SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — The Great Seal of the State of California has easily recognizable features such as a miner, grizzly bear and the word Eureka, but one of the images on the seal may not be that well-known.
In 1849, 48 delegates gathered for the Monterey Constitutional Convention at Colton Hall to resolve several issues and create the state’s first constitution. During the same monthlong convention, the Great Seal was created.
The most prominent image put on the seal was the Roman goddess of wisdom, Minerva — who is equated with Athena in Greek mythology.
Minerva’s mythology states that she was the child of the Roman god Jupiter and the nymph Metis. Jupiter consumed Metis and Minerva was born inside of him, eventually bursting fully grown from his head. She is meant to represent California’s immediate ascension to statehood, without having to be a territory first.
Other images featured on the seal are grapes, representing the state’s “agricultural richness,” the Sierra Nevada and the Sacramento River.
The seal was created by Major R. S. Garnett of the United States Army — who later died while serving the Confederate States Army. According to the Library of California, the seal was proposed by Caleb Lyon, a clerk of the constitutional convention.