Opia 24

Frands Herschend: Journey of Civilisation. The Late Iron Age View of the Human World

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This study of the transition from pagan to Christian society in South Scandinavia between the sixth and the eleventh centuries ad aims to show that the common social and ideological denominator for the period was simplification. This facilitated the social stratification which developed during the Roman Iron Age, i.e. before the recession in the middle of the millennium. The method applied is a reconstruction of the pagan view of the human or civilised world and its transformation, based on a sociological and psychological reading of texts and burial contexts. Hall or home and the journey of civilisation are central concepts in the analysis. This pre-Christian view is contrasted with the early Christian notions which come to the fore in the poem Ludwigslied. Based on an analysis of this poem the general principles of pagan and Christian ontology can be termed ‘complementarity’ and ‘categorisation’ respectively (‘complementarity’ as against ‘categorisation’). The study is summarised in a chapter relating the period to three macro-sociological concepts: agreement, personality and centrality.

Keywords: Historical archaeology; Late Iron Age in South Scandinavia; sociology of the Late Iron Age; Ludwigslied; boat-graves; rune-stones