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Berserker

In the Old Norse written corpus, berserkers were those who were said to have fought in a trance-like fury, a characteristic which gave rise to the modern English word berserk. Berserkers are attested to in numerous Old Norse sources; the Old Norse form of the word was berserkr. It means "bear-shirt", "someone who wears a coat made out of a bear's skin". Thirteenth-century historian Snorri Sturluson interpreted the meaning as "bare-shirt", to say that the warriors went into battle without armour, but that view has been abandoned. However, in Iceland, Berserkjahraun is a 3-4,000-year-old lava field with scenery that ranges from nubby moss-covered rocks to jutting spikes of hardened lava; the rocky field gets its name from a part of the Icelandic Eyrbyggia Saga. As the tale goes, a 10th-century farmer had two Berserkers, labourers from Sweden who were known for their large size and general aggressiveness, who worked for him, it is proposed by some authors. Three main animal cults appeared: the bear, the wolf, the wild boar.

The bas relief carvings on Trajan's column in Rome depict scenes of Trajan's conquest of Dacia in 101–106 AD. The scenes show his Roman soldiers plus auxiliaries and allies from Rome's border regions, including tribal warriors from both sides of the Rhine. There are warriors depicted as barefoot, bare-chested, bearing weapons and helmets that are associated with the Germani. Scene 36 on the column shows some of these warriors standing together, with some wearing bearhoods and some wearing wolfhoods. Nowhere else in history are Germanic bear-warriors and wolf-warriors fighting together recorded until 872 AD with Thórbiörn Hornklofi's description of the battle of Hafrsfjord when they fought together for King Harald Fairhair of Norway. In the spring of 1870, four cast-bronze dies, the Torslunda plates, were found by Erik Gustaf Pettersson and Anders Petter Nilsson in a cairn on the lands of the farm No 5 Björnhovda in Torslunda parish, Öland, Sweden. Two relevant images are depicted below, along with two associated woodcuts made two years in 1872.

It is proposed by some authors that the berserkers drew their power from the bear and were devoted to the bear cult, once widespread across the northern hemisphere. The berserkers maintained their religious observances despite their fighting prowess, as the Svarfdæla saga tells of a challenge to single-combat, postponed by a berserker until three days after Yule; the bodies of dead berserkers were laid out in bearskins prior to their funeral rites. The bear-warrior symbolism survives to this day in the form of the bearskin caps worn by the guards of the Danish monarchs. In battle, the berserkers were subject to fits of frenzy, they would howl like wild beasts, foamed at the mouth, gnawed the iron rim of their shields. According to belief, during these fits they were immune to steel and fire, made great havoc in the ranks of the enemy; when the fever abated they tame. Accounts can be found in the sagas. To "go berserk" was to "hamask", which translates as "change form", in this case, as with the sense "enter a state of wild fury".

Some scholars have interpreted those who could transform as a berserker was as "hamrammr" or "shapestrong" – able to shapeshift into a bear's form. For example, the band of men who go with Skallagrim in Egil's Saga to see King Harald about his brother Thorolf's murder are described as "the hardest of men, with a touch of the uncanny about a number of them... they built and shaped more like trolls than human beings." This has sometimes been interpreted as the band of men being "hamrammr", though there is no major consensus. Another example of "hamrammr" comes from the Saga of Hrólf Kraki. One tale within tells the story of Bödvar Bjarki, a berserker, able to shapeshift into a bear and uses this ability to fight for king Hrólfr Kraki. "Men saw. He slew more men with his fore paws than any five of the king's champions." Wolf warriors appear among the legends of the Indo-Europeans, Turks and Native American cultures. The Germanic wolf-warriors have left their trace through shields and standards that were captured by the Romans and displayed in the armilustrium in Rome.

The Úlfhéðnar, another term associated with berserkers, mentioned in the Vatnsdæla saga, Haraldskvæði and the Völsunga saga, were said to wear the pelt of a wolf when they entered battle. Úlfhéðnar are sometimes described as Odin's special warriors: " men went without their mailcoats and were mad as hounds or wolves, bit their shields...they slew men, but neither fire nor iron had effect upon them. This is called'going berserk'." In addition, the helm-plate press from Torslunda depicts...a scene of Odin with a berserker with a wolf pelt and a spear as distinguishing features: “a wolf skinned warrior with the one-eyed dancer in the bird-horned helm, interpreted as showing a scene indicative of a relationship between berserkgang... and the god Odin”. In Norse mythology, the wild boar was an animal sacred to the Vanir; the powerful god Freyr owned the boar Gullinbursti and the goddess Freyja owned Hildisvíni, these boars can be found depicted on Swedish and Anglo-Saxon ceremonial items. The boar-warriors fought at the lead of a battle formation known as Svinfylking, wedge-shaped, two of their champions formed the rani.

They have been described as the masters of disguise, of escape with an intimate knowledge of the landscape. Similar to the berserker

Hugh Fortescue, 3rd Earl Fortescue

Hugh Fortescue, 3rd Earl Fortescue DL, known as Viscount Ebrington from 1841 to 1861, was a British peer and occasional Liberal Party politician. He was born in London on 4 April 1818, he was the eldest son of Hugh Fortescue, 2nd Earl Fortescue, by his first wife, Lady Susan, eldest daughter of Dudley Ryder, 1st Earl of Harrowby. He was a Cambridge Apostle, he was appointed Deputy Lieutenant of Devon on 4 March 1839. He entered the House of Commons in 1841 as a member for Plymouth, he lost this seat in 1852, but returned in 1854 for Marylebone, which seat he held until 1859, when he was called up to the House of Lords by a writ of acceleration. In 1861, he succeeded to his father's earldom, he married Georgiana Augusta Caroline Dawson-Damer, granddaughter of John Dawson, 1st Earl of Portarlington, on 1 March 1847. They had fourteen children: Lady Susan Elizabeth, never married. Lady Mary Eleanor Fortescue, married George Bridgeman. Lady Lucy Catherine Fortescue, married Michael Hicks-Beach, had issue.

Lady Georgiana Seymour Fortescue, married her cousin, Lord Ernest Seymour, son of Francis Seymour, 5th Marquess of Hertford and had issue. Hugh Fortescue, 4th Earl Fortescue Captain Hon. Sir Seymour John Fortescue, RN, died unmarried. Major Hon. Lionel Henry Dudley Fortescue, married Emily Adam Captain Hon. Arthur Grenville Fortescue, of Hudscott, Devon, married Lilla Fane and had issue Major Hon. Sir John William Fortescue, married Winifred Beech Brigadier-General Hon. Charles Granville Fortescue, married Ethel Clarke, daughter of Sir Charles Clarke, 3rd Baronet and had issue. Lady Eleanor Hester Fortescue Alice Sophia Fortescue Lady Frances Blanche Fortescue, married Archibald Hay Gordon-Duff, their daughter Jane Minney Gordon-Duff married Ronald Roxburgh. William George Damer Fortescue, R. N. Sanders, Lloyd Charles. "Fortescue, Hugh". Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. Matthew, H. C. G. "Fortescue, third Earl Fortescue". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press.

Doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/33212. Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by the Earl Fortescue Leigh Rayment's Peerage Pages Leigh Rayment's Historical List of MPs Burke's Peerage, Baronetage & Knightage

The Wearing of the Grin

The Wearing of the Grin is a Looney Tunes cartoon directed by Chuck Jones and written by Michael Maltese. It was released theatrically on July 14, 1951. On a raining stormy night while traveling through rural Ireland on his way to Dublin, Porky Pig is caught in a storm and asks for lodgings at a nearby castle for the night, but the caretaker, Seamus O'Toole, tells him that no one inhabits the place but himself and the leprechauns. Porky dismisses the remark, tells the caretaker to "cut out this nonsense and take my bags to a room", slams the front door, causing a mace above to fall, it knocks him unconscious. At that point, "O'Toole" is revealed to be a pair of leprechauns disguised as a human being. O'Pat, the first one, is calm while O'Mike, the second one becomes frantic with fear that Porky is after their pot of gold. O'Pat, being the "Chief Leprechaun" in their area, convinces his partner that he knows how to deal with the pig; when Porky wakes up, he is helped to a room by the "reunited" caretaker who, during the short trip to the room, gets accidentally divided in two again when O'Pat walks along the stone railing of the stairs and goes off to the left as Porky and O'Mike go right.

Porky, quite tired out by "all this excitement" doesn't notice the problem with his host handing him his coat, which O'Mike takes, Porky tells him to just put the bags anywhere. Moving toward the bed, he meets "O'Toole". Without thinking, he tells him it's by the door, O'Pat moves out of frame, it registers with Porky that he is in the presence of two leprechauns. Terrified, he hides in the bed, a trap door; the bed closes into the wall and Porky is dropped down a winding shaft until he lands in a witness chair in a leprechaun courtroom. There the leprechauns convict him of trying to steal the pot of gold. At first Porky appreciates them as nice shoes, but soon he realizes that they are cursed, as his feet begin a frantic Irish jig which makes O’Pat and O’Mike laugh at him; the shoes will not stop dancing. He is "danced" through a nightmarish Salvador Dali-esque landscape filled with Irish icons until he falls in a boiling pot of gold. At this point, he wakes up, in a puddle of water, on the spot where he fell after being hit by the mace.

"O'Toole" is standing over him with an empty bucket, implying he has dumped water over Porky to revive him. Porky screams, remembering that "O'Toole" is the two leprechauns, leaps up to one of the posts, holding the mace; the caretaker tries to convince Porky. "O'Toole" watches him run, smoking his upsidedown pipe, sporting a mischievous smile, shakes hands with himself over a shamrock-shaped iris out. The Wearing of the Grin was the final cartoon featuring Porky Pig as the only major recurring character. Porky had been Warner Bros. animation’s first major star until had been supplanted first by Daffy Duck, by Bugs Bunny. As this had progressed, Porky starred in fewer solo cartoons. All of Porky's subsequent appearances in the classic era would be with other characters such as Daffy or the non-speaking, house cat version of Sylvester; the title refers to The Wearing of the Green, an old Irish ballad, while the green shoes themselves are borrowed from the Hans Christian Andersen fable The Red Shoes about a pair of ballet shoes that never let their wearer stop dancing.

The title was parodied as "The Wearing of the Grin", in the Bugs Bunny cartoon What's Up, Doc?, where Bugs reveals that being in the play's chorus was his first gig as an "actor." "The Wearing of the Grin" is the name of one of the Broadway shows featuring Bugs Bunny as one of the "Boys in the Chorus" in What's Up Doc? The Leprechauns from the cartoon can be spotted during the basketball game in the bleachers in Space Jam; the Leprechauns make their return in the SNES game of Porky Pig's Haunted Holiday. The Wearing of the Grin is available on the Looney Tunes Golden Collection: Volume 1 DVD box-set, supplemented with an audio commentary by animation historian Michael Barrier. Looney Tunes Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies filmography The Red Shoes The Wearing of the Grin on IMDb