galastel wrote in little_details

Wheelchairs in antiquity

What mobility aids would be available to a person with little or no use of their legs, middle-east region, circa 500 CE?

My setting is based on Sasanian Persia; fantasy setting, so I have some flexibility. (So if there's record of something being available in earlier Rome or in Egypt or in India, for instance, I can assume the idea travelled.) Character is upper class, loss of mobility due to Polio.

Tried looking for "disability in antiquity", "disability in Persia", "disability in Mesopotamia" — found attitudes, e.g. the Mesopotamian god Enki designating those who can't walk to work as silversmiths. Did not find mobility aids. Tried looking for "mobility aids in antiquity" found three-wheeled walkers dating to ancient Egypt and Rome (, but wheelchairs dating back only to the Renaissance, Germany.

Further complicating matters, one element: while sticking wheels on a chair is not such an outlandish idea that it could not have appeared before the Renaissance, seating in Sasanian Persia was, to the best of my knowledge, on divans, cross-legged.

In light of this, a Persian nobleman or noblewoman with little or no use of his/her legs — what could they have available to them, in terms of moving around?


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