Ivar the Boneless (Old Norse: Ívarr Inn Beinlausi) was a mighty Norse warlord who was known for his conquest of York and Northumbria. Ivar was the leader of the Great Heathen Army.
He was the first Viking ruler to organize a fully-fledged invasion into the Anglo-Saxon region of Great Britain. He was also the first to be able to maintain a permanent presence there.
He would later go on to invade Northumbria and conquer the Picts.
Ivar reportedly stood at a towering 8 feet tall, and was described by many fearful Anglo-Saxons as weighing 350 pounds of pure muscle. He was renowned for his brutality to those who opposed him, and he was also reported to have ripped the heads of his enemy off of their shoulders, although this story is widely disregarded as an overexaggeration.
Ivar Ragnarsson was born to Ragnar Lodbrok and Aslaug in Denmark in the mid-800s. Ivar has been reported to have been born early, but was surprisingly large for his early arrival. Ivar was raised as the eldest son of Aslaug, but was younger than his half-brother (Björn Ironside).
Ivar's other siblings included the other famous Vikings Halfdene, Ubba, and Sigurd Snake-in-the-Eye (King of Denmark).
Ivar's huge size made him on of the favorite sons of Ragnar Lodbrok, who would take Ivar along with him on Viking raids. Ragnar, who would become King of Denmark, was killed by Ælla of Northumbria, and Sigurd Snake-in-the-Eye became the next King of Denmark.
As Sigurd took control of Denmark, Ivar organized a huge number of Danish Vikings, including his brothers Halfdene and Ubba, to form the Great Heathen Army, which would go on to spearhead the Viking invasions of Britain.