We don't know about you lot, but we love a good Viking tattoo. So, we want to share a bit more about the iconography of Viking tattoos with you in this post, so you know what your temporary (or future real) tats will mean. 😊
Firstly, let's have a look at who Vikings are...
Between 700 and 1100 AD, during the Viking Age, groups of warriors from Scandinavian countries like Norway, Denmark, and Sweden came to Europe, Asia, and the North Atlantic to raid and settle. Sailing and navigational abilities made the Vikings famous. The word "Viking", which derives from the ancient language known as "Old Norse," means "Pirate Raid." For centuries, they raided the British and French northwest coasts from their longboats.
The Vikings lived primarily as fishermen, farmers, and traders on the sea when they weren't committing raids. Between the 8th and 11th centuries, they ruled for the majority of that time, raiding and trading from their homeland of Scandinavia in Northern Europe while also travelling to places like Iceland, Greenland, North Africa, and the Middle East. This time period was known as the "Viking Age".
The Northmen and Women were tough sailors, fierce fighters, and incredible craftspeople as they travelled through the fjords. They left behind jewellery, weapons, and paintings on bone carvings. They also enjoyed decorating objects with runic patterns. By the early 900's, Vikings were drawn to using designs inspired by nature to decorate their arms and other body parts, which fit with the style of the pictures on their jewellery and carvings.
However, did they actually have tattoos? Most people think that the Vikings and Northmen in general had a lot of tattoos.
Did Vikings really have tattoos? 🤔
Most people agree that Vikings had a lot of tattoos. However, due to the fact that the majority of Viking remains are skeletal, it is difficult for archaeological findings to determine whether tattoos can be found on them. They did, however, appear to have distinct markings that are comparable to those found in modern tattoos, according to a number of historical sources.
According to history, the Vikings had tattoos on everything from their fingers to their necks. Ahmad Ibn Fadlan, an Arabic scholar at the time, is quoted as saying that visible ink markings on Vikings gave them their impressive appearance. These tattoos featured unfamiliar designs, trees, knot patterns and ancient Norse symbols. It is likely that the Vikings would have used symbols from Norse mythology and the ancient designs found in their jewellery, carvings on bones, boats, and other artefacts for their tattoos.
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Vikings are often thought of as warriors. When you consider the historical accuracy of warriors from various tribes at the time, having tattoos makes sense. Every tribe has artists and craftspeople who have contributed significantly to history.
What do Viking tattoos stand for? The fact that these people also wore tattoos as a representation of their steadfast devotion to their families, their warrior ways, and their culture as a whole is an intriguing aspect of Viking culture.
Norse Mythology & Body Art
Mythology and religion are most often the main focus of Nordic artwork. The body of myths known as Norse mythology includes those from both Scandinavian and North Germanic religions and folklore. This mythology is full of epic tales about conquerors, gods, and heroes.
Modern Viking Tattoo Designs
Nowadays, Viking tattoos are a very common way for people of Norse descent to celebrate their heritage. Because of their fascination with Norse mythology, culture, and beliefs, many people get Viking tattoos. Nowadays, most tattoo designs with a Viking theme are based on Norse mythology, which has a lot of animals, symbols, and artefacts.
Some of the Vikings' tattoos are regarded as some of the most evocative. The majority of designs are deeply rooted in religious and traditional Nordic symbolism. You can use these honours to respect your ancestors and honour your birthplace if you are of Scandinavian descent. These tattoos are statements that anyone can wear and that convey a positive impression of you.
Were Viking tattoos worn by women?
It is often thought that Viking tattoos were worn only by men. However, Viking women lived a similar life to the men, so they had similar body art applied to them as Viking men did. There are numerous sources that mention Viking women who have tattoos. This means that depicting Viking female warriors with tattoos in TV shows and other media is thought to be accurate.
Because of this, there are intricate female Viking tattoo designs. Women explored intricate runes and Norse mythological creatures for ideas for their body art. In some cases, women enhanced their aesthetic appeal with face paint and henna hand drawings. You'll discover that both the meanings and designs of Viking tattoos are frequently the same.
Popular Viking tattoo ideas & meanings of the Vikings symbols
Viking warrior runes
What do the runes from the Vikings mean? Runes were and still are believed to hold power, symbolize inherent qualities and values, and be associated with magic, in addition to having meanings in more modern practices of divination and oracle reading. They were also used as a literal alphabet during the Viking era. Although runes were occasionally used for communication, they were typically used to ask the gods for help.
Did you know?
One of the most powerful symbols in Nordic culture is the Sowulo rune. It often brings to mind images of Thor, the god of victory, valour, and power. The Old Norse word for "sun," sowulo, is said to represent the sun's capacity to overcome darkness.
Tyr is both the name of the Norse sword god and one of the runes of the Futhark, so it seems an obvious choice as the strongest rune for a warrior culture.
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The Valknut: Odin’s Knot
The Valknut is a mysterious Norse symbol made up of three triangles that can't be separated. Valknut is a combination of the Norse words valr, which means "slain warriors," and knut, which means "knot." The symbol is associated with the idea of death in a battle and the symbol of Odin in Norse mythology because it was found on several rune stones and carved on various objects found in Viking ship burials, according to the archaeological record. Hrungnir's heart, the "knot of the dead warriors", and the "Heart of Vala" are all other names for the Valknut.
Aegishjalmur: The Helm of Awe
The Norse phrase "Aegishjalmr," refers to either "The Helm of Awe" or "The Helm of Terror." Aegishjalmur is intended to be an enchanted rune and the most remarkable image in Norse folklore. Protection is represented by the symbol. The protection runes that makeup Aegishjalmur are arranged in a circle, which is why it's also called the "circle of protection". Before going into battle, many Viking warriors would paint, tattoo, or crave this symbol on their foreheads between their eyes or on their arms in the hope that it would protect them, make them invincible, or frighten their foes.
The Triple Horns of Odin: The Horn Triskelion
The Horn of Triskelion is a Viking emblem for the Nordic god Odin is the "triple horns of Odin," or three intertwined drinking horns. The three horns of Odin were viewed as a symbol of poetic inspiration and wisdom.
Mjölnir: The Hammer of Thor
Mjölnir is the mystical hammer of Thor in Norse mythology. Thunder, lightning, and storms are all attributes of Thor. He is also the god of war and the protector of humanity. People hold the belief that carrying the symbol of Thor's hammer grants its bearer protection, strength, and power.
The Web of Wyrd: The Matrix of Fate
The Norse term for the matrix of fate is the web of wyrd, also known as Skuld's net. This net is said to have been made by the Norns. The Norns were the fates or Shapers of Destiny in Viking mythology. Nine staves are used to create the emblem, which are arranged in an angular grid. Each runic shape is included, and it symbolizes every scenario for the past, present, and future. The idea of the "web of wyrd" serves as a constant reminder that choices made in the past affect both the present and the future.
Yggdrasil: The Tree of Life
Yggdrasil is the life-giving tree. Yggdrasil, according to Norse mythology, is a massive tree that binds the nine worlds together. It has branches that reach up to the heavens and cover all nine worlds. Due to the fact that it holds the worlds together, Yggdrasil is also referred to as the universe's frame and the spine of all existence.
Huginn and Muninn: The Twin Ravens of Odin
Huginn and Muninn, two of Odin's ravens, used to travel the globe to bring him information. Muninn is memory, whereas Huginn is thought. Many people think that these ravens are manifestations of the consciousness of Odin.
Vegvisir: The Viking Compass
The Norse mythology describes the Vegvisir as a magical sword that aids its bearer in navigating storms and adverse weather. n Icelandic, the word Vegvisir means "way finder." It is known as the Viking compass and has eight rune staves. Because it symbolizes protection and direction, people get this symbol tattooed as a reminder to stay on the right path in life.
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Gungnir: The Magical Spear of Odin
Gungnir is the name for Odin's spear in Norse Mythology. The term "Gungnir" means "to tremble" or "to sway." Other names for this powerful artefact are "The Swaying One", "Eternal Spear" and the "spear of heaven." The name refers to the fact that Odin's ability with the spear causes enemies to tremble with fear.
Ouroboros: Cycle of Life and Death
Ouroboros is an ancient symbol representing the perpetual cycle of life and death. The infinite cycle of Life The ouroboros symbolizes life's three stages: birth, death, and renewal. It might be interpreted as Life surrounding itself; where the past (tail) looks like it's going away, but it's actually moving inward or outward to a new reality, where it's still there but out of sight.
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So, there you have it peeps, now you can shop with confidence, knowing you are getting the real deal, whether you want a Vegvisir, a Helm of Awe, or a collection of runic symbols to cover yourselves in. 🎉
Apply our temporary Viking tattoos, and you can be sure that you'll look like a Norse raider from a thousand years ago. 🤩 These temporary tattoos are perfect for a fancy dress party or for that kick-ass Halloween costume!