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Reptile eye

July 20, 2016

Lecture0

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Annuit cœptis

(excerpts)

Taken from the 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, “[he/she/it] favors our undertakings” or “[he/she/it] has favored our undertakings” (annuit could be in either the present or perfect tense).[2]

Change from Deo Favente to Annuit Cœptis

Annuit Cœptis is translated by the U.S. State Department,[7] the U.S. Mint,[8] and the U.S. Treasury[9] 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.[10] 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.[11] 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 letters. Deo Favente had only ten letters. According to Hieronimus, Annuit Coeptis has 13 letters and was selected to fit the theme.

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