Islamic culture in Scandinavia

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by vrDrew, Oct 15, 2017.

  1. vrDrew macrumors 65816

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    #1
    It's been around longer than most people think. A lot longer:

    and

    Viking settlements on the coast of Sweden are believed to be part of the Silk Road trading network, one that flourished for around 150 years in the Ninth Century AD.

    It's an important reminder that migration, trade, and globalization are not something that we just invented recently.
     
  2. VulchR macrumors 68020

    VulchR

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    #2
    Christianity spread fairly rapidly - there's nor reason to believe that Islam didn't do the same. It will be interesting to see what various far-right white groups think of this since they seem to view Vikings as part of their identity.
     
  3. SoggyCheese Suspended

    SoggyCheese

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    Not really surprising. The Vikings traded down the Volga to the Black Sea, and during the same period conquered Sicily. Given that at the time half the coasts of the Mediterranean (including most of Iberia) were controlled by the Caliphs there would have been plenty of opportunities for individual Vikings to convert to Islam.
     
  4. vrDrew thread starter macrumors 65816

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    They are, predictably, protesting this discovery.

    The scientists are going to be doing DNC testing on the skeletal remains. Presumably, that will indicate whether or not the people buried there was of Middle-Eastern origin. But I don't really think that makes much difference. We know that the Vikings traded with the Middle East, they have found coins from Baghdad in numerous sites throughout Scandinavia. And there are historical texts from the era that detail contact with Islam.

    This is significant because it suggests that relatively high-status people living in Viking communities over a thousand years ago had an understanding and appreciationv of Islamic culture. And that probably pre-dates the widespread introduction of Christianity to the region. (These) Swedes were probably Muslim long before they became Christian.
     
  5. jeremy h macrumors 6502

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    I saw this reported and was surprised that journalists were surprised!

    After all ... The First Rus (Russia?) And its an excuse to link to one of Angus McBride's historical illustrations

    [​IMG]
     
  6. Falhófnir macrumors 68040

    Falhófnir

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    Of course it’s not like Christianity isn’t ultimately as alien to Europe as Islam; it’s just that Christianity was very much merged in with existing traditions and local beliefs when it started becoming engrained in Europe. Existing important dates were re-purposed for new Christian celebrations, with Christmas being moved back by months from the date of Jesus’ birth. Existing holy sites were where churches were built, there’s even a tradition of yew trees which were important as one of few evergreen trees in Britain being present in most churchyards. Because Islam isn’t meant to be supplanting Christianity in the same way Christianity did to indigenous belief systems, it tends to come with the contentious cultural add-ons from the middle eastern interpretation. See burkas etc. Obviously Nordic culture originally had its own mythology with its own polytheistic pantheon of gods which has now been reduced to a profit making parody for people’s light entertainment...
     
  7. Solomani macrumors 68040

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    Now for the really important question: are there more mosques in Scandinavia than æbleskivers?
     
  8. Zenithal macrumors 604

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    Historically, there were vikings who converted to Islam. Though, I should point out, and unless I'm mistaken, the word "Allah" simply means god in Arabic. The same way in which Yahwey dictates god in Hebrew. However, despite a name change, the deities are different. The bible, Koran and even the Torah make mention of the various children of their respective deity. All three religious tomes bring up the various 'children'.

    Load of tosh, but there you have it.
     
  9. Solomani macrumors 68040

    Solomani

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    #9
    Just a minor correction. Yahweh (sometimes Jehovah) is actually the actual personal name of the Biblical god. The word Yahweh does not mean "God", rather it's the actual name of the deity. And in ancient Jewish tradition, the name was too sacred to be spoken casually.

    Regarding the Vikings, yes they were certainly a widespread culture that roamed far and wide, mixed and mingled with dozens of cultures, and definitely picked up more than a few foreign ideas and beliefs. You have the historical accounts of the Varangian Guards, the personal imperial guards of the Byzantine Emperors were Viking Rus, due to their reputation as fierce and reliable warriors. So yep, Vikings as personal bodyguards to an emperor in sunny Constantinople. :D

    [​IMG]
     
  10. jeremy h macrumors 6502

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    Nice post. I also think we fall into the trap of ascribing our modern nationalities to these sort of things. There's some debate about it but I would imagine that both cultures would always have been very aware of each other. The article quoted is a bit of a strange take on things they way its been written seems to fall into the same trap that it suggests others fall into - that a specific 'Viking' people had their burial customs modified by a specific opening up of trade with a far away Islamic culture. I think that's modern take - for example, I know there is some debate about this but the word Viking is generally taken to describe an adventurer and a raider rather than a nationality. The Norse, Danes, Swedes and the English would have been adventuring, trading and fighting in those parts for years. There would just not have been the exchange of stuff but that of people as well. They didn't just bring back stuff - women would have been bought and taken as well. (Recent genetic research seems to indicate that on the way to Iceland Viking men pretty much picked up (or more likely kidnapped) women from the north western isles to take with them. Presumably their Norse wives refused to go or they wanted a wife in every port?)

    The Varangian guard is a great example of this movement of some people - while they recruited the original Rus, they also recruited specifically from Scandinavia, Iceland and England - there must have been communication / trade to facilitate this and as far as the people of the East were concerned I would suspect the thought of them all as the same 'useful' people as they fought the same - shields, big axes, archery was cheating and also probably sounded and looked pretty much the same.

    Interestingly in that picture you show - number 3's banner seems to feature a Wyvern - (a two legged worm) an unusual heraldic animal that features heavily in the heraldry of the provincial English town I come from.
     
  11. vrDrew thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #11
    Now that's interesting!

    Because the Wyvern is distinguished from the Dragon by dint of having two legs, as opposed to four - plus the wings.

    So, technically at least, the dragons in Game of Thrones aren't really dragons. They are Wyverns. (Although, also something of a technicality, dragons breath fire, while traditionally wyverns did not.) I learned something new today.
     
  12. Raid macrumors 68020

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    #12
  13. jeremy h macrumors 6502

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    It's also fun to speculate where the Wyvern might have come from. Wales' flag is a red dragon, the Anglo Saxon kingdom of Wessex is reputed to have had a golden Wyvern as its standard. At the time of the Anglo-Saxon incursion (invasion?) - say 400-800AD, any cavalry would have still been Roman in organisation and style. It's well known that the Roman co-opted Parthian cavalry for the legions and their techniques and equipment would be well known throughout the Empire. Interestingly it's also recorded that they flew great big windsock banners in the shape of fish like dragons/worms. These banners would have looked really impressive in the field and I suspect any cavalry organised along roman lines might well have used them. (So, perhaps the old legend of the two dragons fighting each other for control of Britain isn't so far fetched?) This is also speculation but I'd imagine a wyvern type of animal would have worked well for such banners - after all how would you stick rear legs on a long windsock type of thing? (The front legs could be part of a head etc).
     
  14. 0098386 Suspended

    0098386

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    There's an incredible Youtube channel called "Shaun and Jen" that deals with correcting far right/alt right/nazi video propaganda. It's incredible but I would say that because I love seeing those kinds of people with their lies be corrected.
     
  15. Populism macrumors regular

    Populism

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    Full article:

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/w...woven-myth-islam-uppsala-sweden-a8003881.html
     
  16. SoggyCheese, Oct 17, 2017
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2017

    SoggyCheese Suspended

    SoggyCheese

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    #16
    The Golden Wyvern evolved into a white four-legged dragon as Wessex grew into England. Together with the red on white Welsh dragon banner I've always wondered if that's why the Normans/Plantagenets imported the Turkish/Syrian/Byzantine St. George to be Patron Saint of England. He, like they, slew dragons.

    BTW, St. Edmund's Day is November 20th.
     
  17. takao macrumors 68040

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    #17
    also to keep in mind: Sometimes people just like a design or characters even if they don't understand them.

    The central european museum i worked for also had 2 sets of knight armor with actual arabic engravings spelling out the basic islamic religous prayer in some locations. But where was the armor made ? In a christian country for christian rulers for a tournament. But how did it end up on the armor ? Because designs were often copied by blacksmiths.

    In our case it was copied of an older middle eastern helmet 1:1 by a blacksmith. He simply thought it was a great ornamental pattern and fitted it to the pompous design.

    Also in later times (14-15th century) it was sometimes done on purpose for good guys vs bad guys tournaments or for reenacting battles during festivities. Then it sometimes also included masks: Popular at that time were those mimicing mongol warriors.


    After all a lot of people get tattooed with Chinese characters today, without being able to read it ... just because it looks cool to them.
     

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16 October 15, 2017