Symbols on the Reverse Side
of the Great Seal of the United States
Text is original 1782 description of the design.
The reverse side of the Great Seal of the United States is composed of four symbolic elements derived from nature and culture that combine to create a dynamic design whose whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
- In the zenith of an unfinished pyramid, an eye in a triangle is surrounded with rays of golden light.
- On the base of the pyramid is the date MDCCLXXVI (1776).
The iconic imagery is complemented by two Latin mottoes:
Annuit Coeptis and Novus Ordo Seclorum.
Official 1782 Remarks and Explanation of the symbols
Note: The Great Seal has a reverse side because in the 18th century when it was designed, pendant seals were used. These were in the form of a two-sided disk of wax attached to the document by ribbons or cords.