Knattleikr (english. "Ball game") is an ancient ball game played by the
How the game was played
Today no one knows the game's exact rules but there is some information. [http://www.broomball.com.au/ancienthistory.shtml]
We know that:
*Players were divided into teams.
*A hard ball was hit by a stick.
*The players could also use their hands.
*Body contact was allowed in the fight for the ball where the strongest had the best chance to win.
*It was a spectator game, with tournaments drawing huge crowds from all over Iceland.
*Intimidation was a vital ingredient, several wars of words have been recorded in the old sagas.
*The game demanded so much time that it was played from morning to night.
*There was a captain on each team.
*There were penalties and a penalty box.
It is conjectured by some that:
*The playing field was lined, usually played on a flat ice‐covered surface. (Though bumpy land‐based ice, "svell," is mention too.)
*The Vikings may have used tar and sand under the soles of their boots for traction.
Today, knattleikr is often reenacted at medieval faires and by Norse culture enthusiasts. It is also played on some college campuses.
Brandeis University, Clark University, Providence College, and Yale Universityin particular are known for their teams. The first annual New Englandintercollegiate knattleikr competition (left) was played in April, 2007 [http://www.hurstwic.org/history/articles/daily_living/text/knattleikr.htm Hurstwic: Knattleikr - The Viking Ball Game] William R. Short, hurstwic.org, 2007] at Clark University between Clark's team and Brandeis.
The New England Viking reenactment group cautions that the game is dangerous and refers to the
Icelandic Gragas laws that a player may leave the game at any time.
Revival in Normandy since 2007. Jeuxtranormandie.
La Soule, played by the Norsemen of Normandyand Brittany.
Broomball, Modern Canadian version.
HarpastumA Roman ball game, a word probably derived from 'harpago', to snatch or take by violence.
Cuju, A Chinese ball game originally used to prepare soldiers for battle.
The most complete descriptions of the game are to be found in the following
Grettis sagachapter 15
Gísla sagachapters 15 and 18
Egils sagachapter 40 [http://www.northvegr.org/lore/egils_saga/040.php]
Eyrbyggja sagachapter 43 [http://omacl.org/EreDwellers/chapter43.html]
Vopnfirðinga sagachapter 4
* [http://www.broomball.com.au/ancienthistory.shtml History of Broomball and Knattleikr]
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