Annuit cœptis

Last updated
The reverse side of the Great Seal of the United States US Great Seal Reverse.svg
The reverse side of the Great Seal of the United States

Annuit cœptis ( /ˈænuɪtˈsɛptɪs/ , Classical Latin:  [ˈannʊ.ɪt ˈkoe̯ptiːs] ) is one of two mottos on the reverse side of the Great Seal of the United States. The literal translation is "favors (or "has favored") [our] undertakings", from Latin annuo ("to approve"), and coeptum ("commencement, undertaking"). Because of its context as a caption above the Eye of Providence, the standard translations are "Providence favors our undertakings" and "Providence has favored our undertakings". [1]

Contents

On the Great Seal

In 1782, Samuel Adams appointed a design artist, William Barton of Philadelphia, to bring a proposal for the national seal. [2] For the reverse, Barton suggested a thirteen-layered pyramid underneath the Eye of Providence. The mottos which Barton chose to accompany the design were Deo Favente ("with God's favor", or more literally, "with God favoring") and Perennis ("Everlasting"). The pyramid and Perennis motto had come from a $50 Continental currency bill designed by Francis Hopkinson. [3] [lower-alpha 1]

Barton's design with Deo Favente and Perennis Deofavente.jpg
Barton's design with Deo Favente and Perennis

Barton explained that the motto alluded to the Eye of Providence: "Deo favente which alludes to the Eye in the Arms, meant for the Eye of Providence." [4] In western art, God is traditionally represented by the Eye of Providence, which principally symbolizes God's omniscience.

When designing the final version of the Great Seal, Charles Thomson (a former Latin teacher) kept the pyramid and eye for the reverse side but replaced the two mottos, using Annuit Cœptis instead of Deo Favente (and Novus ordo seclorum instead of Perennis). When he provided his official explanation of the meaning of this motto, he wrote:

The Eye over [the pyramid] and the motto Annuit Cœptis allude to the many signal interpositions of providence in favor of the American cause. [5]

Change from Deo Favente to Annuit Cœptis

Detail of the U.S. one-dollar bill Great Seal of United States.jpg
Detail of the U.S. one-dollar bill

Annuit Cœptis is translated by the U.S. State Department, [6] the U.S. Mint, [7] and the U.S. Treasury [8] as, "He [God] has favored our undertakings" (brackets in original). However, the original Latin does not explicitly state who (or what) is the subject of the sentence. [9] Robert Hieronimus, a scholar of American iconography, has argued that Thomson's intent was to find a phrase that contained exactly 13 letters to fit the theme of the seal. [10] On the obverse was E Pluribus Unum (13 letters), along with 13 stars, 13 horizontal stripes (on the shield on back of the US$1 dollar bill), 13 vertical stripes, 13 arrows, 13 olive leaves, and 13 olives. The pyramid under the motto, Annuit Cœptis, has 13 layers. According to Hieronimus, Annuit Cœptis has 13 letters and was selected to fit the theme. Deo Favente had only ten letters. However, Annuit cœptis is written with a ligature on the seal, forming actually only 12 characters.

Classical source of the motto

According to Richard S. Patterson and Richardson Dougall, Annuit cœptis (meaning "He favours our undertakings") and the other motto on the reverse of the Great Seal, Novus ordo seclorum (meaning "new order of the ages"), can both be traced to lines by the Roman poet Virgil. Annuit cœptis comes from the Aeneid , book IX, line 625, which reads, Iuppiter omnipotens, audacibus adnue coeptis. [11] It is a prayer by Ascanius, the son of the hero of the story, Aeneas, which translates to, "Jupiter Almighty, favour [my] bold undertakings", just before slaying an enemy warrior, Numanus.

The same language also occurred in an earlier poem of Virgil, the Georgics . In line I.40 of that work is the phrase "da facilem cursum atque audacibus annue cœptis". The line is addressed to Caesar Augustus and translates to "give [us] an easy path and nod at our audacious undertakings."

Notes

  1. The note can be seen here, and the pyramid portion here.

See also

Related Research Articles

Legion of Merit Military award of the United States Armed Forces

The Legion of Merit (LOM) is a military award of the United States Armed Forces that is given for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services and achievements. The decoration is issued to members of the eight uniformed services of the United States as well as to military and political figures of foreign governments.

New World Order may refer to:

Great Seal of the United States National seal

The Great Seal is a principal national symbol of the United States. The phrase is used both for the physical seal itself, which is kept by the United States Secretary of State, and more generally for the design impressed upon it. The obverse of the Great Seal depicts the national coat of arms of the United States.

Ascanius

Ascanius was a legendary king of Alba Longa and is the son of the Trojan hero Aeneas and Creusa, daughter of Priam. He is a character in Roman mythology, and has a divine lineage, being the son of Aeneas, who is the son of the goddess Venus and the hero Anchises, a relative of the king Priam; thus Ascanius has divine ascendents by both parents, being descendants of god Jupiter and Dardanus. He is also an ancestor of Romulus, Remus and the Gens Julia. Together with his father, he is a major character in Virgil's Aeneid, and he is depicted as one of the founders of the Roman race.

<i>Swansong</i> (album) 1996 studio album by Carcass

Swansong is the fifth studio album by English extreme metal band Carcass. It was released on 10 June 1996 in the UK by Earache Records. It is the only Carcass album to feature guitarist Carlo Regadas. This album was intended to be their major label debut, having been signed by Columbia Records following the success of Heartwork, but disputes with that record company caused them to return to Earache. The album was re-released on 21 July 2008, as a dualdisc including the fifth part of The Pathologist's Report. It was the band's last studio release for over 17 years, until the release of Surgical Steel in 2013, and the last one to feature drummer Ken Owen.

<i>Novus ordo seclorum</i>

The phrase Novus ordo seclorum is the second of two mottos that appear on the reverse of the Great Seal of the United States.

<i>E pluribus unum</i> Latin phrase on the great seal of United States, literally means "out of many, one"

E pluribus unum – Latin for "Out of many, one" – is a traditional motto of the United States, appearing on the Great Seal along with Annuit cœptis and Novus ordo seclorum ; its inclusion on the seal was approved by an Act of Congress in 1782. While its status as national motto was for many years unofficial, E pluribus unum was still considered the de facto motto of the United States from its early history. Eventually, the United States Congress passed an act, adopting "In God We Trust" as the official motto in 1956.

Eye of Providence Symbol of all-seeing eye (usually shown in triangle and/or surrounded by rays )

The Eye of Providence is a symbol that depicts an eye, often enclosed in a triangle and surrounded by rays of light or Glory, meant to represent divine providence, whereby the eye of God watches over humanity. A well known example of the Eye of Providence appears on the reverse of the Great Seal of the United States, which is depicted on the United States one-dollar bill.

United States one-dollar bill Current denomination of United States paper equivalent of currency

The United States one-dollar bill ($1) since 1876 has been the lowest value denomination of United States paper currency. An image of the first U.S. President (1789–1797), George Washington, based on the Athenaeum Portrait, a 1796 painting by Gilbert Stuart, is currently featured on the obverse, and the Great Seal of the United States is featured on the reverse. The one-dollar bill has the oldest overall design of all U.S. currency currently being produced. The obverse design of the dollar bill seen today debuted in 1963 when it was first issued as a Federal Reserve Note.

<i>Kilroy Was Here</i> (album) 1983 studio album by Styx

Kilroy Was Here is the eleventh studio album and rock opera by the rock band Styx, released on February 22, 1983. The album is named after a famous World War II graffiti tag, 'Kilroy was here'. It was the final album of original material to be released by the "classic" lineup of Dennis DeYoung, Tommy Shaw, James "J.Y." Young, John Panozzo, and Chuck Panozzo.

Seal of Colorado Official government emblem of the U.S. state of Colorado

The Seal of the State of Colorado is an adaptation of the territorial seal which was adopted by the First Territorial Assembly on November 6, 1861. The only changes made to the territorial seal design being the substitution of the words, "State of Colorado" and the figures "1876" for the corresponding inscriptions on the territorial seal. The first General Assembly of the State of Colorado approved the adoption of the state seal on March 15, 1877. The Colorado Secretary of State alone is authorized to affix the Great Seal of Colorado to any document whatsoever.

Ordo may refer to:

Seal of Maryland Official government emblem of the U.S. state of Maryland

The Great Seal of the State of Maryland is the official government emblem of the U.S. state of Maryland. Its official service is to authenticate acts by the General Assembly of Maryland, but it is also used for display purposes at most state buildings. Although the state seal has been changed in design several times throughout history, the current model represents the reverse side of the original seal.

Pro aris et focis and Pro Deo et patria are two Latin phrases used as the motto of many families, military regiments and educational institutions. Pro aris et focis literally translates "for altars and hearths", but is used by ancient authors to express attachment to all that was most dear and is more idiomatically translated "for hearth and home", since the Latin term aris generally refers to the altars of the spirits of the house and is often used as a synecdoche for the family home.

<i>Deo vindice</i>

Deo vindice was the national motto of the Confederate States. It appears on the margin beneath the device of the Seal of the Confederate States. Never codified by law, Deo vindice was considered the de facto motto of the Confederate States from April 30, 1863, when the Confederate States Congress passed an act, establishing a Seal of the Confederate States. The national motto was first used publicly in 1864.

Christian symbolism Use of symbols, including archetypes, acts, artwork or events, by Christianity

Christian symbolism is the use of symbols, including archetypes, acts, artwork or events, by Christianity. It invests objects or actions with an inner meaning expressing Christian ideas.

United States national motto

The modern motto of the United States of America, as established in a 1956 law signed by President Dwight D. Eisenhower, is "In God we trust". The phrase first appeared on U.S. coins in 1864.

"Heavy Metal Poisoning" is a song by American rock band Styx. It was included as the fifth track on their 1983 studio album Kilroy Was Here.

This article provides a list of notable depictions of the Great Seal of the United States, excluding the official dies.

References

  1. "Annuit Coeptis – Origin and Meaning of the Motto Above the Pyramid & Eye". greatseal.com.
  2. MacArthur, John D. (2011). "Third Committee" [ permanent dead link ]. Retrieved 11-25-2011.
  3. "Third Committee's Design for the Great Seal – 1782". greatseal.com.
  4. Papers of the Continental Congress, item 23, folios 137–139.
  5. Journals of the Continental Congress, June 1782
  6. "The Great Seal of the United States" (PDF). U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Public Affairs. 2003. Retrieved November 25, 2011.
  7. Bureau of Engraving, Currency Notes
  8. U.S. Treasury (2010). "Portraits & Designs". Retrieved 11-25-2011.
  9. In The Oxford Handbook of Church and State in the United States. New York: Oxford University Press, 2010]
  10. Hieronimus, Robert (2005). Founding Fathers, Secret Societies: Freemasons, Illuminati, Rosicrucians, and the Decoding of the Great Seal. Inner Traditions / Bear & Co. pp. 111–. ISBN   978-1-59477-865-0.
  11. Vergilius Maro, Publius (2919 BC). Aeneid . Retrieved 11-25-2011.

Further reading