Seal of South Carolina
|Great Seal of the State of South Carolina|
Historical coat of arms (1876)
|Armiger||State of South Carolina|
Meliorem lapsa locavit
Animis opibusque parati
Dum spiro spero
The Great Seal of the State of South Carolina was adopted in 1776. South Carolina's seal is made up of two elliptical areas, linked by branches of the palmetto tree. The image on the left is dominated by a tall palmetto tree and an oak tree, fallen and broken. This scene represents the battle fought on June 28, 1776, between defenders of the unfinished fort on Sullivan's Island, and the British Fleet. The standing palmetto represents the victorious defenders, and the fallen oak is the British Fleet. Banded together on the palmetto with the motto Quis separabit? ('Who will separate [us]?'), are 12 spears that represent the other original 12 states of the Union. Beneath that is enscrolled another of the alternate state mottoes, "Meliorem Lapsa Locavit" ("Having Fallen, She Has Set Up a Better One") with the date of 1776. Surrounding the image, at the top, is "South Carolina", and below, is Animis opibusque parati ('Prepared in mind and resources'). The other image on the seal depicts the Roman goddess Spes walking along a shore that is littered with weapons. The goddess grasps a branch of laurel as the sun rises behind her. Below her image is her name, Spes, Latin for 'hope', and over the image is the motto Dum spiro spero, meaning 'While I breathe, I hope'.
The full achievement of the state, adopted soon after the seal, consists of the arms above, along with a personification of Liberty holding a Phrygian cap and a laurel wreath on the left, as well as a Continental soldier on the right, as supporters. Above the shield, a personification of Fame goes from Liberty to the soldier.
The Great Seal of South Carolina was "set" or "affixed" to the Ordinance of Secession of December 20, 1860, at Secession Hall in Charleston shortly after 7:00 p.m., following which convention delegates signed it, including Robert Barnwell Rhett, as some three thousand South Carolinians watched enthusiastically the proclamation of South Carolina as "a separate, independent nationality."
Government seals of South Carolina
Seal of the South Carolina Senate
Seal of the South Carolina House of Representatives
Seal of the South Carolina Department of Education
Seal of the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources
Seal of the South Carolina National Guard
- Zieber, Eugene: Heraldry in America. Published by the Department of Heraldry of the Bailey, Banks and Biddle Company. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1895. pp. 181–182
- Charleston Mercury, December 21, 1860, reproduced in The Anderson Intelligencer, January 3, 1861, p. 2. The Mercury declared that by this act South Carolina had "recorded herself before the universe. In reverence before God, fearless of man, unawed by power, unterrified by clamor, she has cut the Gordian know of colonial dependence upon the North -- cast her fortune upon her right, and her own right arm, and stands ready to uphold alike her independence and her dignity before the world. Prescribing to none, she will be dictated to by none; willing for peace, she is ready for war. Deprecating blood, she is willing to shed it. Valuing her liberties, she will maintain them. Neither swerved by frowns of foes, nor swayed by timorous solicitations of friends, she will pursue her direct path, and establish for herself and for her posterity, her rights, her liberties and her institutions. Though friends may fail her in her need, though the cannon of her enemies may belch destruction among her people, South Carolina, unawed, unconquerable, will still hold aloft her flag."
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