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Reblogged from medievalpoc  1,360 notes
Hey, I know this is outside of your scope so I'm just hoping you can point me in the right direction- I'm looking for images of physically disabled people, literally anywhere, prior to the 19th century. Because I'm kinda sick of being told that I didn't exist, and I can't seem to find anything myself.



I’m a disability activist and it’s part of my day job, too so I actually have a fair bit, I think.

Here’s a link to a post i made on this a while back, including this book:


For some pretty interesting but mostly text-based scholarship on disabled people in history, Disability Studies Quarterly offers full text online (EE!), and I *think* they have PDFs that include images and/or artworks.

This issue in particular has some great articles on Disabled Shakespearean characters and themes.

Here is a post about a deaf man who greatly confused some Americans in the late 1800s. Here is a painting of the Virgin and Child appearing to a “lame” noblewoman from the 1750s. I have some paintings of Billy Waters and some disabled Black sailors in the British Navy from the 1800s here:


Here is a PDF excerpt from Stumbling Blocks Before the Blind: Medieval Constructions of Disability that includes at least one image from an illuminated manuscript.

Greg Carrier, a graduate student in Medieval Studies at the intersection of disability wrote a series of guest posts for the Medieval Middle, has a blog here that you can look through to find images and writing about the depiction of disabled people in Medieval Art as well as evidence from writing and I *think* surviving objects as well. For example:


Here’s a pretty cool resource on a disability/representation exhibit that has a lot of images, including The Beggars by Pieter Brueghel:


More on that work here.

There’s a LOT out there, and anyone who tells you otherwise is full of it.

Just in case it’s interesting you can find sources for people with disabilities in Norse society too.

Norse mythology: The most well known is probably the mythical god Hod, who was blind. He was tricked by Loki into killing his brother Baldur with a mistletoe arrow.

Odin himself had one eye, since he traded the other one away.

There’s also the warrior god, Tyr, whose hand was bit off when he leashed Fenris. Having one hand did not stop him from commanding the armies of Asgard.

Sagas: Most people probably know about Ragnar Lodbrok from History Channel’s Vikings. According to several different sources he and Aslaug had a son, Ivar the Boneless, who was disabled. He had “soft legs” (most likely osteoporosis) and had to be carried into battle on a shield. The sagas describe him as beautiful, wise and strong with sword and bow. He ended up as king of York. (His brother Sigurd Snake-in-the-Eye was born with an eye with a distorted pupil).

In Hávamál there’s this quote:

The lame may ride a horse,
The handless may drive a herd,
The deaf may fight and do well;
A blind man is better
Than a burnt one;
The dead are of no use.

Archeological finds: Two of the most famous Norse graves found in Norway, Oseberg and Gokstad, has people that archeologists believe had disabilities. The oldest woman from Oseberg had been bedridden when she was younger due to osteoporosis and walked with a limp. The man from Gokstad, a warrior killed in battle, had acromegaly and in addition a permanent knee injury.

(Interestingly, one DNA study of the younger woman from the Oseberg grave showed that she was most likely of Eastern descent. They have unfortunately not been able to replicate this study and confirm the findings.)

Ableism TW:
Laws: There was a practice of leaving unwanted children to die in the wild. With the introduction of Christianity there came laws forbidding this unless the infants had obvious physical disabilites.

Reblogged from ealperin  107,642 notes




How to wear a knife strapped to your thigh with a garter like a fucking lady while managing not to slice yourself open because you were fool enough to carry an unsheathed weapon next to a squishy part of your body that moves when you walk.

  1. Get a garter from somewhere; this one is a sock garter from Sock Dreams, which means it’s made to stay the fuck up there.
  2. Get a fucking sheath for those sharp, pointy things and put them in the sheath. There’ll be a velcro loop at the top so that they won’t slide out if you hold the sheath upside down.
  3. Put the garter through the loop at the top meant for whatever you’re using to attach it to yourself. Attach it to yourself, adjusting for ease of grabbing. You don’t want to put it on your inner thigh because that is awkward as hell to get out. The only way you’d be able to get it out in a timely manner is if you attached the sheath upside down, at which point you’d need two garters to keep the sheath from tilting inward toward your other thigh.
  4. Oh no, now the sheath is hanging loosely and is going to make a weird pattern against your clothing. Tuck that shit into your stockings if you’re wearing them, or use another garter if you’re not.
  5. Pull your pencil skirt back down over the knife sheath. Adjust accordingly due to tightness of skirt and shape of sheath. Make sure you can get at it as quick as you want.
  6. People look at you really strangely if this is the knife you pull out when you want to cut your apple up.

Vital Information for your Everyday Life.

I never knew I needed this.