Novus ordo seclorum
Novus ordo seclorum (
Latin for "New order of the ages";
English: /ˈnoʊvəs ˈɔːrdoʊ sɛˈklɔːrəm/; Latin
pronunciation: [ˈnɔwʊs ˈoːrdoː seːˈkɫoːrũː]) is the
second of two mottos that appear on the reverse (or back side) of the
Great Seal of the United States. (The first motto is Annuit cœptis,
literally translated "[He/she/it] has favored our undertakings".) The
Great Seal was first designed in 1782, and has been printed on the
back of the
United States one-dollar bill
United States one-dollar bill since 1935. The phrase Novus
ordo seclorum is sometimes mistranslated as "New World Order" by
people who believe in a conspiracy behind the design.
Reverse side of the Great Seal of the United States
Origin and phrase meaning
The phrase is a reference to the fourth Eclogue of Virgil, which
contains a passage (lines 5-8) that reads:
Ultima Cumaei venit iam carminis aetas;
Now comes the final era of the Sibyl's song;
Magnus ab integro saeclorum nascitur ordo.
The great order of the ages is born afresh.
iam redit et Virgo, redeunt Saturnia regna,
And now justice returns, honored rules return (or return of Saturn's
iam nova progenies caelo demittitur alto.
now a new lineage is sent down from high heaven.
The forms saecla, saeclorum etc. were normal alternatives to the more
common saecula etc. throughout the history of
Latin poetry and prose.
The form saeculorum is impossible in hexameter verse: the ae and o are
long, the u short by position. For the medieval exchange between ae,
æ and e, see Æ; the word medieval (mediæval) itself is another
Medieval Christians read Virgil's poem as a prophecy of the coming of
Christ. The Augustan Age, although pre-Christian, was viewed as a
golden age preparing the world for the coming of Christ. The great
poets of this age were viewed as a source of revelation and light upon
the Christian mysteries to come.
The word seclorum does not mean "secular", as one might assume, but is
the genitive (possessive) plural form of the word saeculum, meaning
(in this context) generation, century, or age. Saeculum did come to
mean "age, world" in late, Christian Latin, and "secular" is derived
from it, through secularis. However, the adjective "secularis,"
meaning "worldly," is not equivalent to the genitive plural
"seclorum," meaning "of the ages."
Thus the motto
Novus ordo seclorum
Novus ordo seclorum can be translated as "A new order
of the ages." It was proposed by Charles Thomson, the
Latin expert who
was involved in the design of the Great Seal of the United States, to
signify "the beginning of the new American Era" as of the date of the
Declaration of Independence.
E pluribus unum
Eye of Providence
^ a b c "Novus Ordo Seclorum - Origin and Meaning of the
the American Pyramid". GreatSeal.com.
^ P. Vergilius Maro, Eclogues,J. B. Greenough, Ed.
^ Ann Raftery Meyer:
Medieval allegory and the building of the new
Jerusalem DS Brewer, 2003. ISBN 978-0-85991-796-4
^ Lewis and Short, A
Latin Dictionary: Founded on Andrews' Edition of
Latin Dictionary: Revised, Enlarged, and in Great Part
Rewritten by Charlton T. Lewis, Ph.D. and Charles Short, LL.D. The
Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1879, s. vv.
^ "The Great Seal of the United States," U.S. Dept. of State, Bureau
of Public Affairs, Washington, D.C., July 2003, pp. 4, 5, 15. PDF of
National symbols of the United States
Flag of the United States
Seal of the United States
General Grant (tree)
Pledge of Allegiance
"The Star-Spangled Banner"
"America the Beautiful"
"The Stars and Stripes Forever"
"Hail to the Chief"
"My Country, 'Tis of Thee"
"God Bless America"
"Lift Every Voice and Sing"
"The Army Goes Rolling Along"
"The Air Force Song"
"The Washington Post March"
"Battle Hymn of the Republic"
"You're a Grand Old Flag"
"When Johnny Comes Marching Home"
"This Land Is Your Land"
In God We Trust
E Pluribus Unum
Novus ordo seclorum
Statue of Liberty
Statue of Liberty (Liberty Enlightening the World)