The concept of liberty has frequently been represented by personifications, often loosely shown as a female classical goddess.Examples include Marianne, the national personification of the French Republic and its values of Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité , the female Liberty portrayed on United States coins for well over a century, and many others. These descend from images on ancient Roman coins of the Roman goddess Libertas and from various developments from the Renaissance onwards. The Dutch Maiden was among the first, re-introducing the cap of liberty on a liberty pole featured in many types of image, though not using the Phrygian cap style that became conventional. The 1886 Statue of Liberty (Liberty Enlightening the World) by Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi is a well-known example in art, a gift from France to the United States.
The ancient Roman goddess Libertas was honored during the second Punic War (218 to 201 BC) by a temple erected on the Aventine Hill in Rome by the father of Tiberius Gracchus. In a highly political gesture, a temple for her was raised in 58 BC by Publius Clodius Pulcher on the site of Marcus Tullius Cicero's house after it had been razed. When depicted as a standing figure, on the reverse of coins, she usually holds out, but never wears, a pileus, the soft cap that symbolised the granting of freedom to former slaves. She also carries a rod, which formed part of the ceremony for manumission. In the 18th century, due to antiquarians misunderstanding the shape, the pileus turned into the similar Phrygian cap carried on a pole by English-speaking "Liberty" figures, and then worn by Marianne and other 19th-century personifications, as the "cap of liberty".
Libertas had been important under the Roman Republic, and was somewhat uncomfortably co-opted by the empire;it was not seen as an innate right, but as granted to some under Roman law. Her attribute of the pileus appeared on the Ides of March coin of the assassins of Julius Caesar, defenders of the Roman republic, between two daggers with the inscription "EID MAR" (Eidibus Martiis – on the Ides of March).
The medieval republics, mostly in Italy, greatly valued their liberty, and often use the word, but produce very few direct personifications. One exception, showing just the cap of liberty between daggers, a copy of coins by the assassins of Julius Caesar, featured on a medal struck by Lorenzino de' Medici to commemorate his assassination of his cousin Alessandro de' Medici, Duke of Florence in 1547.Liberty featured in emblem books, usually with her cap; the most popular, the Iconologia of Cesare Ripa, showed the cap held on a pole by the 1611 edition.
With the rise of nationalism and new states, many nationalist personifications included a strong element of liberty, perhaps culminating in the Statue of Liberty . The long poem Liberty by the Scottish James Thomson (1734), is a lengthy monologue spoken by the "Goddess of Liberty", "characterized as British Liberty", describing her travels through the ancient world, and then English and British history, before the resolution of the Glorious Revolution of 1688 confirms her position there.Thomson also wrote the lyrics for Rule Britannia , and the two personifications were often combined as a personified "British Liberty".
A large monument, originally called the "Column of British Liberty", now usually just the "Column to Liberty", was begun in the 1750s on his Gibside estate outside Newcastle-on-Tyne by the hugely wealthy Sir George Bowes, reflecting his Whig politics. Set at the top of a steep hillock, the monument itself is taller than Nelson's Column in London, and topped by a bronze female figure, originally gilded, carrying a cap of liberty on a pole.In other images, she took the seated form already very familiar from the British copper coinage, where Britannia had first appeared in 1672, with shield but carrying the cap on a rod as a liberty pole, rather than her usual trident.
In the run up to the American War of Independence, this conflated figure of Britannia/Liberty was attractive to American colonists agitating for the full set of British civil rights, and from 1770 some American newspapers adopted her for their masthead. When war broke out, the Britannia element quickly disappeared, but a classical-looking Liberty still appealed, and was now sometimes just labelled "America".In the 1790s Columbia, who had been sometimes present in literature for some decades, emerged as a common name for this figure. Her position was cemented by the popular song Hail, Columbia (1798).
By the time of the French Revolution the modern type of imagery was well-established, and the French figure acquired the name of Marianne from 1792. Unlike her predecessors, she normally wore the cap of Liberty on her head, rather than carrying it on a pole or lance. In 1793 the Notre Dame de Paris cathedral was turned into a "Temple of Reason" and, for a brief time, the Goddess of Liberty replaced the Virgin Mary on several altars.
The Great Seal of France, applied to the official copies of legislation, had a Marianne with Phrygian cap of liberty from 1792, until she was replaced the next year by a Hercules after Jacques-Louis David. A standing Liberty, with fasces and cap on a pole, was on the seal of Napoleon's French Consulate,before being replaced by his head. Liberty returned to the seal with the French Second Republic in 1848, seated amid symbols of agriculture and industry, designed by Jacques-Jean Barre. She carries fasces on her lap, now wears a radiant crown with seven spikes or rays, and leans on a rudder. After a gap with the Second French Empire, a version of the 1848 design was used by the French Third Republic and under subsequent republics to the present day. The radiant crown, never used in antiquity for Libertas (but for the sun god Sol Invictus and some later emperors), was adopted by Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi for the Statue of Liberty. This was conceived in the 1860s, under the French Second Republic, when Liberty no longer featured on the seal or in French official iconography. The Great Seal's rudder was another original borrowing from classical iconography. In Roman art it (called a gubernaculum) was the usual attribute of Fortuna, or "Lady Luck", representing her control of the changeable fortunes of life.
As well as such dignified representations, all these figures very frequently figured in the political cartoons that were becoming extremely popular in all the countries concerned over this period. The Napoleonic Wars produced a particular outpouring of cartoons on all sides.
In the 19th century various national personifications took on this form, some wearing the cap of liberty. The Dutch Maiden, accompanied by the Leo Belgicus became the official symbol of the Batavian Republic established after the French occupied the Netherlands.
In the United States, "Liberty" often is depicted with five-pointed stars, as appear on the American flag, usually held in a raised hand. Another hand may hold a sword pointing downward. Depictions familiar to Americans include the following:
In the early decades of the 20th century, Liberty mostly displaced Columbia, who was widely used as the national personification of the US during the 19th century.
Libertas is the Roman goddess and personification of liberty. She became a politicised figure in the Late Republic, featured on coins supporting the populares faction, and later those of the assassins of Julius Caesar. Nonetheless, she sometimes appears on coins from the imperial period, such as Galba's "Freedom of the People" coins during his short reign after the death of Nero. She is usually portrayed with two accoutrements: the rod and the soft pileus, which she holds out, rather than wears.
Britannia is the national personification of Britain as a helmeted female warrior holding a trident and shield. An image first used in classical antiquity, the Latin Britannia was the name variously applied to the British Isles, Great Britain, and the Roman province of Britain during the Roman Empire. Typically depicted reclining or seated with spear and shield since appearing thus on Roman coins of the 2nd century AD, the classical national allegory was revived in the early modern period. On coins of the pound sterling issued by Charles II of England, Scotland, and Ireland, Britannia appears with her shield bearing the Union Flag. To symbolise the Royal Navy's victories, Britannia's spear became the characteristic trident in 1797, and a helmet was added to the coinage in 1825.
The Statue of Freedom, also known as Armed Freedom or simply Freedom, is a bronze statue designed by Thomas Crawford (1814–1857) that, since 1863, has crowned the dome of the U.S. Capitol building in Washington, D.C. Originally named Freedom Triumphant in War and Peace, a U.S. government publication now states that the statue "is officially known as the Statue of Freedom." The statue depicts a female figure bearing a military helmet and holding a sheathed sword in her right hand and a laurel wreath and shield in her left.
The Phrygian cap or liberty cap is a soft conical cap with the apex bent over, associated in antiquity with several peoples in Eastern Europe and Anatolia, including the Balkans, Dacia, Thrace and Phrygia, where the name originated.
Marianne has been the national personification of the French Republic since the French Revolution, as a personification of liberty, equality, fraternity and reason, as well as a portrayal of the Goddess of Liberty.
Goddess of Liberty may refer to:
The dime, in United States usage, is a ten-cent coin, one tenth of a United States dollar, labeled formally as "one dime". The denomination was first authorized by the Coinage Act of 1792. The dime is the smallest in diameter and is the thinnest of all U.S. coins currently minted for circulation, being 0.705 inches in diameter and 0.053 in (1.35 mm) in thickness. The obverse of the current dime depicts the profile of President Franklin D. Roosevelt and the reverse boasts an olive branch, a torch, and an oak branch, from left to right respectively. As of 2011, the dime coin cost 5.65 cents to produce.
Helvetia is the female national personification of Switzerland, officially Confoederatio Helvetica, the Swiss Confederation.
A liberty pole is a wooden pole, or sometimes spear or lance, surmounted by a "cap of liberty", mostly of the Phrygian cap form outside the Netherlands. The symbol originated in the immediate aftermath of the assassination of the Roman dictator Julius Caesar by a group of Rome's Senators in 44 BCE. Immediately after Caesar was killed the assassins, or Liberatores as they called themselves, went through the streets with their bloody weapons held up, one carrying a pileus carried on the tip of a spear. This symbolized that the Roman people had been freed from the rule of Caesar, which the assassins claimed had become a tyranny because it overstepped the authority of the Senate and thus betrayed the Republic.
The Seal of the Commonwealth of Virginia is the official seal of the Commonwealth of Virginia, a U.S. state. The state flag of Virginia consists of the obverse of the seal against a blue background. A state flag was first adopted at the beginning of the American Civil War in April 1861, readopted in 1912, and standardized by the General Assembly in February 1950. The standing allegorical female figure of virtue is shown having vanquished tyranny, symbolized by a fallen king at her feet. She has an exposed breast in the manner of classical depictions of Amazons, making this the only state flag in the U.S. depicting a form of nudity. The motto, "Sic semper tyrannis," means "Thus always to tyrants." The flag may be decorated with a white fringe along the fly edge; this is usually done when the flag is displayed indoors.
Columbia is the female national personification of the United States. It was also a historical name applied to the Americas and to the New World. The association has given rise to the names of many American places, objects, institutions and companies, including the District of Columbia; Columbia, South Carolina; Columbia University; "Hail, Columbia" and Columbia Rediviva; the Columbia River. Images of the Statue of Liberty largely displaced personified Columbia as the female symbol of the United States by around 1920, although Lady Liberty was seen as an aspect of Columbia. However, Columbia's most prominent display today is being part of the logo of the Hollywood film studio Columbia Pictures.
Personification occurs when a thing or abstraction is represented as a person, in literature or art, as an anthropomorphic metaphor. The type of personification discussed here excludes passing literary effects such as "Shadows hold their breath", and covers cases where a personification appears as a character in literature, or a human figure in art. The technical term for this, since ancient Greece, is prosopopoeia. In the arts many things are commonly personified. These include numerous types of places, especially cities, countries and the four continents, elements of the natural world such as the months or Four Seasons, Four Elements, Four Winds, Five Senses, and abstractions such as virtues, especially the four cardinal virtues and seven deadly sins, the nine Muses, or death.
Miss Freedom, originally named Goddess of Liberty, is the statue adorning the dome of the Georgia State Capitol since 1889. Commissioned in 1888, the hollow copper statue is painted white, weighs over 1600 lbs and is over 26 feet tall. She was sculpted with a torch in her right hand and a sword in her left. The torch is a functioning mercury-vapor lamp, casting a blue-green light at night. The torch in her right hand was supposed to be a working light continuously, but it remained dark until it was reconstructed in 1959. Tube and trolley systems have been installed so the bulb can be changed from the inside.
The Dutch Maiden is a national personification of the Netherlands. She is typically depicted wearing a Roman garment and with a lion, the Leo Belgicus, by her side. In addition to the symbol of a national maiden, there were also symbolic provincial maidens and town maidens.
The Efígie da República is used as a national personification, both in Brazil and in Portugal, symbolizing the Republic.
The pileus was a brimless felt cap worn in Ancient Greece, Etruria, Illyria, Pannonia and surrounding regions, later also introduced in Ancient Rome. In the 5th century BC, a bronze version began to appear in Ancient Greece and it became a popular infantry helmet. It occasionally had a horsehair crest. The Greek πιλίδιον and Latin pilleolus were smaller versions, similar to a skullcap. The plis worn today in Albania and Kosovo is thought to originate from a similar felt cap worn by the ancient Illyrians.
There are various allegorical representations of Argentina or associated in any way with Argentina. There is not, however, a national personification with its own name, like Marianne from France, or Hispania from Spain, but sculptures and engravings representing liberty, republic, motherland or other concepts that have been used officially by the Argentine state.
National symbols of France are emblems of the French Republic and French people, and they are the cornerstone of the nation's republican tradition.
Symbolism in the French Revolution was a device to distinguish and celebrate the main features of the French Revolution and ensure public identification and support. In order to effectively illustrate the differences between the new Republic and the old regime, the leaders needed to implement a new set of symbols to be celebrated instead of the old religious and monarchical symbolism. To this end, symbols were borrowed from historic cultures and redefined, while those of the old regime were either destroyed or reattributed acceptable characteristics. New symbols and styles were put in place to separate the new, Republican country from the monarchy of the past. These new and revised symbols were used to instill in the public a new sense of tradition and reverence for the Enlightenment and the Republic.
The Libertas Americana was a medal made to commemorate the American Revolution. It was designed in part by Benjamin Franklin.
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