Lady Liberty – How’s She Doing?
‘The Lady’s Symbols’
compiled from multiple sources
The Statue of Liberty is a monumental sculpture, portraying a woman escaping the chains of tyranny, which lie at her feet. Held aloft in her right hand is a flaming torch, representing liberty. Her left hand grasps a tablet on which is inscribed in roman numerals, the date the United States declared its independence, “July 4, 1776.” She wears flowing robes, and the seven rays of her spiked crown that jets out into the sky symbolizes the seven seas and continents.
7 Spikes in the Crown represent:
North and South America, Europe, Asia, Africa, Antarctica, Australia
The Seven Seas:
Arctic, Antarctic, North & South Atlantic, North & South Pacific, Indian
SEVEN SEAS – Figuratively, all the waters or oceans of the world. The phrase probably has its origins in Brahmanic mythology: the seven seas dividing and surrounding the seven land masses of the earth. In modern times it has been applied to the seven oceans.
25 windows in the crown represent: “natural minerals” of the earth
Toga represents: The Ancient Republic of Rome
Torch represents: Enlightenment
Chains underfoot represent: Liberty crushing the chains of slavery
Location of alternate entrance: Sole of Liberty’s right foot
Bronze plaque with the poem was mounted in the base of the Statue in 1903
The Statue is believed to be inspired by that of The Colossus of Rhodes. The Rhodes statue was of the Greek god Helios, erected in the city of Rhodes on the Greek island of Rhodes by Chares of Lindos between 292 and 280 BC. It is considered one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Before its destruction, the Colossus of Rhodes stood over 30 meters (107 ft) high, making it one of the tallest statues of the ancient world.
The classical appearance (Roman stola, sandals, facial expression) derives from Libertas, ancient Rome’s goddess of freedom from slavery, oppression, and tyranny. Her raised right foot is on the move. This symbol of Liberty and Freedom is not standing still or at attention in the harbor, it is moving forward, as her left foot tramples broken shackles at her feet, in symbolism of the United States’ wish to be free from oppression and tyranny.
Since the 1940s, it has been claimed that the seven spikes on the crown epitomize the Seven Seas and seven continents. Her torch signifies enlightenment. The tablet in her hand represents knowledge and shows the date of the United States Declaration of Independence, in roman numerals, July IV, MDCCLXXVI.
The general appearance of the statue’s head approximates the Roman Sun-god Apollo or the Greek Sun-god Helios as preserved on an ancient marble tablet (today in the Archaeological Museum of Corinth, Corinth, Greece) - Apollo was represented as a solar deity, dressed in a similar robe and having on its head a “radiate crown” with the seven spiked rays of the Helios-Apollo’s sun rays, like the Statue’s nimbus or halo. The ancient Colossus of Rhodes, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, was a statue of Helios with a radiate crown.
The Colossus is referred to in the 1883 sonnet The New Colossus by Emma Lazarus. Lazarus’ poem was later engraved on a bronze plaque and mounted inside the Statue of Liberty in 1903.
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