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_ANNUIT CœPTIS_ (/ˈænjuːɪt ˈsɛptᵻs/ ; in Classical Latin
Classical Latin
: ) is one of two mottos on the reverse side of the Great Seal of the United States . (The second motto is _ Novus ordo seclorum _; another motto appears on the obverse (front) side of the Great Seal: _E pluribus unum _.) Taken from the Latin
Latin
words _annuo_ (third-person singular present or perfect _annuit_), "to nod" or "to approve", and _coeptum_ (plural _coepta_), "commencement, undertaking", it is literally translated, " favors our undertakings" or " has favored our undertakings" (_annuit_ could be in either the present or perfect tense).

CONTENTS

* 1 On the Great Seal * 2 Change from _Deo Favente_ to _Annuit Cœptis_ * 3 Classical source of the motto * 4 References * 5 Further reading * 6 External links

ON THE GREAT SEAL

In 1782, Sam Adams created the third Congress and appointed a design artist, William Barton of Philadelphia
Philadelphia
, to bring a proposal for the national seal. 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 . (The note can be seen here , and the pyramid portion here .) _ 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." 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
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 it and the motto Annuit Cœptis allude to the many signal interpositions of providence in favor of the American cause.

CHANGE FROM _DEO FAVENTE_ TO _ANNUIT CœPTIS_

Detail of the U.S. one-dollar bill .

_Annuit Cœptis_ is translated by the U.S. State Department , the U.S. Mint , and the U.S. Treasury
U.S. Treasury
as, "He has favored our undertakings" (brackets in original). However, the original Latin
Latin
does not explicitly state who (or what) is the subject of the sentence. Robert Hieronimus, who wrote a Ph.D. dissertation about this portion of the Great Seal, argued that Thomson's intent was to find a phrase that contained exactly 13 letters to fit the theme of the seal. 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.

CLASSICAL SOURCE OF THE MOTTO

According to Richard S. Patterson and Richardson Dougall, _Annuit coeptis_ (meaning "favor 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_. It is a prayer by Ascanius, the son of the hero of the story, Aeneas , which translates to, "Jupiter Almighty, favour bold undertakings", just before slaying an enemy warrior, Numanus.

REFERENCES

* ^ " E Pluribus Unum - Origin and Meaning of the Motto
Motto
Carried by the American Eagle". _greatseal.com_. * ^ "Annuit Coeptis - Origin and Meaning of the Motto
Motto
Above the Pyramid & Eye". _greatseal.com_. * ^ MacArthur, John D. (2011). "Third Committee". Retrieved 11-25-2011. * ^ "Third Committee\'s Design for the Great Seal - 1782". _greatseal.com_. * ^ Papers of the Continental Congress, item 23, folios 137-139. * ^ Journals of the Continental Congress, June 1782 * ^ "The Great Seal of the United States" (PDF). U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Public Affairs. 2003. Retrieved November 25, 2011. * ^ Bureau of Engraving, _Currency Notes_ * ^ U.S. Treasury
U.S. Treasury
(2010). "Portraits & Designs". Retrieved 11-25-2011. * ^ In _The Oxford Handbook of Church and State in the United States_. New York: Oxford University Press, 2010] * ^ 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 . * ^ Vergilius Maro, Publius (29 - 19 BC). _Aeneid_. Retrieved 11-25-2011.

FURTHER READING

* Richard S. Patterson, Richardson Dougall, _The Eagle and The Shield: A History of The Great Seal of The United States_ (United States; Department of State; Department and Foreign Service series; Department of State publication, 8900). 1978

EXTERNAL LINKS

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