Wednesday, 08-Oct-2003 01:32:31 EDT
"jupiter omnipotens, audacibus annue coeptis"?
basil's brain reveals...
The "jupiter omnipotens, audacibus annue coeptis" quote is from
Virgil's Aeneid (story of the fall of Troy, and subsequent flight of
Aeneas and the other survivors first to Egypt, then to Italy to ultimately
found the Roman empire). This quote is believed to be the most likely
source for the "Annuit Coeptis" motto which appears on the "Great
Seal" of the American dollar bill.
The meaning of the original is "All-powerful Jupiter, look with favour on
my daring undertaking" (or in simpler terms: "God help me!"). This is
doubly appropriate for the album's conspiracy theorist character because by opposing 'them', he is embarking on a dangerous undertaking, and he is also ironically invoking the same formula as the American founders (also a revolutionary group at the time) used when constructing their heraldry. Note, the form 'Annuit Coeptis' puts the phrase into the past tense, i.e. 'has favoured our undertaking'. This is a bit mysterious because the subject is omitted and we must assume from the Great Seal that the sentence refers to the 'Eye' of Providence (eye in the triangle) that appears in the imagery.
Taking this further, 'Annuit Corruptus' suggests that all the noble and
lofty goals that once were held by the founders have been largely
forgotten and the system is now rotten from within. Consider also the
seal that was originally adopted by the Total Information Awareness
Office (a new US department created around 2002), which shows the 'Eye' of Providence above the pyramid shining its baleful gaze on the world. What is important here is that the meaning of the original design is partially forgotten or ignored. The 'Eye' originally meant a divine force, but in the 'Total Information Awareness' usage the 'Eye' presumably means themselves. This is exactly the kind of hubris that inevitably leads to failure in classical literature.
BACK TO ANNUIT CORRUPTUS DISCOGRAPHY