Some of my fellow Greek geeks are memorizing the Nicene Creed along with me this month (in Greek of course). I always want to see what the “original Greek” looks like, so I went looking for some manuscripts… And they’re not easy to find! One of the earliest and most popular manuscripts is Rylands Greek Papyrus 6 (6th century) but it is badly damaged. 🙁 Read more about P. Ryl. Gr. 1 6 in Arthur S. Hunt, Catalogue of the Greek papyri in the John Rylands library, Manchester (Vol 1) pages 11-13.
Another “original Greek” artifact includes an interesting piece of pottery with the creed written on it (Accession number: 69.74.312, Israel Museum, Jerusalem). And then there’s P. Oxy. 1784, which may even be earlier than P6! Read all about it in The Oxyrhynchus Papyri Part XV by Grenfell and Hunt, page 17. You can check out an image of the papyrus P. Oxy. 1784 at the Atla Digital Library.
But I was unable to track down any complete copies of the Creed in ancient documents, so I decided I’d have to make my own!
First I had to locate a suitable blank piece of parchment, which I finally found at the British Library. Then I had to find a complementary font from my page of free Greek fonts. Next I took the digital text of the Nicene creed, removed all modern punctuation, spaces and diacritic markings, and arranged it on the parchment. I tried to match the line length and line spacing of the codex from the British Library as closely as possible to make it look realistic. Of course I needed to add some special effects to make the ink fade a little in places so it looked like it had been written several hundred years ago. Finally, I set it on a nice wooden table top!
It’s definitely not going to fool any paleographers, but I think it’s pretty cool, if I do say so myself!
- Unicode text of the Nicene Creed – Σύμβολο της Πίστεως
- Blank parchment page – Royal MS 1 D VIII folio 1
- Free Greek uncial font – 0512 Dioskorides from KPS fonts
- Wooden texture – Photo by engin akyurt on Unsplash
Since the resulting image was created with free resources, I am making it available for free as well. Feel free to use, share and copy it freely without any restrictions from me!