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Re: [ANE-2] Re: how did ancient scribes write?

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  • Robert M Whiting
    ... It worked for me, and I don t have facebook. Here s a link straight off the page: http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=699801829626 ... I can t see
    Message 1 of 33 , Sep 11 7:18 AM
      On Sat, 11 Sep 2010, Peter T. Daniels wrote:

      > No, it's not broken over two lines; it ceases to be a link after the
      > #. As I said, I copy-pasted the whole thing and did not reach the page
      > in question.
      > Perhaps it only works for people who have Facebook.

      It worked for me, and I don't have facebook. Here's a link straight off
      the page:


      > I wouldn't rely too much on the accuracy of the Tell Ahmar painting,
      > because the pen-writing scribe's position is impossible (and why do you
      > say leather rather than papyrus?).

      I can't see why the pen-wielding scribe's position is impossible apart
      from the fact that he seems to have six fingers (or rather five fingers
      and a thumb) on his right hand. I always thought this was an artistic
      convention because the thumb isn't shown. Clearly, the digit extended
      along the pen is not the thumb but the forefinger, the thumb being out of
      sight behind the pen. This is exactly the way I hold a pen, apart from
      the number of fingers that I can bring to the task.

      The cuneiform scribe also seems to have five fingers on his right hand,
      with the thumb being out of sight. On the other hand (ahem), the
      cuneiform scribe's left hand has only four fingers and a thumb but appears
      to be a second right hand rather than a left hand.

      But artistic conventions aside, even you can't deny that the manner of
      holding the pen/brush and the manner of holding the stylus are portrayed
      differently in this single painting, presumably with both figures drawn by
      the same artist. (And I say leather rather than papyrus because it looks
      more like leather. Papyrus, especially when new, is stiff, primarily
      because of the crossways layering of the stalks during manufacture, not
      floppy like leather. The material in the painting behaves more like
      leather than papyrus, but then we may be dealing with artistic conventions

      > If most of the scribal action is in the wrist, there should hbe a large
      > number of complaints about carpal tunnel syndrome among scribes. Is
      > there?

      I don't know. I'll get back to you as soon as we find their medicare

      -- Peter T. Daniels grammatim@... Jersey City

      > From: Robert M Whiting <whiting@...>
      > >To: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com
      > >Sent: Sat, September 11, 2010 5:36:53 AM
      > >Subject: Re: [ANE-2] Re: how did ancient scribes write?
      > >
      > >
      > >On Fri, 10 Sep 2010, Peter T. Daniels wrote:
      > >
      > >> ... except there's something wrong with the url in the link -- it
      > >> breaks between the # and the !, and copy-pasting the whole
      > >> thing into ther box deletes the business end of it and I get a
      > >> log-in-to-facebook page.
      > >
      > >To deal with discontinuous (broken over two or more lines) URLs, first
      > >copy the first part of the URL (the first line) and paste it in the
      > >location box of your browser. Then go back and copy the next part of
      > >the URL (the next line) and paste it at the end of the previous part in
      > >the browser's location box. Repeat until the entire URL is in the
      > >browser's location box and then hit the go button. If you copy-paste
      > >the entire thing, you will copy-paste a carriage return and the browser
      > >will try to find the URL up to the point of the carriage return.
      > >
      > >On the position of the stylus for writing cuneiform tablets, I have
      > >collected a few illustrations and uploaded them to the groups Photo
      > >page (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ANE-2/photos/album/1182997375/pic/list).
      > >
      > >The wall painting from Tell Ahmar shows the correct position of the
      > >stylus. Note the difference of the position of the stylus and of the
      > >pen/brush being used by the beardless scribe to write on leather. The
      > >shaft of the stylus comes out under the hand on the right side of the
      > >hand after having crossed the palm; the shaft of the pen/brush comes
      > >out on the left side of the hand passing between the thumb and the
      > >forefinger just as one would hold a pen or pencil.
      > >
      > >The modern illustrations show the right and wrong way to hold the
      > >stylus. How much of the stylus protrudes is probably a matter of
      > >personal preference, but certainly enough to keep the fingers clear of
      > >the surface of the tablet while allowing the writer to position the
      > >writing face accurately. When I write I generally have about half an
      > >inch of stylus protruding. The forefinger rests on the edge of the
      > >stylus opposite the writing face, making the stylus essentially an
      > >extension of the forefinger. This gives the writer better control of
      > >the positioning of the writing face and allows the writer to apply just
      > >enough pressure to create an impression of the proper depth. How much
      > >pressure is needed depends on the consistency of the clay, but usually
      > >very little is needed.
      > >
      > >For most tablets (barring large, multi-column tablets), the tablet was
      > >held in the left hand the stylus in the right. The direction of the
      > >stylus was controlled by movement of the wrist and forearm, not by
      > >switching the grip on the stylus, which remained constant. The tablet
      > >would also be rotated with the wrist to make it easier to align the
      > >stylus with the tablet for wedges of different orientations.
    • fdscalf
      Without reviving the entire discussion, the CDLI has just produced a video which is relevant to this topic:
      Message 33 of 33 , Jan 4, 2011
        Without reviving the entire discussion, the CDLI has just produced a video which is relevant to this topic:


        Foy Scalf
        Oriental Institute

        --- In ANE-2@yahoogroups.com, Jim West <jwest@...> wrote:
        > list folk may enjoy this demonstration video (and might even find it
        > useful for students)
        > http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/video/video.php?v=699801829626
        > via chuck jones on facebook.
        > --
        > +++++++
        > Jim West, ThD
        > Petros, TN
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