NEMO ME IMPUNE LACESSIT – Plans for a New Tattoo

For a while now I’ve been researching what tattoo to get next, and where. I knew I wanted something that symbolises Scotland and had already narrowed my choice down to a thistle. I had also taken some pics of my top torso, where you can see my existing tattoos, so that I could try to figure out where best to place it.

Well, today I’ve finally come up with a result. After playing around with Photoshop, I’ve narrowed my selection down to two thistle tattoos, on my chest. I want it to be quite big and colourful. See the two options on the pics below. I’m also thinking of including a piece of text above it, in Celtic font, saying NEMO ME IMPUNE LACESSIT, which is the motto of the order of the thistle, anad means ‘No one touches me with impunity’, or:

A more colloquial translation into English would be “No one attacks me and gets away with it.” Similarly, in Scots this is usually rendered as “Wha daur meddle wi me? “, which more literally means “Who dares meddle with me?”

I mean, I’m not really the revenge-type, but I think it might look neat written in Celtic font (it doesn’t look that good when you just write text and arch it in Photoshop…). Plus, combined with a big fat thistle tattoo, it symbolises protection. I’d be protected from all evil 😛

Which one is better? I think the big fat green one fits my personality more and also fits in better with my existing tattoos. BTW it’s going to be quite painful, as this area of my body is really quite bony, especially now that I’m quite thin, and you can feel the ribcage right underneath.

Well it can’t hurt as much as the big one on my lower back… and anyway, what doesn’t kill me will only make me stronger 🙂

Once I’ve made up my mind, I’m going to take the design to a few tattooist here in Edinburgh. I’ll definitely have it done up here and not anywhere else, e.g. in London, as that would defeat the object. I’m very much looking forward to it. I haven’t had a tattoo done in a while – the last one was about 6 years ago – it’s time for a new one!

1. Rose and Thistle without text


2. Just Thistle


3. Rose and Thistle with text


4. Just Thistle with text


28 thoughts on “NEMO ME IMPUNE LACESSIT – Plans for a New Tattoo

  1. I’d go for number 1.

    Though I would move it further down on your chest, so that when you wear blouses and short shirts for office type jobs, it wouldn’t be a problem.

    Then again, if that isn’t a problem, then it doesn’t matter. One of my friends got a full sleeve while he was living in Thailand. It looks spectacular.

  2. I’d go for number three, the thistle without text seems too decorative to me. I’d not recommend having a tattoo across your cleavage, not because of the office job argument, but because it’s a place of the female body very susceptible to, well, gravity. I saw a tattooed cleavage recently, and it wasn’t convincing. That’s why I’d recommend to either move it further up or more towards your right shoulder.

  3. Hiya, my fellas from Glasgow and has been searching for weeks for the thistle in picture no 2 (just thistle) to go on his arm.
    could you please let me know where you found it?
    We did locate one on loujaques website and promptly lost it never to be found again!

  4. hi i think number 4 with the text nothing says scotland better i think its a nice piece to have and many will copy it im glad i found this page as im doing the same thing with the text nemo me impune lacessit over the front of my chest as i already have scotland across my back ive put my bebo page on here if u want a look its in my photos under good stuff tell me what do u think i should do as im in the same boat as u so many choices and ideas but dont know wich one to choose thanks stig…..

  5. Wow, well you’re allready looking beautifully Tribal 🙂 I’m almost jealous, I need more tattoos now! I would go for the Roses, the Thistle implies too much defence of the heart, a heart should always be opne no matter the pain, that’s how we grow.


  6. i like tattoo num 2 and im going to get it done on my arm on thursday so let you know how it turns out ,Think you should go for it but lower down your chest but hey if thats what you want go for it.Im from glasgow and been looking for ages for a good thistle and i just found it on here thanks.

  7. yes, let me know how it goes! it looks like a lot of people looking for thistle tattoos find my blog, and then get it done!

    I haven’t got round to getting mine yet, though I will do some time this year. I’m going to go for no. 2 – just thistle 🙂

  8. I have an affinity for #2 since that’s the one on my arm. I have to say though, #1 looks better on your chest.

  9. I found this tattoo during a search on the web for a new tattoo with a motto that I LOVE! NEMO ME IMPUNE LACESSIT. I learned this and tho some may not like it I live by this. I would love to say more but will stick to the FANTASIC TATS that this gal is considering. I love the one with the thistle and am considering it tho it may be considered by some to be feminine. At a minimum I am getting NEMO ME IMPUNE LACESSIT tatted.

  10. ps. lenina, thank you for posting the the link ot the thistle (#2) tattoo. After reading the blog a little more I have decided to get it. Will post pics once it is done.

  11. I would not have the rose with Nemo Me Impune Lacessit . Stick with the Thistle.
    I have a single Thistle with Alba Gu Brath…Alba on top and Gu Brath underneath.

    (just incase you dindt know, Alba Gu Brath =Scotland Forever)

  12. thanks for your very Scottish input! of course the (English) rose would be the wrong thing to have tattooed, given the meaning and association of ‘Nemo me impune lacessit’.

    I think I like ‘Nemo…’ better than Alba Gu Brath (but will look into it a bit more), because also you have ‘Nemo…’ above the entrance to Edinburgh castle, and I live in Edinburgh so it would symbolise that connection.

  13. i’d go for number 3 do away with the rose and have 2 thistle’s,i’ve got the order of the thistle tattooed on my back(still got a couple of hrs work left to get on it) with a sentence from the declaration of arbroath “for as long as but a hundred of us remain alive,never will we on any condition be brought under english rule”

  14. actually the rose is completely fucking pointless, seeing that it symbolises England 😛

      1. yes indeed silly to have an english rose on it stick with the flower of scotland excellent choice

  15. Love the idea, I have half a sleeve mostly Scottish themes worked together. I’m living in England but have Scottish heritage. I’ve got a realistic Tudor Rose (White Rose on a Red one) With “nemo me impune lacessit” on two scrolls over it. I really like pic 4 but I’d speak to a proven tattooist and give them some artistic freedom I feel that’s how you get the best tattoos. Would you consider a bunch of 3 thistles with a scroll? That’d work! All the best. 🙂

  16. Maybe too late now. If discretion is wanted I would prefer a more natural thistle on the breast with the script above.
    IMO upper mid-chest tats rank closer with throat, facial and forehead ink – not good

    What did you opt for in the end ?

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