Ancient Germanic Warriors: Warrior Styles from Trajan's by Michael P. Speidel

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By Michael P. Speidel

Proposing a variety of facts for those diversified kinds, from Roman artwork to early medieval bracteate amulets, and from classical texts to Beowulf, the Edda and Icelandic sagas, Professor Speidel the following information seventeen varied Germanic warriors kinds, together with berserks, wolf-warriors, club-wielders, long-hairs, ghost warriors and horse-stabbers, and the way they point out an unbroken continuity of customs, ideals and battle-field strategies. historical Germanic warriors performed a decisive function in old occasions from 2 hundred BC, while Germanic tradition first grew to become identifiable, to advert one thousand while Christianity swept throughout the Nordic nations. coming up from ideals and states of brain, quite a few warrior kinds manifested themselves in transformations of gown, weaponry and struggling with strategy. absolutely illustrated with over fifty pictures, this brilliant and interesting survey provides a colorful new size to our knowing of the background of Europe.

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It killed more men with its paw than any five of the king’s champions did. ” When someone summoned Bothvar Bjarki to the fight, the bear vanished—it had been Bjarki in changed shape. 32 Like Bothvar Bjarki, bears fight not in packs but alone. ” Bjarki as a bear fought in an ecstacy that gave him more-than-human strength and made him wound-proof. The bear-warriors’ ecstatic style, like that of Bjarki, may explain why by the thirteenth century the word “berserk” had come to denote every kind of mad, fearless fighter.

10 Because battle decorations went to the bravest and the bravest became standardbearers, the latter may have begun to wear a bear-hood over their helmet as a badge of status. 11 On parade, hooded standard-bearers and hornblowers made a splendid show. 12 If the bear-hoods of Roman standard-bearers originated from trophies, one would expect them to appear first among auxiliary cohorts on the Rhine, since they were the first Roman forces to fight Germanic bear-warriors. This is indeed where they are found.

Twelfth-century “Albrecht der Bär” of Saxony and Brandenburg “was” a bear to judge by his nickname. In the later Middle Ages, knights and burghers emblazoned their coats of arms with bears as well as with wolves, boars, eagles, lions, panthers, and dragons, proclaiming thereby their will to fight, like those beasts, nobly, fearlessly, and frighteningly. By then, bears were symbols only, but if one wanted to more truly identify with the animal, there were bear masks. 35 If so, he bodied forth nearly the same warrior’s animal sympathy as the Aztec jaguar-, wolf-, and eagle-warriors whom his captain Cortés fought in Mexico.

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