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9/22/2017 12:11:25 AM
Posted: 8/24/2005 12:02:22 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/24/2005 12:08:13 PM EDT by Penguin_101]
Thanks!
Link Posted: 8/24/2005 12:03:45 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/24/2005 12:04:49 PM EDT by IAMLEGEND]
Berserk.


1 : an ancient Scandinavian warrior frenzied in battle and held to be invulnerable
2 : one whose actions are recklessly defiant
Link Posted: 8/24/2005 12:04:30 PM EDT
Bizerk
Link Posted: 8/24/2005 12:05:05 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/24/2005 12:05:39 PM EDT by AMZ]
I think it was the ancient British warrioirs, known as Berzerkers.

Painted blue , and drugged up , they would tear into anything that stood in thier way.
Link Posted: 8/24/2005 12:06:25 PM EDT
You mean "Berserk"?

taken from "Berserkers"...

Some crazy-assed, bad Mofos.


en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Berserker


Etymology

The term berserker comes from Norse "berserkr", meaning literally "bear shirt" or "bare shirt", alluding either to wearing the "clothes" of a bear, i.e. to be bear-like in rage and strength, usually in battle, or to the habit of berserkers going into battle unarmored. Some berserks also took names with björn or biorn in them in reference to a bear. This is likely to be the source of names such as Beowulf and Bödvar Bjarki.

Bear worship was not unusual in northern Germanic areas. Berserkers are reported to have worn bearskins in battle serving as armor or a symbol of their proclivity for worshipping the spirit of the bear. "Possessed" by the spirit of the bear, they might have believed that they had its strength and ferociousness and could even take on the animal's shape and force. In that respect, they are the basis of fantasy characters like Beorn in The Hobbit. Warriors of the Varangian Guard (Norse warriors working for Byzantine Empire) also followed bear rituals.
[edit]

Literary references

The earliest surviving reference to the term berserker is in Haraldskvaedi, a skaldic poem written by Thorbjorn hornklofi in the late ninth century out of honour for King Harald Fair-Hair, the infamous ruler of Norway. The poem was preserved by an equally infamous Snorri Sturluson. In this poem, Harald's army includes a warrior gang of berserkers fighting under his name at the battle of Hafrsfjord. In it, they are described as Ulfhednar = "men clad in wolf skins". The 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: "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). Berserkers appear prominently in a multitude of other sagas and poems including The Saga of Hrólf Kraki, many of which describe berserkers as ravenous barbarians who loot, plunder, and kill indiscriminately.

Much can be derived about berserkers from Egil's Saga. Egil's grandfather was named Kveld-Ulf meaning "evening wolf". Kveld-Ulf's son refered to as Skalla-Grimm was a berserker. Kveld-Ulf and Skalla-Grimm are both depicted as irascible and violent throughout. One commits suicide and the latter kills his offspring. Violence and gruesome tragedies permeate the berserker ethos described in Icelandic sagas such as this one.

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.

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. Gragas, the medieval Icelandic law-code sentences berserker warriors to outlawry. By the 1100s organized berserker warbands had disappeared.

King Harald Fair-Hair's use of berserker "shock troops" became a sphere of influence. Other Scandinavian kings used berserkers as part of their army of hirthmen and sometimes ranked them as equivalent to a royal bodyguard. It may be that at least some of those warriors just adopted the organization or rituals of berserk warbands or used the name as a deterrent or claim of their ferocity. It is doubtful any king would have accepted a band of homicidal maniacs as his closest men.

Still, some scholars consider the frenzied and indomitable berserker and his bear-skin coat to stand right alongside horned Viking helmets as a "feature of later literary [works] rather than contemporary historical ones", placing the legitimacy of Norse sagas as historical records into question.
[edit]

Theories to explain berserker behavior

One explanation behind beserker rage, suggested by botanists, is that in Scandinavia, one of the main spices in alcoholic beverages was the plant bog myrtle (Myrica gale syn: Gale palustris). The drawback is that it increases the hangover headache afterwards. Drinking alcoholic beverages spiced with bog myrtle the night before going to battle, might have resulted in unusually aggressive behavior.

Those who believe in the existence of spirit possession favor a theory that the berserk rage was brought on by possession by an animal spirit of either a bear or a wolf. According to this theory, berserkers were those who had cultivated an ability to allow the spirit of a bear or wolf to take over their body during a fight. This is seen as a somewhat peculiar application of animal totemism.

Proponents of the drug theory favor ergotism or the use of the fly agaric mushroom. Drunken rage would do as well. It is also possible that berserkers worked themselves into their frenzy through purely psychological processes, i.e., frenzied rituals and dances. According to Saxo Grammaticus they also drank bear or wolf blood.

A UK television programme in 2004 tested the possible use of fly agaric and alcohol by training a healthy volunteer in the use of Viking weapons, then evaluating his performance under the influence of fly agaric or alcohol compared to no influence. It was obvious that use of fly agaric or alcohol severely reduced his fighting ability, and the tentative conclusion drawn was that berserk state was achieved psychologically; otherwise berserkers would have been too easy to kill. however, one must consider the fact that norse warriors would have spent all their lives becoming proficient in the use of weapons and their skills would have been embedded. this means that the adverse effects of drugs on their use of weapons would probably have been less than those experienced by the volunteer. The Zulu impi are said to have made use of snuff containing cannabis and (or) mushroom-derived psychoactives to enhance their performance in battle.

Going berserk — berserksgangr or berserkergang — could also happen in the middle of daily work. It began with shivering, chattering of the teeth, and a chill in the body. The face swelled and changed its color. Next came great rage, howling, and indiscriminate brawling. When the rage quelled, the berserker was exhausted and dull of mind for up to several days. According to sagas, many enemies of berserkers exploited this stage to get rid of them.

U.S. professor Jesse L. Byock claims (in Scientific American, 1995) that berserker rage could have been a symptom of Paget's disease. Uncontrolled skull bone growth could have caused painful pressure in the head. He mentions the unattractive and large head of Egill Skallagrímsson in Egilssaga. Other possibilities are mild epilepsy, rabies, and hysteria.

Today the word "berserker" applies to anyone who fights with reckless abandon and disregard to even his own life, i.e., "goes berskerk"; a concept used ad nauseum in the Vietnam War and in contemporary literature (Michael Herr's Dispatches) and film (Oliver Stone's Platoon) about or inspired by it. "Going berserk" in this context refers to an overdose of adrenaline induced opiods in the human body and brain leading a soldier to fight with raging fearlessness and indifference. A state strikingly similar to that of the Viking berserkers observed in this article.
Link Posted: 8/24/2005 12:06:45 PM EDT
Sorry I spelled it wrong, google says it is right.
Link Posted: 8/24/2005 12:07:42 PM EDT
Dateline Aug 24 2005:
It's spelled "berserk".

Now go use Google.
Link Posted: 8/24/2005 12:07:52 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/24/2005 12:08:43 PM EDT by DK-Prof]
It comes from old Danish/Nordic

Vikings had warriors called Bersaerker, referring to some kind of bear-skin (or wolf-skin)garment. "Saerk" is an old nordic word for garment/robe.

These were warriors who would go into battle unarmored, and were supposedly very violent and strong and impervious to pain - and VERY difficult to kill. Rumor has it that they could not be harmed by bladed weapons, and had to be beaten to death. You essentially pointed them at the enemy and released them.

Some people theorize that they might have gotten stoned before battle - on the juice of a particular posionous mushroom (called a fly mushroom - red w. white spots) that grows in Scandinavia. That would explain why they felt no pain, and were very hard to kill.

ETA: Damn, LoginName beat me to it.
Link Posted: 8/24/2005 12:10:16 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/24/2005 12:12:08 PM EDT by IAMLEGEND]

Originally Posted By DK-Prof:
It comes from old Danish/Nordic

Vikings had warriors called Bersaerker, referring to some kind of bear-skin (or wolf-skin)garment. "Saerk" is an old nordic word for garment/robe.

These were warriors who would go into battle unarmored, and were supposedly very violent and strong and impervious to pain - and VERY difficult to kill. Rumor has it that they could not be harmed by bladed weapons, and had to be beaten to death. You essentially pointed them at the enemy and released them.

Some people theorize that they might have gotten stoned before battle - on the juice of a particular posionous mushroom (called a fly mushroom - red w. white spots) that grows in Scandinavia. That would explain why they felt no pain, and were very hard to kill.

ETA: Damn, LoginName beat me to it.



Could be like an Amanita. SHEISLEGEND and I picked some of those last weekend. She was studying them because he toxicology stuff involves patients with mushroom ingestion sometimes. Being able to ID the shroom is important for her.



ETA: And I beat you to it too if my one line explanation was enough.

Link Posted: 8/24/2005 12:10:41 PM EDT
Got a bunch of those berzerker mushrooms in my yard, if anyone wants 'em. IM me for for info.
Link Posted: 8/24/2005 12:11:00 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Penguin_101:
Thanks!



Berserk.

As I understand it, the work berserk dates back to the pre-christian vikings (and possibly earlier). A "berserker" was a warrior who would get extremely hyped up and go absolutely apeshit-crazy in combat, completely disregarding any sense of personal safety and protection while fighting their enemy.

Link Posted: 8/24/2005 12:15:05 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Penguin_101:
Thanks!



For what its worth.....

from Clerks:
Song: Berserker Lyrics

My love for you is like a truck, Berserker
Would you like some making f*ck, Berserker
My love for you is like a rock, Berserker

The Berserker is just so obscene
Likes evil people you know what I mean
He takes your soul and then just rips you apart
He'll steal your heart

Would you like to smoke some pot, Berserker
My love for you is ticking clock, Berserker
Would you like to suck my c*ck, Berserker
Would you like some making f*ck, Berserker


I've always wanted to find a good reason to quote those lyrics.....thanks dude.
Link Posted: 8/24/2005 12:15:57 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/24/2005 12:17:43 PM EDT by 55Kingpin]

Originally Posted By DK-Prof:

Some people theorize that they might have gotten stoned before battle - on the juice of a particular posionous mushroom (called a fly mushroom - red w. white spots) that grows in Scandinavia. That would explain why they felt no pain, and were very hard to kill.



Like Mario and Luigi!!

Link Posted: 8/24/2005 12:18:12 PM EDT

Originally Posted By IAMLEGEND:

Originally Posted By DK-Prof:
It comes from old Danish/Nordic

Vikings had warriors called Bersaerker, referring to some kind of bear-skin (or wolf-skin)garment. "Saerk" is an old nordic word for garment/robe.

These were warriors who would go into battle unarmored, and were supposedly very violent and strong and impervious to pain - and VERY difficult to kill. Rumor has it that they could not be harmed by bladed weapons, and had to be beaten to death. You essentially pointed them at the enemy and released them.

Some people theorize that they might have gotten stoned before battle - on the juice of a particular posionous mushroom (called a fly mushroom - red w. white spots) that grows in Scandinavia. That would explain why they felt no pain, and were very hard to kill.

ETA: Damn, LoginName beat me to it.



Could be like an Amanita. SHEISLEGEND and I picked some of those last weekend. She was studying them because he toxicology stuff involves patients with mushroom ingestion sometimes. Being able to ID the shroom is important for her.

www.stonesoup-media.com/slideshow/nature/aminita.jpg

ETA: And I beat you to it too if my one line explanation was enough.





Yup, I think the technical name is some kind of Amanita:

www.natur-vesthimmerland.dk/Svampe/Roed%20Fluesvamp%202.htm

But often the typical ones seem to be a little flatter and broader, little more like this:



Link Posted: 8/24/2005 12:24:31 PM EDT
Several of the above posts cover just about anything you want to know but the key to the success of the Berserker as a warrior was purely psychological.

The berserkers were said to have cut themselves and be impervious to pain, as mentioned above. What this translates to is a fighting style in which you WOULD be hit by them when the fighting style you are accustomed to is mainly defensive (shield and armor based). They didn't care about going home that night... but you did... and thats a bit frightening.


I think this is slightly similar to some modern day barbarian types.


- BG
Link Posted: 8/24/2005 12:24:43 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/24/2005 12:26:09 PM EDT by raven]
Amanita Muscaria. I've known some people who've dried them and eaten them. I've never been interested. If they were any good, everybody would be eating them. There's two pharmalogically active chemicals in it. One has the hallucinatory effects, the other's a toxin that makes you ill and gives you a headache. The only sure way to get the good stuff while filtering out the bad stuff (without a laboratory) is to drink the urine of someone who has eaten a bunch of the mushrooms. I've read that the Norse and Tunguska shamans in Siberia fed these mushrooms to reindeer, collected their urine, then drank it.

The Zulus also ate a similar mushroom before battle, too.
Link Posted: 8/24/2005 12:27:01 PM EDT

Originally Posted By LoginName:
.....


!Mucho Gracias!
Link Posted: 8/24/2005 12:27:28 PM EDT

Originally Posted By five2one:
I've always wanted to find a good reason to quote those lyrics.....thanks dude.



That's beautiful, man.
Link Posted: 8/24/2005 12:30:09 PM EDT

Originally Posted By raven:
Amanita Muscaria. I've known some people who've dried them and eaten them. I've never been interested. If they were any good, everybody would be eating them. There's two pharmalogically active chemicals in it. One has the hallucinatory effects, the other's a toxin that makes you ill and gives you a headache. The only sure way to get the good stuff while filtering out the bad stuff (without a laboratory) is to drink the urine of someone who has eaten a bunch of the mushrooms. I've read that the Norse and Tunguska shamans in Siberia fed these mushrooms to reindeer, collected their urine, then drank it.

The Zulus also ate a similar mushroom before battle, too.



Yeah - I heard some theories that maybe they tried to avoid the toxin, by having women chew/pulp them first, and then trying to extract the hallucinogenic componenet somehow??

Not really sure how you could do that.
Link Posted: 8/24/2005 12:30:31 PM EDT

Originally Posted By DK-Prof:

Originally Posted By IAMLEGEND:

Originally Posted By DK-Prof:
It comes from old Danish/Nordic

Vikings had warriors called Bersaerker, referring to some kind of bear-skin (or wolf-skin)garment. "Saerk" is an old nordic word for garment/robe.

These were warriors who would go into battle unarmored, and were supposedly very violent and strong and impervious to pain - and VERY difficult to kill. Rumor has it that they could not be harmed by bladed weapons, and had to be beaten to death. You essentially pointed them at the enemy and released them.

Some people theorize that they might have gotten stoned before battle - on the juice of a particular posionous mushroom (called a fly mushroom - red w. white spots) that grows in Scandinavia. That would explain why they felt no pain, and were very hard to kill.

ETA: Damn, LoginName beat me to it.



Could be like an Amanita. SHEISLEGEND and I picked some of those last weekend. She was studying them because he toxicology stuff involves patients with mushroom ingestion sometimes. Being able to ID the shroom is important for her.

www.stonesoup-media.com/slideshow/nature/aminita.jpg

ETA: And I beat you to it too if my one line explanation was enough.





Yup, I think the technical name is some kind of Amanita:

www.natur-vesthimmerland.dk/Svampe/Roed%20Fluesvamp%202.htm

But often the typical ones seem to be a little flatter and broader, little more like this:

www.tvhit.dk/billeder/sep03/26703svamp4.jpg




Yes, I gather there are several varieties and they come in different shapes. The particular one we found was actually more pointed rather than flatter but still in the same family I guess.

I honestly don't know much about them and learned more last weekend than I had ever known about them previously.
Link Posted: 8/24/2005 12:32:02 PM EDT

Originally Posted By five2one:

Originally Posted By Penguin_101:
Thanks!



For what its worth.....

from Clerks:
Song: Berserker Lyrics

My love for you is like a truck, Berserker
Would you like some making f*ck, Berserker
My love for you is like a rock, Berserker

The Berserker is just so obscene
Likes evil people you know what I mean
He takes your soul and then just rips you apart
He'll steal your heart

Would you like to smoke some pot, Berserker
My love for you is ticking clock, Berserker
Would you like to suck my c*ck, Berserker
Would you like some making f*ck, Berserker


I've always wanted to find a good reason to quote those lyrics.....thanks dude.



Did he just say "making fvck?"
Link Posted: 8/24/2005 12:37:10 PM EDT
Intruder alert
Intruder alert
Get the humanoid
Link Posted: 8/24/2005 12:57:19 PM EDT

Originally Posted By BUCC_Guy:
Several of the above posts cover just about anything you want to know but the key to the success of the Berserker as a warrior was purely psychological.

The berserkers were said to have cut themselves and be impervious to pain, as mentioned above. What this translates to is a fighting style in which you WOULD be hit by them when the fighting style you are accustomed to is mainly defensive (shield and armor based). They didn't care about going home that night... but you did... and thats a bit frightening.


I think this is slightly similar to some modern day barbarian types.


- BG



If a few hallucinogenic mushrooms got them all fired up, imagine what they'd be like on tequila, crack cocaine or crystal meth?

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