Berserkers I: Shield-biting Badasses of the Viking Age – Viking History


They were the howling, shield-biting badasses of the Viking Age! Who were these frightening fighters? What were they really like? We’re exploring all that and more in our new epic series on Viking berserkers!

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Music and graphic design by Rachel Westhoff. Custom map by Adam McKithern. Pics, references and more at www.deadideas.net.

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Time/place: Scandinavia, 800-1200 CE

Dead Idea: Berserkers

Co-host: Andre Sólo

 

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Iceland, with glacier coverage accurate to 1000 CE, by Adam McKithern

Custom map  by Adam McKithern – showing glacier coverage accurate to 1000 CE

Main Sources

Bayerschmidt, C. F., and Hollander, L. M., Trans. (1955). Njal’s Saga. New York: New York University Press.

Byock, J. L. (1988). Medieval Iceland: Society, Sagas, and Power. Los Angeles: University of California Press.

Byock, J. L. (2002). “The Icelandic Althing: Dawn of Parliamentary Democracry.” In: Heritage and Identity: Shaping the Nations of the North. Ed.: Fladmark, J. M. Heyerdahl Institute and Robert Gordon University. Donhead St. Mary, Shaftesbury: Donhead.

Dale, R. T. D. (2014). “Berserkir: A Re-examination of the Phenomenon in Literature and Life.” Thesis. University of Nottingham.

Foote, P., and Wilson, D. M. (1990). The Viking Achievement: The Society and Culture of Early Medieval Scandinavia. New York: St. Martin’s Press.

Friedman, D. (1979). “Private Creation and Enforcement of Law: A Historical Case.” Retrieved May 5, 2018, from: http://www.daviddfriedman.com/Academic/Iceland/Iceland.html

Griffith, P. (2009). The Viking Art of War. Havertown, PA: Casemate.

Grundy, S. (1998). “Shapeshifting and Berserkergang.” In: Poster, C. and Utz, R., Eds. (1998). Disputatio, Vol. 3: Translation, Transformation, and Transubstantiation in the Late Middle Ages. Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press.

Holman, K. (2003). Historical Dictionary of the Vikings. Oxford: Scarecrow Press.

Jesch, J. (1991). Women In the Viking Age. Woodbridge, Suffolk: Boydell Press.

Konstam, A. (2002). Historical Atlas of the Viking World. New York: Thalamus Publishing.

Liberman, A. (2004). “Berserkir: A Double Legend.” Brathair 4(2): 97-101.

Miller, W. I. (1984). “Avoiding Legal Judgment: The Submission of Disputes to Arbitration in Medieval Iceland.” American Journal of Legal History, 28: pp. 95-134.

Pálsson, H., and Edwards, P., Trans. (1980). Göngu-Hrolf’s Saga. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

Poster, C. and Utz, R., Eds. (1998). Disputatio, Vol. 3: Translation, Transformation, and Transubstantiation in the Late Middle Ages. Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press.

Rees, O. “Going Berserk: The Psychology of the Berserkers.” Medieval Warfare, Vol. II, 9(1): 23-26.

Sanmark, A. (2017). Viking Law and Order: Places and Rituals of Assembly in the Medieval North. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

Saxo Grammaticus. (1979). The History of the Danes, Books I-IX. Fisher, P., Trans. Cambridge: D. S. Brewer.

Somerville, A. A., and McDonald, R. A., Eds. (2010). The Viking Age: A Reader. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

Speidel, M. P. (2002). “Berserks: A History of Indo-European ‘Mad Warrors.’” Journal of World History, Vol. 13(2): 253-290.

Speidel, M. P. (2004). Ancient Germanic Warriors: Warrior Styles from Trajan’s Column to Icelandic Sagas. London: Routledge.

Stapleton, S. (2015). “Justice Done: Outlawry Crimes in Medieval Iceland.” Thesis. In: theses, Dissertations, Capstones. Marshall University.

Tolkien, C., Trans. (1960). The Saga of King Heidrek the Wise. New York: Thomas Nelson & Sons, Ltd.

Wood, D. (2005, Oct. 1). “Book Review: Ancient Germanic Warriors: Warrior Styles from

Trajan’s Column to Icelandic Sagas.” German History, 23(4):557-558.

 

 

 

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