Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The Flame of Pharos

When Gryphon's Lair became invested as a Barony, the new Baron and Baroness asked the populace for input on award names and ideas. Their plan was to use a theme of "light" to try to be consistent across all awards, be they for Arts, Fighting, Service, etc. After some research, I provided the below proposal, which was subsequently chosen as the official service award for the Barony.

Company/Order of the Flame of Pharos. Pharos (Pronounced Fare-us) was the first lighthouse ever built, and still was functioning when the Arabs conquered Alexandria in 642 AD. More info on Pharos: The world's first lighthouse, the Pharos was built to warn sailors of the treacherous sandbars off Alexandria, one of the busiest ports of the ancient world. It consisted of a three-stage tower, decorated with sculptures of Greek deities and mythical creatures, atop which stood a lantern with a giant bonfire whose light may have been focused by mirrors, perhaps made of polished bronze, into a beam visible 35 miles out to sea. More than 300 feet tall, it was among the tallest man-made structures until the completion of the 1,050-foot Eiffel Tower in 1889. The lighthouse was still functioning when the Arabs conquered Alexandria in A.D. 642, but the lantern was damaged by an earthquake about 50 years later. The Pharos was hit by another earthquake in 1303, and by 1349 it was in ruins; in 1480 Qait Bey's fortress was built on the site.

Built to warn sailors of the treacherous sandbars off Alexandria, the world’s first lighthouse, Pharos was both grand and essential, displaying its light to far reaches. Without its crucial radiance, Alexandria would not have been one of the busiest ports of the ancient world. In fair Gryphon’s Lair, there are individuals whose light of service support the activities of all others; those who are beacons for all to follow, illuminating the dark of night with confidence and strength, granting peace of mind to those seeking to find their path. Thus Thorvald and Bianca, Premier Baron and Baroness created the Order of the Flame of Pharos, to recognize such service.

Proposed scroll text:
"Let it be known to all and sundry that we, Thorvald and Bianca, Premier Baron and Baroness of the Barony of Gryphon’s Lair recognize that the fire of service burns strong in the heart of Meraud des Belles Feuilles, always omnipresent when there is work to be done. It is therefore our desire and honor to name her the Premier member of the Order of the Flame of Pharos, that she may continue to be a beacon to all gentles of the Lair; a foremost example of selfless sacrifice for the good of all. In witness thereof we have set our hand this 16 day of September, Anno Societatis XLI, being 2006 in the Common Reckoning."

I was lucky to be selected to help create the premier scroll. I did the calligraphy, and the illumination was done by Lord Grifon de Radonvilliers.

Flame of Pharos - Meraud des Belles Feuilles