Viking Chess

Viking Chess
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Vikings had a fondness for strategic games like dice and various board games. In the Salme ship burial off Estonia’s coast, a Viking leader buried with 40 fallen warriors had a king game piece in his mouth, symbolizing his dynastic rank.

The Grágás laws of the thirteenth century, designed to facilitate Iceland’s transition into new Christian monarchal realities, explicitly prohibited spectators from gambling on such games. The Isle of Lewis Chess pieces, discovered in this Scottish region that had long been a Viking stronghold, provide further evidence of the Vikings’ interest in strategic games.

The famous “shield maiden’s grave” at the Birka Warrior site included not only weapons and warhorses but also a high-quality gaming set. The Salme ship burial off Estonia’s coast revealed a Viking leader interred with 40 warriors, featuring a king game piece in his mouth, symbolizing his dynastic rank. Chess-like games appear in Icelandic sagas, and the Grágás laws of the thirteenth century prohibited spectators from gambling on such games. The Isle of Lewis Chess pieces found in Scotland, a Viking stronghold, further underscore their affinity for strategic games.

Fahad Raza

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