Seal of State
The official seal of the French Republic was created in 1848. It depicts a seated figure of Liberty brandishing a fasces of lictor. Near her, there is an urn struck with the letters "SU" (for universal suffrage). At her feet, stands a Gaulish rooster.
The reverse side of the seal is decorated with a wreath made of a vine branch, stalks of wheat and a laurel branch. The center bears the inscription "Au nom du peuple français" (In the name of the French people). The motto of the Republic follows the circumference of the seal: "Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité" (Liberty, Equality, Fraternity). This seal is affixed to the official text of the Constitution of the Fifth Republic, proclaimed in 1958 and kept in the National Archives in Paris.
The Fasces of Lictor
The fasces of lictor is a bundle of rods with a projecting axe-blade which was a symbol of authority and unity in Ancient Rome. For example, magistrates when entering a court had a bundle of rods carried before them. On occasion, they were used to give public floggings.
During the First Republic, artists used it to symbolize the union of the 83 departments making up France at that time. It was surmounted either by an axe, or by the pike of the revolutionary divisions, or by the Phrygian cap.