The Strangest Viking

In 2003 Nabil Shaban, a disability rights advocate with osteogenesis imperfecta, made the documentary The Strangest Viking for Channel 4’s Secret History, in which he explored the possibility that Viking Ivar the Boneless may have had the same condition as himself. It also demonstrated that someone with the condition was quite capable of using a longbow, and so could have taken part in battle, as Viking society would have expected a leader to do. However, consensus among historians is that it is highly unlikely that a boy with a debilitating disease could have grown to manhood and achieved fame as a warrior and leader of warriors in the harsh conditions of the 9th century; and a simpler explanation for Ivar’s sobriquet seems more likely.


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