I went to the "OI History" page and clicking the link there produced a message
on the bottom frame of the window that the file was downloading, but no window
The pen-scribe's position is impossible because the pen is perpendicular to the
paper. The painter thus wasn't a terribly careful observer (or there was some
weird sort of convention -- which isn't seen in the Assyrian reliefs showing a
pair of scribes), so he perhaps was just guessing about how the stylus-scribe
holds _his_ implement.
Or we could ask Joann Scurlock -- she has some _very_ fat books on cuneiform
Peter T. Daniels grammatim@...
>From: Robert M Whiting <whiting@...>
>Sent: Sat, September 11, 2010 10:18:31 AM
>Subject: Re: [ANE-2] Re: how did ancient scribes write?
>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
>> 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
>I don't know. I'll get back to you as soon as we find their medicare
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