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Old June 11th, 2009, 03:31 AM   #1

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Ivar "the Boneless" - curious name?


This mighty viking warrior with a curious nickname (given to him by the vikings) was the chief commander of the huge and infamous "Great Army" of 865 that invaded England, along with his brothers Halfdan and Ubba, bent upon total domination of the land. They were said to be avenging their Ragnar Lothbrok's death in Northumbria decades earlier (despite his life timeline being incorrect)

Yet Ivar had to be continuously carried about on a shield, according to sources. Given his strange nickname, was he;-
  • Disabled physically, perhaps with 'brittle bone' disease or even advanced diabetes or cancer?
  • Impotent, the cruel sexual metaphor being not contemporary, obviously.
  • A midget/dwarf, tiny compared to his 6ft tall comrades and thus then deemed ineffective in battle other than his nobility, courage and commanding qualities?
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Old June 11th, 2009, 06:30 AM   #2

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Re: Ivar "the Boneless" - curious name?


In the sagas , Ivar the boneless is described :
Only cartilage was where bone should have been , but otherwise he grew tall and handsome and in wisdom he was the best of their children.
("Their" being his parents : mother named Kraka and father named Ragnar Lodbrog )
He could not take part in physical exercise or weapontraining , and had to be carried on rods or a shield . However he did master the bow and arrow , and it was his advice the others listened to .

And much later ( when he was king ) it is described : the king let his carriermen know , that they had to serve him by carrying him to the meeting ....

So Ivar was tall ( it does not sound very dwarfy ) and his disability started in young age after birth ( it does not sound like a problem with the third leg - impotence ) ....

Some kind of soft bone disease .... osteomalacia of a kind perhaps ... his arms seem to have been better than his legs , since he mastered archery ...
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Old November 4th, 2012, 11:39 AM   #3
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Let's take a look at the nickname of Ivar's mother Åslög, Kraka, Randalin (here is an attampt to translate into English):

http://sv.wikipedia.org/wiki/Krake_(figur)

Preferably one would like to know what Kraka referrers to in the looks of a person. According to the site above the concept of krake has with time changed. However, it seems to have its origin in a curved or crooked and tiny tree, a slender bar with a hook, a dry (spruce)-stem with the de-needled branches remaining. Later it was used for bars and poles, particularly such with remaining branch-stomps used as flakes within farming. In transferred meaning a krake is a ”poor or tiny person” or an animal who is weaker, more slender or frail than can be regarded as appropriate. Regading horses, “horse-krake”, can be compared with Randalin, see site below.

http://userpage.fu-berlin.de/~alvismal/2rory.pdf

In the case of Rolf kraki it is used as a word for the old kind of ladders just having a center pole. Thus, he was tall and slim.

Now, let's take a look at one of Ivar's brother's nickname: Sigurd "Snake-in-the-Eye".

Merlin, you suggested OI (ostegenesis imperfecta), but can there be other diseases or syndromes?

Last edited by grendel; November 4th, 2012 at 11:47 AM.
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Old March 9th, 2013, 10:58 AM   #4

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The first link failed?

So are we suggesting some form of disability in the family?
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Old March 9th, 2013, 04:07 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnnyH View Post
This mighty viking warrior with a curious nickname (given to him by the vikings) was the chief commander of the huge and infamous "Great Army" of 865 that invaded England, along with his brothers Halfdan and Ubba, bent upon total domination of the land. They were said to be avenging their Ragnar Lothbrok's death in Northumbria decades earlier (despite his life timeline being incorrect)

Yet Ivar had to be continuously carried about on a shield, according to sources. Given his strange nickname, was he;-
  • Disabled physically, perhaps with 'brittle bone' disease or even advanced diabetes or cancer?
  • Impotent, the cruel sexual metaphor being not contemporary, obviously.
  • A midget/dwarf, tiny compared to his 6ft tall comrades and thus then deemed ineffective in battle other than his nobility, courage and commanding qualities?
Ivan the boneless i read he was impotent. those vikings with their sense of humor.
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Old March 10th, 2013, 04:17 AM   #6

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Port, that is one possibility, although who would have dared call their Royal commander that during his lifetime?
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Old March 10th, 2013, 06:40 AM   #7

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I always thought the name was "Baneless", as in without bane. Bane means poison or trouble (if someone is 'the bane of my life' it means they are a recurring nuisance), so Ivar the Baneless means he never had any trouble, or found any problem/opposition/task easily dealt with. His success in battle and as a leader fits his nickname.
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Old January 23rd, 2014, 09:26 AM   #8

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The History channel said he had to be carried everywhere do to his legs being weak.
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Old January 23rd, 2014, 11:29 AM   #9
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No one knows for sure, while there are number of more exciting suggestions, I find it more likely that boneless simply mean he was an unusually limber fellow.
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Old January 23rd, 2014, 08:17 PM   #10

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He was known as boneless during his lifetime I believe. I doubt it would reference his impotence. Considering his skill with the bow and the fact he fought in battles I doubt he has handicapped. Being carried on a shield was a form of honouring people, happened to other kings and chieftains to.

I suspect he was fairly agile. One of his brothers was snake in the eye. He may have been very agile. Or just tall and slender. His family might have used a snake emblem. It's probably not exciting.
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