Viking tattoo: symbols and examples

Interested in a Viking tattoo? Learn about these legendary explorers, the main symbols they represent, and get some tattoo ideas!

Interested in a Viking tattoo? The tattoo artists at La Bête Humaine discuss these legendary explorers, the main symbols they represent, and share a few tattoo ideas!

What are the Vikings?

Before becoming a hit series generating millions of Ragnar, Lagertha, and Rollo fans worldwide, the term « vikings » referred to warriors, sailors, and traders from Scandinavian countries who embarked on maritime expeditions from the late 8th century to the 11th century.

The term is believed to derive from the French word for « bay« , with a viking being one who travels from bay to bay to engage in piracy. The Vikings indeed left their homeland for Western Europe, the Russian plains, the North Atlantic islands, and even the North American continent to plunder, trade, and sometimes establish large settlements.

Main symbols of Viking culture

Vikings didn’t just invade Eurasia and America – they also made their mark on human skin. While Viking tattoos often take the form of realistic portraits, adorned with helmets or makeup, they also showcase some of the significant symbols spread by these explorers.

Among the favorites for those getting inked:

  • Aaegishjalmur: this « helm of awe » resembles eight arms that look like trident tips, radiating from a central point.
  • Odin’s horn: representing three intertwined drinking horns, it honors the Norse god.
  • Thor’s hammer: « Mjöllnir » is the short-handled tool of the god of thunder and lightning.
  • Valknut: this « knot of the slain » consists of three interwoven triangles.
  • Vegvísir: this compass has eight branches, sometimes encircled with runes.
  • Runes: refers to the characters of the oldest Germanic script.
  • Yggdrasil: it’s the « World Tree » upon which the nine realms of Norse mythology rest.

A Viking tattoo artist in Paris

Even if they aren’t perfectly fluent in Old Norse, our tattoo artists are available every day (except Sunday) from 10 am to 7 pm for all your projects:

See for yourself with a few examples of Viking tattoos on arms and legs!