When we talk about warrior tattoos, think of tattoos with deep meanings connecting warriors to their heritage and embody a culture's history. Warrior tattoos have many different meanings depending on their origins, they can be of actual warriors or have tribal patterns (like the ones mentioned in our Polynesian blog post) and symbols. Today we explore both.
Ancient Warrior Tattoo
These types of tattoos are generally looking to convey power, strength, primal instincts and fearlessness. Ancient warrior tattoo designs consist of things like Vikings, Mongolians and Greeks. These tattoos can be displayed as characters expressing the the fighting spirit, courage, skill, strategy and bravery.
Tradition and belief
Many stories originating from countries of Denmark, Norway and Sweden spoke of the powerful vikings and their raids. Vikings have been identified as sea pirates who through pagan heritage believed in gods such as Odin ‘the All Father’ and Thor ‘the thunder God’ both of which very popular with the warriors.
In regards to the norse tribal tattoos, like any tribe they had their own symbols for things such as protection, battle, success in combat, fear, peace. In addition they had symbols that embodied norse and modern pagan religion as well as traditional folk. All found below.
Genghis Khan is the most famous of mongolian warriors and it was his rise through war in the late 1100’s and very early 1200’s that consolidate he was a warrior and leader to be feared.
You will often find tattoos of the Great Genghis Khan done with white eyes and no pupils to make him look more menacing. A bloodied sword or armour is an added touch of his skills in battle.
In addition to this, mongolian art, script and symbols were a popular choice with the ancient warriors.
Greek Warrior / Gods and Goddesses Tattoos
Greek Gods, goddesses and warriors have many meanings from ‘God of War’ to ‘Goddess of Love’. If you are looking for ideas for a greek warrior / god or goddess tattoo, you can check fully detailed breakdown of our Ancient Greek Tattoo Meanings here
Roman Warrior Tattoos
Known mostly for their epic encounters and displays of strength and bravery as gladiators. Roman warriors would be armed with with an array of weapons to take on other gladiators, animals and convicted criminals to entertain the crowds by fighting or dying well.
In regards to a tattoo design, a Roman gladiator is identified by the steel helmet with a red / bronze coloured bristle part at the top that almost resembles a mohawk. Armed with a shield and sword (or any other weapons) you could add a latin quotes like ‘veni, vidi, vici’ (i came, I saw, I conquered) or ‘carpe diem’ (seize the day).
Celtic warrior tattoos like others, are ones that are create a connection between the person and their heritage . culture or a portrait of a warrior. The celtic religions are more commonly found in the irish, scottish and welsh with warriors resembling a viking-like style and looks due to its era. These warriors often had tribal tattoos representing clan badges, family crests and simple designs to connect to heritage.
Three Popular Celtic Symbols
Celtic Cross - A simple cross with a loop around it and often branches interlaced and wrapped around the cross.
Celtic Knot - As a sign that represents eternity this forever interlacing loop is said to embody the religious concept of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit.
Celtic Tree Of Life - As a symbol of the garden of Eden the tree of life is appeared in the Book of Kells and represents ‘axis mundi’ -- the centre of the world.
Christian Warrior Tattoos
In the middle ages Christians fought for their beliefs and to take back control of Jerusalem, as it was the place were Christ was crucified and rose again. When going into battle the the warriors would fly banners with a red cross. This is a very popular tattoo when christian warriors are concerned.
The Christian warrior tattoo idea would generally include a cross, Christ, a quote from the bible, maybe a hand holding a cross and beads, or even a classic piece of artwork.
Also known as the female Samurai, this soundly trained and highly skilled assassins are an important part to the Japanese culture. The Geisha can be traced to 200 AD, initially trained to take care of the family in case of intruders, they quickly became trained to protect villages and communities.
As a tattoo design the Geisha come in all shapes and sizes. Often with a fan and can be accompanied with flowers and at time with Japanese symbols.
The inca warrior were given the job of protecting the independence of the Inca Empire. The Inca warrior could be battalions of permanent staff made up of soldiers and officers but would also include personnel drafted by mandatory service. The Inca warrior has two main principles logistics and discipline.
As a tattoo design, the Inca warrior can come in many forms. It can take shape of an actual warrior, also it could be the inca simple drawings that represent the inca culture which maybe have been found on totems.
The Samurai became the highest rank within the military, armed with bows, spears, guns and a samurai sword. Loyalty, self discipline and respect where the foundation of a great samurai warrior.
The Samurai followed ‘the way of the warrior’. In regards to tattoo ideas, Samurai come equipped with armour, usually masked with maybe symbols or the japanese sun behind them.
There are a few different types of Scottish warriors, but the main one we are going to focus on is William Wallace. You can find this Scottish warrior in tartan with a sword and a shield, with blue face paint to match.
There are a few significant signs and symbols within the Scottish empire, such as the highlanders tattoo, saltire tattoo, Scottish clan tattoo, the Scottish thistle tattoos, Scottish lion rampant tattoos along with Celtic artwork.
‘This is Sparta’ will have already crossed your mind with the mention of Spartans. Trained from a young age, spartans are trained to be ready for war. As an army, the spartans were considered one of the most powerful of their time and willing to fight to death. Honour, courage, strength and brotherhood.
As a spartan tattoo design, ideas may consist of an actual warrior with the minimal spartan armor, armor design, spartan army, spartan helmets