One of the most exciting histories in our current times is that of the famous Vikings. They had a reputation as a group of the most fearless, daring, and ruthless warriors. That’s why they have evoked a loyal following from thousands of individuals worldwide. The warrior spirit and the machoness that has come to be the accepted image of this renowned Scandinavians. No wonder these have become a living mantra and driving philosophy to the modern generation of go-getters. The adaptation of these cultural icons has surpassed to more than just exhibits in museums and history books. Latest fashion designs including Viking tattoos are also popular.
So just who were the Vikings?
- 1 So just who were the Vikings?
- 1.1 Did the Vikings don tattoos or some body art in the past?
- 1.2 Are Modern Viking tattoos similar to earlier ones?
- 1.3 Popular Viking Tattoos
Studies reveal that the Vikings traversed the face of earth between the eighth and eleventh century. Thus, acquiring their name from the successful raids they carried out in Europe. Literally translated, the name Viking comes from the Old Norse Language which means ‘A pirate raid’. True to their name the community had one of the most advanced sailings and naval abilities. Apart from that, they are very industrious craftsmen, who created ships, armours, and other warring equipment. As they moved over Europe conquering other communities their art spread over diverse areas. These, then, came to be known as the Viking area.
Much is there to be said about the Viking flair. A lot of scholars are spending their entire lives trying to figure out more. And they’re trying to feed us with as much information as possible. However, even with just a glimpse, you are suitable for their much-hyped tattoos.
The world of entertainment has also not be left behind. Unless you live in the stone age with no access to the internet, movies, and games you undoubtedly have come across the Vikings. That is – Viking comics, films, Xbox & PlayStation games and even music groups named after this legendary figures.
Did the Vikings don tattoos or some body art in the past?
Every Viking-die hard has this question: do they have cultural tattoos? The members of the community do keep to themselves a lot just like some ancient civilizations did. However, there are reliable sources that indicates that they actually did have tattoos. This was from an Arab traveler that encountered them. He said, “They always carried swords, axes, badgers, and always with them with their bodies having dark green figures of trees and symbols.”
Substantial evidence on this is hard to find. Unfortunately, the human skin does not last after one passes on and we have to lean on past scholarly articles. We might think that tattoos are somehow a technological advancement. But that isn’t true. In fact, men have already found ways of making permanent marks in their bodies centuries ago. These are for various purposes. So the details on the Vikings are more than likely to be very accurate.
Are Modern Viking tattoos similar to earlier ones?
We live in an age of inspiration with most of the tattoos done today being advanced versions of mythological symbols, objects, weapons, and figures. The blueprints used for the creation of these tattoos are from archaeological drawings recovered from various sources over time. Their descendants have also played a significant role in keeping the art alive. This has been their way of seeking some sort of connection with their ancestors.
Popular Viking Tattoos
Below are some of the most famous Viking tattoos. You should consider having these if you are among the brave ones.
The Viking TV Series inspired Badass figures
Some acts have become immortalized in our screens through the infamous Viking series. Viewers have their favorite images depending on the character played, and how they connect to them.
These tattoos were propelled into the limelight with biker gangs. They have always tried to come out as warriors on so many levels with nothing to lose or fear the very characteristics of Vikings. So are you one who enjoys the record-breaking series? Then you should get a perfect tattoo of the most active warrior while on the battlefield. Or just a mean picture of him or her (Yes, even Viking women took part in battles) on your body.
It is not just the single series that has memorable characters you could go for a tattoo of Thor. He is the protector of humankind and the god of thunder & lighting. Or you can choose Odin. According to the ancient mythologies is the king of gods.
But thanks to technology, they are now our television superheroes. The most exciting thing about having one of these legendary heroes as a tattoo is that there are a hundred and one ways to make them more appealing. You could either add details around them or just making them plain surreal. You can also have them in whatever expression you desire. They can be sad, utterly serious, creating a war cry, or just staring into the distance future ready to conquer whatever comes on the way.
The Helm of Awe or Terror
This eight-armed figure is a symbol of protection and might which history has it that it was used to scare away enemies. The eight arms originate from an encircled central point with their ends having an M-shaped symbol for the horse or R-shaped symbol for a ride. As a tattoo fan, you must have seen this symbol somewhere, and the primary reason why it is a favourite for many people is you can have it anywhere from the forehead just like the Vikings (this is for the hard cores) down to your ankle in literally any size. The Icelandic name for this symbol is Aegishjalmur.
The Horn Triskelion
This tattoo comes in the shape of three interlocking horns which is a symbol of the all-powerful god, Odin. Traditionally it is these very horns that Vikings used to take their drinks especially the stronger ones before battle. Besides being a symbol for Odin, they are a representation of knowledge which is a characteristic of the all-knowing Odin.
Similar to the horn Triskelion, three interlocking triangles originating in the Norse words ‘Valr”, and ‘knot’ are used to represent the Valknut. This symbol is associated with the battlefield with several speculations surrounding its true meaning. To some, it is associated with death rituals after the war while still, some refer to it as Hrungnir’s heart which is a knot of slain warriors. Still, others believe it is a sign of how Odin frees people from metal binds making them stronger in battle. Want to embrace the unwavering battle spirit of the olden days when wars were more physical and bloodier, then Valknut tattoos are for you.
Dragon tattoos have overshadowed classical snake tattoos but not for the Ouroboros tattoo that is a snake eating its tail. The origin of the name is from the Greek words ‘Oura’ for the tail and ‘boros’ which mean eating. The snake makes a perfect cycle signifying the continuous renewal of life and eternity. In the Norse mythology, the serpent is one of the offspring’s of Loki and Angrboda, Jormungandr. This tattoo has been widely used in modern illustrations more so for the alchemist opus which might be a factor in its popularity worldwide.
The web of Wyrd Tattoos
This unique but straightforward emblem is a web-like tattoo with nine staves made form some intersecting lines. The Viking mythology has it that they were woven by Norns meaning the destiny shapers and showed all the possibilities of the future, present, and the past. Interpreted at from a perspective of faith, the governing philosophy of the community was that there was a connection between time with actions and fate correlating.
A history of the Vikings in battle cannot be complete without the mentioning of the Valkyrie, the ‘Chooser of the slain.’ The Valkyrie was a female figure who got to descend on a battlefield and just like the name suggests, got to choose those who lived and those who died. Huh, yes you read that right, and thus this tattoo is a representation of power and control.
She is depicted as two sword-like objects held by wings; the wings are for protecting those who are favoured and the sword for devouring those she didn’t. Still, you can have her as a human figure looking as a shieldmaiden with a sword and wings strategically placed on them to portray the real powers of this figure.
The Tree of Life
You must have heard about the tree of life at one point in life especially about religion and the mysteries surrounding humanity even to this age of enlightenment. According to the Vikings, this giant tree connects nine different worlds extending to the high heavens and is the holder of the universe. The original name given to it was Yggdrasil.
There are multiple ways in which these tattoos can be drawn on the body. Depending on the artistic conviction you get it can range from a simple tree with dense branches and massive roots to one whose branches has Vegvisir (the Viking compass) . Other mythological symbols and representation of planets including the sun, moon, & stars can also be used.