79 smyth scandinavian york ii 164 80 abrams

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79 Smyth, Scandinavian York , II, 164. 80 Abrams, ‘Conversion and Assimilation’, pp. 144-45. 81 See R. Ó Floinn, ‘Two Viking graves from Co. Wicklow’, Wicklow Archaeology and History 1 (1998), 29-35; Stephen Harrison, ‘Bride Street Revisited’ , Medieval Dublin , 10 (2010) forthcoming.
Thor’s hammer pendant, a soapstone mould for making Thor’s hammer pendants and a whalebone statuette of a male figure, which may represent the god Thor or Frey. 82 Clearly some of Dublin’s inhabitants were suspicious of Christianity and adhered to the gods of their ancestors. 83 Objects of a Christian nature which have been recovered from tenth century levels include a small bone cross, an amber cross amulet, a copper alloy cross fragment and a cruciform bronze brooch. 84 Cross inscribed ornaments from tenth-century contexts in Dublin include two ringed-pins (both of which were deposited in the second quarter of the tenth century). 85 Two cross emblems are incised on a wooden box which was recovered from Fishamble Street. 86 Another find from Fishamble Street dating to the late tenth century is a wooden boss which has been identified as part of a ‘high-cross’. 87 It is possible that the object was brought into Dublin in its current incomplete form. However it is interesting that a wooden cross- arm was found in an eleventh-century pit at Christchurch Place, so there may have been wooden crosses erected in Viking-Age Dublin. 88 To the south of Dublin, over thirty stone monuments have been identified as belonging to a type labelled ‘Rathdown slabs’. These seem to be Christian memorials set up under viking influence. 89 They cannot be dated securely on art historical grounds, and their dating has tended to rely on perceptions as to when the vikings of Dublin converted. It could be argued that some of these monuments were erected as early as the tenth century. In sum, the religious affiliations of Dubliners in the tenth century were diverse and not entirely resistant to Christianity. The number of cruciform or cross inscribed objects indicates a Christian presence. Furthermore the settlement’s elite seem to have relinquished heathenism by the mid-tenth century. The decline of traditional Scandinavian religion in Dublin may be linked to the rise of the port as an urban centre. Christianity was in the ninth century the religion of European towns as well as the Irish interior. The rituals of traditional Scandinavian religion were embedded in the routines and concerns of a non-urban society. This may have meant that some practices became less relevant away from Scandinavia in the increasingly urban environment of Viking Dublin. Heathenism may have also become increasingly seen as a barrier to developing successful trade relations with Irish neighbours or Christian partners overseas. The inclusive nature of polytheism may have Christ to be initially adopted alongside other Gods to facilitate cross-cultural links. Over time the pressure for increasing conformity to Christian values from 82 Ruth Johnson, Viking Age Dublin (Dublin: Townhouse, 2004) pp. 88-89; National Museum of

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