Viking's ferocious warrior `` Berserker '' may have used a hallucinating plant


James St. John

Vikings were pirates that invaded Western Europe based on the Scandinavian peninsula and the Baltic coast, and were a threat to many people in Europe at that time. Among them, a warrior called Berserker, Berserk was feared because it was very ferocious and strong, but such a Berserker `` may have been in a trance state using plants with hallucinating effects '' The researcher claims.

Sagas of the Solanaceae: Speculative ethnobotanical perspectives on the Norse berserkers-ScienceDirect

Viking berserkers may have used henbane to induce trance-like state | Ars Technica

Berserkers are said to be very violent in battle, barking like beasts, biting on their own shields and fighting without knowing the enemy and allies. However, many stories about Berserkers are based on myths and lore, and it is not known in detail what the actual Berserker was.

The 13th-century historian Snolli Sturluson states that part of the first Norwegian Harald I Guard was Berserker. Berserker reports that he was angry like a dog or wolf and strong like a bear or a bull, not only killing his opponent with a single blow, but also using a weapon.

Berserkers are also magically and mystically characterized, but one common feature is blind and ferocious anger. Also, when a warrior became a Berserker, there were trembling and chills, ticking teeth, redness of the face, etc. And although he can fight crazy for a while, he learns physical fatigue, emotional paralysis, etc. when he gets out of Berserker.


Hans Splinter

Based on these characteristics, several hypotheses have been made as a way to become a Berserker, such as `` intentionally inducing a hysterical state by biting or screaming a shield '', `` seizure of epilepsy '', `` symptom of ergot fungus poisoning '' It has been.

Among them, the main possibility is that they have eaten mushrooms with hallucinations such as fly agaric and are in a trans state. Fly agaric is a familiar mushroom for Europeans, and among the tribes living in Siberia, the shaman was used to become a trance.

Fly agaric turns the person who eats into a trans state with hallucinations and changes in color vision, and also causes symptoms such as vomiting, increased body temperature, sweating, redness of the face, convulsions, and enlarged pupils. Because these characteristics are similar to Berserker warriors, Viking is said to have eaten fly agaric to become a Berserker.


Bernard Spragg. NZ

However, Slovenia , University of Ljubljana is an ethnic botanist of Karsten Fatur said, 'than the fly agaric henbane who is suitable as a candidate to bring the Berserker state' has claimed that.

Hyos is a solanaceous plant native to the Eurasian continent, and has been used as an anesthetic using psychotropic effects for a long time. Ancient Greek people also used hyos to obtain oracles, and were also used as a treatment for motion sickness. Also, from the 11th to 16th centuries before the use of hops, etc., was decided by the Beer Pure Order , Hiyos was used to flavor beer, making it a familiar presence for Europeans.

Mr. Fatur admits that both fly agaric and cypress cause Berserker features such as changes in consciousness, delirium, tremors and redness of the face, but pointed out that fly agaric generally does not provoke aggressive anger. On the other hand, people who ingested cypress and plants containing ingredients similar to cypress say that anger can be aroused. “Depending on the individual's mental situation and dosage, the hyosinity can bring anger and struggle,” “This is an important factor for Berserker,” says Fatur.



In addition, Hiyos has the effect of relieving pain and agrees with Berserker's legend that `` almost no attack '', and the action to lower blood pressure explains the feature that `` not much blood comes out even if cut with a knife '' It may be. In addition, fly agaric has no long-term side effects, but hyosus has long-lasting symptoms such as headaches, enlarged pupils, and blurred vision. In addition, Fatur points out that the fly agaric that grows in the forest is rare on the Scandinavian peninsula, and that the hyos is the more common plant.

While the characteristics of various Berserkers can be explained by Hiyos, “Berserkers bit their shields” and “Ticking teeth” cannot be explained. Fatur said the hypothesis is not definitive because there is not enough archaeological and historical evidence to test his hypothesis.

by Oskar Gran

in Note, Posted by log1h_ik