Download E-books Ivory Vikings: The Mystery of the Most Famous Chessmen in the World and the Woman Who Made Them PDF

By Nancy Marie Brown

In the early 1800's, on a Hebridean seashore in Scotland, the ocean uncovered an historical treasure cache: ninety three chessmen carved from walrus ivory. Norse netsuke, every one face person, every one choked with quirks, the Lewis Chessmen are the most well-known chess items on this planet. Harry performed Wizard's Chess with them in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. Housed on the British Museum, they're between its so much visited and loved objects.

Questions abounded: Who carved them? the place? Nancy Marie Brown's Ivory Vikings explores those mysteries by means of connecting medieval Icelandic sagas with glossy archaeology, artwork heritage, forensics, and the heritage of board video games. within the strategy, Ivory Vikings provides a brilliant historical past of the four hundred years whilst the Vikings governed the North Atlantic, and the sea-road hooked up nations and islands we expect of as a ways aside and culturally exact: Norway and Scotland, eire and Iceland, and Greenland and North the United States. the tale of the Lewis chessmen explains the industrial trap at the back of the Viking voyages to the west within the 800s and 900s. and eventually, it brings from the shadows an awfully gifted girl artist of the 12th century: Margret the Adroit of Iceland.

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Pink with blood are their spears once they come to struggle. They shape a closed staff. The prince in his knowledge places belief in such males Who hack via enemy shields. ” Harald’s Lay is the earliest recognized point out of berserks. right here they don't chew shields yet hack via and bloody them. but via Snorri’s day, while berserks subsequent seem in literature, shield-biting defines them. Over the subsequent hundred years, they turn into inventory characters—and eventually buffoons, as within the Saga of Grettir the powerful. one of many final kin Sagas, written within the 1300s, Grettir’s is nearly an anti-saga, within which the values of the Viking Age are indicted. Grettir takes no guff from berserks. This one used to be on horseback: “He started to howl loudly and bit the rim of his protect and driven the guard the entire approach into his mouth and snapped on the nook of the protect and carried on furiously. ” Grettir ran at him and kicked the protect. It “shot up into the berserk’s mouth and ripped aside his jaws and his jawbone flopped down on his chest. ” finish of berserk. Our Lewis rooks are usually not but buffoons, yet neither are they Odin’s warriors. rather than animal skins, they put on lengthy leather-based coats or gambesons; on 3 the coats are cross-hatched, as though depicting chain mail. All hold kite-shaped Norman shields—not the around shields we envision ranked alongside the gunwales of a Viking send. None of our rooks has a spear to shake: They’re armed with far more dear swords, one other signal that those are late-Norse warriors, no longer Viking Age berserks. All yet one have helmets; the peculiar one wears a chain-mail coif. 9 helmets are pointy caps, so much with earflaps; they could or will possibly not have noseguards. are relatively various: One feels like a bowler hat, the opposite, a bucket. a few rooks are mustached and bearded, a few clean-shaven. Their hair is cropped on the shoulders. such a lot glare immediately forward, one seems askance. they're stalwart, gruff, bold-looking bluffers, no longer extraordinarily fierce, aside from these 4 who're biting their shields. watch out: they're going berserk. That one little element, the berserk conflict frenzy, marks those ivory warriors as males of the North: No different tradition claims shield-biters. That and the fabric so much are made up of. “Fish teeth,” the sagas name it. We name it walrus tusk. Toothwalkers within the farthest north, on the fringe of the sea referred to as darkish, lie lengthy sloping seashores the place walruses haul themselves out of the ocean within the hundreds of thousands. the tale of the Lewis chessmen originates the following, the place those elephantine family of fur seals congregate to today, heaping themselves upon one another, tumbled so tight that a few snooze sitting up, grunting and sighing, whereas others, roaring their annoyance, lash out at their friends to achieve more room. a few laze on their backs, their lengthy tusks pricking the sky. as much as twelve toes lengthy and ten in circumference, every one walrus weighs a ton or extra. Their hides are, in areas, 3 inches thick, wrinkled and scarred and infested with ticks; underneath is a four-inch layer of fats.

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