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made the most considerable progress in the building of large seaworthy ships, conquered and settled the Shetland Islands the Orkneys the most northern and western parts of Scotland a portion of north-western England and several points in Ireland. They also colonised the Faroes Iceland and the coasts of Greenland, from which they discovered America. These Norse colonies and conquests, which deeply affected the later development in the western lands, were not of such general historical importance as those of the contemporary Danish-Normans. But they exercised a vast influence in the Northern lands, and of course most directly on Norway, which was thus brought into active intercourse with the long Christianised West of Europe. Scotch and Irish antiquities, as well as traces of a growing influence from the West on the products of Norse and Northern industries in general, appear frequently in the latest Iron-Age, especially in the west of Norway.
Similarly Sweden with its colonies to the East became the medium of a new and important connexion between the North, Russia, the Byzantine Empire and the Arabian Khalifate. By the steadily increasing settlements and conquests of the Swedes on the coasts of Finland and the Baltic Provinces the road into the interior of Russia was opened for the first time. Northern merchants full of enterprise and eager for gain drove a trade with the Byzantines and Arabs. They were succeeded by conquering Swedish hosts, known as "Russi," who assumed dominion over the Slavs in many places, where ornaments and weapons in Northern style are still frequently brought to light.
By their superior ability and strength they helped to found the later Russian Empire, Swedish and other Northern warriors, who were named by the Russians and Greeks "Vaeringi" (" aliens with civic rights," as contrasted with the emigrant Russi), took service sometimes with the Russian princes in their campaigns against the Emperors in Byzantium, sometimes as House-carls" or body-guards with the Byzantine Emperors themselves. Russian and Northern princely houses contracted marriages with one another. By longcontinued communications of various kinds Arabian and Byzantine wares were imported into the North across Sweden and through the marts on the Baltic coasts. Great hoards of their coins and other silver goods have been preserved in the bosom of the earth, where according to hereditary fashion they were hidden away by the inhabitants of the North. For Russia the Swedish conquests, which also essentially though immediately contributed to the establishment of Christianity, were important in bringing the Slavs into contact with and under the influence of the new European civilisation. For Sweden the trade with the East and Byzantium became a source of increased prosperity; and the numerous foreign imports failed not to exercise a definite influence on the native culture and style prevalent during the Latest Iron-Age. Gotland, though situated far up the more land-locked part of the Baltic, had like Öeland and Bornholm, already become an important seat of commerce in earlier times. Its proximity to Russia now made it the centre of an extraordinarily brisk trade which bartered goods from the East and North with merchandise from Germany and England.
This is shown by many thousands of contemporary foreign coins discovered on the island. Hoards of oriental silver are also found in great quantities in the islands of Öeland and Bornholm. From here they are met with in decreasing numbers along the south coasts of the Baltic, in Denmark, and in the Danish or Norse colonies in the north of England and in Ireland. In Norway traces of these are far rarer.3
Under conditions and connexions so various the now no longer purely prehistoric monuments and antiquities of the Latest Iron-Age must in their turn also have been stamped with very various characteristics in the Northern lands. In Denmark even in the Middle Age of Iron the burial customs and antiquities, in contrast with those of the more heathen Sweden and Norway, indicated the commencement of a strong Christian influence and southern Christian culture. This influence must have rapidly increased after the year 700 both on the peninsula of Jutland, which was most exposed to the effects of contact with Germany and France, and in the rest of Denmark. Christianity had, it is true, already shown itself in some places in Sweden and Norway, which had a growing trade with Christians. abroad. But it lay in the nature of things that Denmark should be the first land of the North from which heathenism was expelled. Long in fact before the final and complete victory of Christianity heathenism had been tottering on a somewhat insecure footing. As
3 It is highly significant that the finest collection of Anglo-Saxon coins is to be found in Stockholm. At least 25,000 of the tenth and eleventh centuries are known in Sweden, not counting those which are known to have disappeared. O. Montelius, Kult. Schwed., p. 175.
early as 696 to 717 the holy Villibrod had preached to Frisians and Danes. By the year 800 many Danes, especially in the trade marts, were converted. Shortly afterwards the first church was built at Hedeby (the modern Slesvig); and though this was again destroyed, the new religion would not long be denied admittance. The history of the ninth and tenth centuries clearly reflects the violent internal and external struggles which accompanied the gradual fall of heathenism in Denmark. The old high-places of sacrifice at Vébjörg (Viborg) in Jutland, Odinsvë (Odense) in Fÿen, Leire in Seeland, and Lund in Scania were obliged to make way for Christian churches. Slowly the current of culture from the South and West reached the peninsula of Jutland and the islands and Scania beyond. The first real bishoprics were founded in the towns of Slesvig Ribe and Aarhus about 948, in Odense 988, in Roskilde 1022, and in Lund 1048. Thus between the institution of the first permanent bishops in Jutland and in Scania a whole century intervened.
Such a protracted period of fermentation could not, in spite of the evident progress of an inner national movement, be favourable to a general revival or development of older purely heathen fashions in the extreme south of the North. In comparison with the other Northern lands Denmark (including Scania) presents an extraordinary lack of characteristic heathen graves monuments and even antiquities of the Latest Iron-Age or transition from heathenism to Christianity. In the Ages of Stone and Bronze and the Earlier Iron-Age the old Danish lands had far surpassed the rest of the North in monuments and antiquities. In the Middle
Age of Iron they were at least fully equal to them, but just when Denmark's supremacy in the North and beyond was developing with surprising power, the number of its monuments and antiquities decreases in a remarkable degree. So great indeed is the contrast with the rest of the North, that it cannot be explained merely by the fact that heathenism and consequently the Latest Iron-Age at the final close of the prehistoric period fell much earlier in Denmark than in Norway and Sweden, more particularly, where heathen forms of graves and heathen style were maintained singularly late into Christian times. Had heathenism in Denmark until the introduction of Christianity continued to flourish peacefully with anything like the vigour it displayed in Norway and Sweden, there would certainly have been more purely heathen memorials of the period than the Danish lands are now able to show. The chief reason must evidently lie deeper in the early and steadily growing Christian influences on the more lively and pliant Danes. But the numerical difference in antiquities and monuments may possibly be due to the fact that the graves in Denmark are often, as in the Middle Age of Iron, laid under the surface, even in natural elevations, and can be discovered only by purely chance operations. Now and then they are indicated by low barrows or horizontal stone-settings in circles squares and triangles, and sometimes—as in Jutland and especially in Bornholm-in the form of ships. Bauta-stones are also sometimes erected near them. But though these graves both of burnt and unburnt bodies are found in numbers together at some few places in Denmark, and form regular cemeteries,