Nick "Havoc" Parker Renegade. Tiberian Sun. Tiberium Wars. Cancelled and thus non- canonical. Tiberian Twilight.
Commander Parker. Red Alert Universe. Red Alert 1. Red Alert 2. Red Alert 3. The same warrior was challenged by another Berserkir, named Harthben, who always had twelve chosen men in attendance to prevent his doing mischief when the fit was upon him. Upon hearing that Haldan undertook to fight himself and his followers, he was seized with a paroxysm which was not subdued until he had killed six of them, by way of trying his hand: and then he was killed by his antagonist, as he richly deserved, for throwing away half his chance.
Harold Harfager, or the Fairhaired, who consolidated Norway under his sceptre, A. Still the spirit of depredation was alive. The spread of Christianity moderated the excesses of the Northmen, but it was long ere their fondness for freebooting was extinguished; nay, the very rites of religion were employed to give a sanction to robbery.
Maritime expeditions seemed to the Danes pious and necessary,  that they might protect themselves from the incursions of their Sclavonic neighbours on the continent, and piracy was therefore practised under certain laws, which in the opinion of Bartholinus breathe a spirit of defence rather than of aggression. Before a voyage they made confession to the priests, and having undergone penance, they received the sacrament, as if at the point of death, believing that things would go more prosperously if they duly propitiated God before war.
Content with their food and armour, they avoided burdening their vessels, and took nothing that could delay their voyage. Their watches were frequent, their mode of life sparing. They slept leaning upon their oars. Their battles were numerous: their victory ever easy, and almost bloodless. The booty was shared equally, the master receiving no larger portion than a common rower. Those Christians whom they found enslaved in the captured vessels, they presented with clothing, and dismissed to their own homes. The frantic ravages of these barbarians have been described by the sufferers, and belong in part to our own history; while those committed by the unknown tribes who two thousand years before occupied the other extremity of Europe, are long since forgotten, or remembered only in the flattering traditions of their countrymen.
The former, therefore, are known and execrated, while the latter stand fair with the world: and in the absence of evidence, we are far from wishing to impute to them that bestial ferocity which so often disgraced the Northmen: but who can compare the passages just given with that quoted from Thucydides, without being convinced that they refer to corresponding periods of civilization, and describe similar principles, if not similar modes of action? And as the best historical accounts which we can procure represent the feelings and habits of the early  Greeks as closely akin to those of our own barbarous ancestors, so their traditions and fables lead us to the same conclusion.
The Scaldic poems bear, indeed, a more savage cast; some say from the inhospitable rigour of our northern sky; but more probably because we possess them in their original or nearly their original state, while the earliest Greek compositions extant were written in an age comparatively civilized. But the heroes of both were actuated by the same spirit. Siegfrid and Wolf Dietrich differ little but in external ornament from Castor, or Achilles, or Diomed; their pride was in the same accomplishments, their delight in the same pleasures, their hope in an immortality of the same sensual enjoyments.
Some sketch of the life of Starchaterus, a purely fictitious person, may serve as a specimen of these stories. Starchaterus was born in Sweden, a few years after the Christian era. He was of giant stature, and of strength and courage correspondent to the magnitude of his frame, so that in prowess he was held inferior to none of mortal parentage; and, as he excelled all in bodily endowments, so his life was protracted to three times the usual duration of human existence. Like his great prototype, the Grecian Hercules, he traversed the neighbouring regions, and went even to Ireland and Constantinople in quest of adventures; but, unlike him, he was animated by a most intolerant hatred of everything approaching to luxury, insomuch that he treated an invitation to dinner as an insult, and inflicted severe punishment upon all who were so imprudently hospitable as to request his company.
In addition to his other accomplishments, he was skilled in poetry, and persecuted luxury in verse no less successfully than by corporeal inflictions, as is evident from certain of his compositions, which have been translated into Latin by Saxo Grammaticus. He went to Russia on purpose to fight Visin, who possessed the power of blunting weapons with a look, and trusting in this magic power, exercised all sorts of cruelty and oppression. Starchaterus rendered the charm of no avail by covering his sword with thin leather, and then obtained an easy victory.
Nine warriors of tried valour offered to Helgo, king of Norway, the alternative of doing battle singly against the nine, or losing his bride upon his marriage—day.
Helgo thought it best to appear by his champion, and requested the assistance of Starchaterus, who was so eager for the adventure, that in following Helgo to the appointed place, in one day, and on foot, he performed a journey which had occupied the king, who travelled on horseback, during twelve days. On the morrow, which was the appointed day, ascending a mountain, which was the place of meeting, he chose a spot exposed to the wind and snow, and then, as if it were spring, throwing off his clothes, he set himself to dislodge the fleas that nestled in them.
Then the nine warriors ascended the mountain on the other side, and showed the difference of their hardihood by lighting a fire in a sheltered spot. Not perceiving their antagonist, one went to look out from the mountain top, who saw at a distance an old man covered with snow up to the shoulders. They asked him if it were he who was to fight with them, and being answered in the affirmative, inquired further, whether he would receive them singly or all together. At last, being overtaken by age, he thought it fit to terminate his life before his glory was dimmed by decrepitude; for men used to consider it disgraceful for a warrior to perish by sickness.
And meeting Hather, whose father he had formerly slain, he exhorted him to take vengeance for that injury, and pointed out what he would gain by doing so. Hather willingly consented, and Starchaterus, stretching out his neck, bade him strike boldly, adding, for his encouragement, that if he leaped between the severed head and the trunk before the latter touched the earth, he would become invincible in arms. Now, whether he said this out of good will, or to be quits with his slayer, who ran a good chance of being crushed by the falling giant, is doubtful. This is an early and rude specimen of an errant knight; the same character which was afterwards expanded into Roland and Launcelot, the paladins and peers of Charlemagne and Arthur, worthies closely allied to the heroes of Homer and Hesiod.
Examples to this effect might easily be multiplied. But an essay on the fictions of the Greeks would  be foreign to the scope of this publication: and it would be absurd to enter upon a critical investigation of a series of stories, extended by some chronologers over seven centuries, from the foundation of Argos to the Trojan war, while Newton contracts them within a century and a half, which tell of little but bloodshed, abductions, and violence of all sorts, intermixed, however, with notices of those who invented the useful arts and fostered the gradual progress of civilization.
As we approach to the Trojan war, a sort of twilight history begins to dawn upon us. It is to what may seem at first the strongholds of fiction, to the exploits of Hercules and Theseus, that we refer. The earliest ascertained fact is the establishment of a regular government by Minos, who also cleared the sea from pirates.
At no long interval the above—named heroes made another step in civilization; they cleared the land from rapine, as Minos had cleared the sea. Other men, roaming in search of adventures, had carried bloodshed through the land at the suggestion of their passions or for the advancement of their fame; but Hercules first traversed the earth with the express design of avenging the oppressed and exterminating their oppressors, and the example was soon after followed by his kinsman Theseus.
Their exploits, of course, are chiefly fabulous: but it is worthy of observation that those of Theseus approach much nearer to probability than the far—famed labours of Hercules. Indeed the history of the former presents this peculiarity, that the accounts of his youth are consistent, and scarcely improbable, while those of his age run into all the extravagance of romance.
That Plutarch believed in these stories is evident, from the tone in which he recites them; a corroboration, indeed, of no great weight, for he proceeds with equal gravity to relate things which no one will credit; but in this instance his account of the state of Greece gives warranty for his belief, and is itself confirmed by our knowledge of later ages. The passage has often been quoted, but it is striking and to the purpose, and its want of novelty, therefore, shall be no bar to its insertion.
But for all this, they never employed these gifts of nature to any honest or profitable thing; but rather delighted villainously to hurt and wrong others; as if all the fruit and profit of their extraordinary strength had consisted in cruelty and violence only, and to be able to keep others under and in subjection; and to force, destroy, and spoil all that came to their hands. Thinking that the more part of those which think it a shame to do ill, and commend justice, equity, and humanity, do it of faint, cowardly hearts, because they dare not wrong others, for fear they should receive wrong themselves; and, therefore, that they which by might could have vantage over others, had nothing to do with such qualities.
The enormities ascribed to Sinnis and his fellows have discredited the whole train of adventures to which they belong; but this is an untenable ground of doubt. He who reads descriptions of the state of England, before  laws were strong enough to control private violence, given by contemporaries who saw what they relate, and whose narratives bear the impress of sincerity, will better appreciate the extent of human ferocity. In the reign of Stephen disorder was at its height.
Then took they those whom they supposed to have any goods, both by night and day, labouring men and women, and threw them into the prison for their gold and silver, and inflicted on them unutterable tortures: for never were any martyrs so tortured as they were. Some they hanged up by the feet, and smoked them with foul smoke, and some by the thumbs, or the head, and hung coats of mail on their feet.
They tied knotted cords about their heads, and twisted them until the pain went to their brains.
They put them into dungeons where were adders, and snakes, and toads, and so destroyed them. Some they placed in a crucet house; that is, in a chest that was short and narrow, and not deep, wherein they put sharp stones, and so thrust the man therein, that they broke all the limbs. In many of the castles were things loathsome and grim, called Sachenteges, of which two or three men had enough to bear one. Many thousands they wore out with hunger. I neither can, nor may I tell all the wounds and pains which they inflicted on wretched men in this land.
You might see towns of famous name, standing lonely, and altogether emptied by the death of their inhabitants of all ages and sexes; the fields whitening under a thriving harvest, but the husbandman cut off by pestilential famine ere it ripened: and all England wore the face of grief and calamity, of misery and oppression. In addition to these evils, the savage multitude of barbarians who resorted to England for the gains of warfare was moved neither by the bowels of piety nor by any feeling of human compassion for such misery: everywhere they conspired from their castles to do all wickedness, being always at leisure to rob the poor, to promote quarrels, and intent everywhere upon slaughter with all the malice of a wicked mind.
Enough of general descriptions, which are fully borne out by the particulars related. He was a man exceeding all within memory in barbarity and blasphemy, who used freely to make boast, that he had been present when twenty—four monks were burnt together with their church, and profess that he would do as much in England, and ruin utterly the abbey of Malmesbury. Thomas, a great baron near Laudun in France, was great in name, because he was extreme in wickedness.
At enmity with the surrounding churches, he had brought all their wealth into his own exchequer.
Against all usage, he placed a countess in a dungeon, whom the foul ruffian harassed with fetters and torments to extort money. He would speak words of peace to his neighbour, and stab him to the heart with a smile, and hence, under his cloak, he more often wore his sword naked than sheathed. Therefore, men feared, respected, worshipped him.
All through France was he spoken of. Daily did his estate, his treasure, his vassalage increase. Wouldst thou hear the end of this villain? He took pains not to dismiss, but to dispatch his captives.