From: Bill Maddox firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: Re: Dollar Bill
Date: Sun, 03 Aug 1997
reply to Michael Junior, who wrote:
> I have heard that there is symbolism on the Dollar bill that means
> a lot to masons. Is that true?
Question for you - where did you hear it???
The Pyramid on the Great Seal of the United States
From THE EAGLE AND THE SHIELD - A History of the Great Seal of the
United States (1976), page 75, we find Charles Thomson's notes on his
design - A pyramid unfinished - In the Zenith an Eye in a triangle ...
Over the Eye these words Annuit coeptis ... and underneath [the pyramid]
these words Novus Ordo seclorum." The pyramid was taken from an
earlier design of William Barton (shown on page 67) that had a different
motto DEO FAVENTE (God favoring) PERENNIS (through the years). This,
in turn, was similar to the design of a Fifty Dollar bill designed by
Francis Hopkinson. Thomson wrote the following: "The pyramid signifies
Strength and Duration: The Eye over it & Motto allude to the many
signal interpositions of providence in favour of the American cause.
The date underneath is that of the Declaration of Independence and the
it signify the beginnings of the New American Era, which commences from
that date." P85.
P89. "The two mottoes which Thomson suggested, and Congress adapted,
the reverse ... can be traced more definitely to the poetry of Virgil.
Gaillard Hunt, in the Department of States first publisher on the seal
in 1892, took official notice .... Annuit Coeptis, was described by
Hunt as an allusion to line 625 of book IX of the Aeneid JUPPITER OMNIPOTES,
AUDACIBUS ANNUE COEPTIS (All-powerful Jupiter favor [my] daring undertakings).
The last three words appear also in Virgil's GEORGICS, book I, line
40: DA FACILEM CURSUM, ATQUE AUDACIBUS ANNUE COEPTIS (Give [me] an easy
course, and favor [my] daring undertakings).
Thompson changed the imperative ANNUE to ANNUIT, the third person singular
form of the same verb in either the present tense of the perfect tense.
The the motto ANNUIT COEPTIS the subject of the verb must be supplied,
and the translator must also choose the tense. In his 1892 brochure,
Hunt suggested that the missing subject was in effect the eye at the
apex of the pyramid ... and he translated the motto-in the present tense-as
"it (the Eye of Providence) is favorable to our undertakings."
In later publication the missing subject of the verb ANNUIT was construed
to be God, and the motto has been translated in more recent Department
publication-in the perfect tense- as "He (God) has favored our
P90. NOVUS ORDO SECLORUM, Hunt noted an allusion to line 5 of Virgil's
ECLOGUE IV, which read in an eighteenth-century edition : "MAGNUS
AB INTEGRO SECLORUM NASITUR ORDO". Hunt translated this line as
"The great series of ages begins anew" and translated the
motto as "a new order of centuries." More recently, "a
new order of the ages."
Hunt stated that the words ANNUIT COEPTIS NOVUS ORDO SECLORUM had "commonly
been taken as one motto, meaning 'the new series of ages is favorable
to our undertakings'", but he pointed out that it was evident from
Thomson's comments that the "intention was to have two mottoes."
- Did Freemasonry Influence the Great Seal Design?
Because membership records for the Revolutionary period are scattered
and imperfect, it is not possible to ascertain with certainty which
persons among the 14 who participated in the designing of the Great
Seal were Masons and which were not. Conrad Hahn, Ex Sec of the MSA
of the US has furnished the following.
1. Definitely a Mason: Bro. Ben Franklin.
2. Definitely not: John Adams and Charles Thomson
3. No firm evidence of a Masonic connection, although allegations of
such a connection have been noted: Jefferson, Lovell, Hopkinson, Middleton,
4. No record at all, so presumably not Masons: Du Simitiere, Scott,
Houston, Lee, Boudinot, and William Barton (although he has at times
been confused with another William Barton who was a Mason). Although
Washington was a Mason, he played no role in designing the Great Seal.
And although Franklin, a Mason, was a member of the first seal committee,
his proposal (P14) had no influence on the final designs, and he was
in France when those designs were drawn up. The
only individual listed who has been said to be a Mason (with no firm
evidence) is Hopkinson, whose pyramid design for the Continental currency's
$50 bill clearly influenced the final reverse of the Great Seal.
Thy pyramid, the eye, and the radiant triangle have often been considered
to be of Masonic origin. Writers who are Masons have also seen Masonic
symbolism in the eagle, in the number of feathers on the eagle's wings,
etc. It should perhaps be noted that some of the details studied and
interpreted by these writers are those of comparatively recent realizations
of the Great Seal, details which are not stated in the blazon itself
and are not to be found in the Great Seal die of 1782.
Without questioning the fact that element of the Great Seal design are
also to be found as Masonic symbols, one may question whether the designers
of the seal intended it to be given a specifically Masonic interpretation.
Since there is no evidence that either Thomson or Barton was a Mason,
and as they were the two individuals responsible for the final design,
the presumption would be that they did not intend their work to be given
a Masonic interpretation.
Were there sources other that FreeMasonry from which symbols such as
the all-seeing eye and the unfinished pyramid could have been taken?
The answer is yes. Use of the eye in art forms, including medallic art,
as a symbol for an omniscient and ubiquitous Deity was a well established
artistic convention quite apart from Masonic symbolism, and Du Simitiere,
an artist would have been aware of this. As to the Pyramid, there was
widespread interest in Egypt in the 18th century. There was a detailed
work entitled Pyramidographia which would have been available to both
Hopkinson and Barton. This work included a drawing of the "First
Pyramid", which was stepped, did not come to a complete point,
and had an entrance in the center on the ground level-a detail also
in Hopkinson's design. While these points are not conclusive, it seems
likely that the designers of the Great Seal and the Masons took their
symbols from parallel sources, and unlikely that the seal designers
consciously copied Masonic symbols with the intention of incorporating
Masonic Symbolism into the national Coat of Arms.
Use of the motto "In God We Trust" - P518 From the House Committee
on the Judiciary (3/28/1956) This joint resolution establishes "In
God We Trust" as the national motto of the U.S. At present the
U.S. has no national motto. It is most appropriate that "In God
We Trust" be so designated.... Further recognition of this motto
was given by the adoption of the Star-Spangled Banner as our national
anthem. One stanza ... is as follows: "And this be our motto --
'In God is our trust.'"
it is just coincidence, but I believe I remember that Francis Scott
Key was a FreeMason.
I hope your answer to my question is shorter.
Sincerely, and to some Fraternally -
> Can anyone tell me most of the symbols on the dollar bill and what
> they mean?
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