When Brigida, Gold Falcon Principal Herald, asked me if I wanted a crack at a scroll, I asked who it was for and I jumped at the the chance. You see, Andrixos (or Drx, more familiarly) wrote both my Calon Cross and my Court Barony scrolls, and it’s always fun to get people back in the nicest way possible.
So, I reached out to my Byzanbestie Anna to write the scroll text, with Brigida’s assent. I mean, if you’re gonna do a Byzanblowout, let’s go full Byzantine.
Meanwhile, I started searching for Byzantine miniatures from Drx’s time period. I’m fairly early, Anna is middling, and Drx, well, is right in the middle of us. Knowing this, I waffled between a couple of manuscripts, and landed on the Madrid Skylitzes. It’s a bit later than Drx’s persona, but it covers much of the time period his persona lived in. (Also, it’s one of the most complete pieces of Byzantine illumination from the middle era of Byzantine life, so. . .) Anna and I had the discussion that Drx was probably going to kill us, his Imperial Ladies, for this, but it would totally be worth the death for it, so, yeah.
Anyway, so I started work on the scroll. The extant piece is written in Greek, so I did some transliterating. (It’s not the best option, but as I don’t speak Medieval Greek, nor did I have time to get it translated, it was my best option.) So, if it had a “F” sound, I used the Greek letter Φ, and so on and so forth. Again, not the best option, but the aesthetics of the Greek was an important thing to me.
So, once I had the text laid out, I went in with the darkest brown ink I had, which was Noodler’s Kiowa Pecan. If you look at the scans of the Madrid Skylitzes, the ink is more of a dark brown, not black, so, I went with what I had at home. (Also, the Kiowa Pecan is a nice strong brown that is close to the ink and I didn’t have to buy more art supplies, so, go me.)
One thing to note about writing in a text you’re unfamiliar with. Go. Slow. Seriously. I screwed up a couple of times in ways that I was not able to scrape and fix. It happens. It could have happened less if I had slowed down considerably.
Anyway, so I found the perfect marginalia for the scroll. I am digging the trumpets, and all of the Byzantine side-eye. So, I used it for the basis of the marginalia on Drx’s scroll. Instead of a red platform, I did a purple one with a cross of Calatrava (post period, but it’s one of our kingdom’s symbols) in FineTec (Coliro) gold, with the name of the kingdom in Greek, resembling the patterning on the extant.
As I worked on a smaller piece of perg than the extant (the extant is about 11″ x 14″, give or take – I used a 5″x7″ because it’s what I had at home), the details aren’t as crisp they are in the extant. My 20/0s still got a workout (I love those brushes). I think in the future, working on a piece of perg that’s the same size as the extant is the way to go. On the other hand, I’m a lefty, so there is always a chance things get smeared past all recognition (and those are harder to fix for me sometimes).
I love working in details in scrolls of people and things that would be important to the recipient. Drx, of course, is no exception. So, I made sure that his wife, Countess Fionna (in the yellow and hearts) was in the scroll. I also made sure that Brigida was represented, as well as Anna and I, as a sort of signature on our end. (Look for the teal and the orange. Can’t miss us.) I’m not happy with the fewer figures in Drx’s scroll, but again, I think if I had added more, it would have been too difficult to make out all of the people. (another point added for using the same size perg.)
Drx, welcome to the Herald Extraordinary club. I’m so glad to have you be a part of it, and I’m so glad I got to do this for you.
Here’s video of it being presented in court.