The Viking Berserker

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The Viking Berserker

Based on Aleksey Saburov's original Hobo Nickel Art. With the popularity in all things Viking, it’s not surprising people are going berserk for Aleksey’s latest hobo nickel design.

Meet the crazy shield biting, fire eating, Viking Berserkers.

Expert bas-relief sculptor Aleksey Saburov, masterfully captures the frenzied persona of these madmen as they lose their minds in berserkergang – the act of going berserk.

Notice if you will, the most striking feature - his eyes. The Bersker was not just a fierce warrior, as you'll come see. When in his trance-like battle state, he was a crazy animal, driven by madness. In the deft sculpting of his eyes you get a true sense of the Berserker’s blank fury. You feel the warrior is present in body, but not in mind.

The statue shows our raging warrior fighting a fierce dragon-like sea monster. The Berserkers were often known to display superhuman strength. They took on the characteristics of wild bears and wolves, ripping apart their foes no matter how menacing. To the Berserkers, no enemy was too great – even a giant sea dragon.

A brief history..

On the 8th of June 793 CE, a number of longships mysteriously arrived off the northeast coast of England in the troubled Northumberland. But their motives wouldn’t be a mystery for long. The Northmen, as the English called them, soon showed themselves as they set out on a vicious raid at Lindisfarne. The raiders destroyed the abbey, pillaged the church treasures, killed Monks and took slaves.

This day is known as the beginning of the The Viking Age.

"AD. 793. This year came dreadful fore-warnings over the land of the Northumbrians, terrifying the people most woefully: these were immense sheets of light rushing through the air, and whirlwinds, and fiery dragons flying across the firmament. These tremendous tokens were soon followed by a great famine: and not long after, on the sixth day before the ides of January in the same year, the harrowing inroads of heathen men made lamentable havoc in the church of God in Holy-island, by rapine and slaughter." - From The Anglo Saxon Chronicle
 

This wasn’t the first visit from the seafaring Scandinavians. Four years earlier, in 789 they arrived for reasons unknown. It is thought to have been a trading expedition gone wrong. The Anglo Saxon Chronicle reports:

“This year King Bertric took Edburga the daughter of Offa to wife. And in his days came first three ships of the Northmen from the land of robbers. The reve then rode thereto, and would drive them to the king's town; for he knew not what they were; and there was he slain. These were the first ships of the Danish men that sought the land of the English nation."

After their tortuous raid in Northumbria, and filled with confidence, the Viking’s embarked on an aggressive tirade against European Kingdoms. For those who were unlucky to know what was coming, the very sight of their ships would send chills deep into their souls, and would become a symbol of fear, evil and death.

But for the Vikings, these ships were a symbol of wealth, power and tightly associated with their owner’s personality. So prized were these boats, warriors were buried or cremated in them.

The Menacing Dragonship

The Viking Longship was a nautical powerhouse, and one of the greatest naval achievements of the time. These ships were fast and strong, allowing them to survive treacherous ocean crossings. And they were light and nimble with a draft as small as 20 inches to navigate in shallow water. It was this advanced design that allowed the Vikings to attack the Frankish empire via the Seine.

Dragonships, as they were also called due to the menacing dragon adorning the bow, were the terror of seas. The dragonhead was to scare away enemies, ward off evil spirits, and provide protection. Grágás, The Icelandic law code states that the dragonhead (drekahofud) should be removed when Vikings returned. This was to prevent intimidating their own spirits at home.

The Most Famous Viking Longship Of All

The most legendary of all the longships was The Long Serpent, which, built in 999 CE by The King of Norway, Olaf Tryggvason. It is reported King Olaf, who had converted to Christianity, demanded all his citizens be baptized. A warrior by the name of Raud the Strong refused and so the King killed Raud, and stole his sturdy dragonship. According to the legend, this is where the quintessential “Viking Ship” shape originated. The Long Serpent was around 48 meters long, and was considered the best and most costly ship ever made in Norway.