Eagle tattoos are a typically male tattoo design that crosses over a significant number of tattoo genres, and the influence of the eagle in American tattooing cannot be underestimated. A significant number of military and patriotic service tattoos prominently feature eagles.
The eagle is a very ancient symbol, generally regarded as solar. For the Greeks and Persians the eagle was sacred to the Sun; with the Egyptians, under the name of Ah, to Horus, and the Kopts worshipped the eagle under the name of Ahom. It was regarded as the sacred emblem of Zeus by the Greeks, and as that of the highest god by the Druids.
For freedom lovers everywhere, the Eagle’s ability to fly to the tops of mountains and swoop silently into valleys makes it the unchallenged symbol of a free spirit. The influence of the Eagle in American tattooing cannot be over-estimated, especially within the military and patriotic service tattoos genres. From the most powerful god of the ancient Greek pantheon, to the USA government, the Eagle has everywhere been adopted as an emblem.
In myth and legend, the Eagle was the Sun God, symbolizing light and power, with fire and water as its elements. It was the symbol of spiritual power and courage, fearless in thunder and lightning, but when shown in imagery with the snake, it symbolized conflict. As the lion is lord of the land, so the Eagle is supreme in the air. It’s one of the favourite symbols of leaders, warriors, and emperors, not only on earth but in the spiritual realms, as well. And little wonder, for the Eagle is the epitome of speed, light, alertness, and power. It represented all that was majestic and noble. Kings and emperors have long included it on their coat of arms as the symbol of supreme strength. But, there are monarchs and gods who may have conveniently overlooked one of the Eagle’s most unique traits — it mates for life.
In Norse legend, the Eagle was the bird associated with the god, Odin, and represented wisdom and light. The Greeks and Persians consecrated the Eagle to the Sun. To the ancient Egyptians, the Eagle was the sacred bird known as ‘Ah’, and to the Copts as ‘Ahom’. For the Druids in Europe, the Eagle was the symbol of The Almighty watching from the highest realms. Aztec warriors drew strength from the most powerful bird in the heavens, while their emperor dressed himself in its feathers. In old Mexico, the Eagle was the god of vegetation.
In Native American culture, the eagle is the Thunderbird, and its feathers are believed to carry prayers to Father Sun. It is the woman who gives to her man an eagle feather as a symbol of security, pride, and friendship in their relationship. The Eagle has a military history spanning thousands of years. As an emblem, it flew over battle grounds throughout Europe. Roman legions marched under the banner of the Silver Eagle with outstretched wings. In the 9th Century, the emperor Charlemagne made the double-headed Eagle his emblem, one head facing to the German Empire, the other facing to the Holy Roman Empire. Unity under Christian rule! The Eagle was the symbol of John the Evangelist, a metaphor for vigilance and alertness, and therefore adopted by the Crusaders as a Christian symbol of the victory of light over darkness. In more recent European wars, the Teutonic Eagle was fearful emblem of Nazi Germany.