6th century Byzantine Document

A piece in 6th century Byzantine style with a Greek-style text.

I created the initial design without a particular recipient in mind, with the aim of expanding the range of available designs for Award of Arms scrolls in Lochac. I was pleased to be able to complete this first example for my friend Lilivati.

Ink and gouache on watercolour paper, wax seals.

Research and Design

I wanted to design an Award of Arms (AoA) scroll that would be suitable for people with interests in Byzantium and the countries they traded with, such as Greece.

The design was based on the Golden Canon Tables, an illuminated Byzantine Gospel fragment from the sixth or seventh century, now housed in the British Museum (Add MS 5111/1).


I used the arcading with the pinwheels for the arched border from one page, copying quite closely. Inside I adapted the double arch outline and circular frame from another page, making the circular frame larger, to hold the recipient’s heraldic device.

The script was a challenge – I wanted it to appear in the Greek style of the original, but be readable in English. In the end, I adapted the Greek letters to form a Greek-look alphabet (I realise there are pros and cons to this approach). The heading at the top really is in Greek, and translates as “Award of Arms”.

Although the canon tables are in four columns, other pages in the manuscript showed text in a a single, left justified block. I carefully spaced the script to allow room for names, dates etc to be added – where possible, at the end of a line.


For this first example, I used gold gouache rather than gold leaf. Gold leaf would have looked even richer, but it is a large area!