In Scottish culture, the wild boar is a symbol of bravery, or one who fights to the death 1. Eighteen ancient Scottish clans portrayed boars' heads on their coat of arms 2. The most notable clan was the Clan Campbell. They were once the most influential highland clan in Scottish society. Clan Campbell had a boar's head as the focal point of its crest. To this day, the Clan Campbell crest symbolizes courage and fierceness.
Clan Campbell were also known as Clan Diarmid, whose name was derived from the Ossianic hero. According to Scottish tradition, Diarmid died after slaying a wild boar in battle 3. However, Diarmid was known to eat berries from the tree of immortality. It is common belief that the boar that killed Diarmid was a supernatural one, since Diarmid could not be killed by traditional means 4.
The Clan Swinton, located in the present day border of England and Scotland, acquired their name for their bravery in clearing the area of wild boars. This act is also portrayed in the clan chief's coat of arms 5. Scottish folklore also describes the Boar Stone, one that is engraved with the imagery of a wild boar. This served as a pedestal for Scottish kings to stand on while oaths of loyalty were being sworn 6.
- 1 - McLaren, Mike. Book of Crests of Scottish-Americans. Westminster, MD: Heritage Books, 1991. <link>
- 2 - "Three Boars Heads." Allerdice, n.d. <link>
- 3 - "Scottish Clans: History of Campbell Clan." Scottish Heirloom Jewelry, n.d. <link>
- 4 - Campbell, Alastair Campbell. A history of Clan Campbell, Volume 2. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2000. <link>
- 5 - "Swinton." ScotWeb, n.d. <link>
- 6 - Eason, Cassandra. Fabulous Creatures, Mythical Monsters, and Animal Power Symbols: A Handbook. Santa Barbara, CA; Greenwood Publishing Group, 2007. <link>