My love and intrigue for history inspired the philosophy behind Vanquish Clothing UK.
As we look back through time, we catch rare glimpses of how the warriors of old lived, loved, worshipped and fought in a time that really was a matter of life and death...We dedicate this page to the standout warriors, symbols and gods of a time gone by...
Odin was considered the chief of the Norse gods and was extremely war-like, although his lust for war had little to do with final goals, reasons or accomplishments. He was much more rather concerned with the raw ecstacy that battle would provoke. The translation from the old Norse version of his name, Óðinn, reflects the lust he longed for in battle as The Frenzied One or The Furious One...
The warriors who were especially closely tied to Odin were the Berserkir's (bear-shirts) and Úlfhéðnar (wolf-shirts), who were said to become super-charged and wild animal like, in battle.
Source: The Viking Spirit
Helm of Awe
The Helm of Awe (Ægishjálmr) is one of the most mysterious and powerful symbols in Norse mythology. Just looking at its form, without any prior knowledge of what that form symbolizes, is enough to inspire awe and fear: eight arms that look like spiked tridents radiate out from a central point, as if defending that central point by going on the offensive against any and all hostile forces that surround it.
Source: The Viking Spirit
The Valknut, or Slain Warriors Knot, is closely associated with the main Norse god, Odin (Oðínn). Although the actual etymology of the Valknut may be lost to antiquity forever, from the little evidence available, historians believe that the Valknut represents Life, Death and Re-birth. Vanquish firmly believe that this philosophy is not only applicable to those ancient Norse warriors in battle, but also applicable to modern everyday life. We live, we try, we succeed or we fail. We get up and we try again. After all, “it is better to fight and fall, than live without hope”
The Berserkers were the most feared of all the Viking warriors. Leading from the front in both land and sea battles, this early concept of an elite special forces team were said to be so ferocious in battle, that neither iron nor fire could injur or deter them. There are fascinating accounts of these elite warriors in multiple historic sagas and poems from the Viking age that record how these men were often so hyped up during battle, it was like they were posessed by spirits and that they would attack anything in their way, which included animals, trees and sometimes each other. This of course made them impossible to manage as an organised strategic army on the battle field.
Berserker, in the Norse language actually translates as 'Bear Skin', as the warriors were re-known for wearing the skin of either bears of wolves and little else. It comes as no surprise that these soldiers were so closely affiliated with the main Norse god Odin and that would also suggest the involvement of some kind of pre battle ritual and posession of spirits whether via alcohol or natural mind altering substances such as the amanita muscaria 'magic' mushroom. A fearsome force indeed!
The Valkyries or Chooser of the Slain, were a powerful female spirit that would decide which of the battlefields fallen warriors were worthy and destined for a place at the most prestigeous place in Norse mythology. That was a seat at the table in The Hall of the Fallen, better known as VALHALLA! A place where the main Norse god Odinn welcomed the souls of those warriors who applied themselves in the true spirit of the Viking Warrior.
The Shield Maidens
Shield Maidens have been popularised within the TV series Vikings with the character Lagertha, who became the estranged wife of the main character Ragnor Lothbrok. Whether Shield Maidens actually existed is not in doubt, it is more a case of exactly how much they contributed and what percentage of the viking invaders were actually made up of the female warriors. Archeological burial finds have indicated that there were woman warriors within certain regions of the old Nordic lands. Some skeletal remains found with battle wounds some without. Written texts such as the sagas, Adam of Bremen and Saxo Grammaticus texts all hint towards a female warrior. But the philosophy of the shield maiden does not only represent those who stepped up on the battlefield, it includes all you shield maidens that fight for work, family for the home... The recognised and the unrecognised warriors... Without them, us guys would be absolutely nothing!