Triquetra – A Norse Viking Symbol

Norse Viking symbol TriquetraTriquetra is a Norse Viking symbol closely connected with the Valknut and Horn Triskelion. Artifacts with Triquetra ornaments are found in all parts of the Viking world, ranging from the comb found in Gnezdovo (near Suzdal, Russia) to the saddle bow from Coppergate (York, England). In Latin triquetra means ‘triangular’ (feminine singular). Initially this word designated any three-cornered figures, but now it is applied to the shape formed by three interlocked semicircles at the place where three circles would overlap. These form three interlocking vesicae piscis (Latin for ‘bladders of the fish’), also called mandorla (Italian for ‘almond’, plural mandorle). Heathen Triquetra ornaments may be simple (above to the left) or rather intricate (as on the Funbo runestones, Uppland, Sweden, above to the right). The symbolism of the Norse Triquetra is almost certainly related to some heathen religious concepts. However, what exactly it meant to Vikings is difficult to ascertain since at a very early stage Triquetra was also used by Christians to convey their own religious content. For instance, the Triquetra that was struck on the coins by the Christian Norse kings of York most probably was already reinterpreted by York Vikings in the Christian perspective. The same may apply to the silver penny issued by Harald Hardrade (king of Norway from 1047 to 1066). For Christians the Triquetra might point to the Trinity: such a use was probably facilitated by the three elements of the Triquetra, which resemble fish, ancient Christian symbol (ΙΧΘΥΣ). In modern popular culture the Triquetra often points to Norse or Celtic paganism. It also appeared on the cover of the “Book of Shadows” in the TV show Charmed with Alyssa Milano. The Triquetra, sometimes combined with the circle, is often used in Norse or heathen tattoo designs.

Article by Viking Rune · published on March 5, 2009 · updated on July 13, 2014.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Gregor-Sven

Please, I whish to point out a mistake made in history of Skandinavian people. We are labled as “Germanic” this is wrong to classify us in this manner. A German, or Teutonin would have been hard pressed to easily understand the language of a Goth, Svear, Vandal or Norse, as these are the forfathers of modern Skandinavians. It would be like Calling American English speakers Dutch, while the languages are simular, they still are different. My Bestefar(Grandfather) still bangs about in the Great Hall when he hears his Norse people being called “Germanic” this is just not so. What you call Scandinavians are far older than the Germans, our language, and customs simularity came from German contact, trade, and warfare with my Ancestors.
Mangen Tack(Many thanks)

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Gierolf Hvitrserkr

First, I would like to say that this was another good read. thanks for sharing

Second: to Gregor-Sven, while you may be fairly accurate when speaking of modern “german” people, the phrase Germantic, does not actually refer to the germans. It refers to the original use of “german people” which translates roughly into “men of the north” and encompassed the goths, the franks, the germans, the teutonin, the Svear, the norse, etc. Which all of them do have a very common linguistic ancestry within “proto-germanic”. its like spanish and french, while their roots are the same, if you speak french to someone from spain, they will just look at you funny if they do not fully know french.

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allan

While I (as a born and raised dane for whatever thats worth) can only admit to GierolfHvitrserkers correct definition of Germantic, I too have to side with GregorSven in his statement.
It is 2014 and as always, language evolves with time and culture. Unfortunately, with todays lack of knowledge in the masses, the “new” picture most envision, when they hear Germantic or Germanic is in fact “of Germany”.
How wrong this may be, suddenly becomes irrelevant, when the definition eeeeeverybody else gives it; is a new one.
Hence, knowing that the “rest of the world” defines that term as ” from Germany ” …. i too now MUCH prefer the term ” Men of the North” or Northmen , Norman even ive seen written all over the place the incorrect version Nordmen (funny thing is, I still “feel” that more today than anything with german in it).

History is history as is, undisputable (until proven otherwise) , but current definition in spoken language, is where the matter is for me: ” To be understood correctly, today.”
Since i gave in decades ago, trying to instruct people what germantic truely is and realizing; how much i was a bore, by doing so and how far i did not go with it and how many cocktail parties i´ve put to sleep with those talks….. I have simply chosen to say : ” No, not germanic, Dani, Norman, Skandinavian or when drunk: Viking …as long as i am SURE i am not being, in any way or form, related to todays interpretation of germany, in theyre minds.

Sorry for waisting your braincells, but i had to let this one out.

….also its funny how this simple example, shows how the understanding of single word can change in time and is still changing with time and culture (don´t laugh at me calling lack of knowledge culture, because to our dismay, thats just what it is most times).

p.s. after all, i was raised thinking Hamburger was a person from the city Hamburg, not the sandwich Louis Lassen made in the 1900s .

” No 2014, I´m NOT German …..dammit!”

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Viking Rune

Thank you for sharing this, Allan.

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