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.
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.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- 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.