Saturday, May 5, 2018

Two more Byzantine characters


When I was writing fiction, I experienced what most writers do when they are making a tale. The characters took on a life of their own and acted as if they were in their own reality, like an ongoing movie inside my head. But this movie and its characters depended on my research, which had to be pursued to as much detail as possible. These two figures are the result of my research questions in re-creating the Later Roman Empire about 410 A.D. They are both named "Serapion," because in Egypt that was a popular male name. The one above is a deacon and belongs to the court of a powerful archbishop. The one below is a slave, but a skilled one who keeps the books of his owner, a shipping magnate. The slave is dressed better than the deacon because the deacon believes he should not wear expensive or attractive clothes in the service of Christ. The accountant slave looks like he is using an iPad, and he is, kind of, as literate people in the ancient world used wooden plaques covered with wax to scratch out notes and messages. These things and numerous other details make the ancient world, or any fictional world, into a real place for the reader.

Ink and watercolor on sketchbook page, 6" x 9", 1974. Click for larger view.

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