Persian units of measurement
An official system of weights and measures was established in the ancient Persian Empire under the Achaemenid dynasty (550-350 BCE). 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. The talent was a measure of weight used for large amounts of coinage. Some related units were used in Persia in the 19th century, and are still used in contemporary Iran.
Ancient Persian units
|Persian unit||Persian name||Relation to previous unit||Metric Value||Imperial Value|
|انگشت (angosht)||≈ 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||≈ 187–195 m and = 360 cubits|
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).
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.
𐎣𐎼𐏁 (karša) or 𐎣𐎼𐏁𐎹𐎠 (karšayā) is a unit of weight equal to 10 Babylonian shekels or 1/6 Babylonian mina weighing approximately 83g.
Units used in modern Persia (Iran)
Some related units were used in Persia in the 19th century, and are still used in contemporary Iran.
- 1 arsani or ulna = 52-64 cm.
- 1 arish = 38.27 inches (97.21 cm)
- 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.
- 1 chenica = 1.32 liters.
- Efendi, C. (1987). Risāle-i mi’māriyye: supplements to Muqarnas, Vol. 1. Leiden: E. J. Brill. Retrieved from .
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-08-15. Retrieved 2014-05-13.
- Measures from Antiquity and the Bible; http://users.aol.com/jackproot/met/antbible.html
- Herodotus, Book III, 90-96
- 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.
- British Museum No. 91117 Inscribed weight; http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/collection_object_details.aspx?objectId=367895&partId=1
- Rose, Joshua (1900). Pattern Makers Assistant (9th ed.). New York: D. van Nostrand Co. p. 264.
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