With the assistance of Roderick Dale, “doctor of berserkers,” YouTube military historian Lindybeige offers an entertaining and enlightening video on the literary legend of the Norse berserker.
From Dale’s blog post,
It is interesting to note how even those who accept the idea of berserksgangr as performance will often say something along the lines of “Ah yes, but when does performing madness spill over into becoming mad?” When I argue that berserksgangr was a performance with social and cultural meaning that is lost to us, it immediately becomes performing madness in people’s minds, even though that is not what I have proposed. The battle-mad berserker of popular culture is one of several realities that berserkir have. It just isn’t a medieval or Viking Age reality. However, the popular view of berserkir as mad warriors is so strongly ingrained in the language we use to describe the historical realities too that it is hugely difficult to imagine anything different.
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