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National & State Symbols
Virginia State Seal
Great Seal of the State of Virginia
Adopted on July 5, 1776.
The great seal of the Commonwealth was adopted by the Virginia's Constitutional Convention on July 5, 1776. Its design was the work of a committee composed of George Mason, George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, and Robert Carter Nicholas. George Wythe was probably the principal designer taking its theme from ancient Roman mythology.
The seal makers did not want a design which in any way resembled the style of coats-of-arms used in Britain. Because of the strong admiration for the Roman
Republic felt by the Virginia leaders, the design of the new seal was taken from the mythology of Ancient Rome. They also chose a two-sided design, as shown
Virginia Great Seal
The original design was never properly cast and a number of variations came into use. Attempting to legislate uniformity, the General Assemblies of 1873 and 1903 passed acts describing the seal in detail. In 1930, a committee was named to prepare an "accurate and faithful description of the great seal of the Commonwealth, as it was intended to be by Mason and Wythe and their associates." The committee set forth the official design in use today, which is essentially the design adopted by the Virginia's Constitutional Convention of 1776.
Code of Virginia
In days when communications were transcribed by hand and tediously undertaken, seals served to authenticate official government documents. In this day of computers and instant communications, seals still serve the same purpose.