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The Dane
07-02-2008, 03:21 PM
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Description of the Berserk


The modern popular conception of the Viking warrior is one of a murderous savage, clad in animal skins, howling into battle. This conception probably owes more to literary tradition than to historical fact: it reflects not the ordinary Scandinavian warriors, but rather a special group of fighters known as *berserks* or *berserkers*.


The etymology of the term *berserk* is disputed. It may mean "*bare*-sark," as in "bare of shirt" and refer to the berserker's habit of going unarmored into battle. Ynglingasaga records this tradition, saying of the warriors of Odhinn that "they went without coats of mail, and acted like mad dogs and wolves" (Snorri Sturluson (http://www.angelfire.com/realm/shades/vikings/snorris.htm). Heimskringla: History of the Kings of Norway. trans. Lee M. Holander. Austin: U of Texas P. 1964. p.10).


Others have contended that the term should be read "*bear*-sark," and describes the animal-skin garb of ther berserker. Grettirs Saga calls King Harald's berserkers "Wolf-Skins," and in King Harald's Saga they are called *ulfhedinn* or "wolf-coats," a term which appears in Vatnsdoela Saga and Hrafnsmal (Hilda R. Ellis-Davidson,"Shape-Changing in the Old Norse Sagas, " in Animals in Folklore. eds. J.R. Porter and W.M.S. Russell. Totowa NJ: Rowman and Littlefield. 1978. pp. 132-133), as well as in Grettirs Saga (Denton Fox and Hermann Palsson, trans. Grettir's Saga." Toronto: U of Toronto P. 1961. p. 3).


The berserker is closely associated in many respects with the god Odhinn (http://www.angelfire.com/realm/shades/vikings/odin.htm). Adam of Bremen in describing the Allfather says, "Wodan --- id est furor" or "Wodan --- that means fury." The name Odhinn derives from the Old Norse *odur*. This is related to the German *wut*, "rage, fury," and to the Gothic *wods*, "possessed" (Georges Dumezil. The Destiny of the Warrior. Chicago, U of Chicago P. 1969. p. 36). This certainly brings to mind the madness associated with the berserker, and other Odhinnic qualities are seen to be possessed by the berserk. Ynglingasaga recounts that Odhinn could shape-shift into the form of a bird, fish, or wild animal (Snorri Sturluson, p. 10). The berserker, too, was often said to change into ******* form, or at least to assume the ferocious qualities of the wolf or bear. Kveldulfr in Egils Saga Skallagrimsonar was spoken of as a shapechanger (Hermann Palsson and Paul Edwards, trans. Egil's Saga. NY: Penguin. 1976. p. 21), and Hrolf's Saga tells of the hero Bjarki, who takes on the shape of a bear in battle:
Men saw that agreat bear went before King Hrolf's men, keeping always near the king. He slew more men with his forepaws than any five of the king's champions. Blades and weapons glanced off him, and he brought down both men and horses in King Hjorvard's forces, and everything which came in his path he crushed to death with his teeth, so that panic and terror swept through King Hjorvard's army..." (Gwyn Jones. Eirik the Red and Other Icelandic Sagas. NY: Oxford U.P. 1961. p. 313).


Dumezil refers to this phenomenon as the *hamingja* ("spirit" or "soul") or *fylgja* ("spirit form") of the berserker, which may appear in animal form in dreams or in visions, as well as in reality (Georges Dumezil. Gods of the Ancient Northmen. Los Angeles: U of California P. 1973. p. 142).


The berserk was sometimes inherently possessed of this immunity, or performed spells to induce it, or even had special powers to blunt weapons by his gaze. Many tales say of their berserkers, "no weapon could bite them" or "iron could not bite into him." This immunity to weapons may also have been connected with the animal-skin garments worn by the berserk. As we saw above, while in animal form, "blades and weapons glanced off" Bodvar Bjarki. Similarly, Vatnsdoela Saga says that "those ebrserks who were called *ulfhednar* had wolf shirts for mail-coats" (Ellis-Davidson, "Shape Changing (http://www.angelfire.com/realm/shades/lyrics/ofwolfandman.htm)," p. 133). This concept of immunity may have evolved from the berserker's rage, during which the berserk might receive wounds, but due to his state of frenzy take no note of them until the madness passed from him. A warrior who continued fighting while bearing mortal wounds would surely have been a terrifying opponent.


It is likely that the berserk was actually a member of the cult of Odhinn. The practices of such a cult would have been a secret of the group's initiates, although the Byzantine emperor Constantine VII refers in his Book of Ceremonies to a "Gothic Dance" performed by members of his Varangian guard, who took part wearing animal skins and masks: this may have been connected with berserker rites Hilda R. Ellis-Davidson. Pagan Scandinavia. NY: Frederick A. Praeger. 1967. p. 100). This type of costumed dance is also seen in figures from Swedish helmet plates and scabbard ornaments, which depict human figures with the heads of bears or wolves, dressed in animal skins but having human hands and feet. These figures often carry spears or swords, and are depicted as running or dancing. One plate from Torslunda, Sweden, may show the figure of Odhinn dancing with such a bear figure.

Other ritual practices attributed to berserks may represent the initiation of the young warrior into a band of berserkers. Such bands are mentioned in the sagas, oftentimes numbering twelve warriors. Another commin feature of these bands is the name of the leaser, which is often "Bjorn" or a variant, meaning 'bear." The form of this initiation is a battle, either real or simulated, with a bear or other fearsome adversary. Grettirs Saga tells of a situation of this sort, when a man named Bjorn throws Grettir's cloak into the den of a bear. Grettir slays the bear, recovers his claok, and returns with the bear's paw as a token of his victory (Fox and Palsson, pp. 62-67). Bodvar Bjarki has a protege, Hjalti, who undergoes a simulated encounter as his initiation in Hrolf's Saga. Bodvar first slays a dragon-like beast, then sets its skin up on a frame. Hjalti then "attacks" the beast and symbolically kills it before witnesses, earning his place among the warriors (Jones, pp. 282-285). Bronze helmet plates from locations in Sweden and designs upon the Sutton Hoo pyrse lid seem to show examples of these initiatory encounters, where a human figure is seen grappling with one, or often two, bear-like animals (Margaret A. Arent. "The Heroic Pattern: Old German Helmets, Beowulf, and Grettis Saga." in Old Norse Literature and Mythology. ed. Edgar C. Polome. Austin, U of Texas P. 1969. pp. 133-139).


Modern scholars believe that certain examples of berserker rage to have been induced coluntarily by the consumption of drugs such as the hallucinogenic mushroom *Amanita muscaria* (Howard D. Fabing. "On Going Berserk: A Neurochemical Inquiry." Scientific Monthly. 83 [Nov. 1956] p. 232), or massive quantities of alcohol (Robert Wernick. The Vikings. Alexandria VA: Time-Life Books. 1979. p. 285). While such practices would fit in with ritual usages, other explanations for the berserker's madness have been put forward, including self-induced hysteria, epilepsy, mental illness or genetic flaws (Peter G. Foote and David m. Wilson. the Viking Achievement. London: Sidgewick & Jackson. 1970. p. 285).


The physical appearance of the berserk was one calculated to present an image of terror. Dumezil draws parallels between the berserk and the tribe of Harii mentioned in Tacitus's Germania who used not only "natural ferocity" but also dyed their bodues to cause panic and terror in their enemies, just as the berserk combined his fearsome reputation with animal skin dress to suggest the terrifying metamorphosis of the shape changer (Dumezil, Destiny of the Warriro, p. 141). Indeed, berserkers had much in common with those thought to be werewolves. Ulf, a retired berserker, is mentioned in this light in Egils saga Skallagrimsonar:


But every day, as it drew towards evening, he would grow so ill-tempered that no-one could speak to him, and it wasn't long before he would go to bed. There was talk about his being a shape-changer, and people called him Kveld-Ulf ["Evening Wolf"] (Palsson and Edwards, Egil's Saga, p.21).


In the sagas, berserks are often described as being fantastically ugly, often being mistaken for trolls, as were Skallagrim and his kinsmen in Egils saga Skallagrimsonar (Palsson and Edwards, Egil's Saga, p. 66). Egil himself is described as being "black-haired and as ugly as his father" (Ibid., p. 79), and at a feast in the court of the English king Athelstan, Egil is said to have made such terrible faces that Athelstan was forced to give him a gold ring to make him stop:


His eyes were black and his eyebrows joined in the middle. He refused to touch a drink even though people were serving him, and did nothing but pull his eyebrows up and down, now this one, now the other.. (Ibid., pp. 128-129).


Going Berserk - a Description of the Berserkergang


The actual fit or madness the berserk experienced was known as *berserkergang*. This condition is described as follows:
This fury, which was called berserkergang, occurred not only in the heat of battle, but also during laborious work. Men who were thus seized performed things which otherwise seemed impossible for human power. This condition is said to have begun with shivering, chattering of the teeth, and chill in the body, and then the face swelled and changed its color. With this was connected a great hot-headedness, which at last gave over into a great rage, under which they howled as wild animals, bit the edge of their shields, and cut down everything they met without dicriminating bewteen friend or foe. When this condition ceased, a great dulling of the mind and feeble- ness followed, which could last for one or several days (Fabing, p. 234).


During the berserkergang, the berserk seemed to lose all human reason, a condition in which he could not distinguish between friend and enemy, and which was marked by animalistic screaming. In Arrow-Odd's Saga, Odd remarks upon hearing a group of berserkers, "Sometimes I seem to hear a bull bellowing or a dog howling, and sometimes it's like people screaming" (Edwards and Palsson, Arrow-Odd, p. 40).


Another characteristic of berserkergang was the great strength showed by the berserk. This strength was sometimes expressed in the sagas by describing the berserker as a giant or as a troll. The berserker was thought not only to have assumed the ferocity of an animal, but also to have acquired the strength of the bear. In token of this, the berserk might assume a "bear name," that is, a name containing the element *bjorn* or *biorn*, such as Gerbiorn, Gunbiorn, Arinbiorn, Esbiorn or Thorbiorn (Saxo Grammaticus. The History fo the Danes. trans. Peter Fisher. Totowa NJ: Rowman and Littlefield. 1979. Vol II, p. 95). Bjarki, whose name means "Little Bear," was said to actually take the shape of the bear in combat.
To gain this bear-like strength, the berserk might drink the blood of a bear or wolf (Ibid., p. 45):


Straight away bring your throat to its steaming blood and devour the feast of its body with ravenous jaws. Then new force will enter your frame, an unlooked-for vigor will come to your muscles, accumulation of solid strength soak through every sinew" (Saxo, Vol. I, p. 25).


The aftermath of the berserkergang was characterized by complete physical disability. Egils saga Skallagrimssonar says:


What peoplke say about shape-changers or those who go into berserk fits is this: that as long as they're in the frenzy they're so strong that nothing is too much for them, but as soon as they're out of it they become much weaker than normal. That's how it was with Kveldulf; as soon as the frenzy left him he felt so worn out by the battle he'd been fighting, and grew so weak as a result of it all that he had to take to his bed (Palsson and Edwards, Egil's Saga, p. 72).


A common technique used by saga heroes to overcome berserks was to catch them after their madness had left them, as Hjalmar and Arrow-Odd do in Herverar Saga, and slay the berserkers while they lay in their enfeebled state after their fury (Christopher Tolkein, trans. The Saga of King Heidrek the Wise. NY: Thomas Nelson & Sons. 1960. pp. 5-7).


The Role of the Berserker in Viking Society


The berserker's place in society was limited by the terror and violence that was associated with berserkergang. As superb warriors, they were due admiration. However, their tendency to turn indicriminately upon their friends while the madness was upon them went squarely against the heroic ethic, which demanded loyalty and fidelity to one's friends. The berserk skirted the classification of *ni(dh)ingr*, one who was the lowest of men and the object of hate and scorn. An eleventh-century monument raised in Soderby in Uppland, Sweden in memory of a brother reads: "And Sassur killed him and did the deed of a *nidingr* --- he betrayed his comrade" (Foote and Wilson, p. 426).


The primary role of the berserk was as a warrior attacked to a king's army. Both King Harald and King Halfdan had berserker shock-troops. Aside from their military value, the berserker's ties to Odhinn would have been welcome in a royal army, since Odhinn also had a particular association with rulership, being venerated in Anglo-Saxon England as the ancestor of chieftains, and throughout the North as god of kings and protector of their royal power (Dumezil, Gods of the Ancient Northmen, p. 26). Outside of this role, however, the berserker became the stock villain of the sagas, typified as murderous, stupid brutes, or as one modern critic has it, "a predatory group of brawlers and killers who disrupted the peace of the Viking community repeatedly" (Fabing, p. 232). Saxo Grammaticus speaks of such a band in his Gesta Danorum:


The young warriors would harry and pillage the neighborhood, and frequently spilt great quantities of blood. They considered it manly and proper to devastate homes, cut down cattle, rifle everything and take away vast hauls of booty, burn to the ground houses they had sacked, and butcher men and women indicriminately" (Saxo, Vol. I, p. 163).


In addition to their warlike activities within their communities, berserkers are characterized by their ****** excesses, carrying off wives, daughters and betrothed maids who then must be rescued by the heroes of the sagas.


It was no doubt due to these excesses of the berserker that resulted in their demise. In 1015 King Erik outlawed berserks, along with *holmganga* or duels (Fabing, p. 235): it had become a common practice for a berserker to challenge men of property to holmgang, and upon slaying the unfortunate victim, to take possession of his goods, wealth, and women. This was a difficult tactic to counter, since a man so challenged had to appear, have a champion fight for him, or else be named *ni(dh)ingr* and coward.


http://www.angelfire.com/realm/shades/vikings/berserker.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Berserker

goat89
07-02-2008, 03:35 PM
Nice read! Thx!

The Dane
07-02-2008, 03:48 PM
Berserkers were loyal to their Viking war god Odin and believed he would protect them, give them superhuman strength and if they died an heroic death, a place in Valhalla in the afterlife. Consequently, berserkers were also called "Odin men". They fought in groups of twelve and often charged heedlessly into the ranks of the enemy or formed a circle to provide the best defense when outnumbered by an opponent. Their unpredictable behaviour and bear-like appearance were meant to strike fear in the enemy and demoralize him so much, he would not fight. When the berserkers did fight, it was to the death.

http://www.cdli.ca/CITE/v_berserker.htm





His men went to battle without armor and acted like mad dogs or wolves. They bit into their shields and were as strong as bears or bulls. They killed men, but neither fire nor iron harmed them. This madness is called berserker-fury.

http://www.viking.ucla.edu/hrolf/berserkers.html

Limeyfellow
07-02-2008, 04:00 PM
Well that and being high on drugs.

Mastermind
07-02-2008, 04:08 PM
^^ Make me laugh with a mouth full of chicken...

But, I saw something like this, possibly drug induced...We had a guy who had absolutely no fear in the face of almost certain death. I watched several times in amazement as this guy would walk straight up, bare shirted, no helmet, with M-60 in sling carry, alone, right into the front of enemy bunkers that had crossing fields of fire and which had moments before slaughtered whole infantry squads. Snicking fire dead into the enemy bunkers...return fire splashing all around him...this guy looked like he was on a walk in the park...and he had a dead stare in his eyes...no fear in them at all....not grinning, not grimacing, not angy...just as casual as if he was in the chow line. He was eventually killed by a small, wayward piece of shrapnel from friendly fire. really a scary dude.

Paddy51
07-02-2008, 05:17 PM
Good read, thanks for posting.

Even today in Iceland, naughty tired children are referred to as having the kvöldúlfur take them over.


I suppose that in many ways the Berserkir were the Special Forces of their times ... :)

kinney_bmx
07-02-2008, 05:19 PM
If i add my nerdy bit. Theres bersekers in Lord of the rings lol :)
Gread read though. thanks

The Dane
07-02-2008, 06:46 PM
Good read, thanks for posting.

Even today in Iceland, naughty tired children are referred to as having the kvöldúlfur take them over.


I suppose that in many ways the Berserkir were the Special Forces of their times ... :)

Going berserk?

Bersćrkergang in Danish.

The Dane
07-02-2008, 06:54 PM
If i add my nerdy bit. Theres bersekers in Lord of the rings lol :)
Gread read though. thanks

Tolkien were very inspired by Norse mythology(Hail Odin!).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norse_mythology

Berserkers were real though!

Vympel
07-02-2008, 07:10 PM
^^ Make me laugh with a mouth full of chicken...

But, I saw something like this, possibly drug induced...We had a guy who had absolutely no fear in the face of almost certain death. I watched several times in amazement as this guy would walk straight up, bare shirted, no helmet, with M-60 in sling carry, alone, right into the front of enemy bunkers that had crossing fields of fire and which had moments before slaughtered whole infantry squads. Snicking fire dead into the enemy bunkers...return fire splashing all around him...this guy looked like he was on a walk in the park...and he had a dead stare in his eyes...no fear in them at all....not grinning, not grimacing, not angy...just as casual as if he was in the chow line. He was eventually killed by a small, wayward piece of shrapnel from friendly fire. really a scary dude.

powerfull... this isin't bravery nor stupidity. Human can naturalise everywhere, even in war zone.

Paddy51
07-02-2008, 07:23 PM
Going berserk?

Bersćrkergang in Danish.

Same roots as in Iceland except that "gang" or ganga is repeated.

So going berserk is "ganga berserksgang" while a berserker is berserkur. Still today the relevant mushroom bears the name "berserkjasveppur" or berserker mushroom.

There are also stories in the Sagas about the Berserkers biting chunks out of their shields in exited anticipation of battle... :)

capixaba
07-02-2008, 07:33 PM
Berserker Viking chess piece from the Isle of Lewis, Scotland.

ramthor
07-02-2008, 07:37 PM
http://img112.imageshack.us/img112/3703/berserker1ya8dotjpg

IMTT
07-02-2008, 07:37 PM
What happened? Norway and Sweden today seem to be filled with an all together different mind-set. The blood line must have totally passed into history.

ronnieraygun
07-02-2008, 07:40 PM
What happened? Norway and Sweden today seem to be filled with an all together different mind-set. The blood line must have totally passed into history.

Christianity. Some of the Icelanders I met seemed like they fit the bill, though. Perhaps they're closer to the old ways.

pocoloco
07-03-2008, 01:32 AM
Tolkien were very inspired by Norse mythology(Hail Odin!).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norse_mythology

Berserkers were real though!

Yip, his Orcish (aka Dark Tongue) is based on Swedish whereas Elven language on Finnish. And lots of inspiration comes from Finnish Kalevala and Anglo-Saxon legends, too.

Berserkers were definately tough bunch, and dangerous to foes and friends, alike. So dunno if they could be classified as special forces in comparison with present day special forces.

And about the incident of Sassur (mentioned in the first post):

The text read (the rune-stone was lost, and the text is known only from 17th century drawings) following: Orikr and his kin [put up this stone in memory of] his brother Helgi. And Sassur killed him and [did] a contemptible act. He betrayed his fellow. God help Helgi's soul.
The word translated as 'contemptible act is nidingsverk, a deed appropriate to a nidingr, a strong legal term of opprobrium: traitor, apostate. The word fellow is felagi, literally 'one who puts down money (in a common enteprise)' and so 'business partner'; but word that comes to include 'comrade in arms, fellow in an expedition' and so on. Here the oath had been broken within a closed group, which is unforgivable. [source: Chronicles of Vikings: Records, Memorials and Myths, p145 by R.I. Page]

So Sassur wasn't a berserk probably and it happened when Christianity had overtaken old faith, the era of Berserks was gone already.

Buckeye67
07-03-2008, 02:14 AM
Berserker video:

http://www.youtube.com/v/D_G0NS2WJ0U

T3ngu
07-03-2008, 02:17 AM
Berserker video:

Thats one evil laugh. lulz, related video is hellfish6..

Paddy51
07-03-2008, 02:43 AM
Christianity. Some of the Icelanders I met seemed like they fit the bill, though. Perhaps they're closer to the old ways.

Reykjavík or Glasgow on a Friday night and you still see the Berserkir tradition being kept alive. :)

Billy No Mates
07-03-2008, 03:21 AM
Well that and being high on drugs.

Yes 'battle medicine' probably helped in that respect,i saw an intresting thing on the effect certain substances the Zulu's used to give themselves a bit of an edge to hit harder for longer and focus in,i imagine the active property of what the Beserkers were using would have had a similar effect .

Holycrusader
07-03-2008, 03:44 AM
I wouldnt call an "elite" bunch of maniacs you cannot control...

Tema69
07-03-2008, 07:07 AM
I wouldnt call an "elite" bunch of maniacs you cannot control...
Agreed. I'd call it "danger close cluster bombing"...

Billy No Mates
07-03-2008, 07:52 AM
I wouldnt call an "elite" bunch of maniacs you cannot control...

They don't seem to have been totally out of control,they seemed able to focus their aggresion on the enemy rather than simpling running amok and killing friend and foe alike .

BugHunt
07-03-2008, 08:28 AM
^^ Make me laugh with a mouth full of chicken...

But, I saw something like this, possibly drug induced...We had a guy who had absolutely no fear in the face of almost certain death. I watched several times in amazement as this guy would walk straight up, bare shirted, no helmet, with M-60 in sling carry, alone, right into the front of enemy bunkers that had crossing fields of fire and which had moments before slaughtered whole infantry squads. Snicking fire dead into the enemy bunkers...return fire splashing all around him...this guy looked like he was on a walk in the park...and he had a dead stare in his eyes...no fear in them at all....not grinning, not grimacing, not angy...just as casual as if he was in the chow line. He was eventually killed by a small, wayward piece of shrapnel from friendly fire. really a scary dude.


I heard talk from one military historian that one of the possible outcomes of combat stress could be a outcome similiar to whats described as "Berserker rage"...


Vikings might have merely sticking all there heavy PTSD, marble loose fellas, in the one unit. If it was encouraged and thought of as a gift - how would that change how those individuals were regarded?


Its also worth noting that similar phenomena exisit to some degree in Africa even today, certainly the belief that weapons will not harm....


Also some styles of Pencak Silat (catchall term for Indonesian Martial Arts) spend several days awake enacting rituals and trances, at the end of which they essentially become immune to pain. Which they demonstrate at times by sticking large pins through there cheeks, slicing there tongues and other stuff....

Eoin666
07-03-2008, 09:01 AM
Yip, his Orcish (aka Dark Tongue) is based on Swedish whereas Elven language on Finnish. And lots of inspiration comes from Finnish Kalevala and Anglo-Saxon legends, too.

Berserkers were definately tough bunch, and dangerous to foes and friends, alike. So dunno if they could be classified as special forces in comparison with present day special forces.

Ulf, a retired berserker :).....I think the cult/myth of the Norse Berserkers is over-rated and just that, largely mythological, a bit like the myths of superhuman feats performed by the Ninja.

Tolkien was Rawlinson and Bosworth Professor of Anglo-Saxon at Oxford from 1925 to 1945, and Merton Professor of English language and literature from 1945 to 1959. Elvish etc from LotR was based on Anglo Saxon, Brythonic and Old English dialects with possibly some influence from Finnish.

"Orc I derived from Anglo-Saxon, a word meaning demon"

Tolkein was greatly influenced by the early Germanic, especially Anglo-Saxon literature, poetry and mythology, which were his chosen and much-loved areas of expertise. These sources of inspiration included Anglo-Saxon literature such as Beowulf, Norse sagas, including the Finnish Kalevala but he also drew influences from a variety of ancient British history and legends, and also Classical literature.

"A major philosophical influence on his writing is Alfred the Great's Anglo-Saxon translation of Boethius' Consolation of Philosophy, known as the Lays of Boethius.[98] Characters in The Lord of the Rings such as Frodo, Treebeard, and Elrond make noticeably Boethian remarks"

"He considered West Midlands dialect of Middle English to be his own "native tongue"....interesting :)

Paddy51
07-03-2008, 09:10 AM
Ulf, a retired berserker :).....I think the cult/myth of the Norse Berserkers is over-rated and just that, largely mythological, a bit like the myths of superhuman feats performed by the Ninja.

Tolkien was Rawlinson and Bosworth Professor of Anglo-Saxon at Oxford from 1925 to 1945, and Merton Professor of English language and literature from 1945 to 1959. Elvish etc from LotR was based on Anglo Saxon, Brythonic and Old English dialects with possibly some influence from Finnish.

"Orc I derived from Anglo-Saxon, a word meaning demon"

Tolkein was greatly influenced by the early Germanic, especially Anglo-Saxon literature, poetry and mythology, which were his chosen and much-loved areas of expertise. These sources of inspiration included Anglo-Saxon literature such as Beowulf, Norse sagas, including the Finnish Kalevala but he also drew influences from a variety of ancient British history and legends, and also Classical literature.

"A major philosophical influence on his writing is Alfred the Great's Anglo-Saxon translation of Boethius' Consolation of Philosophy, known as the Lays of Boethius.[98] Characters in The Lord of the Rings such as Frodo, Treebeard, and Elrond make noticeably Boethian remarks"

"He considered West Midlands dialect of Middle English to be his own "native tongue"....interesting :)

Interesting. Thanks. When I first read Lord of the Rings it felt like an amalgam of histories, myths and legends, elegantly forged together into a story. :)

The Dane
07-03-2008, 09:21 AM
Ulf, a retired berserker :).....I think the cult/myth of the Norse Berserkers is over-rated and just that, largely mythological, a bit like the myths of superhuman feats performed by the Ninja.

Tolkien was Rawlinson and Bosworth Professor of Anglo-Saxon at Oxford from 1925 to 1945, and Merton Professor of English language and literature from 1945 to 1959. Elvish etc from LotR was based on Anglo Saxon, Brythonic and Old English dialects with possibly some influence from Finnish.

"Orc I derived from Anglo-Saxon, a word meaning demon"

Tolkein was greatly influenced by the early Germanic, especially Anglo-Saxon literature, poetry and mythology, which were his chosen and much-loved areas of expertise. These sources of inspiration included Anglo-Saxon literature such as Beowulf, Norse sagas, including the Finnish Kalevala but he also drew influences from a variety of ancient British history and legends, and also Classical literature.

"A major philosophical influence on his writing is Alfred the Great's Anglo-Saxon translation of Boethius' Consolation of Philosophy, known as the Lays of Boethius.[98] Characters in The Lord of the Rings such as Frodo, Treebeard, and Elrond make noticeably Boethian remarks"

"He considered West Midlands dialect of Middle English to be his own "native tongue"....interesting :)

Some interesting reading about Germanic Europe.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portal:Ancient_Germanic_culture
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Germanic_peoples
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Germanic_tribes
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Germanic_Europe

Mastermind
07-03-2008, 10:01 AM
I wonder about the "Killer Instinct". Some people might have more desire to kill than to survive....I'm not sure if I have expressed this correctly.

Something takes over in combat...like before the action, while getting into postion, I would be so damned scared I could hardly control my bladder...my knees would shake, I know my voice on the radio would be an octave higher...I would get snappy to my crew while giving orders....But, once the action started, I was totally into it....and everything changed...that "gut fear" feeling would vanish, and we all got down to serious business....

Now, couple that with some guy who really enjoys his "killing" job and you might have a "Berzerker"....I guess it would take a "Combat Psychologist" to figure it out. But, to go into bloody flesh ripping combat, you have got to be a little nuts anyway.

The Dane
07-03-2008, 10:12 AM
Berserkers

Much has been written of the fearsome Viking berserker, or baresark. These were warriors who may have drunk ale infused with potent hallucinogenic mushrooms such as Fly Agaric before going into battle. They were greatly feared for their frothing, maniacal fury in the heat of battle and their disregard of wounds. It is also likely that many of these men suffered from a predilection for psychopathic violence. One particularly famous Baresark was the renowned skald (poet) Egill Skallagrimsson, who composed his first poem at three years old.

http://militaryhistory.suite101.com/article.cfm/viking_warfare

Hollis
07-03-2008, 10:14 AM
I wonder about the "Killer Instinct". Some people might have more desire to kill than to survive....I'm not sure if I have expressed this correctly.

Something takes over in combat...like before the action, while getting into postion, I would be so damned scared I could hardly control my bladder...my knees would shake, I know my voice on the radio would be an octave higher...I would get snappy to my crew while giving orders....But, once the action started, I was totally into it....and everything changed...that "gut fear" feeling would vanish, and we all got down to serious business....

Now, couple that with some guy who really enjoys his "killing" job and you might have a "Berzerker"....I guess it would take a "Combat Psychologist" to figure it out. But, to go into bloody flesh ripping combat, you have got to be a little nuts anyway.


I was thinking along those lines then to add this guy is for all practical reasons, a professional soldier. Often the local ranks where filed by peasant farmers to defend.


Sort of like in the movie 200, when the Thespians where asked, "what did you do?" They responded by the trades they had. When the Spartans where asked............. That was what the were bred, born and raised to do.. Fight. Now knowing the other side is sort of a civilian defense force, the Berserker's action could have been a great tactical ploy to get the civilians to loose heart, their bladder and run. Propaganda works, previous Berserker's actions as told by the NYT also added to scare the locals.

Paddy51
07-03-2008, 10:14 AM
I wonder about the "Killer Instinct". Some people might have more desire to kill than to survive....I'm not sure if I have expressed this correctly.

Something takes over in combat...like before the action, while getting into postion, I would be so damned scared I could hardly control my bladder...my knees would shake, I know my voice on the radio would be an octave higher...I would get snappy to my crew while giving orders....But, once the action started, I was totally into it....and everything changed...that "gut fear" feeling would vanish, and we all got down to serious business....

Now, couple that with some guy who really enjoys his "killing" job and you might have a "Berzerker"....I guess it would take a "Combat Psychologist" to figure it out. But, to go into bloody flesh ripping combat, you have got to be a little nuts anyway.

Good points. I think also that there are a lot of "stories" about these guys that became legends. I suppose some of it became early PsyOps as it would do you no harm if your enemy thought you might be fielding a bunch of crazed mushroom chomping, axe wielding nutters.

I think it does refer to "state" of mind. Even today, in the Icelandic language, you would refer to someone as being in a "ham" or that a "hamur" came over someone. This is used to describe a frenzied state of mind. Now, the word "hamur" is related to cloak and skin. This is consistent with the material that talks of Berserkers taking on the skin of a bear or wolf or whatever.

The Dane
07-03-2008, 11:13 AM
Here' some good info.



To linguists, words and concepts shared by Indo-Europeans suggest that fighting madly was a very old custom that originated perhaps in the fourth millennium B.C. The word for "mad attack," eis-, shared by Vedic, Iranian, and Germanic warriors, makes it likely that the berserk fighting style comes from the time before the dispersal of the Indo-Europeans. Berserks thus embody an abiding spirit in unbroken tradition from Vedic and Homeric times to those of the Icelandic sagas. The history of berserk warriors offers rich religious, cultural, and military detail from about 1300 B.C. to A.D. 1300 and links the bronze, iron, and middle ages, three thousand years of history seldom understood as belonging together. There are also striking similitudes between berserkers and reckless warriors like Aztec quachics and Malabar amoks opening new perspectives for the human knowledge.

The earliest surviving reference to the term berserker is in Haraldskvćđi, a skaldic poem written by Thórbiörn Hornklofi in the late ninth century in honour of King Haraldr Fair-Hair, the infamous ruler of Norway. The poem was preserved by Snorri Sturluson. In this poem, Harald's army includes a warrior gang of berserkers fighting under his name at the battle of Hafrsfiord. In it, they are described as Ulfheđnar = "men clad in wolf skins". This grounds a connection between bears and wolves in Norse warrior culture and the common assumption that the word "berserker" itself originates from men wearing the skin of the bear.
Snorri Sturluson goes on to mention berserkers in the Ynglinga saga, written shortly after A.D. 1220:
"his [Odin's] men rushed forward without armor, were as mad as dogs or wolves, bit their shields, and were as strong as bears or wild bulls, and killed people at a blow, but neither fire nor iron told upon themselves" (Ch. 6).

Many sagas describe berserkers as villains who kill, loot, and plunder indiscriminately.
Much can be derived about berserkers from Egils saga. Egil's grandfather was named Kveld-Ulf meaning "evening wolf". Kveld-Ulf's son, referred to as Skalla-Grimm, was a berserker. Kveld-Ulf and Skalla-Grimm are both depicted as irascible and violent throughout the saga. One commits suicide and the latter kills his offspring. Patently, violence and gruesome tragedies permeate the berserker ethos described in Icelandic sagas such as this one.

Erik the Red might have been a berserk. Harald Fair-hair, founder of the kingdom of Norway, used shock troops of berserker warriors. Warriors of the Varangian Guard (Norse warriors working for Byzantine Empire) also followed bear rituals. Many northern kings used berserkers as part of their army of hirthmen and sometimes equivalent to a royal bodyguard.

Berserkers fought with crazed or drugged strength, heedless of danger. They worked themselves up into a bloodlust – berserker rage – before battles, banging their helmets with their weapons, biting their shields, and howling. They were said to be immune to pain (or even immune to weapons) in battle. In their fury they would attack their enemies but also everything else in their path, sometimes even their own people and allies.

Six-hundred years after Beowulf, Saxo Grammaticus in his early thirteenth-century "Gesta Danorum" says that Asmund flung his shield on his back to fight more fiercely and daringly and hence win greater fame. Norway's King Hákon the Good in 935 and in 961 also trod the battlefield as an armor-scorning fighter:

He threw off his armor
thrust down his mail-coat
the great-hearted lord,
ere the battle began.
He laughed with his liege-men.

Hákon's laughter showed his scorn of wounds. Such berserk-gestures by individuals, often kings and other leaders of men, abound in Nordic warrior tales.

Medieval berserks were often battle lords. In the tenth-century battle on the Vín Heath in Northumbria, Thorolf, the Icelandic Viking wore a helmet but no hauberk, and when the battle went badly, he "became so berserk that he swung his shield round to his back, and took his spear in both hands. He ran forward, striking or thrusting on both sides. Men sprang away in all directions, but he killed many.... Then Thorolf drew his sword, striking out on both sides, and his men also joined the attack."(n79) Flinging one's shield to one's back as a berserk gesture is found on reliefs of the berserk-like Shardana guard of Ramses II and on archaic Greek warrior statuettes.(n80)

Icelandic sagas often tell of berserks as wild, howling fighters, sometimes as high-born champions of kings, sometimes as lowly drifters.

Allies to the raging Norsemen were wary of berserkers. Fearing that their own homesteads and families might be targeted by the berserkers' violent instability, friendly Norsemen kept women and children at bay.

In 1015 King Eirik Bloodaxe (Eric I) of Norway outlawed berserkers. Grágás, the medieval Icelandic law-code, sentences berserker warriors to outlawry. By the 1100s organized berserker warbands had disappeared.

Christianity forbade berserks, but their spirit lived on. Among island Celts it survived longest. Pawns of the twelfth-century chess set from the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides are portrayed as warriors who bite their shields in battle madness.

Also, when in 1138 King David of Scotland met an Anglo-Norman army in the Battle of the Standard, his Galwegian and Highlander warriors claimed their right to attack ahead of his armored household knights. With lances and swords they ran into battle unarmored, full of fury and daring, only to be shot down by English bowmen. The few who reached the English line achieved nothing against the armored, dismounted knights who led the defense. When they fled, they dragged the rest of the Scottish army into a rout, just as did the ***** Celtic Gaesati at Telamon 1350 years earlier.

Modern age

The word "berserker" today applies to anyone who fights with reckless abandon and disregard to even his own life, a concept used ad nauseam during the Vietnam War and in Vietnam-inspired literature (Michael Herr's Dispatches) and film (Oliver Stone's Platoon).

"Going berserk" in this context refers to an overdose of adrenaline induced opioids in the human body and brain leading a soldier to fight with raging fearlessness and indifference, a state strikingly similar to that of the 9th century berserkers observed in this article. "Going berserk" is also used colloquially to describe a person who is acting in a wild rage or in an uncontrolled and irrational manner.


http://www.therianthropes.com/berserker_history.htm

The Dane
07-03-2008, 12:12 PM
Berserkers were normally the biggest, strongest and best fighters organized in groups of 10-20 men.

A viking force of 500-600 men could have 2-3 groups of berserkers.

When the force were moving by foot the groups were used as recce units ahead of the main force.

When the force camped somewhere the groups conducted raids in nearby villages.

During battles the groups were used as shock units attacking the enemies weak spots.

They however became a problem when the vikings started to settle different places because the berserkers trough 300-400 years had build up a warriorcult around the god Odin.

They lived to fight and kill the enemy and when there were no enemy around any more they started attacking they own and became outlawed.

That's what i learned in school.

Mastermind
07-03-2008, 12:20 PM
I remember a story out of Korea 1952 when two GI's were part of a rescue mission to relieve an overrun MASH outfit. They saw the carnage and slaughter like the other GIs, but the worst was when they found a young nurse who had been raped and then murdered by the enemy shoving a broken ax handle up inside her...they apparently snapped over that and went AWOL behind enemy lines and began their own murder spree, killing wantonly...they did all kinds of terrible stuff and it was said, totally demoralized the enemy in their area of action. I don't know what happened to them....killed or survived the war or what...but I suppose they made it to tell the tale or stand courts martial.

I think they might have been classified "Berzerkers"....brought on by just pure rage.

big_les
07-03-2008, 12:39 PM
Berserker Viking chess piece from the Isle of Lewis, Scotland.

It's called a berserker purely because of the shield-biting, and the Victorian concept of what a berserker was. Maybe it is, maybe it isn't, but there certainly wasn't a sales catalogue buried with it that told us it was meant to represent a berserk(er).


Christianity. Some of the Icelanders I met seemed like they fit the bill, though. Perhaps they're closer to the old ways.

The vikings were converted to Christianity when they were still just as much bull-buggering priest-killers of no fixed abode (Blackadder reference) as they ever had been - in the 11th century AD, when references to berserks were still being made. Admittedly no doubt as Christianity matured and baulked at overt displays of rage and violence, they fell out of favour.

Paddy51
07-03-2008, 12:49 PM
From big les:

"... bull-buggering priest-killers of no fixed abode (Blackadder reference)"

At last I have found something to aim at in my life, oh thank you big les.

Mordoror
07-03-2008, 12:52 PM
Yes 'battle medicine' probably helped in that respect,i saw an intresting thing on the effect certain substances the Zulu's used to give themselves a bit of an edge to hit harder for longer and focus in,i imagine the active property of what the Beserkers were using would have had a similar effect .

possible

it was supposed that some norse fighter went in battle after absorbing a lot of hydromel cut with a mix of belladona and:or some hallucinogen either fom a mushroom (amanita muscaria for example which is still used by some northern or siberian shamans for their spirit trip or the clavicepts purpurea from which derivated the LSD ,a powerful psychotrop drug ) or a plant

Paddy51
07-03-2008, 12:52 PM
A few years ago some Icelandic Psychologists and Psychiatrists applied some differential diagnostic techniques to some of the Saga descriptions of people. One of their conclusions was that Egill Skallagrímsson presented all the symptoms of a Schizophrenic. Hard to say how reliable such exercises are but hey ... its interesting to ponder.

Paddy51
07-03-2008, 12:56 PM
possible

it was supposed that some norse fighter went in battle after absorbing a lot of hydromel cut with a mix of belladona and:or some hallucinogen either fom a mushroom (amanita muscaria for example which is still used by some northern or siberian shamans for their spirit trip or the clavicepts purpurea from which derivated the LSD ,a powerful psychotrop drug ) or a plant

In Iceland there is a mushroom that is referred to as the Berserkermushroom or Berserkjasveppur (Amanita muscaria). This name is thought to go back to the settlement of Iceland.

The Dane
07-03-2008, 01:16 PM
Justed watched this pretty good documentary from History Channel about the Viking's.
Worth watching.

http://www.youtube.com/v/tgFdvwIh1xo
http://www.youtube.com/v/D6sr3v4_O6U
http://www.youtube.com/v/yiu6-XKyg6A
http://www.youtube.com/v/hl8azawaksE
http://www.youtube.com/v/tnVMxGlpJHs

Marshall_Nord
07-03-2008, 01:40 PM
Christianity. Some of the Icelanders I met seemed like they fit the bill, though. Perhaps they're closer to the old ways.

Wasn't Iceland a retreat for those escaping the tide of Christianity?

Paddy51
07-03-2008, 01:42 PM
Wasn't Iceland a retreat for those escaping the tide of Christianity?

No, they were trying to get away from Harald Fair-Hair, King of Norway. The Christians had already arrived in Iceland when the first Viking settlers arrived.

Paddy51
07-03-2008, 01:45 PM
Danskeren: Justed watched this pretty good documentary from History Channel about the Viking's.
Worth watching.

I have seen this documentary. Pretty good. :)

Para
07-03-2008, 02:00 PM
The berserka's where more of a warm up act before the main event, It wasn't just the Vikings that did this I have read about the Saxons and other peoples doing the same thing

Mordoror
07-03-2008, 02:15 PM
The berserka's where more of a warm up act before the main event, It wasn't just the Vikings that did this I have read about the Saxons and other peoples doing the same thing

however, one should be warry of the ancient sources as info is easily deformed
for example the romans were scary of the celts because both people were strangers one to the other and when "civilized" and "regular" roman soldiers encountered half *****, shouting, spike-haired celts charging a lot of legend merged from those incidents

the same about germans/saxons ("painted ghosts of the forest")
the huns (devil horsemen that stay weeks on their horse and were clothed in human skin made suit)
etc etc ......

The Dane
07-03-2008, 02:37 PM
Battles and tactics


http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/ancient/vikings/images/weapons_lewis_beserksdotjpg Swordsmen in berserk stance, biting the rims of their shields; warders from the Isle of Lewis chess-set. © (http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/about/copyright.shtml#bm)

The Vikings had no professional standing army, and tactics and discipline seem to have been fairly rudimentary. They did not fight in regular formations, although the bonds of loyalty between men and their lords would have given their armies some cohesion. Weapons training began in youth in hunting, sports and raiding. Aspiring warriors sought armed service in the retinues of the famous, for which they hoped to be rewarded with weapons and fame of their own. A leader therefore needed to wage war frequently in order to keep his following and maintain power against rivals.

In preparation for battle the younger warriors would draw up in line, with their shields overlapping in a 'shield-wall' for better protection; their chiefs were well defended by a close bodyguard. The older veterans formed up in support behind them. Battle then began by throwing a spear over the enemy line to dedicate them to Odin, it is said, and this was followed by a shower of spears, arrows and other missiles.

If this was not enough to decide the outcome, each side then attempted to break through and rout the opposition, capturing or killing their leaders if possible. The experienced commander knew that the best way to achieve this was by forming a wedge of 20 to 30 warriors, with its point towards the enemy line in what was known as the svinfylking, or 'boar formation', and then charge, hoping to break through by sheer weight of numbers.

The famous 'berserks', whose name suggests they wore bearskins, may have fought in groups, and believed that Odin, the god of war, gave them both protection and superhuman powers so they had no need of armour. They would work themselves into a battle frenzy so intense it is said they bit on the edges of their shields, and could even ignore the pain of wounds.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/ancient/vikings/weapons_05.shtml

The Dane
07-03-2008, 03:11 PM
Go Berserk:

This term has something in common with 'run amok (http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/run-amok.html)'. The two phrases, as well as sounding rather similar, mean virtually the same thing.

Their sources though could hardly be further apart. 'Run amok' derives from the Far East, whereas 'go berserk' is of Viking (Norse) origin.

In that tradition a 'Berserker' was a warrior of great strength and courage, who fought with wild ferocity. The word is believed to be derived from 'bear sark', i.e. bear coat.

That berserker fighting tradition, in which the warriors took on the spirit (or even in their belief, the shape) of bears whilst foaming at the mouth and gnawing the edges of their shields, is the source of the Vikings' fierce reputation.

It dates back to the first millennium but had died out by the 1100s and thereafter the word berserker didn't feature widely in the English language until the 19th century.

There is a rival, but less widely accepted, version of the derivation. In this the Vikings were supposed to show their bravery by going into battle with their sark jackets open, i.e. 'bare-sark'.

http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/go-berserk.html

Eoin666
07-03-2008, 04:24 PM
Depending on the period you're talking about the Vikings didn't need a standing army as they were traders and raiders. When a Viking raid attacked in England for instance the Vikings being professional raiders would have the best of arms and armour they could obtain. The Anglo-Saxon army would have consisted of a few elite Huscarls and the Fyrd militia, but a local attack would only be met my villiagers armed with farming tools, no wonder the Vikings appeared fearsome.
As for them fighting without armour, they did that at Stamford Bridge (no not Chelsea) and were slaughtered, returning to Norway in 36 longships out of 360 they arrived in, however modern historians dispute this as a tactic to explain the defeat, and so sagas should not be used as historical fact.

"The sagas, however, are historical fiction which Snorri admits in his Prologue, "although we do not know the truth of these, we know, however, of occasions when wise old men have reckoned such things as true.""


Berserkers were normally the biggest, strongest and best fighters organized in groups of 10-20 men.

A viking force of 500-600 men could have 2-3 groups of berserkers.

When the force were moving by foot the groups were used as recce units ahead of the main force.

When the force camped somewhere the groups conducted raids in nearby villages.

During battles the groups were used as shock units attacking the enemies weak spots.

They however became a problem when the vikings started to settle different places because the berserkers trough 300-400 years had build up a warriorcult around the god Odin.

They lived to fight and kill the enemy and when there were no enemy around any more they started attacking they own and became outlawed.

That's what i learned in school.

I don't think shock troops as such existed, you're painting a too sophisticated picture of 7-11C battles. In Europe at this time, battles were brutal encounters of shield walls, which battered away at each other until such time as gaps appeared, when you could then outflank and turn your opponent...simple yet gruesome affairs


From big les:

"... bull-buggering priest-killers of no fixed abode (Blackadder reference)".

At last I have found something to aim at in my life, oh thank you big les.


....my fav' was the "the baby eating bishop of Bath-and Wells"....

IMTT
07-03-2008, 06:10 PM
It always fascinates me that if a unit is good at closing with the enemy and destroying them people want to call them "Special Forces". This seems to be a reoccurring theme throughout the world and growing. The problem is now even our true Special Forces have bought into this mind-set, now they want to close with and destroy the enemy even when this is not the tact or the purpose of their existence in many respects. DA is not something I would consider at the top of the list with the mission of the Special Forces generically. Yes a small portion of the tasking is DA and very sexy but this is merely a sub-tasking of the group as a whole. The elite warrior cast is made of many and representative of many nations but that doesn't classify them as "Special Forces". By this loose definition the US Marines, US Army Infantry and the Rangers are "Special Forces" which they are not, in my opinion. I have seen and worked with numerous nations militaries. Many love to drop the phrase "Special Forces" when in fact they are little more than quick strike well equipped infantry that is very good and finding, fixing and destroying the enemy expertly (and some not even competent at that). To my mind COIN, FID/UW, Asymmetrical warfare and its sub-tasking(s) are conducted and executed by "Special Forces". Special Forces are not Aqua Commandos or Land Commandos. True SF is a few against the many infleuncing a regional or national change supported through Language skills, cultural understandings, building relationships, winning hearts & minds and undermining our enemy while visiting him silently in his bed at night. They must possess a big carrot as well as a bigger stick which go hand in hand with their skill sets to create the enviroment for change. Alexander the Great was exceptional at this as well as the great TE Lawrence. I would use Nazi Germany as a very poor example of "Special Forces"; they possessed the finest examples of Commandos. Their very poor use of culture, language and friendships to anaylize and defeat the enemy from within cost them dearly. They kicked butt crushing the enemy. In the beginning wasting the enemy only to find they were totally unprepared or equipped to hold ground taken. The insurgencies, OSS and many others gathered intel from the locals made friends and prepared the ground for attack. France is but one glowing example of this folley. Not unlike the recent "Northern Alliance" in Astan.

The Vikings and the Bezerkers started as exceptional quick strike commandos. Then some transitioned into Special Forces once they began to understand and use the local people’s culture and language without force of arms through manipulation.

There is a vast difference between SOF and SF. The Marines love the term "Special Operations Capable"...one trick pony? Everyone wants their piece of the pie.

The Dane
07-03-2008, 07:19 PM
The Vikings and the Bezerkers started as exceptional quick strike commandos. Then some transitioned into Special Forces once they began to understand and use the local people’s culture and language without force of arms through manipulation.

Very true actually :)

I havn't called them SF's or anything.
Fact is that some larger units had Berserker units.
They were bigger, stronger and crazier than the average viking warrior.
They kept them to them selves.
And they were part of a special Odin cult.

Every one could run berserk but only a few were real Berserkers.

Mu-Meson
07-03-2008, 07:40 PM
I can't believe a Viking thread has lasted this long without bringing in this guy:

http://www.youtube.com/v/_1nzEFMjkI4

The Dane
07-03-2008, 07:47 PM
I can't believe a Viking thread has lasted this long without bringing in this guy:

http://www.youtube.com/v/_1nzEFMjkI4

I think he would qualify for being a proper Berserker p-)

ozumn
07-04-2008, 05:21 AM
[quote=Danskeren;3364254]
And they were part of a special Odin cult.
quote]

Didn't they later become knights? or started it, like a warrior cult. Could have been plain Vikings but sounds like something a Zeker would have enjoyed.

Paddy51
07-04-2008, 05:33 AM
I think he would qualify for being a proper Berserker p-)

You could put him up against tanks! :)

The Dane
07-04-2008, 12:20 PM
[quote=Danskeren;3364254]
And they were part of a special Odin cult.
quote]

Didn't they later become knights? or started it, like a warrior cult. Could have been plain Vikings but sounds like something a Zeker would have enjoyed.

Don't know.
Only know that they were outlawed in 1015.

Tema69
07-04-2008, 02:55 PM
A nation's historic teachings tend to overdramatize/maximize their strong points and ignore/minimize their weak points. The danes, for example, are very proud of the gang-raping, murdering and pillaging vikings, and tend to forget and ignore other tings, like the fact that they cooperated strongly with the Nazis, and that their Resistance/Terrorist/FreedomFighter cells only became really active when the tide of war turned.
What I'm saying is that what the Danish education system teaches about the Danish Vikings/Berzerkers should be taken with a grain of salt - it's pretty much the only thing they have to be proud of, a rag-tag bunch of mass-murderers who built great ships - so it's a natural thing to emphasis. Just like the Ninja and Samurai/Katana fanboys out there.

And who am I to say this: A danish guy finishing his education. I've studied in both France and Denmark, and as a kid I was fascinated by vikings due to the things we were taught at school.

@ IMTT: Masterfully put. Couldn't have said it better.

Photographic
07-04-2008, 07:58 PM
That's quite an extreme picture you paint, the vikings were far more than just simple rapists (which is a viking word in origin by the way) or looters/pillagers. Would be interesting to know in what way the Danish education systems exactly glorifies that history?

You're not just a simple troll, are you ? :roll:

Paddy51
07-04-2008, 08:29 PM
That's quite an extreme picture you paint, the vikings were far more than just simple rapists (which is a viking word in origin by the way) or looters/pillagers. Would be interesting to know in what way the Danish education systems exactly glorifies that history?

You're not just a simple troll, are you ? :roll:

I am not sure about Viking relating to rapist but in the Sagas they are defined as raiders and often not in a positive way. I agree with you that the description by Tema69 is a tad extreme. It was the very same barbarians who wrote the Icelandic Sagas and the Edda poetry. It would seem that according to the Sagas Viking was a kind of job or role that people who were otherwise farmers took on. This meant to go and explore, raid and trade. :)

smalandian
07-04-2008, 08:33 PM
Tema69: Events under WW2? Relevance to this discussion? FFS!!!!

Backwoodshunter
07-05-2008, 12:10 AM
(devil horsemen that stay weeks on their horse and were clothed in human skin made suit)
etc etc ......

Sounds like me every sunday

Photographic
07-05-2008, 04:32 AM
Please provide sources. I believe there is no similar word in the North Germnaic languages (vĺldtäkt?).

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/rapist
Etymology:Middle English, from Latin rapere

Why should it be related to the swedish vĺldtäkt? Anyway, that it is related to latin is a common misconception. From the top of my head gate and ransack are also old scandinavian words p-)

Knock yourselves out:

http://www.viking.no/e/england/e-viking_words_1.htm

smalandian
07-05-2008, 06:21 AM
Well, it seems like different "experts" come to different conclusion in regards to the origin of the word. Sometimes I get an impression that there are a quest for "colourful" descriptions. But I'm maybe just too sceptical.

Paddy51
07-05-2008, 06:46 AM
In Icelandic [most unchanged of the Norse languages] the word Víkingur seems to relate to "people who are from the vík" and the meaning of vík is a small inlet. This word is also found e.g. in Scotland, isle of Skye Uig which is known to have been a "base" for Vikings.

As has been said, many of the modern meanings seem to add colour to the word. In Iceland the Police Special Units (SWAT types) are locally referred to as the Vikings.

big_les
07-05-2008, 07:25 AM
Why should it be related to the swedish vĺldtäkt? Anyway, that it is related to latin is a common misconception. From the top of my head gate and ransack are also old scandinavian words p-)

Knock yourselves out:

http://www.viking.no/e/england/e-viking_words_1.htm

Absolute horseshyte mate - "rape" comes from the same verb root as "raptor", "rapacious" etc. It's Latin, by way of Anglo-French.

Tema69
07-05-2008, 08:59 AM
@ Photographic: No, I don't have any sources at hand, since I am speaking out of the general knowledge I have about this, which comes from both Danish and French school.
A simple search on google will give this:

This practice is documented in Sturlunga saga, most notably in Guđmundar saga dýra where Guđmundr takes captive a man and his wife, and plans for both the woman and the man to be raped as a means of ****** humiliation (Ok var ţat viđ orđ at leggja Ţórunni í rekkju hjá einhverjum gárungi, en gera ţat vi Bjôrn prest, at ţat ţćtti eigi minni svívirđing.) (Sřrenson 82, 111; Sturlunga saga, I, 201). In addition to rape, defeated enemies were frequently castrated, again testified to in several places by Sturlunga saga. Grágás records that a klámhogg or "shame-stroke" on the buttocks was, along with castration, a "major wound" (hin meiri sár), ranked with wounds that penetrated the brain, abdomen, or marrow: the klámhogg was thus equated with castration as "unmanning" the victim, and classed with wounds that cause major penetrations of the body, strongly suggesting that the term refers to rape or forced **** *** such as was inflicted on a defeated combatant (Sřrenson 68). It is not known how widespread the practice of raping defeated foes actually was, or if it existed before the advent of Christianity, but in other cultures which have had as strong an ethic of masculine aggression as existed among the Vikings, the rape of defeated foemen was obligatory.http://www.vikinganswerlady.com/gayvik.shtml

Not to say that they only raped people and stole their goods, but this quote sums it up pretty well


If rape and pillage wasn't on this Viking's agenda, what was Ohthere up to?
http://www.newscientist.com/channel/being-human/mg19826622.400-histories-viking-longships-brought-rape-pillage-and-cod.html?feedId=online-news_rss20

The danish education system simply downplay the horrible stuff the vikings did (like killing unarmed priests, raping, looting) and focusing on the cool stuff they did (trading with people far away, discovering stuff, occupying stuff, etc...), which is why I simply warned you guys (especially Danskeren, since he said "That's what I learned in school" after a passage) not to glorify people unless you're sure they merit it.

@Paddy51: Yes, in various Sagas and stories, there are tales of rape and gang-rape. And again, no, I don't have specific sources since it has been a while since I last picked up any of the books. I'll ask my girlfriend if she recalls any acts of rape in them, she recently re-read a compilation of 'em. Actually, I can recall a lot of fiction inspired by the Sagas where rape is common. Stuff like Erik Menneskesřn and Som Landet Lĺ -trilogy.

@Powerwheelie: Rapist in Danish/Norwegian/Swedish is Voldtćgtsman (this is written in Danish, but it's ****ounced similarly by all three countries).

@Bil_Les: I'd have to go with that explanation too, Rape seems Latin. Looking it up in the Conscise Oxford Dictionary it says MiddleEnglish: Rapere too. In French, rape is viol and looking that up in the Petit Robert 1, it says that viol comes from the romans.

oh, and
@Smalandian: Events under WW2 not related to this discussian and therefore used to set things into perspective, partly because it's a topic I know quite some things about, and partly because it's one of those things the danish education system has a tendency to skip elegnatly without really going into details. And since my post was a critique of the danish education system, I thought that would be a good comparison.

Paddy51
07-05-2008, 09:46 AM
"@Paddy51: Yes, in various Sagas and stories, there are tales of rape and gang-rape. And again, no, I don't have specific sources since it has been a while since I last picked up any of the books. I'll ask my girlfriend if she recalls any acts of rape in them, she recently re-read a compilation of 'em. Actually, I can recall a lot of fiction inspired by the Sagas where rape is common. Stuff like Erik Menneskesřn and Som Landet Lĺ -trilogy."

Tema69 [Tema = theme?]

I was born and brought up in Iceland and therefore went to school there. As you can imagine the Saga's are part of the curriculum and are read in the original language (with modern definitions) which shows how close modern Icelandic is to the old language. I can't say that I remember any tales of rape or gang rape. However, the text books may be written in the original language but they are selective. So who knows.

It is interesting to note the image that Iceland liked to portray of the settlers who periodically went on "viking" or went "vikinging" [Fara í víking]. These guys were part time. The images are highly idealised and would be worthy of something MGM might have produced in Hollywood.

Icelanders got very upset when an Icelandic film maker tried to portray the settlers more realistically. This wasn't about rape and pillage but about general life style e.g. relating to food.

I think that many people have problems reconciling the stories of brutality, rape and pillage with the subsequent SAGAs and poetry.... :)

smalandian
07-05-2008, 10:00 AM
Tema69: Thats pretty well known that vikings attacked defenceless easy targets in first place. Monasteries, villages etc.

Danskeren put up movies earlier in the thread that describe such events.

http://www.militaryphotos.net/forums/showpost.php?p=3363490&postcount=40 (http://www.militaryphotos.net/forums/showpost.php?p=3363490&postcount=40)

There is not any signs of hiding (or being unaware about cruelty) among vikings, so I have difficult to understand your attitude towards him.

On the other hand, vikings DID more than war fighting and slaughtering. I don't know if it's correct, but I have read somewhere that the jury-system in
trials have it's origin in Scandinavia, the vikings also enabled "long distance trade" etc.

Besides, how was war conducted in general, for others than vikings?

Add: I suspect that attacks against monasteries and churches were the main reason to the bad reputation. The church wrote books that have been spread, etc.

Eoin666
07-05-2008, 10:09 AM
An interesting theory is that if you Norwegian vikings hadn't attemped to invade in 1066 and cause significant losses to Harold's English army particularly the northern earls, then in all probability the English would have defeated William the Basta*d at Hastings, which was a very close run as it was, but with half the army trickling down from the north the English had no reinforcements, and no reserves to resist the later conquest.

Had the English won, the anglo-saxon outlook was based more on trade with their kinfolk in north and western europe (only 100 yr before England was part of Knut's empire) and away from the latin/roman sphere which we were then dragged into. England in 1066 was one of the richest nations in europe (some of the Gospels produced at Lindesfarne in the 700s, more sophisticated than anything produced in Rome or Canstantinople....before the Vikings destroyed it as a centre of learning....

The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle records: In this year fierce, foreboding omens came over the land of Northumbria. There were excessive whirlwinds, lightning storms, and fiery dragons were seen flying in the sky. These signs were followed by great famine, and on January 8th the ravaging of heathen men destroyed God's church at Lindesfarne.),.....

had we remained linked to northern europe it could have ushered in a new northern goldern age, avoided the British internecine wars caused by aggressive anglo-norman expansionism, the anglo-french 100yr wars, and possibly retained the more restrained version of english catholicism.

A direct consequence of the invasion was the near total elimination of the Anglo-Saxon aristocracy and the loss of English control over the Catholic Church in England. As William subdued rebels, he confiscated their lands and gave them to his Norman supporters. By the time of the Domesday Book, only two English landowners of any note had survived the displacement.[9] By 1096 no church See or Bishopric was held by any native Englishman; all were held by Normans. No other medieval European conquest of Christians by Christians had such devastating consequences for the defeated ruling class. Meanwhile, William's prestige among his followers increased tremendously because he was able to award them vast tracts of land at little cost to himself. His awards also had a basis in consolidating his own control; with each gift of land and titles, the newly-created feudal lord would have to build a castle and subdue the natives. Thus was the conquest self-perpetuating.

Paddy51
07-05-2008, 10:40 AM
Tema69: Thats pretty well known that vikings attacked defenceless easy targets in first place. Monasteries, villages etc.

Danskeren put up movies earlier in the thread that describe such events.

http://www.militaryphotos.net/forums/showpost.php?p=3363490&postcount=40 (http://www.militaryphotos.net/forums/showpost.php?p=3363490&postcount=40)

There is not any signs of hiding (or being unaware about cruelty) among vikings, so I have difficult to understand your attitude towards him.

On the other hand, vikings DID more than war fighting and slaughtering. I don't know if it's correct, but I have read somewhere that the jury-system in
trials have it's origin in Scandinavia, the vikings also enabled "long distance trade" etc.

Besides, how was war conducted in general, for others than vikings?

Add: I suspect that attacks against monasteries and churches were the main reason to the bad reputation. The church wrote books that have been spread, etc.

In Iceland the settlers had a regular meeting called Ţing or Alţing where laws were set and judgements made. This Norse influence is also seen in Scotland where we have Dingwall which is thought to stand for Ţingvöllur or the plain where the ţing is held. Today the Icelandic parliament is called Alţingi (the ALL Ţing) and there is a place called Ţingvöllur where are original Ţings were held and is a place of great reverence to the Icelandic nation.

Cases at the Ţing were presented to the "lawman" who was someone who had memorised the law. This person would then produce a judgement based on the law after hearing the case. One of the earliest law books is Jónsbók or John´s Book, John having been a lawman.

IMTT
07-05-2008, 10:46 AM
Sounds like Shria law that is still in effect in the Saracen lands.

Paddy51
07-05-2008, 10:52 AM
Sounds like Shria law that is still in effect in the Saracen lands.

It probably was - I suppose you could describe it as "community court" which is also found in many other cultures across the world. :)

Morboute
07-05-2008, 10:58 AM
Just read this..

http://www.badassoftheweek.com/stamfordbridge.html

p-)


The theorys of Berserkers are many indeed.
Some say they got the name because they would more or less go into battle in the **** (since nothing could harm them anyways)

others say they got their name because they wore Bearpelts, since they had to slay a bear to be able to join the local Berserker club and eat toxic mushrooms, get high and go berserk.

anyways, what they do have incomon is that they were furious and pretty badass warriors. p-)

The Dane
07-05-2008, 11:27 AM
Just read this..

http://www.badassoftheweek.com/stamfordbridge.html

p-)


The theorys of Berserkers are many indeed.
Some say they got the name because they would more or less go into battle in the **** (since nothing could harm them anyways)

others say they got their name because they wore Bearpelts, since they had to slay a bear to be able to join the local Berserker club and eat toxic mushrooms, get high and go berserk.

anyways, what they do have incomon is that they were furious and pretty badass warriors. p-)

Cool, good read :)

Paddy51
07-05-2008, 11:31 AM
Just read this..

http://www.badassoftheweek.com/stamfordbridge.html

p-)


LOL very funny. rofl

The Dane
07-05-2008, 05:36 PM
Yeah, i likes these bits.


It had all started earlier that year, when King Edward the Confessor kicked the bucket without first having the good sense to nail some babe and leave England with a living heir.



Pissing off a Viking chieftain can generally only lead to one thing - hurt feelings and a copious amount of bloodshed. Within weeks of Harold Godwinson anointing himself King, a swarming horde of badass Viking warriors sailed into England on a river of blood and immediately began ****ing up everything they came across like a rampaging plague of biblical locusts eating the first-born of Egypt during the Great Flood. The armies of Mercia and Northumbria marched forth in a feeble attempt to stem the tide, but both forces were quickly crushed in a frenzy of ball-crunching warhammers and whirling blood-stained longaxes. The town of Scarborough was sacked, pillaged, knocked over, burned to the ground and eaten by wolves, and it seemed as though there was little that the new King could do to slow down this marauding army of insane Viking madmen.



Standing astride the bridge was one man. A giant Norse berserker silently surveyed the Saxon army, firmly clutching a massive double-bladed Greataxe in his weathered, calloused hands. A lone Viking hero granted permission by his King to die honorably in combat, tasked with defending the narrow bridge and buying time for his brethren to reorganize. His face was concealed by an imposing horned helm - metal plates reinforcing a mask constructed from the bleached bone remains of a fearsome animal skull, his wild eyes peering through the darkness like searing orbs of white-hot flame. A living demon, sent forth from the darkest recesses of Hell itself to exact brutal vengeance on any mortal brave or foolish enough to cross him, defying anyone with more balls than sense to test his wrath.

http://www.badassoftheweek.com/stamfordbridge2dotjpg


For almost an hour this resolute 20th Level Fighter single-handedly tore through the English like a chainsaw-wielding space marine with the God Mode cheat activated, shaking off even the most horrific wounds as if they were gunshot wounds from a laser tag weapon and slaughtering more soldiers than a bad Sci-Fi Channel Original movie. After watching this man unleash mayhem so brutal that it would make even the most hardcore MMA enthusiasts nauseous, one clever Saxon warrior wised up and decided not to try and test this barbarian's might. He floated a barrel in the river, hopped in, drifted underneath the bridge, and jammed his spear up through the planks, striking the Viking in his only weak point - the ball sack.

rofl

Nordmannen
07-05-2008, 08:27 PM
Had the English won, the anglo-saxon outlook was based more on trade with their kinfolk in north and western europe (only 100 yr before England was part of Knut's empire) and away from the latin/roman sphere which we were then dragged into. England in 1066 was one of the richest nations in europe (some of the Gospels produced at Lindesfarne in the 700s, more sophisticated than anything produced in Rome or Canstantinople....before the Vikings destroyed it as a centre of learning....

Meh, the Normans were also Scandinavian in origin. Viking, Norman, it's all the same.

Paddy51
07-06-2008, 07:11 AM
Meh, the Normans were also Scandinavian in origin. Viking, Norman, it's all the same.

Norman = Norđmađur or Norđanmađur

Man from North. AKA Norse in Scottish.

:)

Eoin666
07-06-2008, 07:53 PM
Meh, the Normans were also Scandinavian in origin. Viking, Norman, it's all the same.

Hmmm, in origin maybe, but they were completely Francisised by 1066, and looked south towards the Med, not back North.

baboon6
07-06-2008, 10:42 PM
I remember a story out of Korea 1952 when two GI's were part of a rescue mission to relieve an overrun MASH outfit. They saw the carnage and slaughter like the other GIs, but the worst was when they found a young nurse who had been raped and then murdered by the enemy shoving a broken ax handle up inside her...they apparently snapped over that and went AWOL behind enemy lines and began their own murder spree, killing wantonly...they did all kinds of terrible stuff and it was said, totally demoralized the enemy in their area of action. I don't know what happened to them....killed or survived the war or what...but I suppose they made it to tell the tale or stand courts martial.

I think they might have been classified "Berzerkers"....brought on by just pure rage.

According to this no US Army nurses or WACs were killed in Korea, though one died on her way there in an air crash:

http://korea50.army.mil/history/factsheets/women.shtml

I find it hard to believe any hospitals were overrun in 1952, this was well into the static phase of the war. I suspect the rest of this story is nonsense too.

Kjallakr
07-07-2008, 02:06 PM
I don't believe I have ever heard other words in Icelandic referring to rape other than "nauđgun" in the Sagas. However, it can also mean any sort of forcing people to do something (threat, torture and so on) in old Icelandic (old Norse too apperantly).

This sometimes escapes various people (experts?, crazy feminists?), for some reason.



Also I watched the history channel movie on youtube, it wasn't very accurate... The "experts" were pretty funny. Except the woman, she seemed mostly accurate. I'm also not so sure about the houses, the ships were horrible and so on.p-)

Paddy51
07-07-2008, 02:48 PM
I don't believe I have ever heard other words in Icelandic referring to rape other than "nauđgun" in the Sagas. However, it can also mean any sort of forcing people to do something (threat, torture and so on) in old Icelandic (old Norse too apperantly).


I think the core meaning is "against your will" and hence "nauđugur" can also refer to anything that someone is forced to do such as work, as is forced labour or slavery. :)

Thor
07-07-2008, 02:50 PM
Sadly simplified myths about barbaric Norsemen seem to live on. It's hard to in short describe what they were. First and foremost they were skilled and ambitious men who seeked fortune and adventure wherever destiny brought them to. As the oldest son in a family was destined to inherit the land, the younger sons had to make their own way. Seeing others return with gold, slaves and amazing stories triggered young men to learn the skills and prove themselves so they too would be invited to join expeditions, and soon there were lots of them. Though they were not soldiers, but free men who could come and go as they pleased.

They were highly valued warriors who lived and died by their honour. The only person who was as highly valued as a good warrior was a good skald i.e. a poet. When a man fell he often used his last breath for some last words, a kvaede for others to remember him by. Not so lavish, but short and meant to embrace death, and also often complimenting the opponent.

Besides fighters they were also great seafarers, traders, diplomats, explorers and settlers. Viking rule was also in fact popular in many places. They were known to create order and rule justly, and Nordic society was all about rule of law, treating free men equally. Something that was uncommon in that day and age.

There is one book (series) I would highly recommend for anyone wanting to know about the real deal. The Longships by Frans G. Bengtsson. Amazingly entertaining and probably among the most historically accurate you can find.

Just checkout the cutomer reviews (but overlook the stupid English version cover).
http://www.amazon.com/Long-Ships-Frans-Gunnar-Bengtsson/dp/000612609X

Paddy51
07-07-2008, 02:59 PM
Sadly simplified myths about barbaric Norsemen seem to live on. It's hard to in short describe what they were. First and foremost they were skilled and ambitious men who seeked fortune and adventure wherever destiny brought them to. As the oldest son in a family was destined to inherit the land, the younger sons had to make their own way. Seeing others return with gold, slaves and amazing stories triggered young men to learn the skills and prove themselves so they too would be invited to join expeditions, and soon there were lots of them. Though they were not soldiers, but free men who could come and go as they pleased.

They were highly valued warriors who lived and died by their honour. The only person who was as highly valued as a good warrior was a good skald i.e. a poet. When a man fell he often used his last breath for some last words, a kvaede for others to remember him by. Not so lavish, but short and meant to embrace death, and also often complementing the opponent.

Besides fighters they were also great seafarers, traders, diplomats, explorers and settlers. Viking rule was also in fact popular in many places. They were known to create order and rule justly, and Nordic society was all about rule of law, treating free men equally. Something that was uncommon in that day and age.

There is one book (series) I would highly recommend for anyone wanting to know about the real deal. The Longships by Frans G. Bengtsson. Amazingly entertaining and probably among the most historically accurate you can find.

Just checkout the cutomer reviews (but overlook the stupid English version cover).
http://www.amazon.com/Long-Ships-Frans-Gunnar-Bengtsson/dp/000612609X

I agree with your sentiments. But sometimes the Viking history does tend to be viewed a bit through rose tinted glasses at least in places like Iceland. But, as I have before, it wasn't moronic barbarians who navigated the oceans and wrote the Sagas and poetry like the Eddas.

Thanks for the book pointed - looks interesting. :)

CPL Trevoga
07-07-2008, 09:20 PM
In Norse - to viking meant to raid. Can any descendants of the Norse can verify that.

Paddy51
07-08-2008, 07:02 AM
In Norse - to viking meant to raid. Can any descendants of the Norse can verify that.

I had already addressed this above:

In Icelandic [most unchanged of the Norse languages] the word Víkingur seems to relate to "people who are from the vík" and the meaning of vík is a small inlet. This word is also found e.g. in Scotland, isle of Skye Uig which is known to have been a "base" for Vikings.

As has been said, many of the modern meanings seem to add colour to the word. In Iceland the Police Special Units (SWAT types) are locally referred to as the Vikings.

Kjallakr
07-08-2008, 12:00 PM
yes, for example the inhabitants of Reykjavík are called Reykvíkingar, or Smoke-vikingsp-)

On the other hand "Ađ fara í víking" or somthing like that is to go raiding, raping and pillaging, or even merchanting, slave trading or even today buying up foreign malls with huge loans from foreign banks.

Also other than the famous Viking squad (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/V%C3%ADkingasveitin), people (newspaper people) like to call any sort special forces the same name. For example Víkingasveit pylsusala = Special forces of Hot-dog salesmen.p-)

Paddy51
07-08-2008, 12:29 PM
For example Víkingasveit pylsusala = Special forces of Hot-dog salesmen.p-)

That is is just plain sad isn´t it .... :)

BugHunt
07-08-2008, 12:45 PM
I had already addressed this above:

In Icelandic [most unchanged of the Norse languages] the word Víkingur seems to relate to "people who are from the vík" and the meaning of vík is a small inlet. This word is also found e.g. in Scotland, isle of Skye Uig which is known to have been a "base" for Vikings.

As has been said, many of the modern meanings seem to add colour to the word. In Iceland the Police Special Units (SWAT types) are locally referred to as the Vikings.


Well i was at uni with a Norgie and his usage of the word was raid....

Im "Uttler the viking and i go viking across the seas".... etc. 18 stones of the fukker i wasnt going to argue p-)

Paddy51
07-08-2008, 12:58 PM
Well i was at uni with a Norgie and his usage of the word was raid....

Im "Uttler the viking and i go viking across the seas".... etc. 18 stones of the fukker i wasnt going to argue p-)

I am not arguing at all against the way the word is used to mean raid or raider or even adventure. My point is that the word itself does not give a clue as to that meaning which has been attached later.

Compare with the word rape in Icelandic "nauđgun". Here the word itself gives the meaning as in "nauđugur" or "nauđug" meaning "forced to" and I think it also forms the basis for the word "neyđ" which means stress.

Víkingur seems to mean people of or at the Vík .... :)

BugHunt
07-08-2008, 01:10 PM
I am not arguing at all against the way the word is used to mean raid or raider or even adventure. My point is that the word itself does not give a clue as to that meaning which has been attached later.

Compare with the word rape in Icelandic "nauđgun". Here the word itself gives the meaning as in "nauđugur" or "nauđug" meaning "forced to" and I think it also forms the basis for the word "neyđ" which means stress.

Víkingur seems to mean people of or at the Vík .... :)

Smart **** ;)

Paddy51
07-08-2008, 01:13 PM
Smart **** ;)

I will take that as a compliment. :)

Havoc345
07-08-2008, 01:29 PM
My love for you is like a truck, BERZERKER! Would you like some making ****, BERZERKER!

Walker-69
07-08-2008, 02:20 PM
I wonder about the "Killer Instinct". Some people might have more desire to kill than to survive....I'm not sure if I have expressed this correctly.


Now, couple that with some guy who really enjoys his "killing" job and you might have a "Berzerker"....I guess it would take a "Combat Psychologist" to figure it out. But, to go into bloody flesh ripping combat, you have got to be a little nuts anyway.

Well, weird stuff still happens. I don't have any talent or experience with martial arts, but I have been interested in things like metallurgy and knife-making, and I have been reading knife forums like for example the Spyderco forum. Professionals (policemen, correction officers) tell of instances where someone is going "bug house crazy" and keeps fighting when a normal person would run off. It can be psychosis or drugs or a mixture of both, or something that I don't know of. Someone might be mortally wounded and the others know that he will die soon, but he will still try to strike those around him. A berserker can lose all feeling of pain and go through a window and then keep attacking, with shards of glass in his body, the wounds getting worse with every step. Scary stuff. Also, things you learn in the karate practice or Judo practice or whatever, they don't apply any more. I have done a tiny little bit of Aikido (with no talent or skill), and I know that Aikido would not be a very realistic option against someone who is "tripping" and going nuts.

Paddy51
07-08-2008, 03:01 PM
Well, weird stuff still happens. I don't have any talent or experience with martial arts, but I have been interested in things like metallurgy and knife-making, and I have been reading knife forums like for example the Spyderco forum. Professionals (policemen, correction officers) tell of instances where someone is going "bug house crazy" and keeps fighting when a normal person would run off. It can be psychosis or drugs or a mixture of both, or something that I don't know of. Someone might be mortally wounded and the others know that he will die soon, but he will still try to strike those around him. A berserker can lose all feeling of pain and go through a window and then keep attacking, with shards of glass in his body, the wounds getting worse with every step. Scary stuff. Also, things you learn in the karate practice or Judo practice or whatever, they don't apply any more. I have done a tiny little bit of Aikido (with no talent or skill), and I know that Aikido would not be a very realistic option against someone who is "tripping" and going nuts.

The whole notion of Berserkur is really negative as described in the Nordic histories although there is respect.

If you set aside drug induced altered states of consciousness or Martial Arts then you still have stories of people who do extraordinary things when under pressure or severely threatened. This applies to soldiers in combat but also to civilians. For example, most fishing nations have stories of heroism where an individual shows strength, resolve and courage that seems superhuman. And on many occasions these people were regarded as ordinary before the incident. I agree that this is fascinating.

Last Sunday (6 July) was the 20th anniversary of the Piper Alpha disaster and here in Aberdeen there were various activities to remember the dead. Some of the stories of how the survivors managed to stay alive and get away from the fires to be rescued have all the hallmarks of extraordinary states of mind to achieve this. Yet these survivors seem to be modest ordinary guys.

Fiber
07-09-2008, 10:03 AM
A modernized viking-era grave.
http://media.aftenposten.no/archive/00806/_minne_jpg_806087xdotjpg

Mastermind
07-09-2008, 10:50 AM
Kind of inline with what Walker-69 suggests.

I had the experience of catching an enemy in the open when my recon by fire flushed him out. I was behind a .50 MG and watched three tracers go through him...and to my utter amazement, he kept going...now we know there are five ball between each tracer...that's how my belts were loaded... so he had been hit at least fifteen times at a range of less than 35 yards dead center the back. He ran on for twenty more yards, dropped his weapon, staggared for another five yards and then collapsed. After the action, I was curious about if I had been imagining the tracers hitting him, I found his body and turned him over and was stunned to see he had been almost completely eviscerated from the throat down to the crotch...I could see the back bone had been separated in two places...several vertebrae completely missing...now, how the hell did that guy go on forward for 25 yards? I had to check with a second witness, a sergeant who had been standing right beside my hatch watching the action...and he confirmed what I had seen. Go figure.

Pure adrenaline? Muscle memory? Drugs?

Berzerkers with the right attitude, no doubt in my mind, probably could go on in action with some pretty bad wounds

Paddy51
07-09-2008, 11:20 AM
Kind of inline with what Walker-69 suggests.

I had the experience of catching an enemy in the open when my recon by fire flushed him out. I was behind a .50 MG and watched three tracers go through him...and to my utter amazement, he kept going...now we know there are five ball between each tracer...that's how my belts were loaded... so he had been hit at least fifteen times at a range of less than 35 yards dead center the back. He ran on for twenty more yards, dropped his weapon, staggared for another five yards and then collapsed. After the action, I was curious about if I had been imagining the tracers hitting him, I found his body and turned him over and was stunned to see he had been almost completely eviscerated from the throat down to the crotch...I could see the back bone had been separated in two places...several vertebrae completely missing...now, how the hell did that guy go on forward for 25 yards? I had to check with a second witness, a sergeant who had been standing right beside my hatch watching the action...and he confirmed what I had seen. Go figure.

Pure adrenaline? Muscle memory? Drugs?

Berzerkers with the right attitude, no doubt in my mind, probably could go on in action with some pretty bad wounds

I think the bottom line is that Science and Medicine may offer some explanations but these are really guesswork. No one really can explain this kind of phenomena and there are many examples.

You have witnessed it while the rest of us have only read about it. :)

Walker-69
07-09-2008, 02:41 PM
Berzerkers with the right attitude, no doubt in my mind, probably could go on in action with some pretty bad wounds

Oohh well... that was some "interesting" reading. Yes, scary but informative. Yes, it makes you think, someone could be dying in a few seconds time or maybe even clinically dead, and they could still be attacking you. Thanks for sharing.

Eoin666
07-09-2008, 09:06 PM
Kind of inline with what Walker-69 suggests.

I had the experience of catching an enemy in the open when my recon by fire flushed him out. I was behind a .50 MG and watched three tracers go through him...and to my utter amazement, he kept going...now we know there are five ball between each tracer...that's how my belts were loaded... so he had been hit at least fifteen times at a range of less than 35 yards dead center the back. He ran on for twenty more yards, dropped his weapon, staggared for another five yards and then collapsed. After the action, I was curious about if I had been imagining the tracers hitting him, I found his body and turned him over and was stunned to see he had been almost completely eviscerated from the throat down to the crotch...I could see the back bone had been separated in two places...several vertebrae completely missing...now, how the hell did that guy go on forward for 25 yards? I had to check with a second witness, a sergeant who had been standing right beside my hatch watching the action...and he confirmed what I had seen. Go figure.

Pure adrenaline? Muscle memory? Drugs?

As a neurobiologist, (although I'm more involved in behavioural research nowadays) a possible explanation could be that the reflex for walking/running is purely spinal involving no more than a few interneuronal connections in the cord though obviously control/initiation comes from the brain, so in theory you can remove the head, or higher spinal regions and still see some basic motor function for a few seconds at least (I've seen it many times....not in humans I hasten to add!) the chicken running around with head cut off analogy

Drugs, hallucinogens, even alcohol, stress, adrenaline all can alter both perception and pain responses

The Dane
07-10-2008, 07:42 AM
the chicken running around with head cut off analogy


I havn't seen it but it most look pretty cool!

Holycrusader
07-10-2008, 08:01 AM
I havn't seen it but it most look pretty cool!

Ive seen it. It look cool...

Mastermind
07-10-2008, 09:19 AM
As a neurobiologist, (although I'm more involved in behavioural research nowadays) a possible explanation could be that the reflex for walking/running is purely spinal involving no more than a few interneuronal connections in the cord though obviously control/initiation comes from the brain, so in theory you can remove the head, or higher spinal regions and still see some basic motor function for a few seconds at least (I've seen it many times....not in humans I hasten to add!) the chicken running around with head cut off analogy

Drugs, hallucinogens, even alcohol, stress, adrenaline all can alter both perception and pain responses
I had not thought of it that way...your post makes sense. Thanks.

SoliDeoGloria
07-12-2008, 01:47 AM
The whole notion of Berserkur is really negative as described in the Nordic histories although there is respect.

If you set aside drug induced altered states of consciousness or Martial Arts then you still have stories of people who do extraordinary things when under pressure or severely threatened. This applies to soldiers in combat but also to civilians. For example, most fishing nations have stories of heroism where an individual shows strength, resolve and courage that seems superhuman. And on many occasions these people were regarded as ordinary before the incident. I agree that this is fascinating.

Last Sunday (6 July) was the 20th anniversary of the Piper Alpha disaster and here in Aberdeen there were various activities to remember the dead. Some of the stories of how the survivors managed to stay alive and get away from the fires to be rescued have all the hallmarks of extraordinary states of mind to achieve this. Yet these survivors seem to be modest ordinary guys.

Your mentioning of stories of people doing extraordinary things out of necessity reminded me of a story on Yahoo News not too long ago. An African man aged in his 80's was farming and his grandson was sitting near by. Either a cheetah or a leopard came up and tried to bite his grandson, and the farmer ended up ripping out the cats tongue to save his grandson. Amazing stuff.

Paddy51
07-12-2008, 08:22 AM
Your mentioning of stories of people doing extraordinary things out of necessity reminded me of a story on Yahoo News not too long ago. An African man aged in his 80's was farming and his grandson was sitting near by. Either a cheetah or a leopard came up and tried to bite his grandson, and the farmer ended up ripping out the cats tongue to save his grandson. Amazing stuff.

The interesting thing is that every country and every culture has stories like this. Under certain circumstances humans can do amazing things, sometimes so amazing that it appears "super-human". :)

deagle
07-16-2008, 12:35 AM
i wouldn't want to mess with one of them. (would be cool to have a unit nickname with Bezerker).

Paddy51
07-16-2008, 03:56 PM
i wouldn't want to mess with one of them. (would be cool to have a unit nickname with Bezerker).


"Airborne Berzerkers" - Now that would be scary. :)

The Dane
12-12-2013, 12:15 PM
Berserker Viking chess piece from the Isle of Lewis, Scotland.

Last weekend I saw a chess game at a Viking market here in my home town(old viking town, Fyrkat.. now Hobro) with such pieces. I wanted it so badly, but I didn't have enough money with me, sadly! :l I'll remember that the next time,, so cool ;)