Viking culture is fascinating and complex, with a rich history of symbols and traditions that have captivated people for centuries. One of the most enduring symbols of the Norsemen is the Viking courage symbol, which has been used in various forms throughout history to represent the bravery and strength of the Viking warriors.
While several symbols are associated with courage in Viking culture, the most well-known is the Valknut. This powerful symbol comprises three interlocking triangles and has been found in various forms throughout Viking history, from runic inscriptions to artwork and carvings.
But where did the Valknut come from, and what does it represent? In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the origin of the Viking symbol for courage, exploring its connection to other ancient symbols of strength and courage and its enduring legacy in modern culture.
Celtic Symbol of Strength and Courage
Before diving into the Viking symbol for courage, it’s worth exploring the connection between Viking culture and the Celtic culture that preceded it. The Celts were a group of tribal societies that inhabited much of Europe before the rise of the Roman Empire. They impacted many aspects of European culture, including art, music, and folklore.
One of the most enduring Celtic symbols is the triskelion, a symbol made up of three interlocking spirals that have been used to represent various aspects of Celtic culture, from the cycles of nature to the three realms of existence (earth, sea, and sky).
The triskelion is also often associated with strength and courage, two highly valued qualities in Celtic society. The Celts had their symbol for courage, known as the lion rampant. This powerful image of a lion rearing up on its hind legs was used to represent the bravery and strength of Celtic warriors, and it has been found on shields, helmets, and other artifacts from Celtic history.
Tribal Symbol for Strength and Courage
While the Celts were one of the most influential tribal cultures of Europe, they were by no means the only ones. Many other groups lived in the region before and during the Viking Age, and each had its symbols and traditions that reflected their unique cultures.
One of the most notable symbols of strength and courage from this period is the bull’s head, used by several tribal cultures across Europe, including the Gauls and the Celts. The bull was seen as a symbol of strength and power, and the image of a bull’s head was often used on shields and other artifacts to intimidate enemies and inspire courage in warriors.
Another common symbol of strength and courage from this time was the eagle, used by several tribes to represent the sky and the power of flight. Eagles were also associated with the sun and were often used to symbolize the power of the heavens and the forces of nature.
Viking Symbol for Strength and Courage
Given the rich history of symbols associated with strength and courage in Europe, it’s unsurprising that the Vikings had powerful images to represent these qualities. One of the most famous symbols is the Valknut, found in various forms throughout Viking history.
The Valknut comprises three interlocking triangles, sometimes interpreted as representing the past, present, and future interconnectedness. It has been found on runestones, burial sites, and other artifacts from Viking culture, and it is often associated with Odin, the god of wisdom, war, and death.
In addition to the Valknut, the Vikings had other symbols representing strength and courage, including the raven, which was associated with Odin and often used as a symbol of battle and victory. The hammer of Thor was also a powerful symbol of strength and protection, and it was often worn as an amulet or carved into weapons and armor to imbue them with the power of the thunder god.
But perhaps the most powerful Viking symbol for strength and courage was the berserker. The word “berserker” comes from the Old Norse “berserkr,” which means “bear shirt.” This name was given to a special class of Viking warriors known for their incredible strength, stamina, and fearlessness in battle.
According to legend, berserkers would enter a state of uncontrollable rage before battle, often wearing animal skins or other garbs to intimidate their enemies. They were said to be immune to pain and injury and would fight with incredible ferocity until either they or their enemies were defeated.
While historians have debated the existence of berserkers as a distinct class of Viking warriors, there is no doubt that the idea of the berserker has become an enduring symbol of Viking strength and courage. The image of a wild, uncontrollable warrior charging into battle with reckless abandon is powerful, and it has been immortalized in countless works of art, literature, and film.
Viking rune for courage and strength
Besides symbols, the Vikings had a writing system known as runes. Each rune had its meaning and significance, and some were associated with courage and strength.
One of the most notable runes associated with courage and strength is the Tiwaz rune. Tiwaz is the rune of Tyr, the god of law and justice and a patron of warriors. The Tiwaz rune is often associated with victory in battle and the courage to face one’s enemies.
The Tiwaz rune looks like an arrow pointing upward, with two diagonal lines crossing through the center. In addition to representing courage and strength, the Tiwaz rune is associated with honor, discipline, and self-sacrifice.
The Sowilo (or Sowulo) rune is also a powerful symbol in Norse mythology, and it is often associated with the sun and the god Thor. The rune is shaped like a lightning bolt, representing the sun’s power and energy.
In Viking culture, the Sowilo rune was often used to represent victory, strength, and courage in battle. It was believed to have the power to protect warriors from harm and to give them the strength and courage they needed to overcome their enemies.
Moreover, the Sowilo rune is associated with the god Thor, known for his strength, bravery, and ability to control the forces of nature. The rune is sometimes seen as a symbol of Thor’s hammer, Mjolnir, which was believed to have the power to protect the wearer from harm and to imbue them with the strength and courage of the thunder god.
Norse Symbol for Courage
While the Vikings are often associated with the Valknut and other symbols of strength and courage, it’s worth noting that the Norse culture from which they emerged also had its signs for these qualities. Many of the symbols associated with Viking culture have their roots in older Norse traditions.
One of the most powerful Norse symbols of courage is the Aegishjalmur, also known as the Helm of Awe. This symbol is made up of eight spikes radiating out from a central point, and it was often used in ritual magic to protect the wearer from harm and instill courage and strength.
Another powerful Norse symbol for protection and strength is the Mjolnir, the hammer of Thor. This iconic symbol has been found on countless Viking artifacts, from pendants and rings to weapons and armor. It was believed to have the power to protect the wearer from harm and to imbue them with the strength and courage of the thunder god.
What is the Viking Symbol for Warrior?
Even though many symbols are associated with Viking warriors, perhaps the most iconic is the axe. Viking warriors were known for their skill with the axe, and the image of a Viking wielding a fearsome double-bladed axe has become one of the most enduring symbols of Viking culture.
Apart from the axe, Viking warriors used various other weapons, including swords, spears, and bows. Each of these weapons had its symbolism and was used in different ways depending on the situation and the preferences of the warrior.
What is the Most Powerful Viking Symbol?
While the answer to this question is subjective and depends on the individual’s interpretation of “powerful,” one of the most enduring Viking symbols is the Mjolnir, the hammer of Thor. This iconic symbol has been found on countless Viking artifacts and is one of the most widely recognized symbols of Viking culture.
The Mjolnir was believed to have the power to protect the wearer from harm and to imbue them with the strength and courage of the thunder god. It was often worn as an amulet or carved into weapons and armor, and its image has been found on everything from runestones and jewelry to weapons and tools.
The Mjolnir is also significant because it represents the close connection between the Vikings and their gods. In Norse mythology, Thor was the god of thunder and the protector of humanity. His hammer, the Mjolnir, symbolized his power and role as a protector of the people.
Viking Symbol for Protection
In addition to symbols of strength and courage, Viking culture also had symbols associated with protection and safety. One of the most powerful symbols is the Aegishjalmur, or Helm of Awe.
The Aegishjalmur is a symbol made up of eight spikes radiating out from a central point. It was often used in ritual magic to protect the wearer from harm and to instill courage and strength. The symbol was believed to have the power to create a psychic barrier around the wearer, protecting them from danger and harm.
Another symbol of protection in Viking culture is the shield. Shields were an essential part of Viking warfare, and they were often decorated with powerful symbols and images to intimidate enemies and inspire courage in allies. The image of a Viking warrior with a shield and an axe is one of the most enduring symbols of Viking culture.
Viking culture is rich and complex, with a long history of symbols and traditions that have captivated people for centuries. The signs associated with strength, courage, and protection are some of the most enduring and widely recognized Viking symbols. They have been used in various forms throughout Viking history.
While the Valknut is probably the most famous symbol of courage in Viking culture, many other symbols are associated with bravery, strength, and determination. Each symbol has unique history and significance, from the wolf and the dragon to the axe and the shield.
Whether you are a fan of Viking culture or simply interested in the history of symbols and traditions, the symbols associated with strength, courage, and protection are sure to inspire and captivate you. Their enduring legacy in modern culture is a testament to their power and significance, and they continue to fascinate and inspire people worldwide.