SIC ITUR AD ASTRA

Jun 24, 2024 | by

The official seal of the city of Richmond as seen on the City Of Richmond Public Works building at Maury and Richmond Highway.

Per usual, if there is question about Richmond history then there is a Harry Kollatz piece about it:

The circular graphic appears on the older public buildings, official stationery and proclamations. A standing allegorical figure — she wears a flowing robe of antiquity and, unlike the Commonwealth of Virginia’s Amazonian Virtus, has her bosom chastely covered — holds in her right hand the Scales of Justice. Her left hand grasps a righteous sword. Near her foot is a luxurious tobacco plant. At the bottom is inscribed the date July 19, 1782, which sounds historic, but the event it commemorates is when Richmond’s first impaneled Common Council voted to appoint a committee to choose a city seal — not even the day when the body selected one.

Along the top arch of the seal is the Latin phrase, “SIC ITUR AD ASTRA.” The phrase possesses sufficient gravitas and lineage. It appears in Virgil’s epic The Aenid ( a real epic, not the faddish description of late ) when the god Apollo congratulates the triumphant warrior Anchises, saying: Your heroic deeds will make your name eternal. The phrase’s literal meaning is “thus you shall go to the stars,” but the more poetic, metaphorical interpretation is “thus is immortality gained.”



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