Iron cross meaning and iron cross tattoo ideas

Iron Cross Tattoo Ideas

Last Updated on September 8, 2023 by Avia

Iron Cross Tattoo Ideas and Iron Cross Meaning

Iron Cross Meaning and Tattoo Ideas

Often interchanged with the Maltese cross, the iron cross tattoo meaning has its roots with King Friedrich Wilhelm the third of Prussia in the mid 1800s.

The King commanded this stylized cross as a symbol of bravery and honorary medals bearing the iron cross were awarded to brave soldiers during the War of Liberation.

Adolph Hitler adopted the iron cross as a medal for his own officers. In fact, it was the only major decoration awarded by the Nazis before the Third Reich.

The iron cross has some rebellious symbolism associated with it, and worn by certain people it conveys a message of nonconformity or – more accurately an “F-off” message to “the man” or the “establishment.”

iron cross tattoo ideas
Iron cross meaning and iron cross tattoo ideas

Perhaps its association with Nazi Germany that popularized the iron cross tattoo with more rebellious groups of people who wish to convey this edgy message. Bikers, skinheads and hardcore niches often adorn themselves with the iron (or Maltese) cross to snub noses at conventionalism. In this context the iron cross may also convey a revolt against following the masses. Rather, the cross is a symbol expressing a rage against common thought & to be militant in the pursuit of individual thought/action.

On a lighter note the iron cross tattoo meaning is redeemed when we see it in civic departments to acknowledge bravery on duty. Fire and Police organizations often utilize this cross to show commendable service and incredible bravery on the job. In these instances, the iron cross is a symbol of iron-will required to protect the community.

iron cross meaning and iron cross tattoo ideas
Iron cross meaning and iron cross tattoo ideas

Some keywords to consider while exploring iron cross tattoo ideas…

Summary of Symbolic Iron Cross Meanings

  • Will
  • Faith
  • Honor
  • Courage
  • Bravery
  • Loyalty
  • Heraldry
  • Liberation

The iron cross meaning is also associated with the Knights Templar. Although not consistently used, and certainly not recognized as their official symbol, evidence of the iron cross used by the Knights showed up in the mid 1100’s.

In this respect, this type of cross is symbolic of balance, faith, equanimity and protection. When in use, the cross was a bold symbol (a bright red cross laid against stark white robes) that identified the Knights with their spiritual ideals and their crusade. If you are a Templar enthusiast, and relate to the historical mission of the Knight’s Templar, the iron cross might be a great tattoo idea for you.

iron cross tattoo ideas
Iron cross tattoo ideas

In closing, the iron cross has many meanings across many eras and cultures. As I always advise, it’s best to do more research on this symbol to enhance your understanding about its cultural and historical value.

This is just a brief article summarizing the cross’s use in some instances of human history. Before committing to a tattoo, do yourself a service and really get to know this symbol more clearly with thorough research. Thanks for reading, and happy tattooing!

For more tattoo ideas and cross meanings, be sure to click on the links at the end of this page.

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More Meaningful Tattoo Ideas

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Celtic cross meaning

Celtic Cross Meaning

The symbolism of the Celtic cross (especially the equal-armed cross in which each protrusion is equidistant from the center) is indicative of the human desire to know and experience the unfolding mystery of life. Learn more about the Celtic cross meaning here. (WYS) is a trusted Etsy affiliate & Amazon Associate. We also promote certain products we've tested and approved. As such, the website features sponsored products for Amazon or Etsy or other afiliates. Should you make a purchase from a link on this website, WYS may receive a small commission. This website also hosts advertisements. Please see our policy page for further information. Thank you for your purchases, as it contributes to keeping this website online and running.