2013 Maryland Code
§ 13-102 - Description of Great Seal

MD State Govt Code § 13-102 (2013) What's This?


(a) On the obverse of the Great Seal of Maryland is an equestrian figure of the Lord Proprietary, arrayed in complete armour and bearing a drawn sword in his hand. The caparisons of the horse are adorned with the family coat of arms. On the ground below is represented a sparse growth of grass on sandy soil, with a few small blue and yellow flowers. On the circle, surrounding the obverse of the seal, is the Latin inscription “Caecilius Absolutus Dominus Terrae Mariae et Avaloniae Baro de Baltemore”, meaning “Cecil Absolute Lord of Maryland and Avalon Baron of Baltimore” (Avalon refers to Lord Baltimore’s first settlement in the new world, in Newfoundland).

(b) On the reverse of the Great Seal of Maryland is Lord Baltimore’s hereditary coat of arms. The 1st and 4th quarters represent the arms of the Calvert family described in heraldic language as a paly of 6 pieces, or (gold) and sable (black) a bend counterchanged. The 1st and 4th quarters are the left-hand top quarter and the right-hand bottom quarter. The 2nd and 3rd quarters show the arms of the Crossland family, which Cecil inherited from his grandmother, Alicia, wife of Leonard Calvert, the father of George, 1st Lord Baltimore. This coat of arms is in quarters also, argent (silver) and gules (red) a cross bottony (boutonne, with a button or a three-leaf clover at the end of each radius of the cross) counterchanged. Above the shield is placed an Earl’s coronet (indicating that though only a baron in England, Calvert was an earl or count palatine in Maryland). Above that, a helmet set full faced and over that the Calvert crest, (2 pennons, the dexter or the right one or (gold), the other sable (black) staffs gules (red) issuing from the ducal coronet). The supporters of the shield are a plowman and a fisherman with their hands on the shield, designated respectively by a spade held in the right hand of the plowman and a fish held in the left hand of the fisherman (the fish is heraldic and cannot, therefore, be identified as to any species). The plowman wears a high-crowned, broad-brimmed beaver hat; the fisherman wears a knitted cap (somewhat resembling a stocking cap). The motto in Italian on a ribbon at the feet of the plowman and fisherman is the motto of the Calvert family “Fatti maschii parole femine” loosely translated as “Manly deeds, womanly words”. Behind and surrounding both shield and supporters is an ermine-lined mantle and on the circle around this part of the seal are the words “Scuto bonae voluntatis tuae coronasti nos” (5th Psalm, 12th verse: “With favor wilt thou compass us as with a shield”) and the date 1632. The date refers to the year the charter was granted.

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