Brill’s New Pauly

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(1,991 words)

[German version]

I. Ancient Orient

Although the different basic measurement systems (length, measures of volume and weights) were created and defined independently of each other, at least in Mesopotamia relationships between them were established.

In the Ancient Orient as elsewhere, the terms for measures of length were based on body parts (cubit, palm and finger widths), however, the foot was not used as a basic measure of length. Regional and temporal differences must be considered.

The Babylonian ‘cubit’ (Sumerian kùš,

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Renger, Johannes (Berlin), Sallaberger, Walther (Leipzig), Höcker, Christoph (Kissing) and Schulzki, Heinz-Joachim (Mannheim), “Measures”, in: Brill’s New Pauly, Antiquity volumes edited by: Hubert Cancik and , Helmuth Schneider, English Edition by: Christine F. Salazar, Classical Tradition volumes edited by: Manfred Landfester, English Edition by: Francis G. Gentry. Consulted online on 26 May 2022 <>
First published online: 2006
First print edition: 9789004122598, 20110510

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