Viking Symbols Appeared on the Viking Artifact

Viking runestone and Viking symbols

For the Vikings who often engaged themselves in battle and lead a life in either harsh weather and disasters, battling and surviving skills were not enough to soothe their fear. They needed something to help them overcome their fear. Then they developed a system of Viking symbols that the Vikings believes could endow them with blessings and luck. This blog post is to discuss some Viking symbols and their meanings. The list does not include all Viking symbols and we only focus on the symbols appearing the Viking artifacts.

Mjolnir Thor Hammer

Thor was among the most influential gods in the Norse pantheon. He had the Mjolnir hammer as his main weapon to protect not only the Aesir god but also the humanity. The Mjolnir hammer meant the presence of Thor because Thor hardly went out without the hammer.

Mjolnir hammer presented Thor’s incredible physical strength, daring mind, and blessing for the humanity. Because the Vikings deeply believed in Thor, they created many pieces of Viking jewelry reflecting Thor Mjolnir hammr.

Viking artifact of Viking Mjolnir hammer pendant
Viking Mjolnir Hammer Pendant dated back to the 10th century. It was found in Ödeshög/Östergötland in Sweden.
Viking mjolnir hammer pendant with runic inscription
The Mjolnir hammer pendant found in Denmark. The runic inscription read “This is a hammer”

Runes

Runes were the most mysterious symbols in the cosmos. Because the Vikings did not use runes to communicate with others Rather, they used runes to foster their communication with their gods. Runes were introduced to the cosmos thanks to Odin’s sacrifice. Runes carried not only the fate of each creature but they also carried the universal philosophy. On the rune-stone, the Vikings carved runes onto the surfaces of the rock which made the letters stand the test of time.

Jelling stone triggered the runestone trend in Denmark
Jelling runestone – the first birth certificate of Denmark. This runestone was erected by King Harald Bluetooth in memory of his father and mother.
Viking whetstone with the unclear runic insciption
Mysterious Viking whetstone. By far, the scholars are yet to solve what the runic inscription on the whetstone read

Raven

Raven was the most revered bird in Norse mythology and in the Viking community. Because raven was the constant companions of Odin the Allfather. In Norse mythology, Odin was the Aesir chief god who had a pair of ravens. Ravens were the symbol of Odin because the ravens of Odin often flew the Nine Worlds to observe and would return to tell Odin what they had seen. Because of this, wherever the ravens were, Odin was near.

Odin and ravens artifacts
Raven and Odin artifact dating back to the Viking Age

Somehow the Vikings believed that the ravens could foresee the future. For example, if the raven banner of the Vikings flapped in the wind, it meant warriors were going to win. But if it didn’t wave, it meant something bad would happen to the troop.

Valknut

Valknut or the knot of the fallen warrior was the symbol of Odin and his welcome. The Stora Hammar stone depicted a mysterious ritual and the Valknut symbol appeared there. Insightful scholars believed that the Valknut symbol presented the welcome of Odin towards the Viking warriors who had fought bravely.

Viking runestone with the Valknut symbol
Valknut symbol appearing in the runestone Valknut Stora Hammer I.

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