Why Did the Medieval Kings Convert to Christianity? - Politics Forum.org | PoFo

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End of Roman society, feudalism, rise of religious power, beginnings of the nation-state, renaissance (476 - 1492 CE).
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#14705236
I have been trying to find information on why the different kings of Europe chose to convert to Christianity but am having difficulty doing so.

There is the folk tale of how the Rus were converted after they learnt about Catholicism, Orthodoxy, Judaism and Islam and chose Orthodoxy for its beauty. Were there not other reasons for their conversion?

How do we explain the conversion of the Anglo-Saxon kings in what was to become England?

And what about the kings of continental Europe or Scandinavia?
#14705246
noemon wrote:Because they wanted to call themselves Romans and partake in Roman Civilisation and prestige.


Could they have chosen to follow Orthodox Christianity and align themselves with the Greek world instead? It seems as though geography played a role in which religion a polity could choose to adopt. However I know that when Bulgaria converted from paganism it was entertaining the possibility of adopting Roman Christianity but in the end it chose Constantinople.

For example, could the English kings have chosen Orthodoxy instead?
#14705252
The English and the Germans did not have a choice between Orthodoxy and Catholicism like the Slavs did because that distinction did not yet exist, when the English adopted Christianity they adopted it whole, when the schism came about they chose to follow the Pope and adapt to the new situation and that was essentially a political decision.
#14705263
Æthelberht was the first Christian king in Britain. Historians usually credit St. Augustine's visit to Britain in AD 597 with converting the pagan king to Christianity but he did so mainly because of his Christian wife's influence, who was a Frankish princess and the daughter of Charibert I. Bertha brought her chaplain, Liudhard, with her to England upon marrying King Æthelberht of Kent and restored a Christian church in Canterbury, which dated back to Roman times. Women tend to be more religious than men and superstitious wives may be behind other medieval kings' conversions.

Image
Queen Bertha and her daughter Queen Ethelburga of Kent who married Edwin the King of Northumbria.
#14724805
This IMO belongs more in "ancient" forum since most of the conversions happened during late antiquity and the medieval period was quite Christian (except for the remaining Pagan tribes).

As to the reasons for conversion, most were political. For example the Franks converted as they ruled a mostly Christian population in their territory, and also wanted Rome as a strong ally.

Also I do believe that at the time, Christianity was more in vogue than Paganism which was starting to make less sense. This is why most of Rome became Christian.

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