The official seal of the U.S. state of Virginia is called the Seal of the Commonwealth of Virginia. The Virginia state flag has the seal's obverse on a blue background. A state flag was first approved in April 1861, at the start of the American Civil War. It was reinstituted in 1912, and the General Assembly standardized it in February 1950.
A slain king at her feet represents tyranny, which is represented to have been defeated by the standing allegorical female figure of virtue. This is the only state flag in the United States to feature a type of nudity, as she has an exposed breast in the style of classical images of Amazons. "Thus, always to tyrants" is the meaning of the motto. The fly edge of the flag may be embellished with a white fringe; this is typically done when the flag is flown inside.
Full History of the Virginia Flag
The colony of Virginia proclaimed its independence from Great Britain in May 1776. A four-person committee was chosen on July 1st, 1776, to create a legitimate seal for the Commonwealth of Virginia. Richard Henry Lee, George Mason, George Wythe, and Robert Carter Nicholas Sr. were the four guys. After reading the committee's report on the seal design, George Mason presented it to the Virginian government four days later. On the same day, it was put to a vote and passed. Although the identity of the committee members who contributed most to the seal's design is unknown, George Wythe is usually acknowledged as being the main author.
The seal creators did not desire a design that was even remotely similar to British coats of arms. The design of the new seal was based on Roman mythology as a result of the Virginian founders' respect for the Roman Republic. They also decided on a two-sided pattern.
By 1912, there were numerous variations of the seal that had spread, making it unclear which was the genuine article. In order to eliminate confusion, Virginia chose to standardize the seal's appearance.
Design of the Virginia Flag
The obverse of the seal, which is used on the flag and all official papers and documents of the Commonwealth of Virginia, is the official seal of that state. A woman personifying the Roman virtue of Virtus was chosen to represent the brilliance of the nascent Commonwealth on this side. Virginia's Virtus is a representation of peace who is standing in a position that suggests a victory. She is perched on a long spear with the tip pointed at the ground. She has stowed her other weapon, a parazonium, which is more of an authority sword than a fighting one. Virtus is sometimes depicted with an exposed left breast; this is widely acknowledged as the only instance of nudity on any of the state seals of the United States.
Tyranny's submission at the feet of Virtus represents Virginia's victory against Great Britain. The only U.S. states with a flag or seal featuring a crown are Maryland, Virginia, and New York. The royal crown that has fallen to the ground next to him represents the new republic's freedom from Great Britain's monarchical rule. Tyranny's left hand holds a broken chain as a symbol of Virginia's liberation from British restrictions on colony trade and westward migration. With the useless whip in his right hand, Virginia is freed from the cruel punishments of the Intolerable Acts. His purple robe is a nod to Tarquinius Priscus, the Etruscan ruler of Rome, as well as to Julius Caesar.
Sic semper tyrannis, meaning Thus always to tyrants, is the motto chosen for the Virginia seal's obverse. This quotation, which is based on a famous episode in Roman history, is attributed to Brutus after his involvement in the murder of Julius Caesar. (Caesar had been appointed Rome's permanent dictator in the same year, and some senators thought he had aspirations to overthrow the Roman Republic and become a monarch.)
A joke that dates back to the Civil War makes reference to the figure on the seal and claims that "Sic semper tyrannis" truly means "Get your foot off my neck."
Attorney General of Virginia Ken Cuccinelli distributed his staff lapel pins in 2010 depicting Virtus's bosom as being protected by an armored breastplate. Brian Gottstein, his spokesman, said that Cuccinelli's political action committee, not the government, paid for the pin.
The blessings of freedom and peace are shown on the reverse of the seal by three Roman deities. The goddess of individual liberty, Matron Libertas, appears in the middle. Her wand, which displays her magical abilities, has a Phrygian Cap, also known as a Liberty Cap, which became popular among French revolutionaries in later years.
The Roman goddess of agriculture, Ceres, is positioned to Libertas' left. Her right hand holds a huge stalk of wheat, symbolizing one of Virginia's major crops, while her left hand holds a horn of plenty filled to the brim with the bounty of the state's harvests. Libertas is positioned to the right of Aeternitas, which stands for Virginia's eternities. A Phoenix, representing immortality, is perched on the golden ball, which she holds in her right hand as a sign of authority. The phoenix on the Virginia state seal stands for efficient government.
The reverse's motto, Perseverando, or persevering in English, serves as a reminder to future generations of the importance of continuing to uphold the benefits of liberty. It is adorned with the trio of Libertas, Ceres, and Aeternitas. Parthenocissus quinquefolia, most commonly known as Virginia Creeper, is used as the decorative border on both sides of the seal. Due to all the variations that were used over time, a new committee was formed in 1930 to standardize the seal's design. Charles Keck created the seals that presently decorate the doors of the Southern Portico of the Capitol in Richmond. The committee ultimately decided to accept the 1776 seal as the norm. The approved color scheme for the seal was established by Virginia's Art Commission in 1949, establishing a new standard.
The only difference between the Great Seal and the Lesser Seal is size. The lesser seal is used on commissions from Commonwealth authorities and notaries, as well as on other documents that are restricted to Virginia or stay inside its borders.
Legal Description of the Seal
The Seal of Virginia is officially described in the Code of Virginia (1950), §1-500, as follows:
“The Commonwealth of Virginia's great seal will be made up of two metallic discs that are each two and one-fourth inches in diameter, have an ornamental border that is one fourth of an inch wide, and are inscribed with words and figures that, when used, will result in impressions that can be characterized as follows: Virtus, the genius of the Commonwealth, is depicted on the reverse holding a sheathed sword, or parazonium, pointing upward, and a spear in her right hand that is pointing down and touching the ground. Her left foot is on the form of Tyranny, which is embodied by a man who is on his side, lying on the ground, holding a broken chain in his left hand and a scourge in his right. The name ‘Virginia’ shall appear above the group and within the border corresponding thereto, and the motto, ‘Sic Semper Tyrannis,’ shall appear in the area below on a curved line. On the reverse, a group consisting of Libertas holding a wand and a pileus in her right hand, Aeternitas holding a globe and a phoenix in her right hand, and Ceres holding a cornucopia in her left hand and an ear of wheat in her right will be placed. The word ‘Perseverando’ will be written over this device in a curved line.”
The Secretary of the Commonwealth is tasked with maintaining the Commonwealth's seals in accordance with Virginian state law.
Interesting Facts About the Virginia Flag
The Evolution of the State Flag:
Although the Commonwealth's flag was first approved in 1861, a few little adjustments were made during the first half of the 20th century. The white fringe was added in 1930, and in 1931, a wreath made of red and green Virginia creeper was designated as the seal's "ornamental border" in order to be more accurate. Exact hues were assigned to the various design components on March 16, 1949.
The Pledge of Allegiance:
The Pledge of Allegiance to the flag states the following: “I salute the flag of Virginia, with reverence and patriotic devotion to the ‘Mother of States and statesmen,’ which it represents—the ‘Old Dominion,’ where liberty and independence were born.”
FAQ About the Virginia State Flag
When was the flag adopted?
When Virginia broke away from the Union in 1861, the flag was adopted. When the American Civil War began, the state's seal was added to the flag as its official symbol.
What does a red Virginia flag mean?
ESROs and related legislation are occasionally referred to as "Red Flag Laws" in the media and by some organizations. The Emergency Substantial Risk Order (ESRO) law for the Commonwealth of Virginia, sometimes known as a "red flag law," became effective on July 1, 2020, making Virginia the 19th state to adopt such legislation.
The ESRO offers the essential procedural safeguards required to prevent tragedies like the school massacre in Parkland, Florida, from happening again while guaranteeing that no firearm is removed without following the correct procedures.
What is Virginia’s state fruit?
Quaker merriment. You can call the pawpaw whatever you like, but if one House of Delegates member has her way, you must also call it the state fruit of Virginia. Pawpaws, which are native to Virginia and are often seen growing in forests, have recently been enjoying some unexpected sunshine. It has been welcomed by winemakers and cider manufacturers.
Our Virginia Flags are Made in the USA!
Our Virginia state flags are always proudly Made in the USA, as are nearly all of our state and national flags. By encouraging independence from other nations and ensuring that jobs stay in America, this assures support for domestic enterprises and the people of the United States.
What Virginia Flags We Offer
We are proud to offer outdoor Virginia flags, indoor Virginia flags and even Virginia flag sets so you can be sure to get exactly what you need for your display!
Our outdoor Virginia flags are made using the highest quality materials and are extremely durable. These lovely flags feature fine lock stitching and rich, vibrant colors. Beacon® Nylon and Patriarch® Polyester, two of Carrot Top's exclusive textiles, are used to create outdoor flags. There are several sizes of these flags available for you to purchase.
Indoor Virginia flags make lovely displays for your house, place of business, institution of higher learning, or other site. Indoor flags by Carrot Top are offered in two sizes and feature superb, strengthened lock stitching and vivid, striking colors. These flags are made to the greatest possible levels of durability and craftsmanship. Virginia flags for indoor use come in two sizes and are made of our proprietary Beacon® Nylon. A lined pole sleeve along the left side and soft, white fringe at the fly end complete these flags. Select a flag whose size corresponds to the height of your flagpole. The 3' by 5' Virginia flag is intended for use in locations with at least an 8.5' ceiling clearance and an 8' indoor or parade flagpole. The Virginia flag, which measures 4' by 6', looks its best when flown from a 9' indoor or parade flagpole in locations with a minimum 9.5' ceiling clearance. Both flags fit Carrot Top's unique 5-9' Majestic Telescopic Pole perfectly. We also have the Jointed Oak finishing Pole, which comes in 8' and 9' pole lengths.
Virginia Flag Sets mix our superb Virginia State flags' timeless beauty with our opulent and fashionable flagpoles. For the house, business, school, church, or any other area, our flag sets are ideal. Select a flagpole and finish that flawlessly complements your current decor or create a new style. Carrot-Top can help you select the ideal flag set for your display and area.
Let us Assist you Today!
Let us help you find the perfect Virginia state flag today to go with your American flag! We are proud to offer over forty years of experience and expertise to assist you and answer any of your questions you may come across as you are placing an order. Live chat with us today or contact us using our contact us form!