Persian units of measurement

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Ancient Persian units[edit]

An official system of weights and measures was established in the ancient Persian Empire under the Achaemenid dynasty (550-350 BCE).

Length[edit]

Persian unit Persian name Relation to previous unit Metric Value Imperial Value
finger aiwas ≈ 20 mm ≈ 0.8 in
hand dva 5 aiwas ≈ 100 mm ≈ 4 in
foot trayas 3 dva ≈ 300 mm ≈ 1 foot
four-hands remen 4 dva ≈ 400 mm ≈ 16 in
cubit (five-hands) pank'a dva 5 dva ≈ 500 mm ≈ 20 in
great cubit (six-hands) (k)swacsh dva 6 dva ≈ 600 mm ≈ 2 ft
pace pank'a 5 trayas ≈ 1.5 m ≈ 5 ft
ten-foot daca trayas pank'a ≈ 3 m ≈ 10 ft
hundred-foot chebel 8 daca trayas ≈ 24 m ≈ 80 ft
league, the distance a horse could walk in one hour. parasang 250 chebel ≈ 6 km ≈ 3.75 miles
mansion, one day's march on the Royal Road. (Greek stathmos) 4 or 5 parasang ≈ 24–30 km ≈ 14–18 miles
Asparsa Asparsa[1][2][3] ≈ 187–195 m and = 360 cubits

Volume[edit]

The shekel and mina ("profane" or "sacred") were units of both weight and volume. A shekel or mina weight was equal to the weight of that volume of water. Note that the values given for the mina do not match the definitions.

1 shekel = 8.3 ml (approximately 1 cubic aiwas).
1 profane mina = 50 shekel = 500 ml (approximately 27 cubic aiwas).
1 sacred mina = 60 shekel = 600 ml (approximately 1 cubic dva).
1 talent (volume) = 60 profane mina = 25 liters (approximately 1 cubic trayas).

Weight[edit]

The talent was a measure of weight used for large amounts of coinage (bullion, bulk coin), rather than an individual coin. Seven Babylonian talents equalled ten Attic talents, according to a list of the revenues of Cyrus the Great (Cyrus II of Persia) recorded in Herodotus.[4][5]

Units used in modern Persia (Iran)[edit]

Some related units were used in Persia in the 19th century, and are still used in contemporary Iran.

Length[edit]

1 arsani or ulna = 52-64 cm.
1 arish = 38.27 inches (97.21 cm)[6]
1 chebel = 40 arsani = 21-25 meters
1 farsang (parasang) = 6.23 km in 19th century Persia.
1 farsang = 10 km in modern Iran and Turkey.

Volume[edit]

1 chenica = 1.32 liters.

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.smithlifescience.com/AncientMeasurements.htm
  2. ^ http://www.loghatnaameh.org/dehkhodaworddetail-08b73cdcf25247689c183b1eaeec389f-fa.html
  3. ^ Measures from Antiquity and the Bible; http://users.aol.com/jackproot/met/antbible.html
  4. ^ Herodotus, Book III, 90-96
  5. ^ Burn, Andrew R. (1984). Persia and the Greeks: the defence of the West, c. 546-478 BC. [London]: Duckworth. pp. 123–126. ISBN 0-7156-1765-6. 
  6. ^ Rose, Joshua (1900). Pattern Makers Assistant (9th ed.). New York: D. van Nostrand Co. p. 264.