In today's world, we seem to be caught up in the rage of a lot of things. One of such things is tattoos and a lot of people who are fascinated with the art provide different reasons for their love. For some getting their bodies inked promotes their appeal and sensuality, while for some others, the ink tells a story and highlights important moments of their lives. Whatever the reason may be, one thing is certain tattoos are not just hitting the scenes. In fact, historical records show that they have been in existence since the Viking and greek period. This might come as a shock to some and in line with this revelation, we would be discussing tattoos in history and we would be particularly centered on the Viking period.
First Things First; Who Are Vikings?
Vikings in history are described to be Norse seafarers who spoke the Norse language. Between the 8th to the 11th centuries, they marauded and traded from their ax homelands which were situated across vast places in Europe. History also has it that their men were always clothed in garments that covered a major part of their bodies, while one of their hands was left uncovered. What's more, they were always armed with swords and knives. The women on their part consistently wore a box across one of their breasts. The box could be crafted out of iron, silver, gold, or copper. The material used was completely dependent on the wealth of their husbands. Having covered that, let's go on to look at the tattoos in their period.
How Were Tattoos In The Vikings Era?
While we cannot exactly say a yes to the question of if tattoos existed in the Viking era or if Vikings had tattoos, because no Viking body has ever been well preserved for us to observe the existence of tattoos, there are a number of accounts from travelers who had in fact come face to face with Vikings. These travelers attest to the fact that Vikings indeed had paintings on their bodies which we might regard as tattoos. One of such travelers is Ahmad Ibn Fadlan. He was a diplomat of the Arab nation.
According to his account, he came upon the Vikings when he was on a voyage to Scandinavia. When describing them, he expressed that they had flawless bodies and had the height of palm trees with reddish looking skin and light colored hair. He also stated that from their necks to their fingertips they had a number of drawings which took up the shape of figures and collection of trees. According to Ahmad, these drawings on their bodies were dark green in color which is quite unlike the usual black or grey colors used by Vikings in their time and they could be regarded as tattoos or might just have been paintings on their skin. Whatever they were, we can't really tell. All we have is the historical writings to guide us.
Finally, in line with the above, asides from the accounts given by Ahmad Ibn Fadlan, we have no other proof of the existence of tattoos in the Viking period. We are however hopeful that future excavations and better technologies employed by archeologists would be able to answer this riddle satisfactorily.