Wednesday, 15 September 2010

My beloved berserker

In ancient times, particularly in the North, women daydreamed of being married to warriors. Fierce warriors, such as Vikings. Some women probably sat in their chambers sewing or getting ready for sleep in bed, and thought of such ferocious men. These warriors captivated the hearts of women in many places. Saxon women were at the mercy of angry warlike Norsemen who came upon these English shores. The Viking raiders had their way with the local women. Down in the centuries, women continued to think of this subconsiously. Whenever I see an image of a Viking longship, what conjurs up for me is a group of very dangerous warriors called Berserkers.

Some know who they were. Others don't know and for that I'll offer a description. Berserkers were ancient Norse warriors who wore the pelt of beasts such as bears and wolves, and took on the animal rage in battle.

"The berserker, too, was often said to change into bestial form, or at least to assume the ferocious qualities of the wolf or bear."

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 indiscriminately 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 niðingr, 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 niðingr --- he betrayed his comrade" (Foote and Wilson, p. 426).
(Source: Viking Anwser Lady - link shown below).

Read more details about the Berserkers here:
Viking Answer Lady: Berserkers 

I have a copy of the erotic romance "The Outlaw Viking" by Sandra Hill. It's about a woman transported into the Dark Ages where she encounters a rugged berserker warrior. Have a look at the title: The Outlaw Viking

The berserkers had a reputation of being able to transform into either wolves or bears. Perhaps there was some near truth to it as they certainly adorned themselves in animal pelts. They were said to become very savage in battle, and much feared by their enemy during their berserker rage. I can picture them. Raging, blood thirsty warriors, skilled in their fighting, who looked like powerful men with muscles, long hair, and also very uncouth when they're at their normal state. This makes some women tremble with a feeling so deep and so dark that it manifests in the things we imagine or create. For others, the berserker reminds most people of either good or bad things. People think of berserkers as savage Norsemen. There are werewolf stories that come from the historic memories of berserkers, and perhaps berserkers themselves were therianthropes? They were definately red-blooded and furious tempered. They loved it. I demand MORE Viking/berserker warrior literature, especially in the romantic genre and also romantic viking films.

Úlfhéðinn (plural Úlfhéðnar) is an Old Norse term for a warrior with attributes parallel to those of a berserker, but with a lupine aspect rather than ursine; both terms refer to a special type of warrior capable of performing feats far beyond the abilities of normal people. Historically, this was attributed to possession by the spirit of an animal. Úlfhéðnar are mentioned in Vatnsdœla saga, Haraldskvæði and the Völsunga saga. The Ulfhednar were said to wear the pelt of a wolf upon their heads when they entered battle, similar to the berserkers use of bear pelts. Source
Interesting links and information about the berserkers:
Wikipedia: Berserkers
Viking Answer Lady
Therianthropes: Berserkers

Berserker and Viking romance authors:
Sandra Hill
Sara Bennett
Catherine Coulter
Helen Kirkman
Johanna Lindsey

1 comment:

  1. To someone who commented on here before. Your post was removed because of the weird text and email address you published. This came out as "spam" which is on a filter. You did ask who the man in the picture is. If anyone else is interested, btw I think he is a painting of a man instead of a real person.