Left-handed History and Customs
History is littered with strange attitudes and goings on to do
with left-handedness - here are some of the interesting ones that
we have come across
It was no coincidence that the fourth finger of the left-hand
was chosen for the wedding finger in 300BC. Doctors at that time
believed a nerve from this finger ran directly to the heart!
Napoleon Bonaparte and Josephine de Beauharnais, are one of the
most famous left-handed couple in history. They married on 9th
March more than 200 years ago.
The Romans were responsible for a lot of anti-left customs. They
were the most militantly right-handed people in history. Romans
invented the right handed handshake, the fascist salute, and that
right to left alphabet that still causes a lot of trouble!
Whilst Julius Caesar was left-handed it was he who instructed all
of his Roman subjects to adopt the right-handed handshake. Maybe
this was because it left his weapon hand free whether greeting
either friend or foe? Similarly it is though that a reason for
preferring the right-hand greeting is that this generally was the
weapon hand thus clasping them together allowed neither party an
advantage on meeting for the first time. Interestingly Lord Baden
Powell chose the left-hand for the Scouting handshake. Two theories
exist. One that the left hand is nearer to the heart and the second
is that using the non-weapon hand was a sign of trust.
DRIVING ON THE LEFT / RIGHT
The origin of the rule of the road dates back to how people
travelled in violent feudal societies. As most people are right
handed it made sense to carry any protective weapon in this hand.
When passing a stranger on the road, it would be safer to walk on
the left, so ensuring that your weapon was between yourself and a
possible opponent. Jousting knights would hold their lances in
their right hand, therefore passing on each others' right.
Revolutionary France was to overturn this historic practice, as
part of its social rethink. Their military general and
self-proclaimed Emperor, Napoleon Bonaparte was left handed,
therefore his armies had to march on the right so he could keep his
sword arm between him and the advancing enemy. From this time any
part of the world that was colonised by the French would travel on
the right, the rest would remain travelling on the left.
There is a more detailed article with more information here
In the French parliament before the revolution, the nobles sat
in the right side of the king, while the capitalists sat on the
left. The right became associated with the prevalent social order,
and the left with the subversive elements wanting to change it.
A mole on your left eyebrow reveals that you will always have
problems in love and marriage!
An old Italian proverb claims 'The left-hand is the hand of the