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]> wrote:
> 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 CÚ, ii. 328
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