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Roman Coin depicting Virtus

Roman Coin depicting Virtus

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Virginia State Seal

Seal and Nickname

The Virginia State Seal
The Great Seal of the State of Virginia serves as a symbol of authenticity which verifies that government documents and papers of state are official and legal in the "Old Dominion". The Virginia state seal is also an emblem that is representative of the state's origins, history, character and ideals. The following motto, reflecting the spirit of the state, is also incorporated in the Virginia state seal is expressed in Latin as "Sic semper tyrannis" which means:

"Thus always to tyrants"

The Virginia state seal identifies government buildings and officials and is a centerpiece for the Virginia state flag. The symbolism, history and emblems of the Virginia seal are described in this article with fast facts and information.

Virginia State Seal


Facts on the Virginia State Seal
The men who designed the Great State seals were educated in the classics and were knowledgeable of art history and symbolism of heraldry. Fast, fun facts about the history and design of the Virginia State Seal:

Virginia State Seal Facts

Fact 1: Philadelphia heraldic artist Pierre Eugene du Simitiere (1736-1784), who also designed the seals of Delaware, New Jersey and the Great Seal of the United States, submitted a design but it was not accepted

Fact 2: The seal was created by a committee composed of George Mason, George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, and Robert Carter Nicholas
Fact 3: The reverse of the seal pictures the blessings of freedom and peace, as represented by three Roman goddesses, Libertas, Ceres, and Aeternitas.

Reverse Virginia State Seal

Reverse Design


Description, Symbols, Icons and Emblems of the Virginia State Seal
The description and meaning of the symbols, icons and emblems are as follows:

The central female figure in the center of the Virginia seal depicts the Roman goddess Virtus. Virtus was the deity of bravery and military strength and symbolizes the spirit of the Commonwealth.
Virginia officially uses the name "Commonwealth" emphasizing that they have a "government based on the common consent of the people" as opposed to government legitimized through their earlier royal colony status of Great Britain.
The Goddess Virtus was usually depicted by the Romans carrying a sword and a spear and wearing a helmet. She symbolizes character, worth,  and courage. 

The foot of Virtus stands on a defeated man who symbolizes tyranny. The tyrant is pictured with a broken chain in his left hand, a scourge in his right hand implying struggle that has ended in complete victory.

An image of a fallen crown lies nearby, symbolizing the end of the sovereignty of Great Britain following the American victory in the Revolutionary War of Independence (17751783).
Virginia's motto, Sic Semper Tyrannis (Latin for "Thus Always to Tyrants"), underlines the graphic imagery
On the reverse side of the Virginia State seal are the three Roman goddesses, Libertas (Liberty. a quasi-mythical goddess) in the center holding a staff and pileus (liberty cap) in her right hand, Aerternitas (Eternity) with a globe and phoenix in her right hand, and Ceres (Fruitfulness) with a cornucopia (horn of plenty) in her left hand an ear of wheat in her right. At the top is the Latin word 'Perservando' meaning "by Persevering").
Both sides of the seal are surrounded by a border design of Virginia creeper.
The Virginia State seal is kept and used as required by the Constitution and laws of the state.

The Virginia Flyer
This is flyer depicting an early image of the Virginia state seal. The pictures surrounding the seal are interesting. One reflects the beaty of the landscape and we believe that the other image of a colonial surveyor, which  we believe is using a zenith sector. The most accurate scientific instrument of that period was the zenith sector which was a telescopic instrument used for measuring distances.


Virginia State Seal for Kids

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Virginia State Seal for Kids

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