Many adherents of historical paganism and neopaganism have been persecuted, mainly by Christianity and Islam. Persecution may include unwarranted arrest, imprisonment, beating, torture, execution, confiscation or destruction of property, or incitement to hatred.
Many adherents of the Roman religion were persecuted by Christians during the period between the death of Constantine and the reign of Julian. After a respite, the persecution resumed once again under Gratian and Theodosius I. For a detailed discussion of this see the article on the Persecution of Roman religion.
Charlemagne in the course of the Saxon Wars converted Saxon pagans by force. In 772 he destroyed their Irminsul, and in 782 he allegedly ordered the beheading of 4,500 Saxon nobles who were caught practicing paganism in spite of being baptized, the so-called Blood court of Verden, although modern historians think it likely that Charlemagne exiled (delocabat) the apostates rather than beheading (decollabat) them.
The Christianization of Northern Europe in the 11th century was accomplished with a significant amount of violence between pagan and Christian factions, qualifying as generic warfare rather than "persecution" in Sweden and Denmark. However, it is well documented in Snorri Sturluson's Heimskringla that king Olav Tryggvasson and Olav Haraldsson (also known as St. Olav) both christianized Norway through brute force, fining, torturing or murdering people who would not convert. See The Saga of Olaf Tryggvasson (Specifically Chapter 59: Olaf baptizes the county of Viken). See also, The Saga of Olaf Haraldsson (Specific example, chapter 115, Murder of Olver of Eggja).
The Battle of the Beanfield was an incident in 1985 when Wiltshire Police prevented a convoy of several hundred New age travellers from setting up the fourteenth Stonehenge free festival in Wiltshire, England. It is notorious for the amount of police brutality alleged to have taken place.
- Persecution of Roman religion
- Persecution of Ancient Greek religion
- Persecution of Germanic paganism
- Christian views on witchcraft