Ever since we first exclusively started importing clones of the Viking Lewis Chessmen, the Berserker has been the most asked about piece. We are very excited to finally offer the famous Berserker chess piece. It is cloned directly from the original historical artifact, just like our other Lewis chessmen pieces. It is the same souvenir sold in the museum store of the National Museum of Scotland where the original Berserk piece that it was cloned from is on display. The British Museum is home to the other three Berserker pieces found on the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides, Scotland. All in all, there were twelve rooks found and four of them were Berserkers.
Measures approximately 3” tall and 1 5/8” wide
History of the Berserker
Berserkers (or berserks) were Norse warriors who fought in a nearly uncontrollable, trance-like fury, a characteristic which later gave rise to the English word berserk. Most historians believe berserkers worked themselves into a rage before battle, and may have consumed drugged foods or psychedelic mushrooms.
The name berserker derives from the Old Norse berserkr (plural berserkir). The word berserker arose from the type of shirt or coat they wore called a “bar shark” which was made from the pelt of a bear or wolf. The bear was one of the animals representing Odin, and by wearing such a pelt the warriors sought to gain the strength of a bear and the favor of Odin.
They are described as Odin's special warriors who went without armor, were mad as wild animals, bit their shields and slew men with reckless abandon and disregard for their own lives. They camped separately from the rest of the army, possibly due to their psychotic and aggressive nature. The Berserkers were the most ferocious warriors on the battlefield and struck terror in the hearts and minds of their enemies. Once in the Berserk state they were capable of almost superhuman powers. It has been said that having a single Berserker was like having an additional 20 men.
Berserkr pronounced like “bah-share-kuh”
Berserkir pronounced like “bah-share-keer”