Author Topic: What were berserkers?  (Read 6683 times)

Erpingham

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What were berserkers?
« on: September 26, 2017, 02:14:05 PM »
While rumaging in Viking blogs I spotted this .

I haven't read it but the abstract seemed interesting eg.

"A critical review of Old Norse literature shows that berserkir do not go berserk, and suggests that berserksgangr was a calculated form of posturing and a ritual activity designed to bolster the courage of the berserkr."
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Patrick Waterson

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Re: What were berserkers?
« Reply #1 on: September 26, 2017, 07:07:15 PM »
Um ... the link is to the genomic female Viking blogpost.
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Andreas Johansson

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Re: What were berserkers?
« Reply #2 on: September 26, 2017, 09:16:41 PM »
The blogger links to this article about berserkers, which I assume is the one Anthony is refering to.
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Chris

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Re: What were berserkers?
« Reply #3 on: September 26, 2017, 09:59:22 PM »
Agree . . . the abstract is of interest.

Makes me think and or reflect upon posturing in warfare . . . appearing taller (with plumed helmets), or more fierce with "paint" and similar decorations.

Mr. Barker spoke of berserkers in DBA or DBM, I believe.

Some rule sets allow them, some do not, as is their right.

To The Strongest! represents these as heroes as opposed to the "formed" units in other sets.

I am sure I read about them in that Vikings book reviewed recently . . .

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Erpingham

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Re: What were berserkers?
« Reply #4 on: September 27, 2017, 07:38:39 AM »
The blogger links to this article about berserkers, which I assume is the one Anthony is refering to.

Thank you Andreas and apologies to everyone for the mistake - what happens sometimes when you are doing a pile of copy pasting and don't check :(
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Patrick Waterson

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Re: What were berserkers?
« Reply #5 on: September 27, 2017, 07:45:46 AM »
The blogger links to this article about berserkers, which I assume is the one Anthony is refering to.

Thank you Andreas and apologies to everyone for the mistake - what happens sometimes when you are doing a pile of copy pasting and don't check :(

Yes, thanks Andreas.

And not to worry, Anthony: what is worse is when you give a link and next day that site is taken down for some reason.  Happened to me ...

Regarding the berserkers article, or at least abstract, I am interested in Andreas' reactions to the subject.  (Everyone's for that matter, but particularly Andreas' or that of any Norwegian, Swede or Dane in our ranks.)
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Erpingham

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Re: What were berserkers?
« Reply #6 on: September 27, 2017, 09:41:32 AM »

Mr. Barker spoke of berserkers in DBA or DBM, I believe.


Indeed, and is quoted on p. 372 of the thesis, on the section on berserkers in miniature wargames.  There are also sections on berserkers in boardgames, role play and computer games.
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NickHarbud

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Re: What were berserkers?
« Reply #7 on: September 27, 2017, 04:15:24 PM »
It all seems stuff and nonsense to me. 

Everybody knows that in a long-forgotten interstellar war, two races fought themselves into oblivion and the only thing left from the conflict is the weapon that ended it.  The beserkers are implacable, inimical killing machines that have been programmed to rebuild and redesign themselves, and destroy all things living....   :P
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Erpingham

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Re: What were berserkers?
« Reply #8 on: September 27, 2017, 05:10:29 PM »
It all seems stuff and nonsense to me. 

Everybody knows that in a long-forgotten interstellar war, two races fought themselves into oblivion and the only thing left from the conflict is the weapon that ended it.  The beserkers are implacable, inimical killing machines that have been programmed to rebuild and redesign themselves, and destroy all things living....   :P

Hmmmm, not sure that would fit the evidence as presented in the thesis   :D
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Re: What were berserkers?
« Reply #9 on: September 28, 2017, 11:01:49 AM »
Though not meeting Patrick's Scandinavian criteria for comment, I have now read (in more or less detail) the thesis.  It is, I think, a useful summary of evidence and theories, even if you don't agree with the conclusions.  I was particularly struck by the attempts to see an evolution in perception of berserkers from a possible cultic/heroic pagan origin to a stock character in  the Christian era. 
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eques

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Re: What were berserkers?
« Reply #10 on: September 28, 2017, 04:50:06 PM »
While rumaging in Viking blogs I spotted this .

I haven't read it but the abstract seemed interesting eg.

"A critical review of Old Norse literature shows that berserkir do not go berserk, and suggests that berserksgangr was a calculated form of posturing and a ritual activity designed to bolster the courage of the berserkr."

Not sure those two things are all that different tbh!  Both denote a warrior going into battle in an altered state of mind that diminishes his fear.
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Erpingham

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Re: What were berserkers?
« Reply #11 on: September 28, 2017, 05:24:33 PM »
While rumaging in Viking blogs I spotted this .

I haven't read it but the abstract seemed interesting eg.

"A critical review of Old Norse literature shows that berserkir do not go berserk, and suggests that berserksgangr was a calculated form of posturing and a ritual activity designed to bolster the courage of the berserkr."


Not sure those two things are all that different tbh!  Both denote a warrior going into battle in an altered state of mind that diminishes his fear.

You'll find the author has doubts over whether berserkers went into battle in an "altered" state of mind.  More like a sports person psyching themself up, getting into "the zone", getting the edge on the opposition.  Or so it seemed to me.   
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Re: What were berserkers?
« Reply #12 on: September 28, 2017, 09:19:42 PM »
While rumaging in Viking blogs I spotted this .

I haven't read it but the abstract seemed interesting eg.

"A critical review of Old Norse literature shows that berserkir do not go berserk, and suggests that berserksgangr was a calculated form of posturing and a ritual activity designed to bolster the courage of the berserkr."


Not sure those two things are all that different tbh!  Both denote a warrior going into battle in an altered state of mind that diminishes his fear.

You'll find the author has doubts over whether berserkers went into battle in an "altered" state of mind.  More like a sports person psyching themself up, getting into "the zone", getting the edge on the opposition.  Or so it seemed to me.   

I think all things should be considered and that one berserker might be very different from the next....
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eques

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Re: What were berserkers?
« Reply #13 on: September 30, 2017, 09:26:00 AM »
While rumaging in Viking blogs I spotted this .

I haven't read it but the abstract seemed interesting eg.

"A critical review of Old Norse literature shows that berserkir do not go berserk, and suggests that berserksgangr was a calculated form of posturing and a ritual activity designed to bolster the courage of the berserkr."


Not sure those two things are all that different tbh!  Both denote a warrior going into battle in an altered state of mind that diminishes his fear.

You'll find the author has doubts over whether berserkers went into battle in an "altered" state of mind.  More like a sports person psyching themself up, getting into "the zone", getting the edge on the opposition.  Or so it seemed to me.   

Again, don't really see the difference.
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Erpingham

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Re: What were berserkers?
« Reply #14 on: September 30, 2017, 09:39:43 AM »
I suppose it's a definition thing, then.  I would assume an altered state was an involuntary thing, like the effect of drugs or psychological disfunction.  The authors view is that berserkerdom is a voluntary state.
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