Triskele

Triskele
Alternate Names:
Triskelion

The triskele (or triskelion) is an ancient symbol originating in pre-Christian Europe. The symbol consists of three curved or jointed segments spiraling from a common center. One version of the triskele, with three human legs, has been used in the coat of arms for the Isle of Man and the Kingdom of Naples. An abstracted triskele appears on the seal of the United States Department of Transportation. The triskele appears in many different variations, from a form that looks like a three-pointed swastika to forms that employ curved lines and curlicues. What they share are three segments emanating from a single central point.

The triskele was one of many ancient European symbols appropriated by the Nazis. Following World War II, the triskele became a significant hate symbol, largely because of its use by the Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging (AWB), a South African white supremacist group that formed in the 1970s. The AWB used a flag similar to the Nazi flag but which replaced the swastika with a triskele that resembled three interlocking sevens.

Because of the AWB usage, it is this "three sevens" version of the triskele that is most commonly associated with white supremacy. It is a common type of white supremacist tattoo and appears in places such as the logo for the racist skinhead group Blood & Honour.

White supremacists do use other variations of the triskele, too, such as curved triskeles, but so do a much larger number of non-extremists. As a result, such triskeles must be judged very carefully in their context to avoid mistaken assumptions.

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