Guest author: Roberta Eaton Cheadle – The Vikings in York: Ivar the Boneless

Sue Vincent hosted me with an interesting post about Ivar the Boneless and the Vikings in York. I really enjoyed our recent visit to Jorvik Viking Centre in this amazing historical city and am delighted to have an opportunity to share a few photographs and details about our visit. Thank you, Sue, for hosting me today.

Ivar the Boneless

Ivar the Boneless, also known as Ivar Ragnarsson, was the Viking leader who captured York in AD 866 and called the city Jorvik.

According to Norse legend, Ivar the Boneless was born “without any bones at all.” His mother, Aslaug, was a shaman, and his father, Ragnar Lodbrok, was a famous war chieftain. When they married, Aslaug warned Ragnar that he must wait three nights before making love to her or their child would be deformed. Ragnar didn’t wait and Ivar the Boneless was the result of their union.

According to Viking sagas, Ivar the Boneless had only cartilage where there should have been bone but, other than this, he was tall and handsome. Modern historians have speculated that Ivar could have suffered from a condition called osteogenesis inperfecta, which leaves sufferers with fragile, glasslike bones. Another theory stems from the claim by a farmer that he had found Ivar’s remains and that he was nine feet tall. If that were the case, Ivar would be unlikely to have been unable to stand unaided.

It is theorised that the Ivar the Boneless took the town of York in order to extract revenge on King Aella of Northumbria who he believed had killed his father by throwing him into a pit of poisonous vipers during a Viking raid on the north-eastern shores of England.

According to legend, King Aella was executed by Ivar and his brothers using the blood eagle, a ritual method of execution whereby the ribcage is opened from behind and the lungs are pulled out, forming a wing-like shape.

Carry on reading here:

15 thoughts on “Guest author: Roberta Eaton Cheadle – The Vikings in York: Ivar the Boneless

  1. Your post reminds me of all the inbreeding of Egyptian Kings and Queens. I believe it was discovered that King Tut had a several deformities. You also relate well the inpatients of men 😉

    Liked by 1 person

      1. “As seen in the new virtual autopsy photo, Tutankhamun’s left foot was also severely deformed; the inward angle suggests that he had a clubfoot. Researchers believe the boy king had Kohler disease, a rare bone disorder.” (Jan 25, 2016) (from
        (I plugged; King Tut deformities did he have – probably should have had a what in there…)

        Liked by 1 person

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