Who were the Vikings? The Vikings were the groups of warriors whose origin is from Scandinavian countries such as Norway, Denmark, and Sweden between 700 – 1100 AD (Viking age). Their main purpose was to raid and settle in Europe, Asia, and North Atlantic. These fearsome warriors were famous for their sailing and navigational skills. The name ‘Viking’ originates from a language called ‘Old Norse’ which means ‘Pirate Raid’. Vikings used to sail in their longboats and raid the coasts of Britain and nor-west of France for centuries.
Did Vikings have Tattoos?
According to history, the Vikings were covered in tattoos from the tips of their fingers to their necks. Viking tattoos have consisted of ancient Norse symbols, various knot patterns or dark green symbols of trees. No one can say for certain that the symbols or the patterns or designs that the Vikings used to use for their tattoos but it is likely that they would have used symbols from Norse mythology and the ancient designs that were included in their artworks on the pieces of jewelry, carvings on bones, boats and other artifacts.
Modern Viking Tattoo Designs
Nowadays, Viking tattoos are very popular among people who have a Norse heritage and like to show their pride by carrying Viking tattoos on them. Other people decide to get Viking tattoos because they are fascinated by Norse mythology, culture, and beliefs. Modern Viking tattoo designs are not from the actual Viking age but mostly inspired by the Norse mythology including mythological objects, animals, symbols and weapons.
Popular Vikings Tattoo Designs and the meanings of Viking symbols
The Norse word Aegishjalmr/Aegishjalmur/Ægishjálmr is pronounced “eye-gish-hiowlm-er” and means The Helm of Awe or The Helm of Terror. Aegishjalmur is considered to be a magic rune and the most powerful symbol in Norse mythology. The symbol stands for protection. Aegishjalmur is created out of protection runes rotated around a circle so it is also called the circle of protection. Many Viking warriors tended to paint, tattoo or crave this symbol on their forehead between the eyes or arms before going into a battle believing that it will protect them or make then invincible and cause fear into the heart of their enemies.
The Valknut – Odin’s Knot
The Valknut is considered to be a mysterious Norse symbol consisting of three interlocking triangles. The word Valknut originates from the Norse words valr “slain warriors” and knut “knot”. According to the archaeological discovery, the symbol was found on several rune-stones and carved on various objects found in Viking ship burials and that is why it is often associated with the idea of death in a battle and symbol of Odin in Norse mythology. The Valknut is also recognized as Hrungnir’s heart, the knot of the slain warriors and Heart of Vala.
The Horn Triskelion – The Triple Horns of Odin
Triple horns of Odin are a Viking symbol made of three interlocking drinking horns which are a symbol of the Nordic god, Odin. Triple horns of Odin also referred to as a symbol of Wisdom.
The Troll Cross – Viking symbol for protection
Troll cross is a bent piece of iron worn as an amulet by the Scandinavian people that was used for protection from black magic and trolls.
Yggdrasil – The Tree of Life
Yggdrasil is the tree of life. In Norse mythology, it is a common belief that Yggdrasil is a giant tree that connects the nine worlds and held them together. The branches of the tree stretch out over all the nine worlds and extend up and above heaven. Yggdrasil is also known as the frame of the universe and the spine of all existence because it holds the worlds together.
Vegvisir – The Viking Compass
According to the Norse Mythology Vegvisir represents a magic stave that helps the bearer to find his way through the storm and bad weather. In Icelandic language Vegvisir means way-finder. It is also recognized as a Viking compass that is made of eight rune staves. It is the symbol of Protection and Guidance so people tattoo this symbol as a reminder not to lose their path in life.
Gungnir – The Magical Spear of Odin
Gungnir stands for the powerful magical spare of Odin and also referred spear of heaven in the Norse Mythology. It means “Swaying One”.
The Web of Wyrd – The Matrix of Fate
The web of wyrd also recognized as Skuld’s net is the Norse matrix of fate. This net was supposedly woven by the Norns. The Norns were considered to be the Shapers of Destiny (or the fates) in the Viking mythology. The emblem is consists of nine staves arranged in an angular grid, contains all of the shapes of the runes and represents all the possibilities of the past, present, and future. The web of wyrd represents a reminder that the actions of the past directly influence the present and the present actions affect the future; all timelines are inextricably interconnected.