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Cosmological endurance: pagan identities in early Christian Europe

  • Lotte Hedeager (a1)

Abstract

In this article, I attempt to show how the Germanic peoples of the Migration Period in Early Chiristian Europe (c. AD 400–500) created – or preserved – a pagan Scandinavian myth of their origin as a, significant part of their identity and perception. The function of the myths as political and ideological legitimations is related to the iconography of the material culture, notably the early animal ornamentation (Salins' Style I). Integration of the written evidence and the archaeological sources makes it possible to demonstrate how origins, myths and iconography together express a formative core of pagan identity in Early Christian Europe.

Dans cet article, j'essaie de montrer comment les peuples germaniques de la période migratoire du début de l'ère chrétienne en Europe (env. 400–500 apr. J.C.) ont créé – ou conservé – un mythe des origines scandinave et païen, mythe qui constitue une partie importante de leur identité et de leur perception. La fonction de tels mythes, en tant que légitimations politiques et idéologiques est liée a l'iconographie de la culture matérielle, notamment aux premières formes d'ornementation animale (Salin, style 1). Grâce à l'intégration de preuves écrites et à différentes sources archéologiques, il est possible de démontrer comment les mythes des origines et l'iconographie, pris ensemble, expriment un élément fondamental de l'identité payenne de l'Europe du début de l'ère chrétienne.

Zusammenfassung

In diesem Aufsatz versuche ich zu zeigen, wie die germanischen Völker der Völkerwanderungszeit im frühchristlichen Europa (ca.400–50, n. Chr.) einen heidnischen, skandinavischen Mythos ihres Ursprungs schufen, oder bewahrten, der einen erheblichen Teil ihrer Identität und Wahmehmung darstellte. Die Funktion der Mythen als politische und ideologische Legitimationsmittel steht in Beziehung zur Ikonographie der materiellen Kultur, vor allem den frühen Tierverzierungen (Salins Stil I). Die Integration von Schriftquellen und archäologischen Quellen ermöglicht es zu zeigen, wie Ursprungsmythen und Ikonographie zusammen einen entscheidenen Kern heidnischer Identität im frühchristlichen Europa ausdrücken.

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Cosmological endurance: pagan identities in early Christian Europe

  • Lotte Hedeager (a1)

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