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BLACK SEA STUDIES
THE DANISH NATIONAL RESEARCH FOUNDATION'S
CENTRE FOR BLACK SEA STUDIES
Proceedings of the 30th symposium organized by the Varangian network and
the Centre for Medieval Studies, University of Southern Denmark.
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C O M M U N I C A T I O N AND C U L T U R A L E X C H A N G E BETWEEN
THE B A L T I C AND THE B L A C K S E A
Line Bjerg, John Lind & Søren Sindbæk
AARHUS UNIVERSITY PRESS fø
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FROM GOTHS TO VARANGIANS
© Aarhus University Press and the authors 2012
Cover design by ????????????????????
Printed in Denmark by Narayana Press, Gylling
ISBN 978 87 7934 537 9
AARHUS UNIVERSITY PRESS
DK-8200 Aarhus N
White Cross Mills
Lancaster LA1 4Xs
70 Enterprise Drive
Bristol, CT 06010
The publication of this volume has been made possible by a
generous grant from Aarhus University's Research Foundation,
Gieses Fond, Dronning Margrethes Arkæologiske Fond,
Japetus steenstrups Fond and Elisabeth Munksgaards Fond
Danish National Research Foundation's
Centre for Black sea studies
University of Aarhus
DK-8000 Aarhus C
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Line Bjerg, John H. Lind & Søren M. Sindbæk
Leo S. Klejn
The Russian controversy over the Varangians
At the watershed between the Baltic and the Pontic before Gnezdovo
Helle Winge Horsnæs
Networking in north-eastern Barbaricum: a study of gold imitations
of Roman coins
The Herulians are coming!
Byzantium and the Scandinavian world in the 9th-10th century:
material evidence of contacts
Chasing gold threads: auratae vestes from Hellenistic rulers to
Natalia Eniosova & Tamara Puškina
Finds of Byzantine origin from the early urban centre Gnezdovo in
the light of the contacts between Rus' and Constantinople (10th early 11th centuries AD)
Scandinavians in the East of Europe: in search of glory or a new
0 8 - 0 2 - 2 0 1 3 14:18:24
Ole Crumlin-Pedersen (+)
Viking warriors and the Byzantine Empire: was there a transfer of
mental maps of the old Russian chronicle-writer of the early twelfth
John H. Lind
Darkness in the East? Scandinavian scholars on the question of
Eastern influence in Scandinavia during the Viking Age and Early
Ildar H. Garipzanov
The journey of St Clement's cult from the Black Sea to the Baltic Region 369
Ulla Haastrup & John H. Lind
Royal family connections and the Byzantine impact on Danish
Romanesque church frescos. Queen Margareth Fredkulla and her
Darkness in the East? Scandinavian
scholars on the question of Eastern
influence in Scandinavia during the
Viking Age and Early Middle Ages
John H. Lind
As the title suggests, the focus in this paper will be on scholarly views of the
eastern influence in Scandinavia during the later period covered by our network. In this period we shall concentrate first of all on the question of possible
Christian influences within different spheres; either direct influences from the
Byzantine Empire or those that were transmitted by people living or travelling through the areas in between - especially those who were themselves
Scandinavians or of Scandinavian descent.
We shall limit ourselves here to the period when archaeological and written
sources in Scandinavia and Rus' begin more or less to overlap, i.e. the Viking
Age from the 8th century onwards. Perhaps in the context of our Varangian
network, this period could more fittingly be named the 'Varangian Age', not
least because the word 'Varangians' was identified with Scandinavians which
Vikings were not.1
The possibility of earlier Christian influences in Scandinavia, which may
have been transmitted through the Christian Goths, who were active along
the borders of the Byzantine Empire in the earlier period, will only be given a
cursory consideration here. There seems, however, to have been links at least
between Scandinavia and the Ostrogoths in Pannonia during the period from
450 AD to around 490 AD, as gold solidi, struck in that period and presumably
paid as tribute to the Ostrogoths, found their way to Scandinavia but ceased
to appear after the Ostrogoths moved from Pannonia around 490.2 These links
to the Goths may have transmitted some of the evidence on which archaeologists like Ulf Näsman and Charlotte Fabech have based their theory that
the area that was to become Sweden experienced its first Christian impulses
in the 3d century AD and that the actual Christianisation began already in
the late 5th century AD.3 These are ideas that would find favour with one of
Näsman's and Fabech's Finnish colleagues, Unto Salo, who has recently published a book on early Christianity in Finland in the same period.4 True or
not, it is worth keeping in mind that Scandinavians may have been exposed
to Christian ideas from the east long before the period we usually associate
with the advent of Christianity in Scandinavia during the Viking Age. We
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John H. Lind
should take into account that eastern influence, as observed in the Viking
Age, may reflect long-established, continuous relations between the Baltic
and Black Sea regions that were, however, unlikely to be reflected in written
sources because they were carried by peoples without a written culture.
Scandinavian scholarly attitudes to eastern influence are expressed in a
number of anthologies from the last thirty years, based on seminars or exhibitions in which the question of eastern - and especially Byzantine - influence
on Scandinavian Christianity was raised and debated.
Les Pays du Nord et Byzance, held in Uppsala in 1979 and published
Bysans och Norden (Byzantium and the North), held in Uppsala
in 1986 and published in 1989;6
From Viking to crusader. The Scandinavians and Europe 800-1200,
The 22nd Council of Europe Exhibition;7
Rom und Byzanz im Norden. Mission und Glaubenswechsel im
Ostseeraum während des 8.-14. Jahrhunderts, held in Kiel in 1994
and published in two volumes in 1997-1999;8
The Cross goes North, held in York 2000 and published in 2003;9
Från Bysans till Norden. Östliga kyrkoinfluenser under vikingatid
och tidig medeltid (From Byzantium to the North. Eastern Church
Influences during the Viking Age and the Early Middle Ages),
held Göteborg in 2002 and published in 2005.10
Also to be considered is a small book from 1994, Nordens kristnande i europeiskt perspektiv (The Christianisation of Scandinavia in European Perspective), in which two church historians, Reinhart Staats and Per Beskow, both
also contributing to some of the five above-mentioned anthologies,11 express
their general scepticism with regard to possible Byzantine influence on early
It is an interesting fact that in all the anthologies mentioned, we find both
scholars who deny that there is any evidence of eastern influence in Scandinavia and scholars who find an abundance of such evidence. In the former
group we primarily find church historians like Staats and Beskow, while in
the latter we find first and foremost archaeologists.12 Art historians seem to
be divided on the question. A further observation that can be made is that
the scepticists, often in contrast to their opponents, are generally unfamiliar
with the situation in Eastern Europe and Byzantium.
Many of the scholars involved in the discussion on both sides are Swedes.
This is understandable, since it is generally assumed that the majority of Scandinavians active in the east came from present-day Swedish territory, which
meant therefore, that Sweden was more exposed to eastern influence than
other parts of Scandinavia. Of course, if we look at the highest stratum of so-
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Darkness in the East?
ciety, Norwegians in the shape of the four successive kings - Olav Tryggvason,
Olav Haraldson, Magnus Olavson and Harald Sigurdson Hardradi - who all
spent periods of their lives in Rus' or Byzantium, certainly outnumber their
Swedish counterparts. This may, however, reflect the nature of the preserved
written sources rather than differences in the 'real world'.
The Art Historian
Taking a long view on scholarly attitudes to the question of eastern influence
it becomes clear that these have shifted from one extreme to another. We may
consider for instance the famous Hoen hoard from Norway, thought to be
one of the largest finds of gold from the Viking Age in Northern Europe. The
hoard was presumably deposited in the late 9th century. It was unearthed in
1834 and since then it has been at the centre of a lively debate, which was
summarised a few years ago in an international and interdisciplinary study.
The editor of the ensuing volume (The Hoen Hoard. A Viking gold treasure of
the ninth century), the well-known Norwegian art historian and archaeologist
Signe Horn Fuglesang, stated well before its publication that the 'previous
theories' which 'have assumed that the bulk of ornaments in the Hoen hoard
had been imported from the East are now disproved'. She continued: 'only one
or two small objects are attributable to Byzantium, and two more may be of
an unspecifiable eastern origin', while 'all the neck and arm rings which have
often been referred to as Russian, are now proved to be Scandinavian'(italics,
The team behind the new investigation, which was eventually published
in 2006, consisted of thirteen international experts from Norway, Denmark,
England, Germany and Sweden, each claimed to be a 'specialist in his or her
field' and therefore able to 'identify the origins of the objects with a high degree
of precision'.14 However, precisely with regard to the crucial discussion of the
origin of production of the various items in the Hoen hoard, it is striking that
none of these thirteen scholars can be said to be an expert on what Fuglesang
designates as 'Russian', and only one, David Buckton, can be seen as an expert
on Byzantium. Furthermore, Buckton's contribution to the volume takes up
less than one page and concerns a disc, which, as an inscription also shows,
is of undeniable Byzantine origin. With such a composition of experts it is
not surprising that the team, in Fuglesang's words, can reach the conclusion
that 'the eastern element [in the Hoen hoard] is far smaller than previously
In one of her own chapters, The Necklace, in the 2006 edition Fuglesang
admits that a garnet boss (no. 38) and the disc (no. 39) 'were both originally
used in Christian contexts' and that 'both are attributable to Byzantium'. To
this, however, she adds significantly that both 'probably came to Scandinavia
by way of the continent',16 by which she obviously means Western Europe. That these general conclusions may not be the last words with regard to the
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John H. Lind
Hoen hoard was signalled in a paper at the recent 22nd International Congress
of Byzantine Studies (2011) by the archaeologist, Christoph Kilger, 'Treasures,
myths and female belongings: the Hoen hoard revisited'. Here Kilger stressed
that 'some of the artefacts alluding to a Christian symbolism come from the
The view advanced by Fuglesang in the new edition of the Hoen hoard
is anticipated in several earlier papers. The arguments presented here are
instructive as illustrations of common attitudes among Scandinavian scholars. A paper entitled 'A Critical Survey of Theories on Byzantine Influence
in Scandinavia' was first read in 1994 at the conference, Rom und Byzanz im
Norden,18 and then repeated in August 1996 at the XIX International Congress
of Byzantine Studies, where it was also included among the pre-published papers.19
Here Fuglesang initially considers what should be meant by 'Byzantine
influence', because, as she and other participants in this discussion rightly
point out, not only Scandinavia but Western Europe at large was exposed to
strong influence from Byzantium as long as the East Roman empire existed. As
a result, themes and motifs that originated in Byzantium may not necessarily
have been transmitted to Scandinavia directly from Byzantium but could have
their immediate origin in the west. Therefore, what is often termed 'Byzantine
influence' in Scandinavia may in reality have been filtered through the arts
of Italy, France, Germany, England or Russia. Consequently, to the extent the
transmitting country can be identified, one may, according to Fuglesang, use
terms like 'Russo-Byzantine', 'Anglo-Byzantine', or 'German-Byzantine'.
Based on these considerations she argues that 'each question of Byzantine
influence thus demands a two-pronged method: firstly, identifying the model
as unquestionably direct and Byzantine, not transmitted through a Russian,
German, French or English intermediary; and secondly determining the significance of an impulse - was it restricted to the copying of a visual model, or
did it depend on a wider ecclesiastical or secular pattern of political ideals?'
(italics, JHL). After these preliminaries Fuglesang expressly claims as her aim:
'to do away with some of the spurious claims for Byzantine influence in different spheres of society'.20
Against this background Fuglesang finds that there is no foundation for
linking to the east that Bishop Osmund, who to the disgust of Adam of Bremen
in the 1050s was kept as court bishop by the Swedish King Emund. Likewise
Fuglesang rejects the suggestion that bishops, present in Iceland at the same
time and mentioned in Norse sources like Islendingabók and as 'ermsker', were
of Armenian origin, preferring instead the view that 'they came from Ermland,
i.e. Pomerania east of the Vistula'. In this context Fuglesang also quotes this
stipulation from the Icelandic law codex Grágás: 'If bishops or priests should
come to this country, those that are not learned in the Latin language, whether
they are hermskir or girskir, then people are allowed to attend their service if
they want to' (italics, Fuglesang). However, even though she has italicized both
Darkness in the East?
'hermskir' and 'girskir' she fails to comment on 'girskir'21 and since 'girskir'
seems universally to be accepted as Old Norse for 'Greek', this needs also to
Ulla Haastrup is also among the scholars whose views are challenged
precisely with regard to the interpretation of the wall paintings in the two
churches Vä and Jørlunde, on which Haastrup writes in the present volume.
As to Vä, Fuglesang writes, 'Christ in Majesty has the type of "cloisonne" folds
which were a Western adaptation of the current Byzantine figure style that
was highly appreciated in most West European workshops', and her overall
conclusion with regard to the Danish wallpaintings of the 12th century is that
in no case 'are the Byzantinising elements in the Danish wall paintings of a
kind which suggests direct contact between Constantinople and Denmark'.23
This summary of Fuglesang's arguments highlights two observations.
First, a double standard is applied to the topic. While the notion of eastern,
Byzantine influence in scandinavia has to be proven as 'unquestionably direct'
in order to be accepted, this does not apply to a route via Western Europe. If
there is a possibility that a Byzantine theme or motif can have arrived along
a western route, that seems to be enough to disprove that it has arrived in
scandinavia directly from Byzantium.
A kind of double standard is also applied on another level. With regard
to both Bishop Osmund and the question of Armenian bishops in Iceland,
Fuglesang consistently chooses to rely on scholars who, on the one hand, have
argued against Bishop Osmund having links to the east, while, on the other,
argued against that 'ermsker' (or 'ermskir') in the Norse sources referred to
Armenian. Accordingly, with regard to Bishop Osmund, no mention is made
of the historian and archaeologist Peter sawyer's endorsement of Ture Arne's
argument presented in 1947 that Osmund had been ordained as bishop in
Kiev, which sawyer supports with additional evidence;24 nor do we find any
mention of the slavicist Anders sjoberg's articles to the same effect.25 With
regard to the Armenians as bishops in Iceland, we find no reference to Ya.R.
Dashkévytch nor to Jan Ragnar Hagland.26 Not least as a result of Hagland's
articles on the subject most scholars today subscribe to the Armenian solution.27
The second observation to be made is that, when Fuglesang looks for alternative models for Byzantine themes, motifs or ornaments in scandinavia, she
does not seem to have considered who the carriers or transmitters to scandinavia may have been. It should be noted also that there is little evidence that
scandinavians prominent enough to influence religious culture and art in
scandinavia ever visited the places in Western Europe where possible models
are to be found. By contrast, we do know that over a longer period countless
influential scandinavians did visit Byzantium.
John H. Lind
Church History and Archaeology
With regard to the attitudes of church historians to the question of eastern
influence, the situation is not unlike what we encountered with the Hoen
hoard, where the theory of early acceptance of eastern influence is now denied.
With a critical approach to sources like Rimbert's Life of St Anskar, Adam of
Bremen's Chronicle of the Bishops of the Hamburg Church and to the later Swedish hagiographical sources, the Austrian-born Toni Schmid in 1934 wrote a
book on the Christianisation of Sweden. Here she combined a deep insight
in both western Christianity and early Rus' religious culture, which made
it possible for her to argue that early Christianity in Sweden experienced a
considerable eastern influence. This she did, even though she was seemingly
unaware of the role which the originally Scandinavian Rus' had played in the
early spread of Christianity in the Rus' polity. Therefore she did not see these
Rus' as transmitters of Christian influence to Sweden but focused instead on
the later influx of Varangians to Rus' and Constantinople. Importantly she
also realized that Christian influences could go both ways. Thus, she seems
to be the first and, for a long time, only scholar to have been aware that Scandinavian saints in the twelfth century had been venerated in Rus'.28
A quarter of a century later the, so to speak, secular historian Sven Ulric
Palme wrote a popular book on Sweden's Christianisation characterised by
the same critical approach to the traditional written sources. There he was
still open to the possibility of eastern influence in the spread of early Christianity to Sweden. He even suggested that the first Swedish king to adopt
Christianity, Olof Skötkonung, had been baptized in Novgorod at the court
of his son-in-law Prince Jaroslav.29
Since then insight into the situation in the east and in Rus', with its close
connections to Scandinavia, has diminished among Swedish scholars (with a
few archaeologists as outstanding exceptions). Accordingly, the question of
eastern influence is often not even posed and, if posed, more or less denied.
Instead, scholars have stressed the influence from first and foremost Germany
and the archbishopric of Hamburg-Bremen.
This was the position taken by the German church historian Reinhart
Staats when he gave the introductory paper to the seminar, Rom und Byzanz
im Norden, and when he wrote the introductory chapter to the small volume
he published in 1994 together with Per Beskow under the title Nordens kristnande i europeiskt perspektiv. In the latter Staats stressed that 'the great ecclesiastical power of the Church of Bremen during three centuries from 789 to
1104 is still felt in Northern Europe. They [the archbishops of Bremen] had a
great impact on the Christianisation of Northern Europe. Even if one reckons
with the direct influence of the English mission in Denmark, Sweden and
particularly Norway - and, perhaps, a certain influence from the Church in
Russia - it is the archbishops in Bremen who played the decisive role in the
Christianization of Scandinavia' (translation and italics, JHL).30
Darkness in the East?
This is no doubt an extreme view, not least considering the critical attitude
to the sources emanating from Hamburg-Bremen, Rimbert's Life of St. Anskar
and Adam of Bremen's chronicle, that characterized Schmid's and Palme's
works and which today is shared by secular historians at large. It is true that
these two sources describe a more or less continuous missionary activity in
Scandinavia or at least in the part of Scandinavia that became Denmark and
Sweden. Nevertheless, they are, despite their age, not necessarily very good
sources, when it comes to understand how and why Scandinavians turned
Christian. Furthermore, the continuity in the Scandinavian mission from
Hamburg-Bremen is a claim made by Adam, but Adam had a vested interest
in making such a claim, because when he wrote it was not at all sure that Scandinavia would be forever linked to Hamburg-Bremen, if indeed Scandinavia
ever was as closely linked to Hamburg-Bremen as Adam wishes to assert.31
Therefore Adam's chronicle is hardly a trustworthy source on precisely this
Concerning the English mission in Scandinavia mentioned by Staats, we
do not have sources that compare with the sources originating in HamburgBremen in age or detail. In fact, apart from late home-grown sources of a hagiographical nature, much of the early information we have on the English
impact on Scandinavian Christianity is supplied (reluctantly) by Adam of
When it comes to possible influence on Scandinavian Christianity from
the east, whether directly from Byzantium or indirectly through what Staats
called the 'Church in Russia', such influence hardly exists in the view of recent
church historians. The main reason for this negative view is that, if we dismiss
the 'ermskir' bishops as Armenians and the links Bishop Osmund may have
had to Kiev, we find no mention of missionaries or missionary activity from
the east in Scandinavia.
In present-day Swedish church history this fact is important because here
the early adoption of Christianity seems to be all about the presence of missionaries in Sweden. Therefore the period in which the Christianisation of Sweden took place is called the 'epoch of mission' (missionstiden or missionskedet),
research in that period is called 'mission historical research' (missionshistorisk
forskning); and in the process of becoming Christians the Swedes had to be
exposed to what is called 'missionary preaching' (missionsförkunnelse). With
this emphasis on the presence of missionaries in Sweden as a prerequisite
for Christianisation, the present view seems to be that a pagan Swede cannot
have turned Christian unless he met a missionary at home in Sweden. This is
a surprising position to take considering how well-travelled Swedes like other
Scandinavians were in precisely this period, the Viking Age. Furthermore it
is seemingly contradicted by as early as Rimbert in his Life of St. Anskar. Here
Rimbert retells this possibly imagined conversation, which Anskar had with
an old man on his second visit to Birka. Here the old man says:
John H. Lind
"with regard to worshipping this God [Anskar's] several of us
have experienced that he can help those who put their hopes in
him ... and some of us, visiting Dorestad, have of our own accord
adopted this religion, thinking it to be useful" (translation, JHL).32
Even if this conversation is imagined, it must nevertheless reflect an experience many Scandinavians travelling far and wide must have had. In fact we
find a close parallel in the Gutasaga, where it is said of the originally Heathen
merchants of Gotland, trading in both heathen and Christian countries:
"then the merchants saw Christian ways in Christian countries.
Some let themselves be baptised there and brought Christian
priests to Gotland" (translation, JHL).33
Before we develop this theme we shall stay for a moment with the Swedish situation. In addition to the sources emanating from Bremen, we do
have almost contemporary native Swedish sources that reflect the status of
Christianity in Sweden, i.e. the runic stones. They are mostly dated to the
11th century and several aspects of the stones and their text have been used
in the discussion on possible eastern influence. This is hardly surprising
because, to the extent the texts mention Swedes abroad, a sizeable majority
show them to have been active in the east: in Rus', Byzantium or further
to the east.34 Here we shall not enter the discussion on whether the shapes
of crosses on the stones might reflect Byzantine style. Nor shall we discuss
Anders Sjoberg's suggested identifications of two of the most prolific rune
carvers: Asmund Kareson with Bishop Osmund and Öpir Ofeigr with the
priest and scribe Upir Lichyj. The latter in 1047 transcribed a Cyrillic ecclesiastical text in Novgorod, while the Swedish wife, Ingegerd, of Prince Jaroslav
held court there.35 Instead we shall focus on some aspects of the texts which
have divided Swedish church historians.
The majority of the 11th-century rune stones in Sweden somehow reflect
the Christian faith, either because the carver has supplied them with a cross
or because the texts contain Christian elements. In addition to informing
contemporaries and posterity about the person who had the stone raised and
carved, and the person for whom it was raised, many stones also contain a
prayer for the soul of the deceased, addressed to some Christian heavenly
figure: God, Christ, the Virgin Mary, an archangel or a saint.
In 1972 and in 1983 Eric Segelberg published two articles, in which he tried
to determine from which corners of the Christian world different elements
in these prayers could have originated. Thus, 'soul' spelt as 'sel' or 'sal' could
indicate an origin in German/Frisian territory as opposed to England. However, with regard to two features, Segelberg found a Byzantine origin likely.
That applies to the prayer 'God help his soul', which, according to Segelberg
is common in the inscriptions on Byzantine seals. The other is the prayer to
Darkness in the East?
God and God's mother, where the concept of Mary not as the Virgin Mary but
as Mother of God also points to the Eastern rather than the Western Church.36
These articles by Segelberg and a further article from 1984 by yet another
Swedish church historian, Carl Hallencreutz, on the Virgin Mary in runic inscriptions37 were later criticized by Per Beskow in one of his articles in Nordens
kristnande i europeiskt perspektiv. Giving credence to Rimbert's Life of St. Anskar
and Adam's chronicle, Beskow finds that both Segelberg and Hallencreutz
wish to 'minimise' the importance of what to Beskow are 'the better known
transmitters of Christianity' to Sweden, that is 'the more southern Germanic
people [Danes?] and the missions from England and Bremen' (translation,
JHL). It is on his conviction that these 'better known transmitters' were also
the 'true' transmitters of Christianity to Sweden that Beskow explicitly bases
his criticism of Segelberg and Hallencreutz. Besides, because the Latin west
adopted the Greek Theotokos, 'there is no reason with Segelberg ... to seek the
origin of the phrase in the contacts of Scandinavian Vikings with Byzantium'
(translation, JHL).38 Essentially, this is same argument we saw Fuglesang use:
it is enough to reject a Byzantine origin if a western origin is possible.
When Beskow and Staats wrote their 1994 book a large interdisciplinary
research project on the Christianisation of Sweden was already underway with professor in The History of Christianity, Bertil Nilsson, as coordinator and
author of the first volume. Here the problem of eastern influence does not loom
large, but Nilsson does make the claim that 'in reality there is no evidence of
Christianity in its Byzantine form ever striking root in Sweden' (translation and
italics, JHL).39 Here it seems that Nilsson uses the expression 'Christianity in
its Byzantine form' as if it was a clear, well-defined entity, which it was not,
especially if the Byzantine influence was filtered through Christianity as it took
root in Rus' in the first part of the 10th century. We shall return to this below.
In the most recent of the anthologies referred to above, Från Bysans till
Norden. Östliga kyrkoinfluenser under vikingatid och tidig medeltid, Nilsson returns in more detail to the problem in an almost direct confrontation with
the archaeologist, Ingmar Jansson. While Jansson, together with his colleague
Johan Callmer, a leading Swedish authority on the links between Scandinavia
and Rus', find strong archaeological evidence for eastern influence on the
form early Christianity took -at least in the eastern part of Sweden, the Mälar
region - Nilsson flatly denies any such influence.
Even a cursory look at their respective arguments reveals that the difference in opinion between the two sides largely reflects the difference in their
basic source material. Thus, while the archaeological sources are generally
contemporary with the topic discussed, the written sources stem almost without exception from a later period. The perspective of the archaeologist is therefore different from that of the church historian, and while the archaeologist
is securely based in the period he investigates, it seems the church historian
cannot help being influenced by what was to come in his evaluation of what
John H. Lind
In his preliminary remarks Nilsson maintains that possible influences from
the Eastern Church, in order to be accepted as such, must somehow show
up in the source material. It is obvious that Nilsson believes that to be possible, although the written sources on which he bases his point of view are
late. However because the split between the Eastern and Western Churches,
as he maintains, began much earlier than 1054, if there were influences or
even missionary activity from the east, these would have taken such different forms from similar western initiatives that they would somehow show
up in the sources. In his attempt to find such signs of eastern influence, Nilsson, however, sets up some very exacting preconditions: 'In order to be able
to speak of [eastern] influences, at least some typical features in the swedish
ecclesiastical landscape must by necessity be assigned to the Eastern Church
tradition' (translation and italics, JHL). such features Nilsson is unable to find.40
However, to assign such 'features in the swedish ecclesiastical landscape'
to the Eastern Church tradition is exactly what Jansson does in his article.
For instance, Jansson points out that indisputably Christian burials in Rus'
continued far into the High Middle Ages to include various kinds of grave
goods, even types that are usually interpreted as pagan. This can be seen as a
result of a less strict ecclesiastical regulation of burial practices in the Eastern
Church than came to be the rule in the Western Church. However, a similar
situation exists in the eastern part of central sweden where we see the same
blend of pre-Christian and Christian burials as in Rus'. Although difficult to
date, these burials used to be dated to a short period in the 11th century by
swedish archaeologists before Christian cemeteries were established, whereas
Russian archaeologists date these graves to a much longer period in the 11th12th century or even later.41
Another archaeologist, Jörn staecker, has reached similar results based
on other archaeological data, that he published in articles in Rom und Byzanz
(Bremen - Canterbury - Kiev - Konstantinopel? Auf spurensuche nach Missionierenden und Missionierten in Altdänemark und schweden) and in The
Cross goes North (The Cross Goes North: Christian symbols and scandinavian
Women). Here, on the basis of his studies of the spread of various types of
cross- and crucifix-pendants, staecker finds that it is German influence in
sweden that is almost nonexistent, not Byzantine. Therefore, staecker writes,
the success of Bishop Unni's missionary activities in Birka, which according to
Adam of Bremen began in the 930s after the failure of Anskar's earlier mission,
may be doubted.42 To this staecker adds, 'probably Gotland and the eastern
coast of sweden used their good contacts with Russia (through marriage and
trade) to keep the German mission at a distance by using their own images
and by keeping the process of Christianisation in their own hands'. It is in
such a context staecker sees the role of bishop Osmund at the swedish royal
court in the 1050s.43
In this discussion Bertil Nilsson seems to apply the same type of double
standard to the problem as we have seen signe Horn Fuglesang use when she
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demanded Byzantine influence to be 'unquestionably direct' to be accepted
as such: if phenomena in early Swedish Christianity cannot 'by necessity' be
assigned to the east they cannot be seen as Byzantine influence. In contrast,
influence from the west does not have to be proven but is taken for granted. In
view of the results achieved by archaeologists it is tempting to turn Nilsson's
argument around and ask: which typical features in the Swedish ecclesiastical
landscape of the 10th and 11th centuries must, by necessity, be assigned to the
Western Church tradition? If such features exist, when do they start to appear? Did it happen before Sweden was finally incorporated into the Roman
Church, with the advent of the Reform Papacy towards the end of the 11th
century? These are questions that Nilsson and most of his colleagues have
failed to ask, and seemingly do not see the need to ask. Admittedly they are
difficult to answer because of the lack of contemporary native written sources
apart from the runic inscriptions which, as we have seen can be interpreted
Scandinavians in the East - Who were the transmitters of Byzantine influence
In reality we know very little about how early Christianity spread to Scandinavia and in which form. None of the written sources, whether contemporary
with or originating in a later period, are really trustworthy in this respect.
Thus, to quote the Oxford historian, Lesley Abrams who, like Jörn Staecker,
doubts the efficiency of the German mission from Hamburg-Bremen, 'if the
mission of Anskar and his immediate successors had significant and enduring
effects beyond his death in 865, however, they have so far failed to make themselves known to historians'.44 But as we have seen from both Rimbert's Life
of Anskar and the Gutasaga, quoted above, Christianity did not necessarily
reach Scandinavia through the work of missionaries from one or other of the
dominant Churches,45 as modern church historians seem to think. Individual
and widely travelled Scandinavians could adopt Christianity in places where
they became acquainted with the new faith, and in the form it had locally.46 It
might even have proved advantageous for them to be at least prime-signed as
a first step towards becoming a Christian in places they visited, where they
traded, or where they served as mercenaries. This was what Olav Tryggvason
did, according to Oddr Snorrason's Saga of Olav Tryggvason, when he visited
Greece before returning home through Rus'.47
This individual approach to the adoption of Christianity may be the origin
of one of the dominant features of early Scandinavian Christianity: the widespread use of proprietary churches, where a magnate built his own church
and chose his own priest. The latter could be one of his servants or slaves,
whom the magnate had educated in the confession he, the magnate, had in
one way or another adopted, perhaps on travels to distant regions.48
Such widely travelled Scandinavian magnates were probably among the
first Christians in their respective regions. Often they adopted Christianity
John H. Lind
long before the 'official' Christianisation of the rulers in the late 10th and
early 11th century. In all the hitherto pagan territories dominated by Scandinavians, archaeological data show to a still larger extent that Christianity was
quite widespread before these 'official' Christianisations. That is the case in
Denmark prior to the baptism of Harald Bluetooth c. 965.49 More importantly
in our context, it was also the case in Rus' before the baptism of Vladimir
Svjatoslavič in 988/9.50 With regard to early Christianity in Rus', however, we
do not have to rely only on archaeological data, nor do we have to rely on narrative sources like Rimbert's Life of St. Anskar or Adam of Bremen's chronicle
with their vested interests.
In the early Russian chronicle, The Tale of Bygone Years (Povest' vremennych
let), written c. 1110, the compiler had, in contrast to his immediate predecessor,51 access to the texts of a number of treaties which the Rus' leadership had
concluded with Byzantine emperors in 907, 911, 944 and 971. The original texts
were probably written in Greek but were translated into Old East Slavonic
before they were inserted in the chronicle. It is generally agreed that these
texts offer a faithful rendition of the original treaties with a few minor adaptations to 12th-century forms.52 As performative sources, these treaty texts
are far superior to the early narrative sources on the spread of Christianity
among Scandinavians that have been mentioned so far.
In both early treaties (907 and 911) the Rus' envoys with Scandinavian
names like their leader Prince Oleg (Helgi, preserved as HLGW in a contemporary Hebrew source), are portrayed as pagans, who swear oaths on the
treaty by their gods and their weapons.53 By contrast, the Byzantines, referred
to either as Greeks or simply Christians, as if the two terms were synonymous,
take their oaths by kissing the cross.54
In the third treaty from 944 this has changed. The treaty lists no less than
seventy-two or seventy-three names by whom, or on whose behalf, the treaty
was concluded on the part of the Rus'. Once again almost all the names of
the Rus' in the text are clearly Scandinavian.55 But in contrast to the previous
treaties, the 944 treaty repeatedly, when relevant, distinguishes between those
Rus', who are still pagan and those who are now Christians. The chronicler
ends his quotation from the treaty with a report by the Greek envoys on its
ratification by the Rus' in Kiev:
"in the morning, Igor' [the ruling prince, Ingor according to a
contemporary Greek source] summoned the envoys, and went to
a hill on which there was a statue of Perun. The Rus' laid down
their weapons, their shields, and their gold ornaments, and Igor'
and his people took oath - at least, such as were pagans, while
the Christian Rus' took oath in the church of St Elijah",
This situation the compiler of The Tale of Bygone Years expounds c. 1110:
Darkness in the East?
"which [the Elijah Church] is above the creek, in the vicinity of
the Pasyncha square and the quarter of the Chazars. This was,
in fact, the cathedral church, since many of the Varangians were
From this text it is clear that between 911 and 944 a significant number of
Scandinavians or people of Scandinavian descent in Rus' had decided to
adopt Christianity, presumably by individual choice, perhaps while living
in or visiting Byzantium. Furthermore, the fact that a separate ratification to
this international treaty by the Christian Rus' was now a necessity, shows that
Christianity by 944 had obtained official status in Rus' almost half a century
before the conversion of its ruler, Vladimir Svjatoslavič.
Even though it has largely gone unnoticed by Scandinavian scholars, this
fairly large-scale adoption of Christianity by Scandinavians or people of Scandinavian descent, active in the east at a time when there was a constant flow
of Scandinavians between Scandinavia and Byzantium, can hardly have failed
to influence Scandinavians at home - especially those living in present-day
Sweden, if we assume that Swedes constituted the majority among Rus' and
It is true that we find few traces of Byzantine influence in Scandinavian
church life as it appears in our earliest written sources from around 1100 and
later, unless we read such influence into the runic inscriptions. Thus, in contrast to Finland, where a number of important Christian terms, derived from
Church Slavonic, survived the Swedish crusades in the 12th century when the
Catholicism, as perceived by the Reform Papacy, was forced upon the Finns,57
we do not find a similar Christian vocabulary in Scandinavia that is influenced
from the east. One reason for this could be that Scandinavians were already
acquainted with a Christian vocabulary in related Germanic languages, first
of all Anglo-Saxon. The Finns did not have the same opportunity to acquaint
themselves with a ready Christian vocabulary in a related language.
Above we have seen how Signe Horn Fuglesang considered that, what is
to be found of Byzantine influence in Scandinavia 'probably came to Scandinavia by way of the continent', (meaning Western Europe), without considering the question of, who the most likely transmitters of Byzantine motifs and
ornaments found in Scandinavia could be. Thus like many other scholars she
disregards the fact that so many Scandinavians, first known as Rus' since as
Varangians, travelled along the East European rivers to Byzantium.
This traffic started no later than the early 9th century and it continued until
at least the Latin conquest of Constantinople during the Fourth Crusade in
1204: as late as in the early 1190s we are told in a contemporary source that
the Danish and Norwegian participants in the Third Crusade (1189-92) had
contacts with their compatriots in the Varangian Guard when they returned
home through Constantinople.58
The Scandinavians came to Byzantium either as part of armies that attacked
John H. Lind
Byzantine territories or, more importantly, to serve the Byzantine emperors.
In case they entered imperial service, they also stayed in Byzantium for prolonged periods, acquainting themselves with and adapting to the Byzantine
way of life. Those who survived either returned home or settled in Rus', which
was politically dominated by scandinavians until well into the 10th-11th century. As we have seen, many of these scandinavians adopted Christianity in
the process long before the official Christianisation of their home countries,
whether these were the Rus' principality or the emerging scandinavian kingdoms.
If we take into consideration the fact that Byzantine emperors were able
to field armies that comprised several thousand Varangians in one battle, as
Constantine IX Monomachos did in 1045,59 there must have been a considerable flow of scandinavians over the centuries, travelling in their thousands to
Byzantium. Like Harald Hardradi or the lesser known Ragnvald, who claimed
on a runic stone that was raised in commemoration of his mother to have been
in Greece as 'commander of the retinue' (U 112), these many scandinavians
must generally have belonged to the higher echelon of scandinavian society.
An ordinary, low-born scandinavian could not just leave home in order to join
the Varangian Guard. Even if he had the necessary military training to be a
member of the imperial army, he had to be able to afford the travel expenses
from scandinavia to Constantinople, but in addition he also had to pay a
substantial entrance fee, before he could join the Varangian Guard and begin
to earn the dividends of this very substantial investment.60 Consequently, the
scandinavians who joined the Byzantine army had to be people whose influence at home counted, and who probably expected their influence to have
grown when they returned. These scandinavians, therefore, also represented
that social stratum, which today is thought to have played a leading role in
the Christianisation of their respective countries from Rus' to Iceland.
If, with Harald Hardradi, we move a further step up on the social latter
to the level of royalty, the link to the east is equally clear. Apart from Knud
the Great, who after the conquest of England married into the English royal
house in order to bolster his power, only the Danish King Knud IV (+1086)
married in the west, probably as part of a plan to reconquer England; otherwise almost all dynastic links we know of beyond scandinavia were formed
with royal or princely houses in the east: with West-slavic dynasties to the
south and south-east, or with the gradually slavicised scandinavian relatives
in Rus'.61 These eastern links dominated in the scandinavian royal houses well
into the 12th century and reached a peak during the reign of King Niels and
his wife Margrethe Fredkulla in the early 12th century, when a direct link to
the Byzantine imperial family was established.62
some of the effects of this ongoing traffic of scandinavians to and from
Byzantium are well-known and are reflected to a growing extent in archaeological data in Byzantium, in scandinavia, and along the river systems of east
central Europe,63 where the scandinavians in forming the Rus' principality
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linked a Finnic-Baltic dominated region in the north with Staraja Ladoga and later Novgorod - as centres with a Slavic dominated region in the south,
with Kiev, Černigov and Perejaslavl' (Russkij) as centres.
As the Danish slavicist, Adolf Stender-Petersen demonstrated in his dissertation from 1933, this traffic is not just reflected in archaeological data, but also
in folkloric and literary motifs that were soaked up by Scandinavians in oral
tradition in Byzantium and transmitted through Rus' to Scandinavia, where
these motifs emerge in literary works such as the Russian chronicles and the
Norse sagas.64 The fact that we find these motifs in both Russian and Scandinavian contexts shows that in this case the route this type of Byzantine influence travelled to Scandinavia was via the eastern route and not through some
Western intermediary. Against this background it seems rather far-fetched to
seek alternative places of origin of Byzantine influence in Scandinavia in the
west, unless conclusive evidence supports such an alternative.
'Russian' as opposed to Scandinavian and the concept of the 'Church in Russia'
The hesitancy of some scholars to see and accept Eastern influence in Scandinavia has, to a large extent, to do with their general unfamiliarity with the
situation in the east. This can be exemplified in the way in which they use
the term 'Russian'. In connection with the 9th-century Hoen hoard we quoted
Signe Horn Fuglesang for the claim that 'all the neck and arm rings which
have often been referred to as Russian, are now proved to be Scandinavian'.
The question here is, what in a 9th-century context, 'Russian' as opposed to
Scandinavian can refer to? At that time the term Rus' still referred to Scandinavians or people of Scandinavian descent or to the polity to which they
gave their name and where they were the dominating force. Apart from these
Scandinavian Rus', the Rus' polity was a multi-ethnical and multi-cultural
formation. Therefore it hardly makes sense to characterise something as 'Russian' in this period unless it refers Scandinavians in Rus'.
It also seems problematic to refer, in the words of Reinhart Staats, to the
'Church in Russia' as a possible - if, in his opinion, unlikely - source of influence on Christianity in Scandinavia prior to 1104 when the Scandinavian
church province was established, centred at Lund. Similar to what was stated
above concerning Bertil Nilsson's use of the concept 'Christianity in its Byzantine form', such an expression seems to imply that we can really talk about
a 'Church in Russia' as if this was a clearly defined entity, which on the basis
of contemporary sources would allow us to distinguish the forms Christianity took in Rus' from Christianity in Scandinavia. But this is not the case.
Interaction between Christianity in East and West
What we can do, more or less by coincidence, is to observe several instances of
possible interaction between Christianity in the two regions. As noted above
John H. Lind
already, Toni Schmid knew that Scandinavian saints in the twelfth century
had been venerated in Rus'.65 This concerns the following sequence of saints
included in the litany of a 12th-century Russian prayer to the Trinity: Magnus
(of Orkney), Canute, Benedict, Alban (St. Knud and his brother Benedict killed
in 1086 in St. Alban's Church in Odense, hence Alban), Olav, and Botulph.66
Another case of interaction can be seen in relation to the foundation in the
second half of the 11th century of the Kiev Monastery of the Caves, a leading
centre of Russian spirituality. The foundation is described in the monastery's
Paterikon, where the first three tales are devoted to the role played by a Varangian, Šimon (Sigmundr). Baptized according to the Latin rite, he had newly
arrived in Kiev from Scandinavia. In the Paterikon we are told how traditions
he had brought with him from Scandinavia influenced not only the building
of the main church, dedicated to the Dormition of the Mother of God, but also
the rituals that were adopted in the monastery. Elsewhere in the Paterikon we
are told how two other Varangians, a father and his son, this time baptized
according to the Greek rite and killed during pagan riots in Kiev in 983, were
now venerated in the monastery as the first martyrs in Rus'. As described in
the Paterikon, it is clear that the monks in the monastery held the early Varangian Christians in high regard, whether they had adopted Christianity in
Byzantium according to the Greek rite or at home in Scandinavia according
to the Latin rite. It is equally clear that the monks to a large extent saw these
Varangians as founders of Christianity as it was practised in the monastery,
where Christianity was presented as a blend of influences from both east and
Another kind of interaction can be seen in the early spread of saints' cults to
Rus' and to Scandinavia. With regard to the cult of St Clement this is demonstrated by Ildar Garipzanov in the present volume, while in an earlier parallel
article Garipzanov has done the same with regard to the cult of St. Nicholas.
In both cases Garipzanov has shown the spread of these cults to Rus' and to
Scandinavia to be interlinked and that they are not a separate phenomenon
within the Eastern and Western Churches.68
For a final case of possible interaction we shall return to Bishop Osmund,
mentioned several times above. The controversy concerning his person is
based on Adam of Bremen's account. According to this he appears in the 1050s
as King Emund's court bishop. Adam is critical towards the king because he
did not care about what Adam calls 'our religion', by which Adam presumably meant that the king did not accept the authority of Hamburg-Bremen.
Against Bishop Osmund, who is said to stand outside the church hierarchy
as 'headless' (episcopus acephalus), Adam is even more critical. He describes
him as a 'tramp' who, after having been taught in Bremen, had in vain sought
ordination in Rome before he was finally ordained by an archbishop in Polania.69 This may be Poland as many scholars think.70 It may, however, just as
well have been in Kiev, the centre of the East Slavic tribe, the Poljanians. Be
that as it may, there is however a further aspect to this story. Approximately
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at the same time as osmund appears as an independent bishop at the court
of King Emund, King Emund's cousin by marriage in Kiev, Prince Jaroslav
decided, likewise in opposition to the church hierarchy - in this case the Byzantine church authorities - to appoint his own residential cleric, the Russianborn Ilarion, to the metropolitanate after the reigning Greek metropolitan of
Kiev had died in 1049. In time, this further coincides with a clash, described
by Adam, between the Bremensian archbishop Adalbert and Harald Hardradi
of Norway, Prince Jaroslav's son-in-law. Adalbert had reproached Harald,
the "tyrant" in Adam's words, for having had his bishops ordained either in
France or in England without asking Adalbert, who, according to Adam, had
the apostolic authority to do the ordaining. To this criticism Harald replied,
according to Adam, that he did not know who was archbishop in Norway
nor who had power there except himself.71
Thus, more or less simultaneously, we see all three closely related rulers,
of which at least two had intimate knowledge of the Byzantine system, apply
a caesaropapistic approach to appointments to the highest ecclesiastic offices
in their countries, exactly as it was done in Byzantium. Therefore, whether
or not Bishop Osmund was ordained in Kiev or in Poland, his presence at
the court of King Emund was nevertheless likely to be a result of Byzantine
These cases of interaction shows that throughout the 11th and well into
the 12th century Christianity, whether in Scandinavia or in Rus', had not as
yet been subjected to the dogmatic and ritual centralization that especially the
Western Catholic Church under the Reform Papacy attempted to accomplish.
If we want to form an idea of the kind of influences that helped shape early
Christianity in Scandinavia and in Scandinavian-dominated regions like Rus'
at a time when we really have no or at best very few native written sources,
it is first of all important to avoid drawing conclusions based on sources
that describe a later situation or, worse, use that situation as an additional
source. That is particularly important with regard to Scandinavia. Apart from
the Runic inscriptions, native written sources describing local church life in
Scandinavia only begin to appear after the region had become firmly integrated into the Latin Church, which by then had already been taken over by
the Reform Papacy, with its wish to centralize, dominate and conform local
Christian usage in accordance with a strict set of rules.
Before this take-over of the Latin Church by the Cluny-inspired reform
popes, Christianity in the West could, just like in the East, take many local
forms. A case in point can be found in Adam of Bremen's criticism of his archbishop, Adalbert (1043-1072), because he had on three occasions used 'some
other Roman or Greek tradition', when he no longer wished to follow the established Latin rite.72 At that time it was still possible to use Church Slavonic
John H. Lind
within the Western Church. But when Vratislav II of Bohemia in 1080 asked
permission for the Bohemian church to use the Church slavonic liturgy, Pope
Gregory VII refused,73 and the result was that the last vestiges of the Church
slavonic rite within this region of the Western Church were eradicated in
1096, when the sázava Monastery in Bohemia was 'Latinized'.
In view of this ongoing process of centralization and standardization, first
of all within the Catholic Church - but also to a lesser degree within the Orthodox Church, the only features in later written sources that can cast light
on earlier stages of Christianity are those that cannot be explained within the
framework of the current form of Christianity but must be seen as remnants
of earlier stages. That is the case with regard to the early Latin influence in
the Caves Monastery; and it is the case with the remnants of Church slavonic
in the Finnish Christian vocabulary.
It must also be the case with regard to the stipulation in the Icelandic law
codex Grágás, quoted by Fuglesang, about the 'ermskir' and 'girskir' bishops,
whose services people were 'allowed to attend', if they wished to do so, even
though these bishops were not 'learned in the Latin language'.74 A stipulation
like this would hardly have been inserted into a normative source had the
problem not at some point been on the agenda. And even if we were to accept
the unlikely situation that the 'ermskir' bishops could be clerics from the Baltic Ermland and, therefore, baptized, educated and consecrated in the Latin
rite, even if they were unable to function in that rite, we are still faced with
the 'girskir' bishop(s). They did not necessarily have to be Greek. They could
very well be scandinavians (even Icelanders), who were baptized, educated
and consecrated in Byzantium or Rus', but they belonged in any case to the
We find a similar case on the other side of the confessional border. Probably
most early scandinavian Christians, whether in Rus' or at home, were unaware
of the existence of such a border, at least it was not felt as sharp among them as
it was felt between Constantinople and Rome. But over time this border became
more distinct. As we have seen, Varangians of both the Greek and Latin rite
were influential in the formation of Christianity in Rus', but in the course of the
Middle Ages the Latin rite did become a problem and already by the middle of
the 12th century the term Varangians in Rus' became synonymous with scandinavians of the Latin rite and later in the Middle Ages the term 'Varangian
faith' (varjažkaja vera) even became synonymous with the Latin Christianity
- whether or not scandinavians were involved. It is against this background
we have to understand some questions on a list of inquiries from the middle
of the 12th century, attributed to the monk Kirik (Voprošanije Kirika) and put to
his archbishop, Nifont of Novgorod. One question concerns a person baptized
in the Latin faith who wishes 'to convert to us'; the reply states that he 'should
attend a [Russian] church for seven days, take an [Orthodox Christian] name,
and say four prayers a day'. Another question concerns those Orthodox people
who bring their children to the 'Varangian priest' [to be baptized]. These were
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now said to be 'dual believers' and were to accept 6 weeks' penance.75 The decisions by the archbishop clearly reveal a new attitude to a problem that was
not earlier felt to be a problem. Especially the last question shows that ordinary
Novgorodians (people who were not of Scandinavian descent) often had their
children baptized by the priest at St. Olaf's Church, just like other Novgorodians did in other of Novgorod's many churches.
A final case concerns the very heart of the Scandinavian church, at least if
the Danish historian Kai Hørby is correct in assuming that Archbishop Absalon's liturgical reform in 1187 of the diocese of Lund 'removed the remnants
of a Greek-influenced liturgy in favour of the liturgy prescribed by Rome'
(translation, JHL). 76
Apart from this type of evidence from later written sources we have, in
general, to base our knowledge on early Christianity in both Scandinavia and
Rus' on archaeological data, and it is mainly through future archaeological
excavations that we can hope to gain added knowledge. With luck archaeology can, of course, also produce new written sources. Thus, in addition to the
more than 1.000 birch bark documents, unearthed so far during excavations
in Novgorod, archaeologists in 2000 also found some waxed wooden tablets,
now known as the Novgorod Codex. The codex contains two Psalms and
fragments of a third. It seems to have been written by the monk Isaakii, who
claims in the codex that he was consecrated as a priest in 999 in Suzdal' in
the 'church of St. Alexander the Armenian'. The reference to this Alexander
the Armenian may, according to Andrej Zaliznjak, reflect Bogomil influence.77
This suggests that many varieties of Christianity were at play at the time.
We can hope that future archaeological excavations may produce further
evidence of this type. With luck archaeologists may also eventually be able
to bridge the gap that still faces us with regard to relations between the Baltic
and the Black-Sea regions in the period between the migration of the Goths in
the early centuries of the Christian era and the appearance of the Scandinavian
Rus' along the East European river system in the 8th century. If this will also
produce further evidence of early Christian influence in Scandinavia, it is to
be hoped that in the future this will be appraised without sidelong glances
at Christianity as it developed in later periods. In any case there is a distinct
need among scholars for a keener awareness of the links between Scandinavia,
Rus' and Byzantium during the early spread of Christianity.
Lind 2011; Lind 2012; see also this volume, Introduction.
Kromann 1989, 85-86; Kaliff 2001, see also Metcalf 1995, 413-41.
Press releases: http://svt.se/2.33731/1.1144708/kalmarforskare_spracker_ansgarmyten?page1851238=8;
John H. Lind
5b50750780002443.html;. English presentation of project: http://www2.hik.se/
Salo 2006. For a comparative approach to the question of Christianization, Berend
(ed.) 2007, and herein esp. Bagge & Nordeide 2007; Blomkvist, Brink & Lindkvist
2007; Gelting 2007; and Shepard 2007.
Roesdahl & Wilson 1992.
Beskow 2003, Staats 1997.
There are sceptics also among archaeologists such as Anne-Sofie Gräslund, who,
although she wishes 'to show the potential of archaeological evidence to highlight
the process of Christianization', in her introductory overview and before she has
presented this evidence nevertheless a priori claims that Sweden was christianized
from the west, Gräslund 2002, 24, 140.
Fuglesang 2001. Below we shall return to the apparent inconsistency concerning
'Russian' vs. 'Scandinavian'.
Fuglesang & Wilson 2006, 94.
Fuglesang 1997, 35-36.
Fuglesang 1997, 36.
In fact the close link between 'hermskir' and 'girskir' about bishops and priests
who are not familiar with the Latin rite seems in itself to lend support to the
identification of the '[h]ermsker' bishops as Armenians rather than coming from
Ermland, where we would expect them to have been 'learned in the Latin language'. We shall return to this quote in Grágás below.
Fuglesang 1997, 47.
Sawyer 1982, 141; Arne 1947.
Sjöberg, 1982; Sjöberg 1985.
Sjöberg, 1982; Sjöberg 1985; Dashkévytch 1986-1987; Hagland 1996. Hagland
returned to the question in Hagland 2005 and Hagland 2011.
Uspenskij 2000; Cormack 2007.
Schmid 1934, 55-56.
Palme 1962, 58, 104-27.
Staats 1994, 3. Below we shall return to what can be meant in this context by the
'Church in Russia'.
As we shall see below both the Swedish king, Edmund, and the Norwegian king,
Harald Hardradi, appointed bishops that were independent of Hamburg-Bremen,
for which Adam repudiated them severely. By contrast, he praised the Danish king
Sven Estridsen for his apparent obedience towards Hamburg-Bremen; however
while King Sven entertained Adam at his court in a friendly manner, the king
was at the same time in contact with the popes Alexander II and Gregory VII
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with the intention of establishing a separate Danish church province, which Pope
Gregory was apparently prepared to grant had King Sven not died in 1074/76.
Rimbert 1978, 90.
Gutasaga: http://runeberg.org/gutasaga/05.html (accessed 10.09.2010).
Sjöberg, A. 1982; Sjöberg 1985. After Ingegerd's and Jaroslav's deaths in 1050 and
1054 a different branch of the dynasty without links to Sweden took power in
Novgorod. That, in Sjöberg's opinion, could be the occasion when Upir Lichyj
left Rus' to become Öpir ofeigr, as 'ofeigr' could be a possible Swedish rendition
Segelberg 1972; Segelberg 1983. This point is also made by Sjöberg 1985, 76.
Beskow 1994, 16, 25.
Nilsson 1998, 64.
Nilsson 2005, 38.
Jansson 2005, 66-67.
Staecker 2003, 476.
Staecker 2003, 478.
Abrams 1995, 213.
Often we only operate with two major churches, the Greek Orthodox and the
Roman Catholic Churches. This may be relevant at a later period, but it is appropriate in this connection to recall that when the Byzantine Patriarch and the
Roman Pope towards the end of the 9th century jointly supported the CyrilloMethodian Mission to Great Moravia based on the Church Slavonic rite, they
were both opposed by the powerful Frankish Church that managed to expel the
Church-Slavonic missionaries from Great Moravia. Later, in the second half of
the 11th century the Frankish Church took over the papacy when Cluny-inspired
reform popes like Gregory VII came to power.
Wilson & Roesdahl 1992, 42.
Hagland 2007, 50.
Smedberg 1981, 235-36; Wood 2006.
http://lindegaarden.wordpress.com/ (accessed 27.12.11).
Petrukhin & Pushkina 1999 and articles in the present volume.
The Povest' vremennych let has been translated into English under the misleading title The Russian Primary Chronicle, cf. Cross & Sherbowitz-Wetzor 1953. The
predecessor from c. 1095 is partly preserved as the initial part of the Younger
Version of the First Novgorod Chronicle. It is traditionally labelled Nacal'nyj svod
(Primary Chronicle or Compilation, which is why it is not helpful to refer to
Povest' vremennych let as The Russian Primary Chronicle).
Malingoudi 1994; Malingudi 1995-97; Bibikov 1999.
Compare Adam of Bremen's account of a peace making between Danes and
Franks at the time of Louis the Pious: 'the Danes swore on the treaty according
to the tradition of the people an unbreakable oath by their weapons', Adam of
Byčkov 1926, 30-31; Cross & Sherbowitz-Wetzor 1953, 64-77.
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has to call these Rus' 'Varangians' when commenting on the text because of the
John H. Lind
different connotations the term Rus' carried in the eleventh and twelfth centuries,
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see Haastrup & Lind, this volume.
see Androshchuk; Eniosova & Puškina, this volume.
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Lind 1990; Lind forthcoming.
Garipzanov 2010; and his article in this volume.
Adam of Bremen 1978, 344. After the death of King Emund, Bishop Osmund
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was eulogized in the Liber Eliensis, Fairweather 2005, 201.
Janson 1998, 113. Janson gives the most detailed, recent presentation of Osmund's
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Adam of Bremen 1978, 348.
Adam of Bremen 1978, 362.
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see the quote from Fuglesang above. The original text reads, 'Ef biskupar koma
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