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Interesting facts about Viking berserker warriors

Ian Harvey

The Viking era is something that is incredibly fascinating to people in this day and age as it is so different from any present-day culture.

The way they dressed and the way in which they purportedly acted. It is always a great thing to hear more facts about the Vikings as many times it is hard to separate truth from fiction when it comes to these warriors.

Everyday life in the Viking Age
Everyday life in the Viking Age

At the start of the Viking Age around the year 800, there were very few established military institutions in Scandinavia, but as the society came under the rule of one single king a number of military organizations began to develop over time.

The most recognized institution was the retinue, which was a brotherhood of warriors who were serving a common master.

As it developed over time, it went on to become one of the main sources of power for the medieval kings and slowly evolved to become the noble elite in the Middle Ages.


There was, however, a much more evil brotherhood of warriors in Scandinavia. Their legacy goes on in the circles of art and folklore and through sagas, as they could not find anyplace that they fit in the post-heathen world of Christianity.

This group of warriors became demons of war who served as general symbols of evil in this era. But while many of the tales seem to be myth and history leaves it unclear, there are sources that show that there were men in existence who were simply thriving on the line between life and death and who used the fury of war to give them more strength and power and distinction.

When reading books and sources, one may be confused about these battle warriors, as their description skirts along the line of fantasy and reality. In this day and age, many people have a difficult time imagining just how people of this kind and behavior could have ever existed, as they were completed controlled by an insatiable desire for destruction.

They did exist, though, these Berserkers, along with the wolf skins who were also known as the heathen wolves and were an extremely special group of incredibly skilled and dangerous warriors associated with the god Odin.

The Berserkers were often coveted on the battlefield as they really did know how to fight and could do so in a vicious and successful way.

As a result of this, they were often found on the frontlines of battle because there would be certain destruction at their hands. On the other hand, while the warriors were essentially unmatched on the battlefield, there was another side of them.

They were very hard to control in battle so generals would have a hard time with them controlling the battlefield when they were at the front lines.

In addition, the warriors also just did not really understand or want to partake in formation warfare. Since they were really hard to control and would not do what was asked of them, this could sometimes contribute to the massive downfall in battle.

One time in the heat of battle they did not hold the line as was asked of them by the general; instead they decided to attack, which inevitably led to the king’s downfall, History Extra reported.

Arbo-St. Olaf fall in the battle of Stiklestad
Arbo-St. Olaf fall in the battle of Stiklestad

Another weird fact about this group of vicious warriors is that they were so fierce on the battlefield that they were formidable opponents and would destroy opposing forces even when outnumbered.

Then when they attacked they howled like crazy dogs and wolves. Another thing that many people thought about them is that they could not succumb to injury as a result of either fire or iron and that they simply did not know what pain was.

After the battle, however, these warriors were so incredibly weak they left everything they had on the field.

When historians or researchers speak of the Berserkers, they speak of a completely fearsome enemy for any person to have to encounter on the battlefield.

These warriors were allegedly so often incredibly intoxicated by love for battle that they even went so far as to bite their shields while attacking boulders and trees.

They could even sometimes go so far as to kill one another while they were anxiously awaiting the beginning of the battle that they were about to fight.

The warriors passed down from generation to generation; if a father was a Berserker than his son would soon become one when he was old enough to join on the field of battle.

Oddly enough, when these Berserkers were written about in primarily Christian literature from the Middle Ages they were characterized as standing out from what would be considered the normal conventions of society.

It was alleged that a raging Berserker could suffer a fate where they are either bound or condemned to a life of exile.

Battle of the Storm Hjørungavåg
Battle of the Storm Hjørungavåg

These are completely fascinating warriors as they truly went above and beyond on the battlefield and possessed a love and passion for the war unlike anything ever seen.

Their sheer brilliance in battle made them truly unmatched on the field.

Since they were such fierce fighters and so incredibly violent they often were put into a story as more myth-like creatures, because many normal humans could just not figure out just how they were completely human.

Love Viking history? Here’s another article from us:  1,000-year-old Viking sword found lying on the ground in Iceland

The Viking era was fraught with so many interesting warriors, and the Berserkers are truly just one of the group of warriors that stood out among the rest.

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for The Vintage News