Plethron

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Plethron (Greek: πλέθρον, plural plethra) is an ancient unit of Greek measurement equal to 97-100 Greek feet (ποῦς, pous; ca. 30 meters),[1][better source needed] although the measures for plethra may have varied from polis to polis.[citation needed] This was roughly the width of a typical ancient Greek athletic running-track.[citation needed]

A plethron could also be used as a unit of measured area, and reference to the unit in defining the size of a wrestling area is made by Libanius.[2][full citation needed][non-primary source needed] A square plethron of ca. 30 by 30 meters was used as the standard dimensions of a Greek wrestling square, since such competitions were held within the racing track in ancient Greece.[citation needed] In other connotations, it functioned as the Greek acre, and varied in size to accommodate the amount of land a team of oxen could plow in a day.[citation needed]

The plethron continued to be used in the Byzantine Empire, where its variant uses were ultimately codified to refer to an area defined by sides of 100 feet or 40 paces (βῆμα, bema).[3] Ultimately, the unit came to be known as the "stremma", which continues as a metric unit in modern Greece.[3]

Further reading[edit]

  • Calvert, J.B. (13 May 2010). "Old Units of Length". MySite.DU.edu. University of Denver. Retrieved 3 March 2020. Original creation date, 3 July 1999.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Calvert, J.B. (13 May 2010). "Old Units of Length". MySite.DU.edu. University of Denver. Retrieved 3 March 2020. Original creation date, 3 July 1999.
  2. ^ Libanius, Orationes, Chapter 10.[full citation needed]
  3. ^ a b Ménage, V.L. (1973). "Review of Speros Vryonis, Jr. 'The decline of medieval Hellenism in Asia Minor and the process of islamization from the eleventh through the fifteenth century' [Berkeley, 1971]". Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies. University of London. 36 (3): 659–661. doi:10.1017/S0041977X00120117. JSTOR 613605. See also Schilbach, Erich (date not provided) Byzantinische Metrologie.[full citation needed]

See also[edit]