Romanian units of measurement

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„This is the fathom from Craiova of eight palms, Bujorianu”. Inscription on the wooden church in Mănăileşti-Moşteni, Vâlcea county.

The measures of the old Romanian system varied greatly not only between the three Romanian states (Wallachia, Moldavia, Transylvania), but sometimes also inside the same country. The origin of some of the measures are the Latin (such as iugăr unit), Slavic (such as vadră unit), Greek (such as dram unit) and Turkish (such as palmac unit) systems.

This system is no longer in wide use since the adoption of the metric system in 1864, however some rural communities still use a small subset of these units.

Length[edit]

  • Palmă (palm) - 1/8 of a stânjen
  • Stânjen - 2 m (approximately)
  • Palmac - 3.48 cm (Moldavia)
  • Poştă - 8–20 km (depending on the country)
  • Pas mic (small step) - 4 palme (Wallachia) (palme is the plural noun for palmă)
  • Pas mare (large step) - 6 palme (Wallachia; Moldavia)
  • Lat de palmă (palm width) - 1/2 palmă
  • Cot (cubit) - 664 mm (Moldavia); 637 mm (Wallachia)
  • Funie (rope) - 20–120 m (depending on the place)
  • Leghe (league) - 4.444 km;
  • Deget (finger) - the width of a finger
  • Prăjină - 3 stânjeni (stânjeni is the plural noun for stânjen)
  • Verstă - 1067 m (3,500 ft)
  • Picior (foot) - 1/6 of a stânjen

Volume[edit]

none = (Moldavia) Bold = (Wallachia) Italic = (Transylvania)

Unit Metric value (by state) Imperial value (by state)
Oca 1.5 litres; 1.25 litres 1.32 Quarts; 1.1 Quarts
Litră 0.25 litres in all 3 0.22 Quarts in all 3
Baniţă 21.5 litres; 33.96 litres 18.3 Quarts; 29.9 Quarts
Chiup 30-40 litres 26-35 Quarts
Câblă - -
Merţă - (Moldavia); 110-120 litres; 22.5 litres 97-106 Quarts; 20 Quarts
Feredelă - -
Obroc mare 66 litres; 55 litres 58 Quarts; 48 Quarts
Obroc mic - 22 ocale 33 litres; 27.5 litres 29 Quarts; 24 Quarts
Giumătate 1200-1500 litres 1056-1320 Quarts (264-330 Gallons)
Vadră 15 litres; 12.88 litres 13 Quarts; 11 Quarts
Pintă 3.394 litres 2.988 Quarts
Tină 15 litres 13 Quarts
Sau 3.22-3.80 millilitres 0.11-0.13 Fluid ounces

Notes[edit]

  • Litră - (still used as 1/4 of a litre in some regions of Romania)
  • Chiup - (a chiup was a large clay pot for liquids)
  • Feredelă - 1/4 bucket (Transylvania)
  • Vadră - (Moldavia) (still used as 10 litres in some regions of Romania)

Weight[edit]

Unit relation to previous Metric value Imperial value
Dram ... 3.18 - 3.25 g 50.155 Gr
Font 158 Dram 0.5kg 17.64 Oz

Area[edit]

Unit relation to previous Metric value Imperial value
Feredelă ... 1.25 11.6128 Sq Ft
Stânjen pătrat - 3,59665 m² 38.7140184 Sq Ft
Pogon - 4 Feredelă 5 m² 46.45 Sq Ft
Falce - 3 Pogon 14.3 m² 132.85 Sq Ft
Prăjină 14 Falce 195 m² 1811.609 Sq Ft
Iugăr 3 Prăjină 5,700 m² 52954.73 Sq Ft

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  • Iugăr - the area ploughed in one day by two oxen - 7166 m2 (Transylvania in 1517); 5,700 m² (in other states)
  • Stânjen pătrat - Embracing square

References[edit]

  • Nicolae, Stoicescu: Cum măsurau strămoşii, metrologia medievală pe teritoriul româniei, Editura Ştiinţifică, Bucureşti, 1971.