The story of Ivar's life is a mix of a legend and historical facts, so the facts surrounding his physical appearance (and the fact that he might have been physically disabled) are also a blend of history and imagination.

Ivar the Boneless and his family life

Ivar the Boneless was an exceptional warrior, and there is no doubt about that, despite the obstacles he faced (or maybe, precisely because of them). 

His lifestyle, a serious medical condition in times when even a common cold could mean the death of a person, a personality that wasn't too keen on emotions, warmth, or empathy make it hard to imagine Ivar the Boneless as a good husband and father. 

While some resources mention a person with a similar name being a husband and a father, this is a matter of speculation - there is no firm evidence that Ivar had a wife and children.

Modern popular culture shows great interest in Vikings and their life stories, as shown by the success of the "Vikings" series. However, the show doesn't always correlate with history. In the series, he is shown as having two children and a wife. 

Could Ivar the Boneless walk?

Multiple sources claim that Ivar the Boneless was unable to walk due to the physical condition he suffered from, which caused the disability.

Paraplegia causes persons affected by it to have very fragile bones, or in some cases, just cartilage, which makes them unable to walk. 

Some sagas mention that Ivar the Boneless was carried around on a shield due to his disability. However, this can also be interpreted as a sign of honor – victorious warriors and leaders were often carried on a shield, so that might be the reason Ivar the Boneless was carried around.

The story of Ivar's life is a mix of legends and historical facts. He was famous for his attacks on some of the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms. The Vikings who attacked them before Ivar were interested only in plunder, while Ivar wanted to conquer these kingdoms. Source: Danieloov / Pixabay

The sources, however, can be quite confusing and misleading when it comes to Ivar the Boneless being disabled. Some of the sagas mention that he had no bones. Others mention his strength and the fact that he was quite fearless, which also changes the perspective. 

The unusual nickname "Boneless" might also have a different connotation, which is also related to his personality. Apart from being a fearless warrior, Ivar the Boneless was also mentioned and described as a cold-hearted person, selfish, and with practically no empathy. 

All these psychological traits combined can, in a way, remind us of a snake, or at least a typical image of a snake and the way they are depicted in stories. 

In that sense, the nickname "Boneless" could be related to snakes and their flexible moving – as if they were "boneless."

How did Ivar the Boneless die, and where is his grave?

Ivar the Boneless attacked Great Britain in 865 AD to avenge his father, who was brutally killed by being thrown into a pit of snakes. 

The moment of avenging his father, Ragnar, was when Ivar the Boneless showed his bloodthirsty warrior nature. 

Around 870 AD, he stopped being present in historical records, and there are speculations about whether he was buried in Dublin or England.

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