The Nordic countries first came into contact with the rest of Europe during the Viking age.
Christian Europe responded to the raids and conquest of Vikings with intensive missionary work.
Viking culture lives on, in large part due to myths, sagas, and folklore shared throughout the centuries.
Norse mythology consists of tales of various deities, beings, and heroes derived from numerous sources, including medieval manuscripts, archaeological representations, and folk tradition. This Scandinavian folklore was preserved in ancient Icelandic texts.
The Norse gods and goddesses,
such as Odin, Thor, Loki, and Freya,
were loved by the seafaring Vikings.
But little was known outside Scandinavia until the 19th century. With the widespread publication of Norse myths and legends at this time, references to the Norse gods and heroes spread into European literary culture, especially in Scandinavia, Germany, and Britain. In the late 20th century, references to Norse mythology became common in science fiction and fantasy literature, role-playing games, and eventually other cultural products such as Japanese animation.