I have been inspired by mosaics for a very long time and have worked with tessereae to create mosaics from glass and stone. This award document was painted on paper to resemble a mosaic instead of being made as a true mosaic.
This award was given to a good friend of mine who passed his Sergentry Trials — a series of tests where one proves they have the well-rounded knowledge to be a good ambassador within the Society for Creative Anachronism. A Sergent becomes the sworn liege-person of a Baron or Baroness (depending on their area of specialization) once they pass their trials.
The person who received this award has a Byzantine persona and I sought inspiration from mosaics that survive from Byzantium. Many such examples survive largely in tact in Madaba, Jordan. The inspiration for this scroll’s main figure – the Baroness Emmelina with the owl that appears in her heraldry — is an anthropomorphic mosaic depiction of the city of Madaba itself and can be found on the Art Destinations Universes in Universe website here.
The award document is written in Greek which was the official language of the Byzantine Empire. I was given words to use in English and used Google Translate to translate them to modern Greek. The names and the words for the date were spelled out phonetically. The Baron and Baroness even signed their names in Greek letters.
The calligraphy hand I used is called Greek Uncial. I used the Codex Sinaiticus — which is hand-written in Greek – as an exemplar. The Codex Sinaiticus is a manuscript of the Christian Bible written in the mid-4th century and contains the earliest complete copy of the Christian New Testament.1
In modern Greek, Arabic numerals are used for numbers. In ancient Greek, they used Greek letters and a special diacritic mark to denote numbers. Because I didn’t want to use Arabic numerals and the rest of the text was in modern Greek made to look like ancient Greek, I compromised and chose to write out the numbers as words i.e.: thirteen and forty-nine.2