Iceland Mag

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Iceland Mag


Icelandic man tries to uncover the meaning of his bogus tattoo

By Staff

  • Enigma Haukur Unnar Þorkelsson, celebrated the birth of his son by by getting a tatto of what he believed to be old, Icelandic runes on his lower arm. He was wrong.

A young Icelandic man, Haukur Unnar Þorkelsson, celebrated the birth of his son by getting a tatto onto his forearm of what he was told to be old, Icelandic runes. Regrettably for him they were not.

After having done some research himself, he came to realise the symbols were in fact, not from the runic alphabet. Haukur Unnar decided to write to the National University’s information site, Vísindavefurinn, in the hope of uncovering the meaning of his tattoo.

“The tattoo artist told me the symbols were called Valhalla runes, which I’m not sure exist,” Haukur Unnar wrote in his letter to Vísindavefurinn.


The symbols tattooed on Haukur Unnar's arm. Photo/Vísindavefurinn

Read more: Getting inked in Iceland, the best tattoo shops in Reykjavík

Þórgunnur Snædal, who specialised in Nordic runes, was the one to answer Haukur Unnar’s inquire. She says the symbols tattooed on his arm are not from the runic alphabet, but could be magical signs used for charms.

“The first and third symbols in the second row resemble the old, Germanic rune for the letter d,” she wrote.

Read more: Had painting by Jónsi of Sigur Rós tattooed on his forearm

Pressan got a hold of the tattoo artist responsible for Haukur Unnar’s tattoo. He is understandably very regretful and has offered to fix the tattoo free of charge.

“I got the runes from a goldsmith. He told me they were magic symbols,” the tattoo artist told Pressan.

Runes are the letters in the runic alphabet which was used to write Germanic languages, including Icelandic, before the adaption of the Latin alphabet. 

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