At Urban Pirate we always try to create designs using Scotland as our inspiration, thankfully it’s a never-ending source of material. Food, scenery, contributions to the world….where would be all be without TV or Telephones! So why Vikings, they’re not Scottish, I hear you ask…..well, why not? The Vikings have, inadvertently, given Scotland a great deal with respect to its history and mentality of its people.
The Vikings are perceived to be a bit of a warrior race….going forth and conquering. Ok, they were, but they were also pretty good explorers. Legend has it they were the first people to reach northern America….though they never stayed there long.
Much of the Celtic artwork that you find has link to Norse mythology, brought over when the Vikings invaded visited Scotland, possibly around the 9th or 10th century. Many of Scotlands place names are also linked to the Vikings, particularly in Orkney, Shetland and northern Scotland. Wick, in Caithness is thought to be from the Norse vik which means bay, it is also the word for Viking.
The designs we created were based on three areas of Viking life, the people, politics and myth. The most well-known thing about Vikings is they all had beards….well, maybe not all of them but when you think of a Viking you think of a beard. There is a theory that the Vikings brought the red-hair gene to Scotland via their pillaging and plundering. Which isn’t too far of a stretch, considering that the Nordic DNA is still present in Scotland. One misconception for Vikings though is the pointy hats, Vikings never had horns on their head…
The political structure of the Vikings was very similar to that of celtic Scotland, in that they were setup in a clan-like structure. Each of our shield designs may not represent an actual Viking clan (can you find the shield that’s gotta catch ‘em all??) but many do represent imagery from Nordic symbolism.
Image Credit : Cure (Pixel Artist)
One of the most well know myths that came from the Vikings, apart from Thor, is the Kraken (With thanks to the Pirates of the Caribbean and a rather nice dark rum). The Kraken is/was a giant sea squid that like to swallow ships whole. Apparently the myth came about when the Viking travelled to Iceland and the bubbling hotsprings around the coast made them believe that there was a monster living under the rocks. But they landed and took up home there anyway….the mad bastards.
Anyway, the link to Scotland maybe historic but Vikings are always cool…so no excuses needed!