I know sinister can refer to being lefthanded, and there’s the idea that being seated at someone’s right hand is a place of honor. My question is: what’s the earliest reference to someone’s handedness as being important?
Don’t know if you’d really consider this legit, but I found this:
The poem states:
Ramses II was around from 1303 BC to 1213 BC.
The biblical hero Ehud Ben-Gera(from the Book of Judges) was famously left handed - and he used this quality to hide his blade on his right side in order to assassinate King Eglon of Moab.
The story was first written down circa 6th Century BC, and was based on a much older oral tale.
A WAG, but maybe it became a significant issue when the industrial revolution began mass producing products. At this point tools and other “handed” objects started being made according to standardized plans and the left-handed people who couldn’t use them started to really stand out.
The modern word “sinister” comes from the Latin - “sinistra” which means both “left” and also “unlucky” and I bet that double meaning wasn’t an accident.
So we’re back to Roman times - I can’t get a date on the origin of “sinistra.”