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In the Footsteps of Ivarr the Boneless

Anglo-Saxon Britain

In the Footsteps of Ivarr the Boneless

by Mick Baker, drawn from the Channel 4 series and a feature by Geoffrey van Leeuwen

Most of the information that exists about Ivarr inn beinlausi - Ivarr the Boneless - comes from the Scandinavian saga tradition. In particular it comes from Ragnar's saga - the tale that recounts the exploits of his father, the Danish king Ragnarr Lothbrok ('Leather or Hairy Breeches'), a famous Viking hero who led the sack of Paris in AD 845.
These sagas tend to mix historical fact with legend and folklore, but the existence of Ivarr, Ragnarr's eldest son, as an historical figure is in no doubt. His exploits are recorded in contemporary historical documents, and it is possible to trace his movements with relative certainty.