Hello everyone. Today I decided to do an article about the triskele. And at the end, I tried to explain the relation between this symbol and my Region in France: Bretagne ("Brittany" in English). Sorry English isn't my first language so I hope my mistakes won't stop you from read this article.

WHAT

The Triskele (from Greek τρισκελης | triskeles) is a motif consisting of a triple spiral exhibiting rotational symmetry. The spiral design can be based on interlocking Archimedean spirals, or represent three bent human legs.

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A triskele

USE

The triskele symbol appears in many early cultures, the first in Malta (4400–3600 BC). It's also considered as an important feature of Celtic art, though popularly considered a "Celtic" symbol, it is in fact a pre-Celtic symbol. It is carved into the rock of a stone lozenge near the main entrance of the prehistoric Newgrange monument in Ireland.

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Newgrange, which was built around 3200 BC, predates the Celtic arrival in Ireland, but has long since been incorporated into Celtic culture.

A triskele representing three legs rotating around a central axis occupied by a human head, in a counterclockwise direction, has been present on the flag of Sicily since 1285.

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Flag of Sicily

The triskele also exists since 1931 on the flag of the Isle of Man with a same representation as the flag of Sicily, but instead of being naked, the legs are armed.

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Flag of the Isle of Man

The triskele settled in the symbolic image of Bretagne “Brittany” (Region in France).

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Flag of Bretagne "Brittany" (colors are inverted) + a triskele

MEANING

We don't really know what the triskele represents. here's some ideas:

  • Represents the three points of the vertical movement of the sun: the rising, the zenith, and the sunset.
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  • Represents the three elements: earth, fire and water with possibly air as the central element.
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  • Represents the three principal gods of the Celtic religion: Lug, Ogme and Dagda.
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  • Represents sleep, dream and awakening.
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  • Represents childhood, adult life, old age.
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  • Represents birth, life and death.
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  • Represents man, woman and child.
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  • Represents the past, the present and the future.
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  • Represents the unique goddess in her three aspects: daughter, mother, wife.
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  • Represents the "Three Worlds": the world of the living, the world of the dead and the world of spirits.
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  • Represents the three states of matter: solid, liquid, gaseous.
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  • Represents the three dimensions of space: height, length, width.
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  • Represents the three primary colors: blue, red and yellow.
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  • Represents the Three worlds: spiritual, intellectual, emotional.
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  • Represents the three gods who share the world in Greek mythology: Zeus the sky, Hades the earth and Poseidon water.
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  • It would be a plant symbol inspired by clover.
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MODERN USAGE

  • A triskele is featured on the seal of the United States Department of Transportation.
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  • The crest of the Breton football club En Avant de Guingamp combines the Flag of Bretagne “Brittany”, the team colors and a triskele.
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  • The triskele is used in the tv show Merlin as a symbol of druids. For example, Mordred has a triskele tattooed on his chest.
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  • The triskele is used in the tv show Teen Wolf, it represents the werewolves: alpha, beta and omega. One of the characters in the show (Derek Hale) has a triskele tattooed in the back. later in the show, it's revealed that the triskele also represents three things that cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon and the truth.
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BRETAGNE “BRITTANY” AND TRISKELE

French people aren't very patriotic, but Bretons (name given to the inhabitants of Bretagne "Brittany", French Region) are very attached to their Celtic culture. If one day you visit this Region, you will necessarily see the triskele symbol, considered as a Celtic symbol by Bretons. Nowadays, so much Bretons consider the triskele as a symbol of Bretagne "Brittany" too. Jewelries, accessories (like keyrings), used as a logo for some festivals, tattoos... The triskele is really anchored in the Breton culture.

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(Breizh is the Breton name for Bretagne "Brittany")

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(Dour = Eau "Water" ; Douar = Terre "Earth" ; Tan = Feu "Fire")
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Triskele and Hermine, symbol of Bretagne "Brittany"

L'Hermine "the ermine" is another symbol of Bretagne "Brittany". this symbol represents an ermine (animal).

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Hermine "ermine", symbol of Bretagne "Brittany"