What is viking tattoo? It is a modern visual interpretation inspired by the magic symbols of the mythology of the Germanic and Nordic peoples. When you say “viking”, do not imagine a big beefy mustache with a helmet on his head.
The Vikings did not even wear helmets! If you want a real tattoo Viking, you came across the right place. Zoom on the history of the mysterious Vikings and the meaning of some symbols from Northern cultures.
Viking tattoo: a work of art inspired by northern tales
Who were the Vikings?
It will not be wrong to say that Vikings are very mysterious historical characters. Finally, there are many clichés and stereotypes when talking about their historical role and especially, appearance. Indeed, even today we do not know certain details related to their history and their role in Europe from the seventh century to the eleventh century.
The Vikings, also called Norsemen translated Northern men were pirates, excellent warriors, explorers, looters and especially slave traders. What is known as Age of Vikings refers to a period extending from the seventh century to the eleventh century. They lived in Scandinavia and traveled a lot with beautiful, solid wooden ships.
What are the differences of the other Germanic peoples?
Word viking comes from old nordic, vik, Traducting by dock or creek which gave the origin of the word Vikingr (pirate). They also remained pagan in their beliefs unlike the rest of Christianized Europe.
For a long time the word Viking meant a trader, sometimes foreign, very well equipped, ready at any moment to become a warrior or a paillard if necessary.
The Vikings also believed that the power of man came with writing. They also had unusual body hygiene at the time compared to the rest of Europe. As we have already mentioned, few people know that Vikings did not wear helmets. Today, there are several illustrations of “vikings” wearing a helmet. Well, that’s wrong …
Did the Vikings have body tattoos?
If Nordic history is your passion (or you love the TV series) Vikings ), it is obvious that you want to decorate your body with a tattoo viking!
If you are really a big fan of the Vikings, you can tattoo a portrait of Viking on your back, arms, leg … But beware, do not forget that the Vikings did not wear helmets! And if you want to make a modern and minimalist Nordic tattoo, there are a variety of Nordic (and Germanic) symbols that are perfect for this.
We do not really know if the Vikings, themselves, had tattoos. Maybe yes maybe no …
The viking represents a historical character a bit mythical. The Vikings were great, brave and technical. Traders, they traveled a lot. Few people know that they were indeed slave traders. The latter also played the role of translator. If not, how can we negotiate and sell?
Now let’s see some symbols of Germanic and Nordic mythology that will make beautiful Viking tattoos. Just as their historical role, the interpretation, as well as the origin, of the symbols of Norse mythology, are not really defined and very clear. We still spotted some of the best known whose meaning is rather clear.
The Valknut: a Viking and Germanic tattoo at a time
The valknut is a figure composed of three interlaced triangles. Translated from the Norse, it means knot of the fallen or warriors killed. Some historians say that this figure symbolized power and freedom. This symbol is also associated with the German God Odin because it is found engraved on many Germanic tombs. The Vikings did not have graves. Indeed, the dead were “sent” to the sea in a boat with all their personal belongings.
Valknut is undoubtedly the most famous Germanic and Nordic symbol.
Here are some variations of Valknut viking tattoo:
Vegvisir: Icelandic symbol
Vegvisir, translated which shows the way , is indeed an Icelandic magic symbol. It has nothing to do with the Vikings, but it is also part of the mythology of the peoples of the North.
This symbol was found in a modern Icelandic collection of spells, the manuscript Huld . There is only one sentence on the subject of Vegvisir and its meaning: ” If this sign is worn, it will never lose its way in storms or bad weather, even if the way is not known “.
We do not really know its origin and whether it was invented during the Viking Age or after. In any case, it’s a nice symbol with a beautiful meaning!
Here is a modern tattoo interpretation inspired by the Icelandic Vegvisir magic symbol:
Awe’s Helm (The Helm of Awe)
Awe’s Helm is one of the most mysterious and powerful symbols of Norse mythology. Its shape is fascinating – a circle with eight arms. Like most ancient Germanic and Nordic symbols, the form of its visual representation was far from strictly fixed. For example, the Galdrabók, an Icelandic grimoire dating from the seventeenth century, includes a drawing of Awe’s Helm with only four arms and without sets of lines perpendicular to the arms. Its shape is also reminiscent of Vegvisir.
It symbolizes strength and invincibility. Some say it was the symbol of the warriors.
is a symbol found in many Nordic and folk tales dating from the Age of the Vikings. Its shape varies considerably from one source to another. Like other Nordic symbols, it has neither shape nor definitive meanings. But, there is a common interpretation of all texts: Svefnthorn was used to put an opponent in a deep sleep that he would not wake up long.
Viking tattoo ideas:
- Aegishjalmur – protection, invincibility (in a battle)
- vegvisir – Compass, never get lost on the way
- Gapaldur – success (in a fight)
- Ginfaxi – courage (in a fight)
- The imaginary Rune of Odin – camouflage and disappointment
- Hraethigaldur – install fear in his enemy
- Ottastafur – install fear in his enemy
- Svefnthorn – the symbol of sleep
- To imprison in a powerful way
- Lasabrjotur – Break the chains, break free
- Gibu Auja – good luck
- And the last four, at the bottom, translated into French – good health, healing, end of conflict, peace
And now some viking tattoo ideas modern interpretation:
If you want to know more about the history of the Vikings and the symbols of the Nordic mythology, we invite you to visit the site Norse Mythology . You will find very detailed information on the subject, in English.
Liliane Morel in