Ivar the Boneless


Ivar the Boneless (Old Norse Ívarr hinn Beinlausi) is known from Old Norse and medieval Latin sources as the son of the legendary Viking king Ragnar Lothbrok, in these stories raiding alongside his father and brothers and becoming the ruler of York in England in the 9th century CE. His epithet is the unfortunate result of Ragnar's eagerness on his wedding night with Aslaug, who had to no avail cautioned him to wait three nights before consummating their marriage lest the son they conceived should be born with no bones. What exactly Ivar's bonelessness entails is hard to envision – we get the impression of weak- or brittle bones or literally no bones, at least in his legs – but either way, Ivar is carried everywhere on a stretcher or shield. He is famed for his cleverness and strategical insight and is generally shown as the leader of his band of brothers on their adventures. The popular TV series Vikings, in which Ivar is portrayed by ‎Alex Høgh Andersen, echoes this trait and shows him as a brilliant tactician, too; he is here moreover hauled around in a cart due to his disability and is depicted as a cruel and ruthless spoiled brat who becomes a bit of a sociopath, killing his brother Sigurd Snake-in-the-Eye in a fit of rage (all creative license).

More about: Ivar the Boneless


  • c. 790 - c. 1100
    The Viking Age.
  • c. 853 - 873
    The Viking leader Ímar is active in and around Viking Dublin.
  • 865
    The Great Viking Army invades the Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms of England.
  • 867
    King Ælla of Northumbria dies in battle with Viking forces at York (as recorded in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle).