(ὠλένη/ōlénē, literally 'elbow'). A measure of length based on one of the proportions of the human body which appears primarily in poetry (cf. e.g. Hor. Epod. 4,8; Verg. Ecl. 4,105; Verg. G. 3,355); its extent is inconsistent. Whereas the term is occasionally used as a synonym for cubitus (ell = 11/2 feet), it is also found in Plinius  the Elder as a translation of ὄργυια/ órgyia (fathom = 6 feet; cf. Plin. HN 36,87 with Hdt. 2,148,7), the length a human can span with both arms (Plin. HN 16,133; 16,202). Use as an official measure of length is improbable.
Cite this pageSchulzki, Heinz-Joachim (Mannheim), “Ulna”, 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 17 September 2021 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/1574-9347_bnp_e1224270>
First published online: 2006
First print edition: 9789004122598, 20110510
▲ Back to top ▲