Greek Tattoos – Meaning, Design, History, Mythology, Ideas with Pictures and Video. Material for Your Mind and Soul
Zeus Tattoo Meaning
In Greek myths, Zeus is a feared and popular god. He holds many positions in Greek mythology, part of which includes father of deities, the overseer of the world and the Guardian of the deities’ abode, Mount Olympus. Basically, Zeus rules over mortals and other gods. A sizeable number of stories associates him with strength, justice, power, and also promiscuity with women. The myths stated that he married the goddess Hera, although he had other love interests, and this resulted in about six different marriages and entanglements with about seventy other women. as a result of these numerous facets to the deity, having his drawings on you as a tattoo comes with many ascriptions.
This informs the reason why most Zeus tattoos adopt the short storytelling design option. Artists try to symbolize the entire essence and majesty of the Greek deity in one tattoo. Before delving into the details, let’s discuss the physical qualities of the deity portrayed in the tattoo.
Most Zeus Tattoos are colorful. They usually feature the thunderbolts and sky which makes sense as Zeus rules the world from the sky. Zeus uses thunderbolts as his weapon of choice so you will find tattoos where Zeus holds on to thunderbolts tightly. Because of his strength, you will find tattoos where Zeus has a strong face and looks very strong. His hair is usually long and blowing in the storm.
Despite these colorful depictions, it may not be out of place to find black tattoos where the artist depicts the deity with black ink, in great contrast to the colorful nature of most tattoos, with his stern face and flowing hair. Another distinctive feature is his white ice-cold eyes. These eyes refer to the infinite knowledge and wisdom possessed by Zeus. The myths say that Zeus can see everything all at once, which is the reason for the nature of his eyes.
Having described the physical properties of the Greek Mythology tattoo and painted a likely picture, let us discuss the Zeus tattoo meaning. As you may have guessed, a Zeus tattoo meaning borders aroundstrength, control and power. Should you need the inspiration to be stronger and take control, this tattoo seems like the best fit for you.
Vengeance and compassion are other two virtues represented by a Zeus Greek mythology Tattoo. Zeus is famous for bringing his wrath on mortals that offend him and at the same vein, dealing with the weak with kindness and compassion. When you get this tattoo, it should be a reminder of the need to always balance vengeance and compassion. You can also communicate your level-headedness concerning emotions such as anger, vengeance, and kindness using the Zeus tattoo.
Athena Tattoo Meaning
For many years now, Greek mythology has been the center and fountain of inspiration for many tattoo artists. From goddesses such as Athena, Demeter and many others, there are remarkable qualities in the tales about the lives and times of these mythical figures. Pop culture also has its share of titbits about these Greek mythical characters.
Athena is one of the most famous and powerful goddesses usually depicted in tattoos. Athena’s popularity is due to her ability to combine the endearing qualities of grace, mercy, and fairness with stern masculine strength. Greek mythology teaches that Athena is the custodian of wisdom and warfare. What a striking combination!
The goddess is the product of Zeus frolicking with a titan named Metis. As the myth went, when Metis was pregnant with Athena, a prophecy came that the unborn child will be very strong. In a bid to prevent a more powerful entity from overthrowing him like he overthrew his father, Cronus, Zeus swallowed Metis whole.
This, however, didn’t bother Metis a bit, as she went on to build a coat of armor for her daughter while in the belly of Zeus. After much hammering from the armor-making process caused lots of headache for Zeus, he called on Hephaestus, who had to split Zeus’s head open with his ax, and lo and behold, the young goddess sprung forth.
With the backstory about Athena done, let us discuss Athena tattoo symbolism. As said earlier, Athena is the custodian of warfare and wisdom. According to Greek myths, Athena was a virgin all through her lifetime. She was immune to the emotional trappings of love or the sensual longings of sex. She is also very logical and immune to silly emotions. She doesn’t fall into the mortal behavioral categories such as good or bad, all she stands for is justice. Her demeanor to anybody depends on whether or not the person is on the side of justice. Therefore when you get this tattoo, you make it clear that you believe in these features and seek to follow and use them in your daily interactions with people.
Handicraft is another forte of the deity. During her time, she taught people certain crafts which borders around making clothes, cooking, and planting.
Lastly, an Athena insignia is an ideal symbol for people who is not attracted and remained unmoved by the glitters of the material world. Athena is famous for her stance as an anti-vanity deity. She shuns vanity and all the alluring of the material world. So if you share this sentiment and remain unmoved and immune to the glittery alluring of the physical world, an Athena insignia will be a perfect fit for you.
Traditionally, the artist usually depicts the Greek mythology tattoo using a spot of ink (which could be grey or black) or a sepia tone. Nonetheless, there are no compulsions or injunctions that makes it compulsory for tattoo artists to use this type of ink.
You should bear certain essentials in mind while creating tattoo of the deity. The primary consideration is that an owl accompanies the drawing of the deity. This is not farfetched as the owl stands for wisdom, a virtue attributed to Athena. Myths say that the owl helps Athena see the whole truth, helping the goddess make right and just decisions.
The second animal attributed to Athena is a snake. Just the owl, the snake helps Athena make just decisions. According to Greek myths, snakes hiss when speaking the truth or prophesying a future event. So while the owl works for Athena on air, the snake works for the goddess on land. Therefore, you may want to embody either of these two animals or both of them into your Athena tattoo.
Apollo Tattoo Symbolism
Seeing as the Greek mythology is a popular and unending pool of inspiration for tattoo artists and enthusiasts, gods and goddesses are common art forms for tattoos. One of the many gods that are commonly used is Apollo. The deity is very popular in Greek mythology, as he is a direct offspring of Zeus, the father of gods. In similar fashion with other deities, the deity has many virtues under his purview. Virtues such as music and dance, archery, Sun and light, and healing and diseases, and even poetry are all under his purview. With all of these virtues under his purview, one would expect that Apollo has many worshippers.
While this is true, Apollo gets more accolades and reverence for his beauty and good looks. Many of the myths and legends portray him as the most beautiful of the deities.
The deity is an offspring of Leto and Zeus. He is a twin, and his sibling is Artemis, a deity more popular for her hunting prowess. The twin siblings invented archery, which is why Apollo gets archery under his purview. Unlike his twin sister who uses her archery skills for hunting, Apollo affects the world with his arrows as the myths believe that he can bring ill-wealth and plague upon a person with his arrows.
Before explaining the Apollo tattoo symbolism, let us describe the physical features of the Apollo Greek mythology tattoo. Given his beauty, the common Apollo tattoo you will ever find are those where he looks youthful and handsome. Even his sculptures and paintings depict a youthful statue. This makes sense as he is also the god of youthful growth.
Many Apollo tattoos show him to be with short curly hair, youthful and well built. You may not find a colorful Apollo tattoo easily as the bulk of the drawings you will find are in grey and white skin in huge similarity to statues in museums. Another common feature of an Apollo tattoo is the laurel wreath around his head. It is rare to find an Apollo tattoo without this laurel wreath.
Seeing as Apollo is a deity with many virtues under his purview, one would except that the meanings associated with the tattoo are numerous. Starting from arts, Apollo is the deity in charge of music, dance, and poetry. As a result, musicians, songwriters, and artists of different forms usually don an Apollo insignia as a form of respect to the deity. This set of people can also draw lots of inspiration from the presence of this tattoo on their body. A lot of people believe that the Greek deity harmonizes the world through these arts, and donning an Apollo tattoo symbolizes a desire to be in sync with this harmony.
The concepts of truth and prophecy are some of the virtues that are under the control of god Apollo. He encourages people to speak the truth and he also prophesizes in similar fashion to other deities. With this in mind, having an Apollo tattoo could signal that you are always seeking the truth and rejecting falsehood. Another virtue that Apollo is popular for is his archery prowess. An Apollo insignia could be an inspiration to archers or even anybody gunning for a particular goal or purpose, seeking to hit the target like Apollo hits his targets with his arrows.
It is important to state that Apollo is the patron of farmers and shepherds. Therefore, those involved in agriculture could find his tattoo appealing as a homage to the deity.
Lastly, being in control of youthful growth and athleticism, an Apollo insignia is common and very rampant with athletes, sportspeople, and even models. This set of people work on their bodies to stay fit enough to do their jobs. Donning the insignia of Apollo serves as an inspiration to always stay fit and remain athletic.
Poseidon Tattoo Description
According to the Greek myths, Poseidon is the god of the sea. Unlike the other gods who are offspring of Zeus, Poseidon is a brother to Zeus and Hades. He is one of the three original titans. Being the god of the sea, he exhibits dual personalities that are very similar to the sea, which is calm and raging.
In ancient Greece, where most people are sailors and seafarers, Poseidon holds the status of a respected, revered, and feared god. They believed that the god can control their fate, and tried not to offend the god, as the legends say that he could be cold and unforgiving at times. Sailors and seafarers pay homage to him, to provide them with good winds and calm weather to see them to their destinations.
Poseidon, like other Greek gods, has many symbols used to represent him. The first and most popular is the trident. The trident is a forked weapon that Poseidon holds in his hands as reported by the myths. Ideally, the trident is not a weapon but a piece of fishing equipment with which ancient Greek sailors kill fishes that come close to the sea surface. The trident thus has the function of feeding and protecting sailors.
However, as a symbol attributed to Poseidon, the trident is a means by which the god establishes his control over the sea. As sailors and seafarers use the trident to catch fishes, Poseidon’s trident shows that he can catch anyone, be it human or sea creature, within the water body at any time that he wishes. The myths report that the three cyclones crafted the trident and gave it to Poseidon when he took over the control of the sea.
With this trident, Poseidon controls everything on and under the sea. This includes winds, water bodies, and water creatures. More than granting them good winds and calm weather, sailors look up to Poseidon to look after them and ensure their safe travels while on the sea. Apart from seafarers, fishermen also pay huge homage to Poseidon, as they understand that their main commodity (fishes) is under his control.
While Poseidon rules over the sea, the earth feels his effect too. Ancient Greeks believe that he is responsible for disasters such as tsunamis, floods, and earthquakes. This makes sense, as the god control water bodies, and these disasters usually involve a large amount of water. Thus, people who live close to water bodies also fear and worship Poseidon. He also controls sea monsters as myths say that he uses these animals to pull people that disobey him to the sea for punishment.
Another symbol linked with Poseidon is the horse made from water waves. The animal signifies the power of the deity as he rampages over the sea and enacts his control all over the water body. Before going on to discuss the Poseidon tattoo symbolism, let’s describe what a Poseidon tattoo looks like.
You will find most Poseidon tattoo description represented by a strong-looking man with full beards. His beards are huge and flow with the waves of the sea. A Poseidon tattoo may be nude or clad in a toga. Being an expressive god, a tattoo of Poseidon is usually colorful and huge. It would look cool on your arm, chest, or abs.
A Poseidon tattoo denotes many things. However, the most prominent virtue represented by the tattoo of the Greek god of the sea is bravery. From his birth to his conquest of the sea, Poseidon exhibited a high level of bravery that is only attainable by extraterrestrial beings. Thus, a tattoo of Poseidon can be a source of inspiration to be brave, courageous, and forge ahead in face of challenges and adversities.
The tattoo could also be a form of homage to Poseidon by sailors and people who work around water bodies. Swimmers, divers, sailors, and others could don a Poseidon tattoo as a way to pay respect to the god of the sea.
Also, if you are in love with water bodies, you can get a Poseidon tattoo. There is a form of association between the Greek deity, dolphins, and the pleasing turquoise blue color of the sea. Lastly, Poseidon is a huge and intimidating god. A Poseidon tattoo will look impressive on you if you possess a body that is intimidating or seeks to be daunting in the face of challenges.
It is important to state that you need not have the god drawn on your skin to have a Poseidon tattoo. You can opt for the trident or the horse as they are symbols of the Greek god of the sea. You can also combine the drawing of Poseidon with the symbols to have a more expressive tattoo.
Aphrodite Tattoo Meaning
One of the cultures that influenced and continues to influence the art world is Greek mythology. The stories, art, and infusions from ancient Greek culture play an important role in the artistic representations of our world today. One of the aspects of the Greek mythology that still holds relevance in the art world today is the Greek gods and goddesses. The stories about these larger-than-life characters permeate into the industry from movies to paintings and sculptures to tattoo arts, and now defines the contents that people see.
Tattoo art is one of the aspects of the industry and one of the Greek goddesses that holds a popular status among tattoo artists and lovers is Aphrodite. This Greek goddess is one of the important deities in Greek mythology. Apart from being one of the daughters of Zeus, she is also the goddess of love, beauty, and fertility. Seeing as these virtues are important and well-loved among humans, it is not surprising that the goddess is popular among tattoo lovers, especially females.
Aphrodite is the daughter of Zeus and Dione. Myths report that she was so beautiful that many people expected her beauty to cause a war among gods vying to have her hand in marriage. However, Zeus stopped this war from happening by marrying the beautiful Aphrodite off to Hephaestus, who is popular for his ugliness and deformity. This step only stopped the gods from going to war, it didn’t make Aphrodite faithful to Hephaestus as she was the subject of many love interests. Both gods and mortals alike sought to be with Aphrodite and fueled her infidelity to her husband. One of the gods caught in the infidelity act is Ares, who was a subject of immense embarrassment when Hephaestus set a trap and caught him and Aphrodite when they laid with each other.
The Aphrodite tattoo is therefore popular among people who love to express their love. You will find the tattoo expressed on people’s skin in different variations. One of the popular ones is the portrait tattoo. Many women have the drawing of the beautiful goddess inked on their skin and allow the tattoo to take the center place among their other tattoos.
The other form that the tattoo takes is the Aphrodite in water variation. Some tattoos depict Aphrodite half-naked in the water wearing nothing but clamshells. This variation stems from an alternative story that states that the goddess came from the foam of the Paphos waters in Cyprus.
The last form of Aphrodite tattoo is the nude portrait. Because the myths associate the goddess with love, sex, and pleasure, it is not surprising to get a nude portrait of the goddess on your skin. The goddess is very expressive when it comes to sexual pleasure, so much so that she got whatever she wanted with her beauty and sexual appeal.
The Aphrodite tattoo meaning is not hard to guess. As a goddess of love, beauty, and fertility, the tattoo gets more associated with females and the feminine gender. So females are more inclined to get this tattoo. Women in search of love or children may don this tattoo as a homage to the goddess.
The tattoo could also be a way to express your inclination towards love and its pleasures. People who hold the concept of love in high esteem are usually big fans of Aphrodite tattoos. It is a way of showing that you are a good lover.
Lastly, the tattoo is a sign of feminine strength. It is a way of showing the world that you are proud to be a woman with all the alluring feminine traits. With the tattoo, you can prove to the world that you understand your strengths as a woman and are not ashamed to use them to your advantage.
Legends and Stories of Greeks Gods
One of the cultures and histories that holds an overwhelming effect on the world is Greek history. Characters and incidents from the history of ancient Greece are the origins of a lot of names and nomenclature used in sports, literary arts, politics, and everyday life. It thus becomes important that we examine this history a bit closer to get a well-informed understanding of the culture that affects so much.
In this section, we will discuss the legends and stories of some characters in ancient Greek history. It is important to state at this point that these stories are myths and there is no concrete evidence that these events occurred.
Zeus is the chief god of the Greeks. He is the father of many of the gods and human heroes, and the lord of Olympian gods. Zeus is the offspring of two titans, Cronus and Rhea. He was the youngest of the children, and his mother, Rhea had to hide him in a cave on Mount Dicte. She did this to save him from the fate suffered by his older siblings; Hades, Hera, Demeter, Poseidon, and Hestia. Cronus had swallowed his siblings and have them imprisoned in his belly.
After Zeus grew up and became strong enough, he wrestled his father Cronus to vomit and released his swallowed siblings. With the help of the released gods, he led the revolution against his father and other titans for the control of the universe. He won the revolution, killed many titans, and imprisoned others in the underworld, Tartarus that his brother, Hades would later lord over.
After the victory over the titans, he and his brother divided the world and ruled over their portions of the universe. He took over the dominion of the earth, Poseidon took over the sea and water bodies while Hades oversaw the underworld known as Tartarus.
By taking control over the earth, he became the lord of the sky and land. He is the supreme god in mount Olympus, where the other gods resided. He married the goddess Hera and gave birth to children who later became gods and goddesses. He also has romantic scuffles with mortals and some titans and gave birth to demigods and human heroes.
The goddess is one of the results of Zeus’s romance with titans. Her mother is a titan known as Metis. As the myth went, when Metis was pregnant with Athena, there was a prophecy that the unborn child will be very powerful. In a bid to prevent a more powerful god or goddess take his place, Zeus swallowed Metis whole. This, however, didn’t bother Metis a bit, as she went on to make armor for her unborn child inside Zeus. After much hammering from the armor-making process gave Zeus a headache, he called on Hephaestus, the blacksmith. The blacksmith had to split Zeus’s head open with his ax, and lo and behold, a young Athena sprung forth.
As a young girl, Athena was powerful and full of strength. She accidentally killed her close friend Pallas during martial exercises. In a bid to preserve the memory of her late friend and to show her grief, she added the name “Pallas” to her name and became known as Athena Pallas.
Myths state that Athena is the goddess of war. She remained a virgin as she is not moved by love or sexual feelings. Hephaestus did try to defile at some point but she fought him off. His semen dropped on Mother Earth, Gaea, who got pregnant and had a child named Erichthonius. Athena later took Erichthonius as her foster son, the same thing she did for Heracles.
She was also the patron of Athens, a position she got in a contest with Poseidon. She is also the goddess of handicraft and weaving. It was in a weaving contest with a boastful mortal did she turn the mortal, Arachne into a spider for boasting about her weaving skills. She also turned a beautiful mortal, Medusa into a horrible creature whose ugliness was so much that people turned to stone by looking at her. Medusa’s crime was also boasting about her beauty in the temple of Athena.
From these incidences, it is clear that Athena is a goddess that is not given to the vanity of the world.
Apollo is another important god born of Zeus. He was born a twin with Artemis, and his mother is Leto. He is popular as the god of light as his work is to drive the sun around the earth in this 4-horse chariot. The other virtues under his purview include knowledge, healing, music, poetry, plagues, and archery. He is also a seer, as his temples in Delphi and Delos are usually filled to the brim with people who come to know what the future has in store for them.
The most spectacular story of his life came when he started mocking Eros, the god of love and sex. In retaliation, Eros shot him with a gold arrow that led Apollo to fall in love with a nymph known as Daphne. At the same time, Eros shot Daphne with a lead arrow that led her to hate Apollo. Thus, despite all of Apollo’s advances, Daphne remained unmoved and hated him.
In a bid to rescue herself from Apollo’s advances she turned to a laurel tree with the help of the river god, Peneus. Upon seeing this, Apollo used his power of youthful growth to make the laurel leaves remain evergreen. He then wears a wreath of laurel as a sign of his affection for Daphne. This wreath laurel later became a symbol associated with Apollo.
Zeus was the father of many of the ancient Greek deities, but Poseidon was not one of them. He was Zeus’ sibling and an important part in the revolution that saw the end of Titan’s rule on the universe. In a bid to repay him for his effort during the revolution, he was put in charge of the seas and other water bodies.
As the tales of Greek mythology go, he was said to have created a seahorse for Demeter, which is a way of showing his love for the deity. However, the creation of the seahorse took such long period that he was already out of love for the deity by the time he was done with the creation. At the end, the seahorse became one of his symbolic animals.
When the time came to pick a patron for the city of Athens, Poseidon had to compete with his niece, Athena. The city was prosperous, and Poseidon showed great interest in the city, alongside Athena. As a way of showing who is more beneficial, Poseidon produced water that served the whole of Athens using his trident on rock. However, Athena emerged the winner as she planted an olive tree. The olive gave off many produce which includes oil, wood and many other benefits
Poseidon engaged in romantic relationships with females which give rise to children such as Charybdis, Cyclops, Orion, Pegasus, and Theseus.
Having virtues such as fertility, love, and procreation under one’s purview is enough to make one a very important deity. This is the position of Aphrodite among other Greek deities. Some myths stated that the deity is an offspring of Zeus and Dione. Other reports stated that the river Paphos (where Cronus threw Uranus’s (his father’s) genitals after his death in the revolution) was her birthplace.
The stories said that she was so beautiful that Zeus feared that her beauty will give rise to a rift among the male deities vying to marry her. However, Zeus stopped this war from happening by marrying the goddess of beauty off to the blacksmith, Hephaestus, popular for ugliness and deformity. This step only prevented the deities from going to war, it didn’t make Aphrodite faithful to Hephaestus as she had many love interests. Ares was one of the gods that had sexual relations with Aphrodite during her marriage, and was greatly embarrassed when she was caught in the trap set by Hephaestus.
Aphrodite was mother to many children including Eros, the deity under which love and sex resides, Hermaphroditus, Harmonia, etc.Adonis was her surrogate child and this relationship caused a fight between Aphrodite and Persephone. She gave Adonis to Persephone to help her look after him. But Persephone refused to let Adonis go and Zeus judged that Adonis should spend half of the year each with the two women.
Greek Mythology Tattoo Design Options
There are different design options when creating a Greek tattoo. Because a tattoo is an art and there are different ways of exhibiting art, tattoo artists use three major design options when drawing a tattoo. These design options include 3D presentation, Portrait Tattoos, and Story-telling tattoos.
As with all types of 3D representations, drawing a tattoo in 3d is a way of making the tattoo clear and noticeable. The design makes it look like the tattoo jumps off your skin. this design uses heavy shading and white ink to create a contrast with the black ink used earlier and give a clear and enticing illustration. These Greek tattoo design options stem from the sculptural design of statues in ancient Greece.
A portrait tattoo is another way of creating a Greek tattoo. Ideally, this design option is usually colorful, but not too colorful. The use of color is to provide a contrasting background for the tattoo and make it easily visible. As against the 3D nature of the previous design option, the portrait design option gives a 2D 9two-dimensional) view of the characters. You will find this type of tattoo on the chest (men) and arm (women).
This nature of tattoo design options is an actual style or design option. It is only applicable to Greek tattoos. This design option incorporates the drawing and the architecture of ancient Greece, Greek symbol, or weather conditions. Thus, it creates a feeling as though the event being represented is currently happening.
This type of Greek tattoo usually features two or more characters in an ensuing incident. The purpose of this type of tattoo is to create a resemblance of a popular event or occurrence. You will most likely find this tattoo on the sleeve or back of the bearer.
These three are the popular styles and design options for Greek tattoos. Other design options are not relevant to the scope of Greek tattoos.
Best Spot for a Greek Mythology Tattoo
Generally, you can have a Greek tattoo on any part or spot on your body. Your preferable spot could depend on different factors, part of which is the visibility of the tattoo, the emotion or sentiment behind the tattoo, the ease with which the artist can work, and many others. Having said that, you can have a Greek tattoo on your arms, thighs, back, belly, chest, forehead, and many other parts.
There are tattoo parlors in different parts of the world where you can an experienced tattoo artist effect a Greek tattoo on your body.
And to wrap it all up here is a short 12-minute interesting video about Greek Gods. Have fun!