Anachrobellum: Not Your Typical DONT TREAD ON ME Shirt Styles

DONT TREAD ON ME: Anachrobellum
| June 3, 2021
Categories: Gear

If you’re looking for an interesting, pro-2A DONT TREAD ON ME shirt that’s just a little different than the others, take a look at the Gadsden Flag shirt lineup from Anachrobellum.


We put DONT TREAD ON ME shirt instead of DON’T TREAD ON ME shirt because the original Gadsden Flag design didn’t have an apostrophe in it. Prob’ly. Anyway, you guys are even worse than we are about language, spelling, and grammar so just shut up and let us tell our story!

This one of the Christopher Gadsden-inspired designs from Anachrobellum. Immediately below is another.

American Viking Gadsden Flag Shield

A modern American viking: dont tread on me

We too like the idea of transitioning to an ax from our rifle and, when appropriate, shortening a tyrannical dictator, foreign invader, or Salafi by their head.

Here’s a close-up.

Close up of American Viking with Gadsden Flag shield and axe

Jormungandr Gadsden Flag

A Gadsden Flag design (i.e. dont tread on me style) shirt

This DONT TREAD ON ME shirt replaces the timber rattler (“America’s rattlesnake”) with a mythic creature of Norse legend – but the liberty and right to bear arms connotations remain.

Of this latter Gadsden Flag shirt style, Anachrobellum says:

It’s a Norse take on the Gadsden Flag: instead of a rattlesnake, it features Jǫrmungandr, the World Serpent. In the place of a patch of grass: Yggdrasil. Would Christopher Gadsden like it? We’re not entirely sure, but you can bet the early Continental Marines would. And so will many responsible armed citizens of today.

Replace “axe” or “sword” with “pistol”, “rifle”, etc., and the following refrain still rings true centuries later.

“Never walk
away from home
ahead of your axe and sword.
You can’t feel a battle
in your bones
or foresee a fight.”

Aldri gå borte fra hjemmet. Foran øksen og sverdet. Du kan ikke føle en kamp I beinene dine eller forutse en kamp. Gestaþáttr, Hávamál

A modern Viking version of the Gadsden flag

As we understand it, at least two more Christopher Gadsden-themed designs are inbound.

Check out all their warrior archetype shirts

DONT TREAD ON ME shirt, Viking style

DONT TREAD ON ME shirt, done Viking style, by Anachrobellum.

Some Gadsden Flag History

Some Gadsden Flag history to provide context for that dont tread on me shirt.

“She strongly resembles America in this, that she is beautiful in youth and her beauty increaseth with her age, her tongue also is blue and forked as the lightning, and her abode is among impenetrable rocks.” Benjamin Franklin, describing the timber rattlesnake.





“America’s rattlesnake”, the timber rattler, was first formally recognized and described by Carl Linnaeus in Systema Naturae, published in 1758. Linnaeus is the one who gave the snake its scientific name, Crotalus horridus.


Don't tread on me shirt by Anachrobellum (Viking Style)


Benjamin Franklin and Crotalus horridus

Timber Rattlers for America

The timber rattlesnake (Latin Crotalus horridus) is a uniquely American predator.

“Benjamin Franklin promoted the snake as a cultural icon in 1751 when he wrote “Rattlesnakes for Felons,” an essay that suggested the colonies export the snakes to London in retaliation for the king’s unloading British felons on the colonies.

Three years later, in the Pennsylvania Gazette, Franklin published the first political cartoon in an American newspaper. Triggered by the French and Indian War, the cartoon featured a timber rattlesnake chopped into eight parts—with New England at the head and South Carolina at the tail—each labeled with a colony’s initials, accompanied by the slogan “Join, or Die.” As the Revolution approached, Franklin considered the timber rattlesnake a fitting symbol of America.

I recollected that her eye excelled in brightness, that of any other animal, and that she has no eyelids. She may therefore be esteemed an emblem of vigilance. She never begins an attack, nor, when once engaged, ever surrenders: She is therefore an emblem of magnanimity and true courage. As if anxious to prevent all pretensions of quarreling with her, weapons with which nature has furnished her, she conceals in the roof of her mouth, so that, to those who are unacquainted with her, she appears to be a most defenseless animal; and even when those weapons are shewn and extended for defense, they appear weakand contemptible; but their wounds however small, are decisive and fatal: Conscious of this, she never wounds till she has generously given notice, even to her enemy, and cautioned him against the danger of stepping on her.

Was I wrong, Sir, in thinking this a strong picture of the temper and conduct of America?

John Paul Jones, “Father of the American Navy,” wore brass rattlesnakes on the lapels and buttons of his uniform. And from 1776 to 1778, Esek Hopkins, the first commander-in-chief of the U.S. Navy, flew a yellow flag with a coiled timber rattlesnake that bore the now-famous motto “Don’t Tread on Me.” The flag, known as the Gadsden Flag, was the gift of Continental Colonel Christopher Gadsden of South Carolina and is still flown in Charleston, the city where Gadsden first presented the flag.”

America’s Snake, Ted Levin

Gadsden Flag shirt: "Don't Tread On Me"

Below: a timber rattlesnake photographed in the wild in Oklahoma. Unfortunately, we do not have a similar image of Jormungandr for contrast.

A timber rattlesnake photographed in Oklahoma

Rattlesnakes are distinctly American pit vipers that probably developed on the Mexican plateau and dispersed chiefly northward. Of the twenty-seven species of Crotalus and three of Sistrurus, only one has an extensive range south of Mexico, while fifteen occur in the United States. SHERMAN A. MINTON AND MADGE RUTHERFORD MINTON, Venomous Reptiles, 1969


Christopher Gadsden and the Liberty Tree

Project Gutenberg’s The Little Book of the Flag, by Eva March Tappan

"American Viking" Dont Tread On Me shirt

Origins of the Gadsden flag, U.S. Navy, and U.S. Marine Corps

By 1775, the snake symbol wasn’t just being printed in newspapers. It was appearing all over the colonies: on uniform buttons, on paper money, and of course, on banners and flags.

The snake symbol morphed quite a bit during its rapid, widespread adoption. It wasn’t cut up into pieces anymore. And it was usually shown as an American timber rattlesnake, not a generic serpent.

We don’t know for certain where, when, or by whom the familiar coiled rattlesnake was first used with the warning “Don’t Tread on Me.”

We do know when it first entered the history books.

In the fall of 1775, the British were occupying Boston and the young Continental Army was holed up in Cambridge, woefully short on arms and ammunition. At the Battle of Bunker Hill, Washington’s troops had been so low on gunpowder that they were ordered: “not to fire until you see the whites of their eyes.”

In October, a merchant ship called The Black Prince returned to Philadelphia from a voyage to England. Onboard were private letters to the Second Continental Congress that informed them that the British government was sending two ships to America loaded with arms and gunpowder for the British troops.

Congress decided that General Washington needed those arms more than the British. A plan was hatched to capture the cargo ships. They authorized the creation of a Continental Navy, starting with four ships. The frigate that carried the information from England, the Black Prince, was one of the four. It was purchased, converted to a man-of-war, and renamed the Alfred.

To accompany the Navy on their first mission, Congress also authorized the mustering of five companies of Marines. The Alfred and its sailors and marines went on to achieve some of the most notable victories of the American Revolution. But that’s not the story we’re interested in here.

What’s particularly interesting for us is that some of the Marines that enlisted that month in Philadelphia were carrying drums painted yellow, emblazoned with a fierce rattlesnake, coiled and ready to strike, with thirteen rattles, and sporting the motto “Don’t Tread on Me.”


Jormungandr (of Norse myth) replaces the rattlesnake in this Gadsden shirt worn in the gym.

About the Timber Rattlesnake

Description, habitat, etc. 

Timber rattlesnakes are large, heavily-bodied pit-vipers and have a large, distinctive rattle on the tail and a black, velvety colored tail. Dorsal scales are heavily keeled and scales under the tail are not divided as in most non-venomous snakes. Because of the distinctive black tail, these snakes are often called “velvet tails.” Background color of the body is gray to ash gray and an orange or orange-red line about 3 – 6 scales wide extends on the top of the body from the back of the head to the tail. Black bands run down the entire body to the tail, and from above, each band appears to form a “v.” Viewed from the side, the bands appear more irregular (zig-zagged) and may or may not connect with a parallel series of lateral black blotches. The underside of the body is cream-colored. The only remotely similar snake is the western pygmy rattlesnake, which is much smaller in size (usually less than two feet in total length), has spots rather than cross bands, and has a very small rattle. Western pygmy rattlesnakes do have an orange to red-orange midline. Close examination on the top of the head will reveal tiny scales on the western pygmy rattlesnake and large scales on timber rattlesnakes.

The west to east distribution of timber rattlesnakes in the United States extends from central Oklahoma nearly to Maine, and north to south from northern New York to central-east Texas.

Life Cycle:
Timber rattlesnakes live in forested areas that have rocky outcrops. They are primarily terrestrial but, like many other snakes, they can swim and individuals have been observed off the ground in shrubs. During late fall, timber rattlesnakes migrate to dens, usually in crevices in rocky outcrops, where they spend the winter. In late fall and early spring, several individuals can be found basking near the entrances of den sites. In April, timber rattlesnakes often enter grassy fields in search of small mammals. During spring and fall, these snakes are diurnal, but become nocturnal during summer. They often lie coiled under leaf litter for extended periods during summer. Timber rattlesnakes feed largely on small mammals and birds, and like other pit-vipers, can detect prey with their infra-red heat sensory organs (pits). Large adults often eat seemingly huge prey (gray and fox squirrels), and it is not unusual to find one of these snakes lying on the forest floor in the shade with such a huge lump in the stomach that the snake cannot coil. Like other pit-vipers, timber rattlesnakes are late maturing, long-lived, and reproduce repeatedly. Sexual maturity is not reached until at least the fourth year of life, and in many individuals, 6 – 7 years may be required. Although maximum life span remains unknown, individuals can live for at least 25 years. Females generally do not reproduce each year, producing litters of live young every other year, every third year, or in some cases, every fourth year. Females produce litters varying from seven to 11 young, with larger females producing larger litters. Newborn snakes appear in late August and early September.

Large adult timber rattlesnakes can reach more than five feet in total length, but individuals exceeding four feet are uncommon. Newborn young are about twelve inches in total length.

Dr. Laurie Vitt, OK Wildlife Department Field Guide


Damn Yankees Don’t Tread On Me

Don’t Tread On Me Lyrics | Damn Yankees

Don’t Tread On Me is the first track of the 1992 Damn Yankees album Don’t TreadThe album, released in July, reached number 22 on the Billboard 200 album chart. Nothing wrong with jamming to a tune like this while wearing your Anachrobellum DONT TREAD ON ME shirt, we thinks.

Freedom rider on a midnight cruise
On my way, I got nothing to lose
Sister mercy gonna take my hand
Lead me over to the promised land

But you better not set your sights on me
‘Cause it just might spoil your victory

Don’t you dare
Don’t you tread on me
Don’t you tread on me
Don’t you try and make some fool of me
Don’t you tread on me

We walked the ground of ancient ones
Lit the fire with the rising sun
You and me, we got a full on rage
Won’t get fooled, no I won’t be caged

Make love not war was your claim to fame
Now you’re takin’ me down, well I won’t be tamed

Don’t you dare
Don’t you tread on me
Don’t you tread on me
Don’t you try and make some fool of me
Don’t you tread on me

You better turn and walk away
(Don’t tread on me)
You might learn to love another day
And I know you need to hear me say
All I want is you

Don’t you dare
Don’t you tread on me
Don’t you tread on me
Don’t you try and make some fool of me
Don’t you tread on

Don’t you dare
Don’t you tread on me
Don’t you tread on me
Don’t you try and lay your shit on me
Don’t you tread on

Don’t you dare
Don’t you tread on me
Don’t you tread on me
Don’t you dare forget your history
Don’t you tread on me

About the music video: Damn Yankees performs in the music video “Don’t Tread on Me” from the album “Don’t Tread” recorded for Warner Brothers Records. The music video begins with an old man saying the band’s name. The band performs on stage for an enthusiastic audience. Clips of the band recording the song in the studio play throughout. It features band members Ted Nugent, Tommy Shaw, Jack Blades, Michael Cartellone.


We the People Holsters

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