Monday 15 October 2012
What happens when you're not the right hand man?
Face it, left handers have got the rough end of the stick for quite a while...even today the French word for left handedness means clumsy while those lucky righties are known as adroit or masterful. Things were even worse back in the day. The Roman word for lefties was 'sinister'...a word that tends to conjure up a whole lot of negatives when used in modern English. Even in Latin 'sinister' has a confusion of meanings - such as; on the left; left; unlucky; bad; perverted...but then also; lucky; auspicious; and favourable - obviously left handed Romans came up with the latter meanings. If you were right handed, you were 'dextera' - or dexterous, on the right, and skillful. Of course, that's not to say left handers in Rome couldn't get ahead, Julius Caesar is believed to have been left handed (as was his personal hero - Alexander the Great), and so was Rome's second Emperor, Tiberius, while the second heavenly twin, Pollux, was considered the patron god for those of the non-right persuasion - and he with his tricky left handed friend Odysseus did all right according to Homer.
Find out if Calvus was a sinister character