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Old February 17th, 2014, 04:29 AM   #1

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How the Christianity conquered the spirits of Germans barbarians?


Germans had a religiousness very different respect Christian religion:
They were polytheistic, and believed of one conception of life warrior, heroic, and violence... different by peace, fraternity and love of Christians.
Moreover, they believed that the gods lived in the nature, and the valorous man could become a gods with their warrior action (hero opposed christian martyr).
But, the Christian religion speak of a God far, separate from the nature.
Also, Germans lived far from roman civility, and then don't had many contacts with them, with Christianity that grew inside the Empire.
Why the Christians conquer a pagan religion like ancient German peoples? How the Christians did? The German religion was in crisis?
It's true that the German not accepted the Christianity "pure" (see Arianism), but Christianity is one religion completely different.
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Old February 17th, 2014, 06:08 AM   #2
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Ask better how many of the old pagan populations of the roman empire accept the new religion. In some cases yes you are right they accepted Jesus Christ parallel with their old believes or at once in form of pure love and his sacrifice for earth and humanity, but after the first years and specially after Christianity gets the status of offical religion and changes from people who had a different view than this first pure christian message most of the pagans became in a very violence way with orders and methods Christians.
In a part of the old territory of Lacedemon they excist until the 10th century AD pagans who believe in the old religion and describe themselfes as Hellenes where the other greek speakers of the territory use the term Romios or in some cases Grekos but not anymore Hellenas cause it became after a while synonym for pagan in the east roman empire.
I guess an identic evolution find place in the territories of west and central europe maybe with a delay, but identical, which means: An elite adopt the new religion, a part follow them with the time, another part adopt the new religion from accepted it with local traditions, them who dont, became problems in the one or the other way and after a while (some centuries in the one or the other case) the old pagan believers was a minority until they dont excist anymore.
But still in our days old pagan traditions are alive, as I know in the mountains of Crete in some places the shepherds until our days go in an old cave and give an oath in ancient relieves that they dont stole the ships from others: I cant remember the exact words they say, but they use the ancient terms to give the oath also include the wordσ Νι Za for I swear to Zeus exactly like the ancient Greeks would do the swear.

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Old February 17th, 2014, 07:52 AM   #3

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The spread of Christianity was very long process and the earlier versions were not very Christian as understood both to us today and to contemporary church authorities. Italian and Irish priests were instrumental in spreading Christianity and also the political unification that Christianity brought was a desired commodity after the fall of western Roman Empire.
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Old February 18th, 2014, 03:52 AM   #4

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Tribes sometimes agreed to drop their pagan beliefs and worship christianity as a result of losing a war, such as Valens getting the Goths to become Arians after the campaign that preceded their crossing of the Danube. That sort of thing isn't unusual. Alfred the Great had Guthrum agree to be baptised when he won a war against the Danes. Rome was unusual in that it adopted local gods as they found them, mostly out of superstition or a desire to take ownership of these gods for political advantage, but of course Christianity was a monotheistic faith and thus compelled others to accept that there was only one god. Unfortunately their was never only one faith, despite Constantatine's efforts to unify the church.
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Old February 18th, 2014, 05:49 PM   #5

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What ancient sources (used by Hans Pohlsander below) attest to Constantine's (and other Christian Emperors') bribery of the barbarian tribes by gold?


Quote:
Constantine needed gold to pay for his construction of new churches for his new Roman religious order, for the construction of his new imperial city Constantinople, for the massive empire wide administration payroll for both the civilian posts and the military posts, for the bribes in gold given to the barbarians, and for other general expenses.
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Old February 19th, 2014, 06:19 PM   #6

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I don't buy the whole converted to appease the Romans argument. I could see brand of religion (like Arian to Catholic), but not entire belief system, Simple existence seems like a weak reason for a warrior people to give up their faith. I think Christianity just held more appeal.

I would guess as a non-religious/non-Christian person, I would speculate that Christianity probably appealed a great deal to the German intellectual class, and they were the first to convert. Christianity to us is common, and we tend to ignore the fact that it has a very wide appeal.

German paganism appealed exclusively to the warrior caste, and it was likely that many of the intellectuals and intellectual elders tired of it, or even resented it. Not to mention women, which Luke and Acts appeal to a great deal. Christianity is Platonism for the masses, as a famous modern German philosopher put it; it has its intellectual appeal. All of this is going to trickle down over the decades.

While we don't see it today, paganism was the religion of the bumpkins, and as Germans became Romanized and developed a larger middle class, that sort of association definitely became unpopular. No one wants to be associated with a bumpkin. The word "Pagan" itself was roughly synonymous with bumpkin.

Clovis's Christianity was not very Christian. He proposed it as a sort of a war God cult, that way he was able to appeal to the less intellectual people of his tribe.

Last edited by Theodoric; February 19th, 2014 at 06:27 PM.
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Old February 21st, 2014, 12:35 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Theodoric View Post
I don't buy the whole converted to appease the Romans argument. I could see brand of religion (like Arian to Catholic), but not entire belief system, Simple existence seems like a weak reason for a warrior people to give up their faith. I think Christianity just held more appeal.

I would guess as a non-religious/non-Christian person, I would speculate that Christianity probably appealed a great deal to the German intellectual class, and they were the first to convert. Christianity to us is common, and we tend to ignore the fact that it has a very wide appeal.

German paganism appealed exclusively to the warrior caste, and it was likely that many of the intellectuals and intellectual elders tired of it, or even resented it. Not to mention women, which Luke and Acts appeal to a great deal. Christianity is Platonism for the masses, as a famous modern German philosopher put it; it has its intellectual appeal. All of this is going to trickle down over the decades.

While we don't see it today, paganism was the religion of the bumpkins, and as Germans became Romanized and developed a larger middle class, that sort of association definitely became unpopular. No one wants to be associated with a bumpkin. The word "Pagan" itself was roughly synonymous with bumpkin.

Clovis's Christianity was not very Christian. He proposed it as a sort of a war God cult, that way he was able to appeal to the less intellectual people of his tribe.
*cough*

Do you have anything to substantiate this (sources please)?
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Old February 21st, 2014, 03:33 AM   #8

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Quote:
I don't buy the whole converted to appease the Romans argument. I could see brand of religion (like Arian to Catholic), but not entire belief system, Simple existence seems like a weak reason for a warrior people to give up their faith. I think Christianity just held more appeal.
Religion was not concerned with 'belief systems' back then. It was a matter of which deity and the rituals demanded to worship that superior being. Bear in mind that in Roman times a man could quite literally become a God, both posthumously and during life, because they associated deities - the focus of religion - with power, and the more powerful the man, the more godlike he appeared to be, the very same reason that Egyptian rulers asserted that right over their populace. For them, it wasn't about whether a man was mortal or divine, but the extent to which his virtus had grown toward divinity. Christianity as a whole was different in that it said there was only one god and that's all you get - which is why the Romans invented saints (people who would have been made gods in earlier times). In any event, even after Constantine's efforts, christianity was not a fully united movement with plenty of divergent sects.

Quote:
I would guess as a non-religious/non-Christian person, I would speculate that Christianity probably appealed a great deal to the German intellectual class, and they were the first to convert. Christianity to us is common, and we tend to ignore the fact that it has a very wide appeal.
There was no german intellectual class. I'm not saying they were all thick as bricks, just that philosophy didn't interest them.

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While we don't see it today, paganism was the religion of the bumpkins
No, its a generic word covering a plethora of religions and cults that are classed as non- or pre-christian.

Quote:
The word "Pagan" itself was roughly synonymous with bumpkin.
Even the Romans never made that association.
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Old February 21st, 2014, 04:13 PM   #9

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Theodoric View Post
While we don't see it today, paganism was the religion of the bumpkins, and as Germans became Romanized and developed a larger middle class, that sort of association definitely became unpopular. No one wants to be associated with a bumpkin. The word "Pagan" itself was roughly synonymous with bumpkin.
The term "pagan" was a pejorative term used by 4th Christians within the centralised (city-based) state monotheistic cult to demean the rural populace which had not yet been "converted" to the glorious religious state.

The following from Robin Lane Fox's "Pagans and Christians" (p.31):

The word "pagani: in everyday use meant "civilian" and/or "rustic", and first appears in Christian inscriptions from early 4th century. The term "pagani" also finds early use in the Law Codes in Codex Theodosius 16.2.18 (c.370 CE). "pagani: is a word coined by Christians -- of the towns and cities.

Last edited by Kookaburra Jack; February 21st, 2014 at 04:38 PM.
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Old February 21st, 2014, 04:37 PM   #10

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Prancesco View Post
Also, Germans lived far from roman civility, and then don't had many contacts with them, with Christianity that grew inside the Empire.

Why the Christians conquer a pagan religion like ancient German peoples? How the Christians did? The German religion was in crisis?
I think that the answer to this question is related to a number of other questions which remain unanswered, namely:

(1) Who were the names of Constantine's right-hand-men?
Who were the names of Constantine's "right hand men"?

(2) Who were the many (one modern source states more than 1,800 !!!) so-called "Christian Bishops" appointed by Constantine during his rule?

I think it is likely that Constantine appointed as "Bishops" of the important cities (such as Alexandria and Antioch) some of the key personnel in his victorious army, since they had done the job which they had set out to do - namely to conquer the Roman Empire. These key figures were the chieftains of barbarian tribes.

I think it is therefore quite possible that Christianity was absorbed into the Germanic and Gallic tribes as a direct result of their key chieftains, in the rule of Constantine, being appointed as bishops throughout the many dioceses - land areas established by military divisions - previously established by Diocletian.

It is well known that the Romans used the barbarian chieftains and their tribes increasingly through the 3rd and 4th centuries. It is also well known that from the rule of Constantine the military was pulled back from the frontiers and established in the cities of the Roman Empire.

I reject the notion that the spread of the Christian religion to the German (and Gallic) barbarians was due to some sort of mushy "philosophical" or "religious" influence found in the Christian religion, but rather it is to be explained by the politics of military rule and conquest, as is hinted at in the OP.

In summary, IMO it is likely that the Germanic barbarians later became "Christianised" as a result of their military tribal chieftains being appointed to very important key positions within the new centralised monotheistic militaristic state during Constantine's rule, immediately following their victory c.324/325 CE and in the subsequent decade. This process might be described as kind of flow-back of the Christian cult to the Germanic tribes.

A final question .......... How much of a Germanic barbarian was Constantine?

Last edited by Kookaburra Jack; February 21st, 2014 at 04:48 PM.
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