Ivory Vikings: The Mystery of the Most Famous Chessmen in the World and the Woman Who Made Them–Nancy Marie Brown

A Year in the Life of a Reader

Nancy Marie Brown is not a historian or an archaeologist, but she holds a Master’s Degree in Comparative Literature from Penn and has authored several books on Norse topics (http://www.nasw.org/users/nmb/bio.html).  In the Ivory Vikings, Brown explores the various stories and scholarly theories surrounding the beautiful Lewis chessmen.  She says in the introduction that “their story questions the economics behind the Viking voyages to the West, explores the Viking impact on Scotland, and shows how the whole North Atlantic was dominated by Norway for almost five hundred years….It reveals the struggle within Viking culture to accommodate Christianity, the ways in which Rome’s rules were flouted, and how orthodoxy eventually prevailed.”  The chessmen also, she asserts, bring to light the story of the craftswomen, Margaret the Adroit of Iceland, who is referenced as the creator of the chessmen in the subtitle.

Brown draws beautiful portraits of the pieces then explores…

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