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Passus

(113 words)

Author(s): Schulzki, Heinz-Joachim (Mannheim)
[German version] Roman measure of length (two paces; Greek βῆμα διπλοῦν/ bêma diploûn) of 5 feet, corresponding to c. 1.48 m. The passus formed the basic unit for measuring mileage, the Roman road surveys providing distance data on the basis of 1,000 times the passus, i.e. the mille passus (plural milia passuum, abbreviated as MP and corresponding to 1.48 km) (cf. for instance ILS 23: milestone of Polla). In military terminology, milia passuum was also used by way of asserting feats of marching (cf. for instance Veg. Mil. 1,27). Milestones Schulzki, Heinz-Joachim (Mannheim) Bibliograp…

Spithame

(112 words)

Author(s): Schulzki, Heinz-Joachim (Mannheim)
[German version] (σπιθαμή/ spithamḗ, handspan). Greek unit of length taken from the proportions of the human body, extending between the tips of the thumb and little finger, equal to 1/2 pchys , i.e. 3 palaistaí ( palaist ) or 12 dáktyloi dáktylos [1]. Depending on the underlying foot size ( pous ), its length was c. 20-26 cm. According to a metrological relief from the island Salamis [1], the Attic spithame was 24,3 cm long. There was no unit of length corresponding to spithame in the Roman measurement system. Schulzki, Heinz-Joachim (Mannheim) Bibliography 1 K. W. Beinhauer (ed.),…

Sextarius

(163 words)

Author(s): Schulzki, Heinz-Joachim (Mannheim)
[German version] (later Greek ξέστης/ xéstēs, 'a sixth'). Roman unit of fluid and dry capacity equalling 1/48 of an amphora [2], 1/6 of a congius, 2 heminae , 4 quartarii and 12 cyathi (Cyathus [2]; see table); a sextarius corresponds to approximately 0,546 l. As a measure of volume sextarius also occurs on ancient measuring vessels. Colloquially sextarius was also used for 1/6 of anything. The sextarius was the largest measure of both fluid and dry capacity; higher units had distinct names. Roman units of fluid and dry capacity and their relationships: sextarius      Unit:     cyathus  …

Leuga

(360 words)

Author(s): Schulzki, Heinz-Joachim (Mannheim)
[German version] Gallo-Roman unit of measurement of Celtic origin for measuring and displaying distances on roads in Aquitania from the 2nd cent. AD and in the other Gaulish as well the two German provinces from the beginning of the 3rd cent. One leuga is equivalent to 1.5 Roman miles and corresponds to c. 2,200 m. Whilst in the 1st and 2nd cents. in these provinces the distance indications on the miliaria ( Milestones) were provided exclusively in Roman miles (abbreviation M P = milia passuum), the measures generally appeared in leugae (abbreviation L) from the time of Septimius Sev…

Pondo

(45 words)

Author(s): Schulzki, Heinz-Joachim (Mannheim)
[German version] Fossilised ablative of limitation of Latin pondus, -i, 'in weight'. Often used instead of libra [1] as a basic Roman unit of weight in the sense 'at a weight of 1 pound'. Schulzki, Heinz-Joachim (Mannheim) Bibliography F. Hultsch, Griechische und römische Metrologie, 21882.

Ulna

(111 words)

Author(s): Schulzki, Heinz-Joachim (Mannheim)
[German version] (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 [1] 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. Schulzki, Heinz-Jo…

Libra

(249 words)

Author(s): Schulzki, Heinz-Joachim (Mannheim)
[German version] [1] Unit of weight (also pondus, ‘pound’, metonymic ‘what has been weighted’; Greek equivalent: λίτρα/ lítra). Terminus technicus for the unit of weight of 327,45 g of the Roman measuring system; a libra corresponds to the as , which in the duodecimal system was divided into 12 unciae of 27,28g [2. 706 fig. XIII]. The standard very likely remained unchanged until early Byzantine times, as evidenced by weighing coins of precious metals and silver implements. [3. 222]. As weights, we find librae of bronze and of lead, also of stone. They are to be differentiated…

Pechys

(137 words)

Author(s): Schulzki, Heinz-Joachim (Mannheim)
[German version] (πῆχυς; pêchys). Greek measure of length derived from the proportions of the human body, from the tip of the longest finger to the elbow ('ell' or 'cubit', Latin Cubitus), equal to 2 σπιθαμαί ( spithamaí/'handspans' ), 6 παλαισταί ( palaistaí/'handbreadths'; cf. Latin Palmus) as well as 24 δάκτυλοι ( dáktyloi/'fingerbreadths'; cf. Latin digitus), corresponding to 1 1/2 feet (cf. Vitr. De arch. 3,1,8). Depending on the foot measure (Pous) that was used, its length was c. 40-52 cm. According to a metrological relief from the island of Salamis, the Attic pechys measured …

Palmus

(84 words)

Author(s): Schulzki, Heinz-Joachim (Mannheim)
[German version] Roman measure of length ('palm'; cf. the Greek palaistḗ) of 4 digiti, corresponding to 1/4 foot and a length of c. 74 mm (cf. Vitr. De arch. 3,1,8: "relinquitur pes quattuor palmorum, palmus autem habet quattuor digitos."). Like digitus ('finger width') and pes ('foot') this unit of length is based on the proportions of the human body. Schulzki, Heinz-Joachim (Mannheim) Bibliography 1 F. Hultsch, Griechische und römische Metrologie, 21882, 74f. 2 H. Nissen, Griechische und römische Metrologie (Handbuch der klassischen Altertumswissenschaft 1), 21892, 842f.

Hin

(129 words)

Author(s): Schulzki, Heinz-Joachim (Mannheim)
[German version] Egyptian hollow measure for fluids and dry materials of 1/10 ḥqt ( hekat) in the Old Kingdom or 1/40 jpt ( oipe) in the New Kingdom, corresponding to c. 0.48 l [3. 1201], with minimal differences upwards [1. 1644] and downwards [2. 1152]. The hin is the only remaining unit from the Demotic period, corroborated by extant measuring vessels. Its relations to the  artabe and  choinix are contentious [3. 1210]. Measuring vessels based on the hin have also been handed down from the New Kingdom: mḥt = 1 hin, pg = 1/4 hin, mnḏqt = 50 hin, which seem, however, not to have h…

Modius

(595 words)

Author(s): Elvers, Karl-Ludwig (Bochum) | Käppel, Lutz (Kiel) | Schulzki, Heinz-Joachim (Mannheim)
Roman surname. [German version] [1] M., Q. Horse breeder Cited by Varro (Rust. 2,7,1) as a distinguished horse breeder. His (probably invented) cognomen Equicolus, which indicates this activity, may have been interpreted by Varro as Aequicolus, so that a later period reveals a Septimus M. as the first king of the Aequiculi (Lib. de praenominibus 1). Elvers, Karl-Ludwig (Bochum) [German version] [2] M. Fabidius Founder of the city of Cures Son of a virgin of the Aborigines who comes to dance in the sanctuary of Quirinus in the territory of Reate, but is then seized…
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