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What Is the State Motto of South Carolina?

Esther Ejim
Esther Ejim

South Carolina actually has two state mottoes, both of which are Latin phrases with different meanings. Animis Opibusque Parati, which is considered the first state motto of South Carolina, means "prepared in mind and resources.” The second state motto of South Carolina is “Dum Spiro Spero, which means "while I breathe, I hope." The origin of Dum Spiro Spero is attributed to the Roman philosopher Marcus Tullius Cicero, who is thought to have written the phrase.

Both of South Carolina's state mottoes are featured on the South Carolina state seal, which is shaped like a circle. Within the circle are two oval rings bearing inscriptions of the two state mottos. The first oval ring is located on the left side and has a banner of South Carolina at the top with the Inscription Animis Opisbusque Parati at the bottom. The oval shape on the right hand side bears the inscription Dum Spiro Spero at the top. This right oval was originally located at the back of the seal and has a depiction of Spes, the Roman goddess of hope.

The South Carolina state flag.
The South Carolina state flag.

The oval bearing the inscription of the first state motto of South Carolina has a depiction of a palmetto tree in the center, representing victory in a battle against the British during the revolutionary war at a location that is now present-day Fort Moultrie. The adoption of the palmetto tree is related to the use of palmetto logs in building the Palmetto Log Fort from which South Carolina forces defended Sullivan’s Island against the invading British Fleet. South Carolina's state flag features the palmetto tree as well.

The South Carolina mottoes featured on the state seal were adopted in 1776 following the declaration of independence by South Carolina. Other Latin inscriptions on the state seal of South Carolina include Meliorem Lapsa Locavit, meaning "he has planted a better than the fallen" and Quis Seperabit?, which means "who shall separate us?" Dom Sipro Spero was also the motto of the Irish Viscounts Dillon, located on their coat of arms.

Apart from the state motto of South Carolina, other state symbols include a state flower, state butterfly, state animal, state bird and state game bird. The state flower is the Yellow Jessamine, and the state butterfly is the Eastern tiger swallowtail. South Carolina's state animal is the white tailed deer. The state bird of South Carolina is the Carolina wren, while the state game bird is the wild turkey.

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Discussion Comments


I live in North Carolina so I often see the South Carolina state flag with the palmetto tree on it, and I wondered why they had put it on there. Honestly because of the strong connection that I have of palm trees to vacation, I had once wondered if it was marketing to get more people to vacation in South Carolina!

Though it seems plenty of people already go to South Carolina for vacation between Hilton Head, Myrtle Beach, and Charleston.

I have been to all 3 but I must say that Charleston was my favorite; Charleston motto seems to be "while I breathe, I eat great food and see great art."

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    • The South Carolina state flag.
      By: DomLortha
      The South Carolina state flag.