anti-Jewish book printed in the Nazi Third Reich (1933-1945), contained references to and quotations from Luther. (167) This is part of what Martin Luther wrote in the conclusion to his treatise On the Jews and Their Lies (1543):
There is no other explanation for this than the one cited earlier from Moses - namely, that God has struck [the Jews] with 'madness and blindness and confusion of mind.' (Deuteronomy 28:28) So we are even at fault in not avenging all this innocent blood of our Lord and of the Christians which they shed for three hundred years after the destruction of Jerusalem, and the blood of the children they have shed since then (which still shines forth from their eyes and their skin). We are at fault in not slaying them. (168)Although it is true that the ancient Romans were the ones who actually crucified Jesus Christ, they were pagans or polytheists at the time, and unlike the large minority of Jews, they eventually all converted to Christianity during the centuries following the crucifixion. In addition, the New Testament teaches that it was the Jews who preferred to set Barabbas rather than Jesus Christ free from execution when given the choice by Pontius Pilate, and who willingly handed him over to the Romans for crucifixion in the first place, after they refused to believe in Him when He said that He was the Messiah whose coming had been prophesied on a number of occasions throughout the Old Testament. Luther is recorded for having said on other occasions that the Jews should be slain. When Luther was asked whether it would be justified to box the ears of a Jew, he said "Certainly. I for one would smack him on the jaw. Were I able, I would knock him down and stab him in my anger. It is lawful, according to both the human and the divine law, to kill a robber; then it is even more permissible to slay a blasphemer." Luther went on to say that "if I had to baptise a Jew, I would take him to the bridge of the Elbe (River), hang a stone round his neck and push him over with the words 'I baptise thee in the name of Abraham.'" Luther even declared that "the Jews deserve to be hanged on gallows seven times higher than ordinary thieves." See Peter F. Wiener, Martin Luther: Hitler's Spiritual Ancestor, Part 3: Luther's Political Doctrines - Luther and the Jews, Huthinson & Co. (Publishers) Ltd, London, New York, Melbourne, Sydney, published online by Patsy Jackson for Tentmaker Ministries, Hermann, Missouri, U.S.A. In 1988 theologian Stephen Westerholm argued that Lutherís attacks on Jews were part and parcel of his attack on the Catholic Church - that Luther was applying the apostle St. Paulís critique of Phariseism as legalistic and hypocritical to the Catholic Church. Westerholm rejects Lutherís interpretation of Judaism and his antisemitism but points out that whatever problems exist in Paulís and Lutherís arguments against Jews, what Paul, and later Luther, were arguing for was and continues to be an important vision of Christianity. Saint Paul argued in his Epistle to the Galatians, chapter 2, that Christian converts from Greco-Roman paganism were free from following the Law of Moses, the Jewish Torah, the Pentateuch, i.e the first five books of the Old Testament, which are as follows: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy, and Saint Peter and the Council of the Apostles in Jerusalem had also said this in The Acts of the Apostles chapter 15.
Martin Luther was a rabid anti-Semite (i.e. anti-Jew), because he was angry with those Jews who refused to convert to Christianity, believing that faith in Jesus Christ was the only way to win eternal salvation in heaven, as set forth in his 1543 theological treatise called On the Jews and Their Lies (see Romans 10:9, John 5:24, James 1:5-8, Mark 19:17-29, and The Acts of the Apostles 19:11-20). There are many passages in The New Testament which are hostile towards Jews who refuse to convert to Christianity. They are as follows: I John 2:22-23, I John 4:1-3, The Gospel of John 14:6, Mark 16:15-16, II Thessalonians 2, Revelation 12-13, Revelation 17-18, Galatians 4, Revelation 11:8, Revelation 2:9, Revelation 3:9, Romans 9:6-7, Galatians 3, I Thessalonians 2:14-16, Matthew 27:15-26 (n.b. Luke 23:34), Mark 10:27, Ephesians 2:8-10, Genesis 9:18-29, Genesis 10, I Corinthians 6:9-10, Matthew 10:1-33, Luke 10:1-20, John 19:1-16, Matthew 3:7-9, and John 8:42-45. The doctrine of Christian Zionism believes that the Second Coming of Jesus Christ as the Parousia cannot happen until the Jews are restored to the land of Israel in Palestine from their exile in the Diaspora, and when they convert to Christianity en masse, in order to fulfill Biblical prophecy (Matthew 23:37-39, Luke 13:34-35, Matthew 21:42-46, Romans 9-11, Zechariah 12:10, John 19:37, Revelation 1:7, Zechariah 12-14, Ezekiel 38-39, Ezekiel 47-48, Revelation 22, Revelation 4:6). However, Mark 16:15-16 implies that those Jews who die before the Second Coming of Christ without converting to Christianity will go to Hell.
Christopher J. Probst, author of Demonizing the Jews: Luther and the Protestant Church in Nazi Germany, (Published by Indiana Press in association with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, 2012), a visiting professor of modern European history at Saint Louis University, and a former Charles H. Revson Fellow at the Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, has shown in his book that "a significant number of German theologians and clergy made use of the 1500's writings by Martin Luther on Jews and Judaism to strengthen the racial antisemitism and religious anti-Judaism already present among German Protestants. Drawing attention on major persons, Probst's study shows that a large number of pastors, bishops, and theologians of varying theological and political persuasions used Luther's texts with significant effectiveness in agitating for the creation of a "de-Judaized" version of Christianity. Probst shows that even that part of the Protestant church most critical of Luther's anti-Jewish writings agreed with the antisemitic stereotyping that assisted in justifying early Nazi measures against the Jews." See Demonizing the Jews: Luther and the Protestant Church in Nazi Germany, and Martin Luther and Antisemitism. There are also many passages in the Muslim holy books of the Koran and Quran (i.e. the Muslim Bible) and of the Sunna or Hadith, which are both anti-Jewish and anti-Semitic in nature (see References to Jews in the Koran in Jewish Virtual Library (Koran or Quran chapters and verses 2:61, 2:88, 2:97-98, 2:121, 4:160, 5:12-13, 5:33, 5:41, 5:51, 5:63-64, 5:73, 5:78, 6:146, 6:118, 17:4, 20:47-48, and 62:6). The Sunna or Hadith, which is the recorded words and deeds of the Prophet Muhammad, are even more brutally anti-Jewish than the Quran. See Treatment of Jews in Arab/Islamic Countries, in Jewish Virtual Library, Updated September 2011. See also Myths of Islam and Is the Quran Hate Propaganda? by the TROP (The Religion of Peace) organization; Rights of Non-Muslims in an Islamic State by Samuel Shahid, Answering Islam Home Page.
The Norwegian Nazi party, known as the Nasjonal Samling or National Union, led by the notorious Nazi collaborator Vidkun Quisling, included Norse paganism in its party ideology, and used Nordic symbolism and runes from Viking, pre-Christian Norway in its propaganda and speeches. The letters of the Nazi SS organization were spelled in runes. The Nazi Germans in World War Two invaded Denmark in 1940 as a springboard for its invasion of Norway in the same year. The Nazi Germans wanted to capture the ice-free Norwegian harbours from which its U-Boat submarine fleet could control the North Atlantic Ocean , as well as the Norwegian port of Narvik from which iron ore from northern Sweden was shipped by railway to Germany. The German U-Boat crews during World War Two somewhat resembled the Viking pirates. The skull and bones emblem used by the English, Dutch, and French pirates from the 1500's to the 1700's A.D. was adopted by the Nazi SS organization for its hats, calling the skull and bones emblem the Totenkopf, German for "Death Head." Sweden during World War Two, in return for not being militarily occupied by Nazi Germany, was forced to give certain transit rights to Germany. The German Wehrmact's 163rd Infantry Division, known as the Engelbrecht Divsion, used the Swedish railways to transport soldiers, howitzers, tanks, anti-aircraft guns and associated ammunition from Norway to Finland in June and July of 1941, so that they could launch an invasion of a part of the Soviet Union from Finnish territory. German soldiers traveling on leave between Norway and Germany were allowed passage through Sweden. The Swedes were pressured into shipping iron ore to Germany, because Germany was very dependent on Swedish iron ore during World War Two. The German Nazis also tried to make connections between the Germanic Viking warriors and the soldiers of the armed or Waffen-SS in their recruitment posters aimed at raising volunteers for the non-German contingents of the Waffen-SS, many of whom were sent to fight on the Soviet front. There was a sizable minority of Nazi collaborators from the Germanic Danes and Norwegians, although there was also a bigger minority of Resistance or Partisan fighters from these peoples. The Waffen-SS believed that Adolf Hitler had been sent by Divine Providence to fight against the atheist Soviet Communists, whom they believed to be dominated by the Jews. Some of the Jews of Tsarist Russia had joined the Communists because of state sponsored persecution and discrimination by Tsarist Russia against them, which sometimes resulted in massacres known as pogroms, and because of the pogroms launched against the Russian, Belarusian and Ukrainian Jews by the anti-Communist forces known as The Whites during the Russian Civil War of 1918-1920. Nevertheless, the Soviet Communists persecuted the Jews of Russia under the rule of Joseph Stalin, and they also supported the Arab Egyptians, Syrians, and Iraqis in their wars against Israel in 1956, 1967, 1973, and 1982-1985. See Jewish Bolshevism and Why Did Russian Jews Support the Bolshevik Revolution? by Michael Stanislawski, Nathan J. Miller Profesor of Jewish History at Columbia University, posted on October 24, 2017, 9.30 P.M. See also Why Does the United Sates Support Israel? for Israel's strategic role in the Middle East during the Cold War and post-Cold War years. All of the Bible references given in this web site are from The New King James Version.
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By Ardent Seeker.