... Am I the only one old enough to remember our wooden school desks built with a sloping top like that!?! they did seem to go out of fashion once the ink well at the top was no longer needed, with the invention of the biro, so I wonder if it was a case of keeping any splled ink from pooling ...
--- On Fri, 2/4/10, Pamela O'Neill <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> From: Pamela O'Neill <[log in to unmask]>
> Subject: Re: [OLD-IRISH-L] the scribe's posture
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Received: Friday, 2 April, 2010, 1:44 PM
> Thanks, Dennis - gorgeous! I
> understand that draftsmen and architectural
> drawing people still (or at least did until computers took
> over) use such
> slanted work surfaces - the tech drawing room at my high
> school (into which
> only boys were allowed!) had high sloping desks. As
> one who has suffered
> with bad back pain, I can vouch for their ergonomic
> advantages. However,
> one would hope that the postures of the scribes in some of
> these images are
> not quite accurate - I hurt just looking at them!!
> On 2 April 2010 12:49, Dennis King <[log in to unmask]>
> > http://nimill.blogspot.com/2010/04/staidiuir-scriobhai.html
> > Six images of the medieval scribe at work.
> > Was the slanted desk top ergonomic? Did it
> strain his wrists? Was it an
> > artistic convention to portray it that way?
> > Irish scribes routinely complained in marginalia of
> cold, bad light, poor
> > ink, inferior vellum, and generally of their bouts of
> ill health. Off hand,
> > though, I know of just one scribe who complained about
> a muscle cramp, but
> > it may be telling:
> > "Na tabrad aon da leigfe so guth [ar] in leitir sin,
> oir do crap in cusli
> > agam le imarcad mogsaine."
> > "No one who reads this should blame the lettering, for
> my wrist / forearm
> > has cramped from too much toil."
> > Annals of Loch Cé, ii. 328
> > Dennis
> Dr Pamela O'Neill, FSA Scot
> Honorary Associate, School of Letters Art and Media,
> University of Sydney
> Honorary Fellow, School of Historical Studies, University
> of Melbourne