Knattleikr is the ball game that was played by the Vikings. Unfortunately, they didn't leave behind any rulebooks, so we have tried to reconstruct the rules based on the descriptions of the games in the Icelandic sagas. Information about the rules and how we came up with them are here:

These rules have been used for the past year for intramural play and are now being used for intercollegiate play.

This video clip shows a practice scrimmage between members of the Clark University team on the morning of the first annual intercollegiate knattleikr tournament.

Vikings play the game: Knattleikr

Norwegian vikings plays the popular game from year ca. 1000: knattleik

Knattleikr highlight

An awesome Knattleikr game on a low-tide island in Cape Cod. You try to get a ball across a goal line without being pummeled by sticks. Glory moment: Seth nails Matt.

Norwegian Vikinggame: Knattleikr

Norwegian vikings plays the popular game from year ca. 1000: knattleik

Norwegian Vikings play the game: Knattleikr

Norwegian vikings plays the popular game from year ca. 1000: knattleik

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Top 10 Ancient Sports From The Past | Top 10 | Ancient Sports | By DailyDot

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The Sports Are-
1. Cretan Bull Leaping
2. Mob Football
3. Pankration
4. Water Jousting
5. Chariot racing
6. Knattleikr
7. Calcio Fiorentino
8. Anastenaria
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10. Land Diving

Hurstwic Viking combat sparring exercises 4: river

This is the next in a series of short videos that demonstrate and explain the sparring exercises we use in our Viking combat training at Hurstwic.

This is Hurstwic

An introduction to Hurstwic. We research, practice, and teach how Vikings fought and used their weapons. But that is only the tip of the iceberg – we’re interested in all things Viking. This video provides a short introduction to who we are and what we do.

Hurstwic Viking combat training DVD 3: Viking Fighting Moves from the Sagas

Hurstwic is pleased to announce the release of the third in our series of Hurstwic Viking combat training DVDs: Viking Fighting Moves from the Sagas. This promotional video shows some excerpts from the DVD. Explore the fighting moves that made Viking warriors feared and admired throughout Europe in the early medieval period. Whether your Viking raids aren't bringing in as much income as they once did, or you're fed up with being bullied by berserkers, we think you'll find material on this DVD to help you, and to learn more about the Viking-age people and their use of weapons. Use this DVD to step in to the mind and the world of the Norsemen.
More information about Hurstwic Viking combat training and about the Hurstwic DVDs:

Viking Fighting Moves from the Sagas: 4

A speculative reconstruction of one-on-one Viking combat based on fighting moves described in the Sagas of Icelanders, including:

---throwing stones during a fight: Kjalnesinga saga, ch. 11
Búi varðist drengilega. Lét hann ganga grjót í fyrstu. Var það jafnsnemma að fallnir voru fjórir menn af þeim bræðrum enda hafði Búi þá lokið grjótinu.
Búi defended himself manfully. At first he let fly with stones. By the time he had used up his stones, four of the attackers were dead.

---a foolish man attacks strongly but becomes timid under a strong counter-attack: Grettis saga, ch. 59
Gretti leiddist nú þófið og sveipaði til saxinu og hjó annan fylgdarmann Gísla banahögg og hljóp nú frá steininum og sótti svo fast að Gísli hrökk fyrir allt út með fjallinu.
Grettir grew bored of the irksome fight then. He swung his sax (short-sword) and dealt one of Gísli's companions his death blow, then leapt out from behind the stone and attacked so furiously that Gísli was driven back along the side of the mountain.

---cleave a man to the shoulders: Hávarðar saga Ísfirðings, ch. 10
Hann hljóp að með reidda öxina og hjó í höfuð Brandi og klauf hann í herðar niður.
He ran at Brandur with a raised axe and struck him in the head and split it down to his shoulders.

More information at:

Comments and discussion at:

Viking Fighting Moves from the Sagas: 5

A speculative reconstruction of one-on-one Viking combat based on fighting moves described in the Sagas of Icelanders, including:

---attempting to get past a spear: Brennu-Njáls saga, ch. 145
Kári Sölmundarson kom að þar er fyrir var Bjarni Brodd-Helgason. Kári þreif upp spjót og lagði til hans og kom í skjöldinn. Bjarni skaut hjá sér skildinum ella hefði spjótið staðið í gegnum hann. Hann hjó þá til Kára og stefndi á fótinn. Kári kippir fætinum og snerist undan á hæli og missti Bjarni hans.
Kari Solmundarson came up to Bjarni Brodd-Helgason; he grabbed a spear and thrust it at him, and it hit his shield. Bjarni jerked his shield to the side - otherwise the spear would have gone through him. He swung his sword at Kari's leg, but Kari pulled back his leg and turned on his heel, so that Bjarni missed him.

---kick a shield into an opponent's face: Grettis saga, ch. 40
...slær hann fæti sínum neðan undir skjaldarsporðinn svo hart að skjöldurinn gekk upp í munninn svo að rifnaði kjafturinn en kjálkarnir hlupu ofan á bringuna.
...he kicked the bottom of the shield up into his mouth so hard that his face ripped open and his jaws fell down to his chest.

---a spear pins a man to a snowdrift by his scrotum: Droplaugarsona saga, ch. 10
Og er hann kom í skaflinn skaut Helgi Droplaugarson til hans milli fótanna og í gegnum kyllinn og féll hann á bak aftur en spjótið festi í skaflinum og hékk hann þar á skaflinum allan daginn.
But when he came into the snowdrift, Helgi Droplaugarson hurled a spear between his legs and pierced through the scrotum, and he fell backwards, and the spear stuck fast in the snowdrift, and he hung there on the snowdrift for the whole day.

More information at:

Comments and discussion at:

How to Play Slide-Stick

The instructional video for an original sport that my brother and I had created. Some clarifications may be necessary for the rules that we left out on accident, but those will manifest themselves once anyone asks about them.

Original blog-post on the sport:

A Polymath's Study blog:

ruski-viking rugby

tis eens wat anders

Mounted games norwegian team championship

Oslo MGA fikk en 5. plass :D