Germania issues Berserk, the mighty warrior that strikes fear in his enemies, as a 2oz silver design

New kids on the block, Germania Mint, have already gotten off to a flying start with their pretty Germania and Allegories silver bullion rounds. Tapping into the desire for national personification, the mint chose to bring to the fore the legends and iconography of a region that had fought the Roman Empire some two millennia ago. To be clear, Germania is not modern Germany, but a region defined by the Romans that encompassed modern southern Netherlands, Belgium, and western Germany (Germania Inferior), as well as Switzerland, southwestern Germany, and eastern France (Germania Superior).

Greater Germania was located to the north of these two Roman provinces and were never fully conquered. Indeed, the destruction of the three legions of Varus in the Teutoburg Forest in 9AD effectively ended the Empire’s expansion Northward. The Germanic warrior was described by Caesar in his memoirs as savage, uncivilised, nomadic, and a great threat to Rome. The Germania Mints new issue shows us why. We all know the legend of the Viking Berserker as they were repeatedly mentioned in Old Norse mythology, and were said to be warriors who fought in a trance-like fury. The name itself translates as “bear-coats”, and that’s exactly how the mint has chosen to depict their warrior. Even the Emperor Trajan had Dacian warriors depicted thus dressed on his famous decorated column from AD113.

Most mythology coins follow a specific format, and this new issue is no different. Two ounces of silver, rimless, high-relief and with an antique finish, this is both a relatively affordable format, and one that allows a good size and plenty of depth – both in evidence here. The depiction of the warrior is a good one, with plenty of background detail to ground him in reality. After all, Berserkers were historically a reality, which places them quite apart from most of the coins issued like this to date, which remain firmly grounded in fantasy. Interestingly, they are said to be a potential origin for the werewolf legend.

The obverse carries on with the iconography introduced with the Germania bullion coin. The bicephalous eagle is a fantastic symbol, and the axe reappears on this face as well. Unusually, both faces have gilded elements on them, and as this kind of work is the mint owners speciality, you can expect industry-leading levels of quality. The whole thing is presented in a box with a certificate of authenticity, and the mintage is set at 499 pieces. A neat companion piece to the bullion rounds and a refreshing change from the fantastical themes of other mints. Available from 19th August and on display at the ANA show for those lucky enough to be going.

MINTS DESCRIPTION

Germanic warriors – “ancient commandos”. Each land has its own legends and in them stories about its darkest warriors. Germania was no exception… Among the nomadic people inhabiting Germania lived one of the most effective and at the same time the cruellest fighters in the history of Europe. In the first century, the Roman historian Tacitus described them as ghostly fighters in the service of god Odin. Using black shields, painting their bodies and attacking as a “dark army” at night, they spread terror among their opponents. The Germania warriors were characterized by above-average strength, which surpassed their enemies.

They were faithful to their innate savagery and belligerent instincts, choosing dark nights and the cruellest weapons. A shadow of the ghostly army was causing panic, because no enemy could bear the sight of such unexpected and infernal. Living in simple tribal structures were characterized by traditional principles and hierarchy, following natural leaders, while maintaining independence as a community. The Germanic warriors had a fierce reputation, considered almost barbaric on the battlefield. It was well deserved, because they fought with passion, honesty and a bit of war tactics.

 

 

 

Berserk is known for his mad courage and great strength, the invincible Odin’s protégé. His most terrifying attribute was a battle frenzy, in which he entered before the battle with the use of alcohol or hallucinogenic mushrooms. During this rampage the warrior drank human blood, screaming like a wild beast, bit his shield and his mouth was blowing foam. In the wild fury he was convinced that he was resistant to steel and fire and that nothing could hurt him.

In battle Berserk attacked everything he encountered without distinguishing between a friend and an opponent, wreaking havoc upon the ranks of the enemy. He approached for battle without armour, wearing only a skin of a bear, a wolf or a wild boar. On the one hand, it emphasized his wild nature, and on the other hand, he helped his allies to keep their distance when he was in a fury.

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SPECIFICATION
DENOMINATION 10 Marks (Round)
COMPOSITION 0.999 silver
WEIGHT 62.2grams
DIMENSIONS 45.0mm
FINISH Antiqued
MODIFICATIONS High-relief, gilding
MINTAGE 499
BOX / C.O.A. Yes / Yes