Norse Scenario

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by Modern Imperialism, Dec 21, 2018.

  1. Modern Imperialism Well-Known Member

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    During the Viking Age, a characteristic leader and military genius within one of the Norse Kingdoms declares he has been messaged by Odin. Odin has told him the "truth" about many things and the threat of the desert gods(Christianity and Islam) pose to the Norse people. He states Jesus and Mohammad are puppets of Loki and tools that he will use to enslave all people under his rule. Many think he is crazy at first but after a long string of near impossible military victories and mix of his characteristic nature more and more Norse people start to believe him. He unites various petty Norse kingdoms under his rule and creates a small empire in Nordic countries and even holds some lands in the British Isles and mainland Europe. He reforms the Norse pagan faith into an ethnocentric religion with its own local priest and scripture. The people after him build up and expand the Norse Empire to cover Denmark, Scandinavia, Finland, Baltics, British Isles, Normandy, and Iceland but breaks apart into various countries after 200 years. The empire or individual Vikings also sets up their own domains or empire tributes across Europe or the lands they raid. Some of these include Brittany, Crimea, Sicily, and Kiev. The empire and some of the states following it become super wealthy from raiding Europe especially Northern Europe where they dominate. The Norse also use these raids on Christians and Muslims to steal technology, ideas, and academic knowledge from them for their own use. Additionally, the Celt Church forms in the British Isles after it breaks away from the Roman Church during Norse rule.

    Thoughts on this?
     
  2. Justinianus Banned

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    Someone's played too much CKII methinks...
     
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  3. Modern Imperialism Well-Known Member

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    Fair point but considering what Mohammad and what the people after him did I don't think this is the most unlikely scenario. Arabs would have shared a similar fate to the Viking if not for Islam.
     
  4. CountPeter Apparently the anti-christ.

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    The major difference however is that Islam did not develop in isolation.

    Arabia had been a sigificant center for religous traffic for centuries, with complex religions from Buddhism to Manichaeism regularly intermingling with pagan beliefs and a folk myth (descendants from Abraham) to boot.

    Scandinavia does not have this, the structure for complex theology (i.e. access to literature to build upon) or any real history to give legitimacy to the beliefs of said conqueror.

    That last bit might sound weird, but its a significant factor in the development of complex religions in both how we relate to the divine (they walked with our ancestors) and a long term continuity with the past that creates a shared identity.

    Most pagan faiths, historically technically only exist in any coherent form in the modern era because peoples relations to the divine was closer in complexity to shared folklore, meaning the next village over could worship different gods, in a different way etc. Not the kind of thing that makes for a shared identity, and certainly not for the development of complex theology.


    That is not to say however that a Norsr religion could not come to prominence (and indeed I have discussed potential for it here before), but the often made comparrison to Arabia is unfortunately not a well made comparrison.
     
  5. Modern Imperialism Well-Known Member

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    I was thinking a Viking leader who was exposed to various faiths and ideas during his raids while young comes up with the idea of reforming the Norse religion when he comes back north. The Viking raided all over Europe and even reached the Middle East and Africa. That means many of them could have been exposed to various scholarly knowledge if they took an interest in it. Maybe while raiding a monastery one Viking takes some of the books and archives they have and studies them out of curiosity.
     
  6. Alexander Helios Heir of Kiskeya and Olympus

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    You have to remember that Arabia was suffering from overpopulation, which led to the rise of Islam. It might be possible, but I doubt that people will convert by the masses if they aren't gaining anything out of it.
     
  7. Modern Imperialism Well-Known Member

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    Scandinavia and the Norse regions were having overpopulation too during this era due to the warming climate. That one reason they think the Viking age started and they expanded out of the region. They just assimilated to regions they took over most of the time. Arabs would have assimilated to regions they took too if they expanded without the influence of religion.
     
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  8. CountPeter Apparently the anti-christ.

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    The levels of exposure of one civilization to another are drastically different between long distance traders/raiders and living in a place so central to then contemporary religion.

    So in terms of the contiuity thing for example, something like the Black Rock of Mecca is something the locals are avle to easily absorb into their common cultural identity going from polytheism to monotheism (our ancestors were this and here is a living relic!). Said same center has no real connection to Viking traders nor do they have anything to contribute to the cross pollination of ideas (again, unlike Arabia).
     
  9. Modern Imperialism Well-Known Member

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    Could a Norse pagan reformation be a response to growing Christian influence and power by Norse pagans who oppose Christianity?
     
  10. Philip One L only

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    That's roughly what Julian tried, and he had a better organized religion and empire to work with. The thing is, reforming a religion is hard and rarely succeeds without extensive bloodshed.
     
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  11. Modern Imperialism Well-Known Member

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    Bloodshed does sound like a very Viking way of doing it. I was thinking thinking the leader of reformation wins a long string of military victories that seems impossible to many. But in reality he or maybe she was just a really smart military leader who got lucky. They use this to convince people they are right and that they have the Norse gods on their side. Also I was thinking the religion stays mostly ethnocentric with it mostly being restricted to Nordic countries.
     
  12. CountPeter Apparently the anti-christ.

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    Not really.
    Again as an idea, Norse Paganism doesnt really exist as a solid entity outside of the modern era. The fiction of Norse Paganism functions as a coherent whole to make it easier to view from a modern lense rather than what actually existed, a disparate sense of folk beliefs. Its a useful fiction, making it easier to generalise and it makes for awesome stories/tv, but it isnt really a thing.
     
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  13. SeaCambrian Well-Known Member

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    Scandinavia wasn't isolated and static, it's just that most of its ancient history was oral and unwritten and we can only uncover it by archaeology and a paucity of inscriptions. Still, Viking Age Scandinavia became the second biggest trade locus in Europe after Constantinople. The period during which it was most economically significant however, the early 10th century, was also the time when Christianity began to take hold. The difficulty of creating a reformed Norse religion is that as medieval Scandinavia attained more wealth, it also integrated itself into continental structures and those were already Christian. Based on the precedent of Arian Christians among the Goths, creating a "heresy" based on Christianity, or even Islam, might be more likely.
     
  14. CountPeter Apparently the anti-christ.

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    I agree 100%, and my post was not trying to get across the idea that scandinavia was isolated but that it was not nearly as well travelled as Arabia.
     
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  15. Byzantion Well-Known Member

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    Maybe Baldur could play a role in a organized North Pagan church ?
     
  16. Intransigent Southerner Well-Known Member

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    The comparison with Islam falls flat because Islam isn't Semitic polytheism reformed, it's an Abrahamic religion that derives directly from Judaism and Christianity.
     
  17. Byzantion Well-Known Member

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    Maybe the North reformed faith is spread to Baltics and Russia and further through Volga. Maybe Frisians who also had been Northern Germanic Pagans very late and longtime struggeled even after conversion could join as well. We could see Odin Churches in Greenland and Iceland. North Paganism in Britannia implemented as a rulers privelige reliogion maybe as well.
     
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2018
  18. Queen Edward II³-(IV+II²) Trigger-Happy Beerbarian

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    That is pretty much exactly what I did in one of my CKII scenarios, and I even found Norse names for every city, town and province in the British Isles. Eventually, all of Britain was Norse by ethnicity and religion, ruled by the all-powerful Fylkir of the Norse Empire.

    (I also allowed incest and had one of my rulers marry four straight generations of his own daughters, but that is a whole different topic.)
     
  19. KnightofTempest The Man who Would be King

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    It's actually a common misconception that the Norse Equated Loki with Satan as an adversarial figure. Archeological evidence suggests he was still worshipped along with the rest of the Pantheon well into the 10th Century. See while Loki features in Ragnarok as adversarial, Ragnarok is something of a strange mix of prophecy and future destiny. In a sense the shit he would be adversarial about hasn't happened yet to the Norse and until the signs start to show, he was still a god and deserving of worship.

    A lot of the Satan allegory comes from the fact that when the Eddas were finally written down, it was the 13th century and they were being recorded by Snorri Sturlsson, a Christian Monk in Christian Iceland.
     
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