Skip to comments.Crystal Amulet Poses Question On Early Christianity (Denmark - 100AD)
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.
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.
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.
Faulty mememor and folk etymology strikes me again. Yes OE and ON are very similar.
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!
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:
It contains the last name of Jessica Alba whether read forward or backwards. And Jessica Alba has mystical powers over me ...
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.
My Verizon supports Bluetooth. "Thyrvé" what a beautiful name.
You don't have "The Book of New Age Bull S***?"
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.
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.
Was that the same book that was on sale in the Danish Mystics and Hemp Smokers book store?
It's also a palindrome if TH is replaced by the letter thorn.
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 ;-)
"It's warm that it is in Scotland."
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.
That's funny. I can't find any reference to Rosaries or crosses as amulets either. I must be missing the same pages.
Maybe Harold Hardrider rode his wife hard and she commemmorated it in writing since he couldn't read to take offense.
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.