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Crystal Amulet Poses Question On Early Christianity (Denmark - 100AD)
Denmark DK ^ | 3-9-2007

Posted on 03/09/2007 11:37:30 AM PST by blam

9 March 2007

Crystal amulet poses question on early Christianity

An overlooked crystal amulet in the National Museum suggests new understandings about Christianity's origins in Denmark

King Harold Bluetooth brought Christianity to Denmark roughly 1100 years ago. At least that's what he declared on the Jelling Stone located in Jutland:

'King Haraldr ordered this monument made in memory of Gormr, his father, and in memory of Thyrvé, his mother; that Haraldr who won for himself all of Denmark and Norway and made the Danes Christian.'

A tiny crystal amulet in the National Museum's archives suggests something quite different though, that maybe Christianity arrived in Denmark six centuries earlier than previously believed.

Crystal ball

In 1820, a farmer found the crystal amulet in the grave of a noblewoman on the island of Funen. Together with coins and other items in the grave, archaeologists were able to date the grave to about 300 AD.

For nearly two hundred years, the amulet and other articles had been on display in the National Museum.

As part of major project to reorganise the museum's collection, however, Peter Pentz, a curator and archaeologist at the National Museum, examined the 3cm sphere of crystal and noticed that it was unlike anything found in Denmark.

Upon closer inspection, he noticed what seemed to be an upside arrow. Drawing upon his knowledge of early Christian imagery, Pentz began to wonder: could this arrow in actuality be an anchor? A sign used by early Christians?

Pentz discovered another etching on the amulet - the word ABLATHANALBA. Such a word was believed to have mystical powers in early Christian ceremonies, suggesting that its owner had a connection to early Christian beliefs.

Pentz explained that his past studies in Rome's catacombs enabled him to see the amulet in a different light.

'I'm familiar with early Christian imagery,' Pentz told Politiken newspaper. 'As I studied the ball, I recognised the connection.'

First Christian Dane

The crystal amulet says important things about the woman buried in the 4th century, at a time when Denmark was still largely populated by pagans who worshipped Thor.

But was she a Christian?

Pentz thinks it's possible. She was most likely not the typical porridge eating woman who slaved every day to carry water from the nearby well. Instead, she was of a higher class and probably wore woollen textiles dyed in strong colours.

'She could have come from south eastern Europe and been married into an aristocratic Danish family,' said Pentz.

He admits that his hypothesis takes him out on a limb. The tiny crystal ball could have changed hands many times. And maybe it belonged to somebody else and was merely placed in her grave to help her on her journey in the after world.

New interpretations

Factors nevertheless suggested the woman subscribed to an early Christian worldview with all the mysticism and talismans that included.

The residents of Funen, for example, had ties to the Black Sea and Balkans where many people converted to Christianity early on. As far back as 100AD, people in that region were becoming Christianised. By the 4th century, many Christians populated the area.

Travelling from Denmark to the region was a long journey at the time, but the residents of Funen were more adventurous than residents of Zealand.

So the chance exists that some form of trade existed between the two regions. And that a woman prescribing to an early Christian faith could have come to Denmark long before Harold Bluetooth took credit for converting the Danes to Christianity.


TOPICS:
KEYWORDS: amulet; christian; crystal; denmark; faithandphilosophy; gnostic; godsgravesglyphs; kabbalah; romanempire; thevikings; vikings
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1 posted on 03/09/2007 11:37:32 AM PST by blam
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To: SunkenCiv

GGG Ping?


2 posted on 03/09/2007 11:37:55 AM PST by blam
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To: blam
King Harold Bluetooth

Denmark-Ahead of it's time.

3 posted on 03/09/2007 11:39:10 AM PST by carolinalivin
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To: blam

I'm sorry, I must have dropped it there...


4 posted on 03/09/2007 11:40:43 AM PST by kinoxi
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To: blam
My Aramaic is not exactly fluent, but phonetically that "magic word" translates to "Thou art our father."

And, yes, that particular formulation is found Jewish Kabbalistic materials, so presumably also Gnostic Christians would find it interesting.
5 posted on 03/09/2007 11:42:28 AM PST by MeanWestTexan (Kol Hakavod Lezahal)
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To: blam
Interesting.

Another possible explanation is trade goods. There were well established trade routes between Scandinavia and the rest of Europe quite early on. Even without direct trade, goods passed from hand to hand to hand and wound up in odd corners.

It makes just as much sense for a well-born woman to receive a play-pretty from the traders as it does that she was a believer . . .

6 posted on 03/09/2007 11:44:23 AM PST by AnAmericanMother ((Ministrix of Ye Chase, TTGC Ladies' Auxiliary (recess appointment)))
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To: carolinalivin
King Harold Bluetooth
Denmark-Ahead of it's time.

I thought I could get the connection... but I use verizon and its disabled.

7 posted on 03/09/2007 11:44:58 AM PST by rit
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To: blam
She was most likely not the typical porridge eating woman who slaved every day to carry water from the nearby well. Instead, she was of a higher class and probably wore woollen textiles dyed in strong colours.

Giggling hysterically....

8 posted on 03/09/2007 11:47:26 AM PST by JohnnyZ ("I respect and will protect a woman's right to choose" -- Mitt Romney, April 2002)
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To: blam

Me thinks its great, but a little over excited combination of apples and oranges.

One is a set of historical events which marked the growth and advance of Christianity in Denmark, which, in myths, might give Harold Bluetooth more credit that he deserves. But I think the history would credit the era of Harold as marking the beginning of that large-scale religious conversion process, with or without the myths related to it.

While the artifact represents a single individual, who lived among an unknown group of individuals, of an unknown number and with unknown actual religious sentiments. I don't think that one artifact can alter the history of the general introduction of Christianity to Denmark.


9 posted on 03/09/2007 11:54:02 AM PST by Wuli
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Those Vikings, they got around:

Buddha statue from 6th c found in Viking hoard in Helgo, Sweden
Biblical Archaeology Review | March/April 2005 | "Worldwide" editor
Posted on 04/26/2005 11:26:07 PM PDT by SunkenCiv
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/chat/1391864/posts


10 posted on 03/09/2007 11:56:58 AM PST by SunkenCiv (I last updated my profile on Thursday, February 19, 2007. https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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To: MeanWestTexan

cool thanks


11 posted on 03/09/2007 11:59:04 AM PST by GOP Poet
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To: blam; FairOpinion; StayAt HomeMother; Ernest_at_the_Beach; 24Karet; 3AngelaD; 49th; ...
Thanks Blam!

To all -- please ping me to other topics which are appropriate for the GGG list. Thanks.
Please FREEPMAIL me if you want on or off the
"Gods, Graves, Glyphs" PING list or GGG weekly digest
-- Archaeology/Anthropology/Ancient Cultures/Artifacts/Antiquities, etc.
Gods, Graves, Glyphs (alpha order)

12 posted on 03/09/2007 11:59:04 AM PST by SunkenCiv (I last updated my profile on Thursday, February 19, 2007. https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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To: blam

I can't find anything about crystal amulets in the the gospels of the new testament, I must be missing some pages....


13 posted on 03/09/2007 11:59:05 AM PST by gitmogrunt
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To: rit
"King Harold Bluetooth"

Viking names are like that. (My Father had a "blue tooth"--grey, actually.)

Onund Stump Leg: He lost it in a fight--during battles he set the leg on a stump on the deck of the longboat. Fought anyone that wandered within reach.

Sigurd Snake in the Eye: Can't say why he got this name. Knew of someone in High School that got the white of his eye cut in a knife fight. The scar was jagged and purple ("pretty cool" said my friends) and maybe Sigurd had a scar in his eye that looked like that.)

Gizur the White: An Albino? or just really flaxen locks?

Harold Hardrider (Trygvvason): One of the kings of Norway. 7 feet tall. He rode his "subjects" mercilessly. Had a Christian wife who could read and write. (He didn't.)
14 posted on 03/09/2007 12:05:24 PM PST by Pete from Shawnee Mission
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To: SunkenCiv
Buddha statue from 6th c found in Viking hoard in Helgo, Sweden

The Swedes are Buddhists? I never knew that.

15 posted on 03/09/2007 12:06:04 PM PST by Ole Okie
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To: MeanWestTexan

This could be a viking traders wife. She could have come from the Mediterranean, Britian, someplace like that.


16 posted on 03/09/2007 12:06:47 PM PST by Pete from Shawnee Mission
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To: GOP Poet

No problem.

One of many benefits of spending most of my junior high/high school years in Israel.


17 posted on 03/09/2007 12:07:03 PM PST by MeanWestTexan (Kol Hakavod Lezahal)
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To: Pete from Shawnee Mission

I thought it was Hardrada - Hard Counsel. But maybe that's my Anglo-Saxon talking.


18 posted on 03/09/2007 12:08:56 PM PST by AnAmericanMother ((Ministrix of Ye Chase, TTGC Ladies' Auxiliary (recess appointment)))
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To: Wuli

That was basically my reaction to it as well. While the possibility of Christians arriving early in Denmark is interesting and possibly of historic significance, that doesn't automatically displace the significance of later events, at least not without additional information to demonstrate historical continuity between this find and later Danish Christianity. There were cases of Christianity appearing early in a region but not really taking root among the general populace until later. I think maybe the author of the article exaggerated the implications of the find for the sake of making the lead sound more exciting, which seems to happen a lot with archaeology articles: everyone wants to announce the discovery of the "first" something or other.


19 posted on 03/09/2007 12:24:18 PM PST by Fedora
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To: blam

Why would this be a stretch to believe? Christianity was moving along with the Romans as they expanded their empire. St. Patrick was a Roman who had been taken in slavery by Irish raiders, then later became a priest to go back and convert the Irish. If Catholicism was in the British Isles by the 4th century, who's to say it hadn't made it's way to Denmark also? Perhaps a Catholic priest had been taken to Denmark as a prisoner by the 'Vikings' of the era, and began spreading the Faith. It's not far-fetched to consider it.


20 posted on 03/09/2007 12:56:37 PM PST by SuziQ
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To: AnAmericanMother

Faulty mememor and folk etymology strikes me again. Yes OE and ON are very similar.

Wikipedia:
Harald III Sigurdsson (1015 – September 25, 1066), later surnamed Harald Hardråde (Old Norse: Haraldr harðráði, roughly translated as "Harald stern council" or "hard ruler")

Since I'm at it might as well correct something else, not Trygrvvson, but Harold Sigurdsson!


21 posted on 03/09/2007 12:56:45 PM PST by Pete from Shawnee Mission (Hi lady with the pretty pictures!)
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To: SuziQ

An even more likely explanation is that this was not of Christian origin, but Jewish. The diaspora spread far and wide, was more numerous at the time, and certainly had a longer time to get there.

Here, is a kabbalistic reference to the same time of item:

http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/view.jsp?artid=633&letter=A


22 posted on 03/09/2007 1:16:14 PM PST by MeanWestTexan (Kol Hakavod Lezahal)
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To: blam
ABLATHANALBA. Such a word was believed to have mystical powers in early Christian ceremonies,

It contains the last name of Jessica Alba whether read forward or backwards. And Jessica Alba has mystical powers over me ...

23 posted on 03/09/2007 1:22:20 PM PST by ikka
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To: MeanWestTexan

Could very well be. I don't know when the Ashkenazim first formed as a group in northern Europe, but they could have been the Jews who fled the Middle East at the end of the first century AD.


24 posted on 03/09/2007 1:36:54 PM PST by SuziQ
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To: rit
but I use verizon and its disabled.

My Verizon supports Bluetooth. "Thyrvé" what a beautiful name.

25 posted on 03/09/2007 1:44:05 PM PST by Ace's Dad ("There are more important things: Friendship, Bravery...")
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To: gitmogrunt

You don't have "The Book of New Age Bull S***?"


26 posted on 03/09/2007 1:48:40 PM PST by Grizzled Bear ("Does not play well with others.")
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To: blam; nuconvert; Dajjal
There might be another explanation for ABLATHANALBA (It might be similar to abracadabra. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/abracadabra) Here is a picture

It looks like Greek letters, but it is not necessarily in Greek.

Or, if "Alba" is Gaelic for Scotland.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alba
could it be Ab latha n-Alba? something like: O wonder one day in our Scotland (anybody out there that knows Gaelic?)
27 posted on 03/09/2007 2:04:20 PM PST by AdmSmith
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To: blam

She may have been a Christian or not. It bears no relfection on King Harald's achievements.

The Christian Anglo-Seaxons were very clear in their references to heathen Vikings.

But the Danes as a whole were not made Christians until King Harald imposed it on all of Denmark.

There were probably individual Christians and Christian communities living in pagan territory long before Christianiy became an official religion.

Look at how long it took before Constantine made it the official religion in the Empire.


28 posted on 03/09/2007 2:09:05 PM PST by ZULU (Non nobis, non nobis Domine, sed nomini tuo da gloriam. God, guts and guns made America great.)
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To: AdmSmith
A blath an' Alba . . . [sort of =] "it's warm in Scotland." With proper grammar it ought to be "'S blath anns an Alba" . . .

Global Warming! Global Warming! < runs around doing the Highland fling and collapses >

Tha beagan Ghaidlig agam . . . in other words there's a little Gaelic at me, enough to get me into trouble.

29 posted on 03/09/2007 2:09:30 PM PST by AnAmericanMother ((Ministrix of Ye Chase, TTGC Ladies' Auxiliary (recess appointment)))
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To: AnAmericanMother

LOL!


30 posted on 03/09/2007 2:15:58 PM PST by AdmSmith
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To: Grizzled Bear
"You don't have "The Book of New Age Bull S***?""

Was that the same book that was on sale in the Danish Mystics and Hemp Smokers book store?

31 posted on 03/09/2007 2:19:13 PM PST by gitmogrunt
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To: MeanWestTexan
My Aramaic is not exactly fluent, but phonetically that "magic word" translates to "Thou art our father."

It's also a palindrome if TH is replaced by the letter thorn.

32 posted on 03/09/2007 2:22:01 PM PST by null and void ("If you have always done it that way, it is probably wrong." - Charles F. Kettering)
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To: null and void

Nevermind.


33 posted on 03/09/2007 2:26:59 PM PST by null and void ("If you have always done it that way, it is probably wrong." - Charles F. Kettering)
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To: AnAmericanMother; blam

Well, it was a typo in my post, it was not ABLATHANABLA, but ABLANATHANALBA http://www.lib.umich.edu/pap/magic/rb.display.html#no.4 i.e. the Gaelic part was fun, but Bravo Sierra ;-)


34 posted on 03/09/2007 2:41:09 PM PST by AdmSmith
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To: AdmSmith
A ['S] a bla[th] na tha n'Alba.

"It's warm that it is in Scotland."

Still untrue.

35 posted on 03/09/2007 2:45:46 PM PST by AnAmericanMother ((Ministrix of Ye Chase, TTGC Ladies' Auxiliary (recess appointment)))
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To: SuziQ
"Could very well be. I don't know when the Ashkenazim first formed as a group in northern Europe, but they could have been the Jews who fled the Middle East at the end of the first century AD."

Go here , look at the bottom of the page and click on 'Genetic Markers' then look to the haplogroup column to the right and click on haplogroup N1 for your answer.

36 posted on 03/09/2007 2:48:49 PM PST by blam
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To: gitmogrunt

That's funny. I can't find any reference to Rosaries or crosses as amulets either. I must be missing the same pages.


37 posted on 03/09/2007 3:10:44 PM PST by wildbill
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To: Pete from Shawnee Mission

Maybe Harold Hardrider rode his wife hard and she commemmorated it in writing since he couldn't read to take offense.


38 posted on 03/09/2007 3:12:43 PM PST by wildbill
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To: blam

A more likely trade route during the early years of Christianity would be through Viking Russia and then down the rivers to Constantinople.

This route was a popular trading pattern for Nordic people in those days.


39 posted on 03/09/2007 3:16:04 PM PST by wildbill
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To: gitmogrunt
Yep. Near the Bongs and the "Freak-Ease."
40 posted on 03/09/2007 3:40:51 PM PST by Grizzled Bear ("Does not play well with others.")
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To: Pete from Shawnee Mission; AnAmericanMother

Hello friends. Haraldr harðráði in old Icelandic means Harald Hard-buttocks. Yes, you've got that right. harðráði is a perjorative in some texts for a mean ruler and just as today it is in reference to a man's hind quarters.


41 posted on 03/09/2007 3:53:08 PM PST by Siobhan (Pray, pray, pray,)
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To: blam; AnAmericanMother
This is one of the most exciting pieces I have seen in years.

First remember that in the development of language "l" and "r" are liquid vowels and can replace each other. So change the Greek "l" to an "r" and you are close to abra kedabra.

Also, words of power inscribed like this were often meant so that letters were read in reverse.

That is definitely an anchor in my opinion - I have seen a number of others including one up in Deeside on Pictish Christian carvings on megaliths.

This noble woman was of extraordinary importance to have this.

42 posted on 03/09/2007 3:58:30 PM PST by Siobhan (Telling my beads ...)
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To: blam; AnAmericanMother

I neglected to say that there would likely be a deliberate mis-spelling of the word of power so that neophytes and the unwashed could not read it.


43 posted on 03/09/2007 4:00:51 PM PST by Siobhan (Telling my beads ...)
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To: Pete from Shawnee Mission

My favorite on is Halvdan den Milde Og Matille Øysteinsøn(The Generous & Food Miserly), because it's rather baffling. His father was Øystein "Fretr" Halvdansson (the Fart), a name that is sure to bring glee to any young boy.


44 posted on 03/09/2007 4:02:04 PM PST by GoLightly
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To: blam

I think it's possible she may have been a Goth (Wulfila Bible was a 4th century translation) or possibly a Nun, who'd been collected during a raid.


45 posted on 03/09/2007 4:05:53 PM PST by GoLightly
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To: AnAmericanMother; GoLightly; blam

I should have said you can find the perjorative use of harðráði in the Sagas. Of course, this is a rare double entendre ... the "radt" as parliament is featured in a number of northern European languages...


46 posted on 03/09/2007 4:06:37 PM PST by Siobhan (Telling my beads ...)
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To: GoLightly

My bet would be on a woman the Vikings brought back during their raids through Kievan Rus' during the Viking river invasions through what is modern day Russia, Ukraine etc.


47 posted on 03/09/2007 4:14:02 PM PST by Siobhan (Telling my beads ...)
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To: Siobhan
Whoa. I think somebody's been pulling your leg.

I actually took Icelandic for a semester, and my Icelandic dictionary says: "ráða (ræð; réð; ráðinn) v.t. advise; recommend; ráða e-m áð gera e-ð, advise s.o. to do s.t.; with dat. rule, govern." Nothing about bottoms anywhere.

It seems an obvious cognate with the Anglo-Saxon ræd and Middle English rede, all meaning the same thing - counsel or advice. I would think the Icelandic for the hinder parts would be a cognate of the A/S "buttuc" which means what it sounds like.

48 posted on 03/09/2007 4:14:21 PM PST by AnAmericanMother ((Ministrix of Ye Chase, TTGC Ladies' Auxiliary (recess appointment)))
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To: AnAmericanMother

Nope. Njalsaga.


49 posted on 03/09/2007 4:15:37 PM PST by Siobhan (Telling my beads ...)
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To: Siobhan

Burnt Njal?


50 posted on 03/09/2007 4:16:34 PM PST by AnAmericanMother ((Ministrix of Ye Chase, TTGC Ladies' Auxiliary (recess appointment)))
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