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Revised and extended edition:
INTRODUCTION Exhibited in Edinburgh in 1831 was an unusual set of chessmen that had been disc overed on the sandy shore of the Isle of Lewis, at the north end of the Western Isles, or Outer Hebrides, of Scotland. The island is mentioned in ancient Icelan dic manuscripts such as Heimskringla and Flateyjarbók, which refer to it as Ljóðhús, mea nning house of song. Indeed, Lewis is very likely derived from this lovely Icelandi c name. It is noteworthy that in Icelandic the Hebrides are called The Southern Isles. When sailing to Orkney islands and Norway these islands are to the south . In the Icelandic sagas there are numerous references of the Southern Isles a nd the sailings of the Icelanders to Orkney islands and to the Southern Isles. F or example in Sturlunga saga it is said that the ship of Gudmundur Arason, later bishop at Hólar, came to the Southern Isles in the year 1202 in bad weather and there he learned about the death of king Sverrir of Norway. Maps used in schools in Iceland show sailing routs of the vikings between Iceland and these islands. Today the exact place the chessmen were found is unknown. In the book The Lewis Chessmen Unmasked, published by The National Museums Scotland, David H. Caldwell and his team mention several places in Lewis. The chessmen, generally thought to be the oldest set bearing the features of modern chess pieces, are among the mo st remarkable relics of both the British Museum and National Museums of Scotland . The British Museum has published pamphlets and DVDs with information on the L ewis chess pieces, which are among its most popular exhibits, and has commissio ned copies of the set and offered them for sale. The National Museums Scotland have held exhibitions and seminars and edited books on the subject. The Lewis ch ess pieces have been exhibited in several countries. This ambitious and carefull y crafted work by the Museums was the catalyst for the article that follows. The chessmen found on the Isle of Lewis are considered the first bearing the fea tures of human beings, and as far as known the oldest set using the bishop as on e of the pieces. The set has made its impact far and wide: It is used in the f ilm Harry Potter and the Philosopher s Stone and inspired the cartoon Noggin the Nog. Both the Museums state that the chessmen were probably crafted in Trondheim, Nor way, but their actual origin remains unknown. Various theories mention Iceland, Norway or Scandinavia, Scotland, Ireland, or England as possibilities. Most of the pieces are carved from walrus tusks (some of them from whale s teeth), and th ey are acccording to British museum thought to have been made between 1150 and 1 200. One story goes that the chessmen were discovered on a sandy beach on the Isle of Lewis, the largest of Scotland s Outer Hebrides. A farmer on the island is believ ed to have found them when digging up a sand bank but other stories also exist. It is possible that the chessmen were washed ashore after a shipwreck or a shipw recked sailor brought them to the beach in a box or bag closed with a buckle. In this article it is argued that that these chess pieces could have been made i n Iceland.
but later the word bishop for that piece in chess has entered some other languages. and some name them Princes. This entry also cites a source from 1562: The Bishoppes some na me Alphins. According to philologists the existence of the individual words is a pre condition for the creation of such a composite word which shows the creative pow er of the language. alphin . Ic elandic and English. He considers this an indication that the game pass ed to Iceland from the British Isles. is known in Iceland as the English century . describes how an emperor was chec kmated by bishop. Norwegi ans have never called this piece a bishop but löber ! Figure 2: A bishop In The Compact Edition of the Oxford English Dictionary from 1971. Daniel Willard Fiske claims that the word bishop is used for the pieces next to the king and the queen in only two languages. This era spanning from 1415-1475. having its upper part c arved into the shape of a mitre. The dictionary also discusses the word alfin : Alfin. This manuscript is a rewriting of an older one. The word bishop in chess is found in old Icelandic manuscripts. 1474. At the time when the Lewis chess men were made. and now the bishop. 1) Former name of bishop in che ss. This is an interesting point. This entry cites sources from the years 1440. some fooles. The runner participates in the battle. As far as is known. and 1530 where the w ord alfin is used for a chess bishop. The word bishop smate which is used in the manuscript. In Scandinavia and Germany this piece is c alled runner. which was written in Iceland ca. the piece in chess cal led the alphin. The use of the word bishop therefor e seems to have come into English from Icelandic at a period where commerce was lively between Iceland and England. Chess is a war game where a battle is being fought. published in Florence in 1905. An 1802 source r eads: The alfin was also denominated. is a combination of the words. a messenger that investigates the situation in the battle and info rms the king. The Lewis chessmen are al so to my knowledge the first known chess pieces that include bishops with crosie r and mitres and full ceremonial clothing. other some name them Arches . with us an archer and at last a bishop. It is safe to assume therefore that the word bishop as a che .Figure 1: The Isle of Lewis A BISHOP IN CHESS The Lewis chessmen are as far as I know the first known chess sets that connect chess with the church. formerly called archer and in still earlier tim es alfin or aufyn. bishop and mate. This confirms Fiske s claim that the bishop wa s called alfin in 14th and 15th century English. 1150-1200 t his is most likely right. The Saga of Earl Mág us. the entry for bishop reads thus: One of the pieces in the game of chess. In his book Chess in Iceland . Chinese and Persians the figure and name of an elephant. Further sources from the years 1581 and 1656 are also quoted. having had originally with Indians. 1300-1325.
thoug ht it fitting that the men standing closest to the royal couple should be bishop s. At the end of the 14th cen tury. for I am red with shame that I must make mention of still more contemptible forms of mi schief than hunting and fowling namely of a passion for games of dice and chess Bishop de Sully of Paris would not even permit his clergy to keep a chessboard i n the house. The church sho uld be peaceful and not participate in war or violence. The Catholic Council of Regensburg revoked the ban on chess. where the clergymen are servants. contains a reference to the canonical ban on dice-games. dr. Not to mention the hostile atti . the church should be ind ependent. The archbishop had a pallium over his shoulders and in front of him. Sources thus indicate that the word bishop did not enter the English chess vocabul ary until the late 15th century. I Linder says: The oldest Italian document to mention chess. killing of enemies. Some scholars find it likely that the Lewis chessmen were carved at the arcbish opric in Throndheim. the church would consent to or tolerate the involvement of bishops in a war game. In his book The Art of Chess Pieces published in Moscow 1 994. Ic eland had no king at that time. who had little experience of warfare. a letter w ritten by Cardinal Daminiani 1061. Carv ers in Trondheim would probably have carved the bishop with a pallium. fighters and defenders of the king. In Trondheim a long and severe dispute between the bishop and the king resulted in 1194 that the Pope excommunicated King Sverrir of Norway (1151-1202). participating in battles. It is therefore highly unlikely that during the age of King Sverrir´s excommunicat ion. According to historians the Church politic in Trondheim was clear. Most of the artists were working in cooperation with the church and its vast riches. The Lewis chessmen are believed to have been made between 115 0 and 1200.ss piece is much older in Icelandic than English. a spiritual power separated from the worldly power of kings. Figure 3: A pallium THE CHURCH IN THE MIDDLE AGES AND CHESS Sources point to the strong opposition of the catholic church toward chess in t he years 1000 to 1300. Under the influence of the clergy King Louis IX (the saint) offici ally forbad the game in France in 1254. its highest authority figures were the bishops. beca use the church was often the instigator of artistic and cultural development. This curious document begins with the words: I halt my pen. One might imagine that the bishops. This line of reasoning implicates the Icelandic bishops who hired ma ster carvers and sent works of craftsmanship as gifts throughout the world. This suggests that the chess term may have orig inated in Iceland. The hostile attitude of the Catholic Church does make it very unlikly that the b ishopric or the church would engage in carving pieces in the image of bishops to serve the king on a chessboard. It might also be worth considering that the clothing of an archbishop differs from that of a bishop. However after almost three hundred years of struggle the churchmen were obliged to give way. This is not to be seen on the Lewis bishops.
that no m an had seen such craftsmanship in Iceland. was a descendant of the Norwegian kings. Icela ndic scholars consider it beyond doubt that master carvers were at work in Icela nd during this period. at that time. stanchions fro m Laufás. Orkneyingasaga was written in Iceland about year 1200 and probably by Bishop Páll Jóns son of Skalholt. Páll Jónsson 1155-1211. . goldsmith s workshop. Icelanders travelled abroad bearing gifts and sent gifts to their oversea s friends. eve n in Europe. which the arcbishop in Throndheim must have been aware of. mention a smithy. b ear witness to a well-developed ornamental carving art. and his skills. The bishop was proud of hi s ancestry. visited Thomas Becket s abbey at Canterbury and gave the monastery a delicately carved walrus tu sk. Icelandic chieftain. Notable among wood carvings are the Flatatungufjalir. incl uding Rome. During the Mediaeval period. In his worldview the bishops stood beside the king. and others. Ships owned by the bishopric were sailing to Greenland fetching goods and artists were engaged in c arving and other artistic activities. DECORATIVE ART Most agree that the Lewis chessmen are a work of art and that the carvers who m ade them were master artisans. Klæng schurch is said to have been the largest woodenhouse in the Nordic Countries. The crosier found in Páll s coffin was indeed carved from a wa lrus tusk. made in Iceland. his grandmother was a daughter of the Norwegian king Magnus Olafsson. Hrafn Sveinbjarnarson. among them Thorsteinn the Shrines mith. which have been preserved in Iceland and are considered without doubt to have been carved in this country. the Catholic Church in Iceland was rich and power ful. In Iceland the Church politic at this time was much different. Margrét and Thorsteinn were both active in their craft at th e time when the Lewis chessmen are believed to have been created. CARVING. Most of the timber had to be imported. highly speciali sed artisans were at work in Iceland during that time. descriptions in Laxdæla saga of pictorial carvings in the walls of the lod ge of Olafur pái in Hjarðarholt. Examples of artistic endeavour in Iceland are numerous. Around the year 1190. It is known that Mediaeval Icelandic artisans lived in T rondheim and sought their artistic education there. Clearly. painters and carvers. where goldsmiths worked and probably did so in earlier times as well. It engaged the services of expert goldsmiths. he would have espoused close cooperation between king an d bishop.tude of Rome. Sources from around 1500. The Biography of Bishop Pall contains some remarkable stories such as this one: [ Pall] sent Archbishop Thórir a crosier carved of a tusk with such skill. and a goldsmith s shed in Skálholt. Foreign scholars have been of the opinion that t he courts of royalty and the bishopric were the principal cultural centres where crafts and the arts could flourish enough to generate such works of art. The bishop at Skálhol t. It owned extensive lands and maintained cultural ties all over Europe. made by Margrét the Adroit. Construction timber wi th traditional carvings from the early Middle Ages. He stayed in Orkn island for a time and there was a plan that h is brother should marry the daughter of the earl of Orkney islands. The bishopric at Skálholt was very rich at this time. This saga mentions other such artefacts and also describes another artisans. The church built at Skálholt around 1150. who at that time was the most skilled carver in all Iceland. Therefore.
since only a small m inority of the wood carvings from this time period have been preserved. xxiv. It is important to bear in mind that the Lewis Chessmen were not discovered unti l about 1830 or 2 centuries later. This style is w ell known in Iceland from the time of these carvings to the present day. Poul Nörlund des cribes a bishop s grave. has laid out an interesting hypothesis about the relationship between Iceland and Greenland a t this time in his book Across the Sea: Westerners and Icelandic Culture in the M . Not all foreign scholars in art history have realised that. who was known as the Adroit for her prodi gious skill at carving walrus tusks. 1852. the country boasted of a hig hly developed culture of decoration and carving. in addition to Iceland s remarkable literary tradition. In that burial was found a crosier that. published 1913. as the two men were fast friends. The crosier is carved from a walrus tusk.J. also separately printed in CPC. Some scholars seem to have been certain that the carving is Icelandic. in his Historical Remarks (Archaeologia. Figure 4: The head of the Greenland crosier THE CARVING PATTERN The pattern of carving on the chessmen is in a Romanesque style. there are pictures of contemporary carvings that do not seem to bear much resemblance to the patterns on the Lewis chessmen. must be from around 12 00. Thomas discovered to be current in LEWIS. they might be the work of Icelandic carvers of the beginning of the 17th century only. It is kn own that Icelandic artisans learned from their colleagues in Scandinavia and els ewhere in Europe.In his book Ancient Settlements at the Northern Edge of the World . In Elle n Marie Magerøy s book Planteornamentikken i islandsk treskurd . seen from behind GREENLAND WALRUS TUSKS Professor emeritus Helgi Gudmundsson at the University of Iceland.Murray says: The carving of the Rooks as warriors on foot undoubtedly points to Icelandic workmanship and al so: Sir Frederic Madden. Figure 5: The queens. a statement that doubtless draws on Páll s saga as its source. In his book A History of Chess . i) endeavoured to prove that these pieces are of Ic elandic carving of the middle of the 12th century. possibly that of Jón smyrill..R. H. bishop of Greenland. This still tells but half the story. according to the author. and Nörlund hypothesises that Bishop Páll Jónsson may have given the crosier to Bishop Jón when the latter was travelling in Iceland. Nörlund furthermore claims that Páll h ad in his service Margrét the priest s wife. The following remark is also from the same book: If there were any truth in the t radition which Capt.
the bay of Icelanders. Snorri studied at Oddi with Icelandic chieftain. walrus tusks were found on nearby beaches for quite some time afterwar d. F rom Greenland. although they are not mentioned in writte n documents. Rosmhvalanes. as seals and walruses do. beach themselves in order to mate. and elsewhere in Europe. narwhal tusks. including Thorlákur Thórhall . Icelanders settled Greenland and left their home country with many ships to sett le there. and Mangersta can be from the I celandic word Mangarastaður. The Icela nders in turn exported these products and sold them in Scandinavia.iddle Ages . This points to t he Icelandic connection in Lewis. appears to refer to an older game than the one now played. though his description in The Saga of St. svarðreipi (a type of rope made from thongs of walrus hide). and that western Iceland served as a sort of hub for trade with Greenland. which was written in Iceland ca. but als o developed decorative art. WHEN DID CHESS APPEAR IN ICELAND? The first Icelandic written records of chess are from Snorri Sturluson the autho r of Heimskringla. for exampl e. Icelanders imported walrus tusks. (1178-1241). Ireland. When the Icelandic fleet of ships shrank to near nothing. Close there is Islivig which can be derived from Islendingavik. The last written sources about these inhabitants of Greenland are from sailers that came from Greenland 1410. He also cites a passage from the Saga of the Green landers . Uig is derived from the Icelandic word vik which means bay. (Walruses (Icel. The Saga of Earl Mágus . and Fiske believes he learned chess there. In his book Helgi Gudmundsson also discusses toponyms in Lewis. Incidentally.e. and more. describes how an emperor was checkmated by bishop. It is worth mentioning that toponyms seem to sugg est the presence of walruses in Iceland during the Age of Settlement. It is likely that the Norwegians who continued to sail to Greenland ma de a stopover in Iceland on their way. Thus Icelanders not only wrote their legendary manuscripts at this time. and the two communities interacted frequently. as true whales do not have látur. rostungar) were known as rosmhvalir or simply hvalir (whales) at the time. Helgi points out a story in the Annals of the Kings about a bishop s ship that was s hipwrecked at Hítarnes in Iceland circa 1266 while carrying a load of goods from G reenland. Copenhagen. and carpentry. according to which traders with four ships were in Greenland in 1135 or 1136 to fetch goods. carving. which enabled Icelanders to write the famous Sagas of the Icelanders. the place of merchants. 1300-1325. The ultimate fate of these early Gree nlanders remains a mystery. Snorri appears to have had some knowledge of t he game. Hvalseyjar. several other Icelanders were studying in England at the time. and Hvallátur. Páll was at school in Engla nd around 1180. The settlers of Greenland therefore had many friends and relatives in Iceland.) This evidence clearly indicates that walrus tusks were available in Iceland at t his time. He believes that Iceland and Greenland traded actively with each oth er. polar bear skins. Olaf . i. the connection to Greenland was broken despite the fact that Norway had plenty of ships. This business was the source of great wealth in western Ic eland. some only a few years ago. which deals with events 2 00 years before the time of writing. Jón Loftsson and became acquainte d with Jón s son Páll (1155-1211) who would later be bishop.
It is thus highly probable that chess was known in Iceland at the time when the Lewis chessmen were made. SITE OF DISCOVERY The chessmen were discovered on a sandy beach on the Isle of Lewis. Figure 6: Probable site of discovery The author of another British Museum pamphlet seems to think it most probable th at a merchant hid the chessmen there with the intent of retrieving them later. Most of the chessmen were made of walrus tusk. but some were made of whale tooth. But it is equally possible that the chessmen were washed ashore after a shipwreck. Figure 7: Berserkers . The condition of the pieces is quite variable.sson Icelandic bishop (1133 1193). Danish tårn. In Scandinavia and Germany. this chess piece is called tower . the largest of Scotland s Outer Hebrides as mentioned before. The find consisted of 78 chessme n from four chess sets that are missing a number of pieces. others quite worn. I have not seen berserkers t o figure except among the Lewis chessmen. Thorlákur). and they also figure in The Saga of the Heath-Slayings a nd they also appear in Icelandic toponyms such as Berserkjahraun (berserkers lava field) and the name of an Icelandic farm. some ar e as new. This calls to mind the story of the bishop s ship fro m Greenland that was wrecked at Hítarnes in 1266 and the walrus tusks that washed up on the nearby shore for a long while afterward. They occur in Icelandic writings Snorri describes bers erkers in Heimskringla. T his is probably an oblique reference to various other valuables that have been b uried and later found. who was there before 1190. Berserkseyri. and Hrafn Sveinbjarnarson. but they were at the forefront of Icelanders co nsciousness at this time. BERSERKERS It is remarkable that the Lewis rooks seem to be berserkers and are depicted bit ing the edge of their shields. Swedish torn. Some sources st ate that the objects were contained in a box of sorts. later St. Written records of ber serkers from other countries are scarce. Berserkers are presumably an older phenomenon and are well known from Scandinavia. A belt buckle and fo urteen objects from board games were found at the same location. English and Icelandic speak of a rook (hrókur).
Furthermore. and the second brochure from the British Museum points out that the horses have Icelandic features. and the shape of their heads seems Icelandic. They are so small that they are rem iniscent of the Icelandic horse. the highest points were to the sides and the cleft between them ran from front to back. These mitres a re highest at the front and back. no written sources to build on. HYPOTHESIS British Museum publications theorise that the Lewis chessmen were carved in Tron dheim. they conclude that the chessmen were most likely buried on the Lewi s shore by a merchant who intended to retrieve them later. Mitres changed again around the year 1200. If the museum is not right man y arguments have to be reconsidered. Mitres of this kind were first introduced around 1150. where facilities and tools for such work were available and where the patterns on the pieces were most fashionable at the time. except what was written in Iceland by Icelanders. It is worth considering whether The British Museum has come to the right conclution about the age of the Lewis chessmen. Figure 8: Knights BISHOPS MITRES According to documentation from the British Museum. with a depression between the two peaks. H orses of this kind were probably scarce in Scandinavia. a year afte . Icelandic bishops mitres came from Scandin avia or Europe. Norway. Befor e 1150. She rests her hand on her cheek and seems worried or sad. but the Norwegians know little about their history before 1200. This is somewhat reminiscent of icons of the Virgin Mary and f urther supports the hypothesis that the figures were carved under a bishop s instr uctions. The arguments for Trondheim origin are rather weak. In 1832. THE QUEEN The queen is rather unusually carved. and they are thus not much use as a diagnostic feature for the c hessmen s provenance. so the chessmen are unlikely to be much younger than that.KNIGHTS The knights are mounted. so the chessmen cannot predate that time. the age of the Lewis chessme n is estimated primarily from the bishops mitres.
It was not until the end of the 14th century that The Catholic Council of Regens burg revoked the ban on chess. Here I advance the hypothesis that the Lewis chessmen were carved in Iceland and present arguments in support of this theory: 1) It seems that the Lewis chessmen are indeed the first chess pieces to in tertvine the Church and the chessboard. A bishop with mitre and a crosier become s a chess piece. They were probably carve d here at the behest of a bishop who thought it appropriate that pieces closest to the king and queen be bishops. We only have to look to followi ng facts: The letter from cardinal Dominiani from 1061. 3) The attitude of the catholic church toward chess was very very negative in the time when the Lewis chessmen were made. these pi eces were most likely only known as bishops in Iceland. then the English ad opted the word bishop for a chess piece from Icelanders. that the church was involved in carving the chessmen. for example. Should this prove correct. King Louis IX of France under the influence of the clergy officially forbad che ss in France 1254. This is not to be seen on the Lewis bishops. The archbishop had a pallium over his shoulders an d in front of him. Records indicate that t he word alfin fell out of use in English around 1475. Helgi Gudmundsson points out that the timing of this change coincides with the so-called English century (1400 1500) in Iceland. whether it may have been in Bristol. This fact. or other hometowns of comp anies that traded in Iceland at the time. the English Sir Frederic Madden wrote an arti cle. Carvers in Thron dheim would probably have carved the bishop with a pallium. He then asks whether it can be ascertained where this usage was first adopt ed. A bishop in Paris did not permit his clergy to keep chessboard in the house in these years. The name bishop does not seem to have been used for a chess piece in Norway at any point in history. writing against chess. It seems clear that the catholic church has not been willing to sponsor curving of bishops as chess pieces. At this time the archbishops were under strong influ ence from Rome. Written records show that the word bishop was used in Icel and around 1300 and in England in the late 15th century. 2) The use of the word bishop on the chessboard is a keyword in the argumenta tion. 4) The arcbishp at Trondheim persvaded the Pope in Rome to excommunicate th e King of Norway after a long and severe dispute between the king and the churc h 1194. Historical Remarks on the Ancient Chessmen discovered in the Isle of Lewis . w here he advances the hypothesis that the chessmen were carved in Iceland before the year 1200. 5) It might also be worth considering that the clothing of an archbishop di ffers from that of a bishop. This word seems only to occur in Icelandic at the time the chessmen were made.r the pieces were first exhibited. added to the negative attitude of Rome. 6) British Museum says in its pamplets that the horses appear almost Iceland . When the Lewis chessmen were carved. after which the chess piece was exclusively known as a bishop. when trade and interaction with the English was at its zen ith. makes it unlikely to say the least.
goldsmiths. and written records state outright that walrus tusk was among their raw materials. Klængschu rch . there are stories of gifts being exchanged. is said to have been the largest woodenhouse in the Nordic Countries. i) endeavoured to prove that these piec es are of Icelandic carving of the middle of the 12th century. at that time.Murray says : The carving of the Rooks as warriors on foot undoubtedly points to Icelandic wo rkmanship and Sir Frederic Madden. and these Greenlander s had many friends and relatives in Iceland. even i n Europe. which indicates that a number of pieces were lost. the History of the Earls of Orkney. because in Norway they were required to pay a toll. 9) A ship carrying the Lewis chessmen from Iceland could have been shipwrec ked near the Isle of Lewis on its way to Islivig or Dublin and the pieces been w ashed up on the sand. In his book A History of Chess published 1913. T his brings to the mind a recording from an annal that a bishop s ship was shipwre cked at Hítarnes in Iceland circa 1266 while carrying a load of goods from Greenla nd. 8) Decorative art and carving were highly developed in Iceland at this time . and there was considera ble communication between them. 13) It is noteworthy that in Icelandic the Hebrides are called The Southern Isles. Most of the timber had to be imported. in his Historical Remarks: (Archaeologia. Icelanders settled Greenland with a large fleet of ships. Iceland had a strong connection to Greenland at this time. Einar Ólafur Sveinsson. 12) In The Saga Writing of the Oddi Clan. Icelanders sold a great deal of their exports in Ireland. advances the hypothesis that men from the Oddi clan wrote Orkneyinga saga. In the Icelandic sagas there are numerous references of the Southern Isles a nd the sailings of the Icelanders to Orkney islands and to Lewis. professor at the University of Iceland. painters and master ca rvers were employed at the bishops seats.ic in character. 11) In Sturlunga saga it is said that the ship of Gudmundur Arason. 1852 . later bi shop at Hólar. Written records of berserkers from other countries are scarce. .. When sailing to Orkney islands and Norway these islands are to the south . Artists. This connection was severed when Icel anders lost their fleet of seaworthy ships. The church built at Skálholt around 1150. walrus tusks were found on nearby beaches for quite some time afterwards. A friendship existed between Bishop Páll and the Earls of Orkney at this time. From there the Outer Hebrides are not far off. In Icel and the names of the berserks who dwelled here are known. xxiv. also separately printed in CPC. but they were at the forefront of Icelanders consciousness at this time. came to the Southern Isles in the year 1202 in bad weather and the re he learned about the death of king Sverrir of Norway. T hey occur in Icelandic writings and they also appear in Icelandic toponyms such as Berserkjahraun (berserkers lava field) and Berserkseyri (name of a farm in Iceland). H. This is probably the only chess set where the rooks are berserk s. Records describe bishops ships that brought goods from Greenland at that time. Ships owned by the b ishopric were sailing to Greenland fetching goods and artists were engaged carvi ng end other artistic activities. Berserkers are presumably an older phenomenon and are well known from Scandin avia. 7) The Lewis rooks seem to be berserkers and are depicted biting the edge o f their shields.J. It is telling that the men are from four chess sets. Perha ps more pieces remain buried there in the sand. Icelanders thus had access to walrus tusks and other raw materials from Greenland. none of which are complete. 10) The bishopric at Skálholt was very rich at this time. Many examples are known of Icelandic bishops sending or bringing fine gifts car ved from walrus tusks to foreigners.R.
Interview. Revised and extended version.R. Caldwell. Kristjánsson. In The Compact Edition of the Oxford English Dictionary. 1971. Translated from the Danish (De Gamle Nordbobygder ved Verdens End . DVD. Magnússon. Oxford: At the Clarendon Press. 1971. at the University of Iceland Thor Magnússon. Jón G. Interview. David H. Masterpieces of the Briti sh Museum. London: BBC. The Lewis Chessmen Unmasked. Uig is derived from t he Icelandic word vik which means bay. National Museums Scotland 2010 Fiske. 1997. In The Compact Edition of the Oxford English Dictionary. D. 19 05. October 2009. Reykjavík. October 2009. former President & CEO of Visa Iceland and chess aficionado References Alfin. October 2009. 1. Interview. Murray. The chessmen were then se nt abroad for sale or as a gift. [Across the Sea: Westerners and Icelandic Culture in the Middle Ages. Vol. whose carvin g skills were the stuff of legend and her assistants.14) It is interesting to study the toponyms in Lewis. 1:220. Chess in Iceland. Fornar byggðir á hjara heims [Ancient Settlements at the Northern Edge of the World]. the bay of Icelanders. 1. 25 Mar ch 2011 / GGTh ACKNOWLEDGMENTS Special thanks for indispensible help to: Jón G. Fridjónsson. Dr. Poul. Jónas. Interview. Ox ford: At the Clarendon Press. alphin. Friðjónsson. the place of merchants. Einarsson. Professor of Linguistic Science at the University of Iceland Helgi Gudmundsson. former Director of the Institution for Icelandic Manuscripts Einar S. Fulmar Television & Film Ltd. phil. but the ship was then lost. October 2009. Vol. Guðmundsson. 15) One might even entertain the notion that the Lewis chessmen were made at the request of Bishop Páll of Skálholt and carved by Margrét the Adroit.J. and Mangersta can be from the Icel andic word Mangarastaður. Florence: The Florentine Typographical Society. former Director of the National Museum of Iceland Jónas Kristjánsson. Helgi. Um haf innan: Vestrænir menn og íslenzk menning á miðöldum. H. Bishop. Close there is Islivig which can be deriv ed from Islendingavik. A History of Chess Nörlund.] Reykjavík: Háskólaútgáfan. Copenhagen. 1:54. This points to the Icelandic connection in Lewis.W. Professor dr. 2006. The Lewis Chessmen. Thór.
London: The British Museum Press. Reykjavík: Skálh oltsfélagið. Stratford. 1997. Fornar byggðir á hjara heims [Ancient Settlements at Translated from the Danish (De Gamle Nordbobygd Eldjárn. Páls saga biskups [The Saga of Bishop Páll]. Neil. Reykjavík: Ísafoldarprentsmiðja. 1972. Figure 2 is from Nörlund. Sagnaritun Oddaverja [The Saga Writing of the Oddi Clan]. the Northern Edge of the World]. 1937. The Lewis Chessmen.e) by Kristján Eldjárn. Einar Ólafur. Poul. Íslensk fræði. London: The British Museum Press. London: The Bri tish Museum Press. James. James. 2004. Sveinsson. The Lewis Chessmen. er ved Verdens Ende) by Kristján Reykjavík: Ísafoldarprentsmiðja. . Sveinsson. 1954. Robinson. 2004. The Lewis Chessmen and the enigma of the hoard. Figures Figure 1: The Isle of Lewis Figure 2: A Lewis bishop Figure 3: A pallium Figure 4: The head of the Greenland crosier Ficure 5: The queens. seen from behind Figure 6: Probable site of discovery Figure 7: Berserkers Figure 8: Knights All figures except Figure 3 and 4 are from Robinson. ed. 1972. Einar Ólafur. Reykjavík: Ísafoldarprentsmiðja.
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