This is one of our biggest galleries yet, and for good reason. Mermaids have been popular in tattoo culture for centuries, which isn’t surprising considering tattooing’s nautical roots.
Sailor-based mermaid stories go back millennia. The oldest known beginnings of mermaid myths dates back to Atargatis, a Syrian goddess of fertility from 1000 BC who was said to have jumped into a lake in order to turn into a fish but only her bottom half morphed. Her cult of followers spread throughout Greece and Rome, and many historians consider her story the original mermaid tale.
Many scholars have theorized that tales of mermaids are largely due to the delirium of sailors stuck at sea. Bringing women onboard ships was considered an omen of bad luck, leaving many crews of men stuck out at sea for months on end longing for the visage of the female figure until some desires turned into hallucinations – either due to psychological breakdowns or one of the many physiological detriments sailors of ancient times used to experience regularly.
Due to their origins, depictions of mermaids often capture idealized feminine beauty. They’re considered enchanting creatures of mythology. Many accounts also consider mermaids sirens, demonic banshees that seek to hypnotize crewmen into running their ships aground via enthralling sounds and songs.
We’re sure you’ll find the amount of variety in the following mermaid gallery just as wondrous and hypnotizing as old accounts of their existence suggests. There’s something for everyone in this 19 picture gallery. You’re sure to leave with your own mermaid tattoo inspiration or at least a new appreciation for mermaid tattoos in general.