Stefnir Thorgilsson

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Stefnir Thorgilsson was one of the first Christian missionaries among the Icelanders at the end of the 10th century. He was born in Iceland. [1] King Olaf Tryggvason, king of Norway (r. 997-1000) ordered him to return to his homeland in order to proselytize among the Icelanders. [1] He destroyed a number of heathen temples and idols, for which he was expelled from the island. [1]

Icelanders are a North Germanic ethnic group and nation who are native to the island country of Iceland and speak Icelandic.

Olaf Tryggvason King of Norway

Olaf Trygvasson was King of Norway from 995 to 1000. He was the son of Tryggvi Olafsson, king of Viken, and, according to later sagas, the great-grandson of Harald Fairhair, first King of Norway.


After the destruction of the pagan shrines, the Althing reached agreement to declare Christians frændaskömm (a disgrace to kinsman). Based on this, Christians could be denounced by their own relatives. Additionally, Stefnir became an outlaw and was forced to return to Norway. [2]

Althing unicameral parliament of Iceland

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Outlaw Person declared as outside the protection of the law

In historical legal systems, an outlaw is declared as outside the protection of the law. In pre-modern societies, the criminal is withdrawn all legal protection, so that anyone is legally empowered to persecute or kill them. Outlawry was thus one of the harshest penalties in the legal system. In early Germanic law, the death penalty is conspicuously absent, and outlawing is the most extreme punishment, presumably amounting to a death sentence in practice. The concept is known from Roman law, as the status of homo sacer, and persisted throughout the Middle Ages.

See also

Thorvald Konradsson the Far Traveller was one of the first Christian missionaries in Iceland and then in Belarus in the late 10th century. He was native to Iceland but went abroad where he was baptized by one Bishop Friedrich, a German. He returned to the island in Bishop Friedrich's retinue in 981. They were especially active in proselytising among the inhabitants of the northern parts of Iceland. However, Thorvald killed two men in a battle and was expelled from the island in 986.


  1. 1 2 3 Byock 2001, p. 298.
  2. Curta 2016, p. 482.

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