Page:Encyclopædia Britannica, Ninth Edition, v. 24.djvu/515

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489
WEIGHTS AND MEASURES

the 80 grain system was sexagesimally divided for the mina which was afterwards adopted by Solon. Such seems the most likely history of it, and this is in exact accord with the full original weight of each system. In Egypt the mean value at Naucratis (29) was ·667, while at Defenneh (29) and Memphis (44)—probably rather earlier—it was ·670. The type of the grouping is not alike in different places, showing that no distinct families had arisen before the diffusion of this unit in Egypt; but the usual range is 65·5 to 69·0. Next it is found at Troy (44) in three cases, all high examples of 68·2 to 68·7; and these are very important, since they cannot be dissociated from the Greek Attic unit, and yet they are of a variety as far removed as may be from the half of the Assyrian, which ranges there from 123·5 to 131; thus the difference of unit between Assyrian and Attic in these earliest of all Greek weights is very strongly marked. At Athens a low variety of the unit was adopted for the coinage, true to the object of Solon in depreciating debts; and the first coinage is of only 65·2, or scarcely within the range of the trade weights (28) ; this seems to have been felt, as, contrary to all other states, Athens slowly increased its coin weight up to 66·6, or but little under the trade average. It gradually supplanted the Æginetan standard in Greece and Italy as the power of Athens rose; and it was adopted by Philip and Alexander (17) for their great gold coinage of 133 and 66·5. This system is often known as the “Euboic,” owing to its early use in Eubœa, and its diffusion by trade from thence. The series was—


chalcous, 8=obolus, 6=drachma, 100=mina, 60=talanton.
1·4 grs.  11·17  67    6700  402,000 


Turning now to its usual trade values in Greece (44), the mean of 113 gives 67·15; but they vary more than the Egyptian examples, having a sub-variety both above and below the main body, which itself exactly coincides with the Egyptian weights. The greater part of those weights which bear names indicate a mina of double the usual reckoning, so that there was a light and a heavy system, a mina of the drachma and a mina of the stater, as in the Phœnician and Assyrian weights. In trade both the minæ were divided in , , , , and , regardless of the drachmæ. This unit passed also into Italy, the libra of Picenum and the double of the Etrurian and Sicilian libra (17); it was there divided in unciæ and scripulæ (44), the mean of 6 from Italy and Sicily being 6600; one weight (bought in Smyrna) has the name “Leitra” on it. In literature it is constantly referred to; but we may notice the “general mina” (Cleopatra), in Egypt, 16 unciæ=6600; the Ptolemaic talent, equal to the Attic in weight and divisions (Hero, Didymus); the Antiochian talent, equal to the Attic (Hero); the treaty of the Romans with Antiochus, naming talents of 80 libræ, i.e., mina of 16 unciæ; the Roman mina in Egypt, of 15 unciæ, probably the same diminished; and the Italic mina of 16 unciæ. It seems even to have lasted in Egypt till the Middle Ages, as Jabarti and the “kátib's guide” both name the raṭl misri (of Cairo) as 144 dirhems=6760.

We have now ended our outline of ancient metrology, omitting

all details that were not really necessary to a fair judgment on the subject, but trying to make as plain as possible the actual bases of information, to trust to no opinions apart from facts, and to leave what is stated as free as possible from the influence of theories. Theoretical values have nowhere been adopted here as the standards, contrary to the general practice of metrologists; but in each case the standard value is stated solely from the evidence in hand, quite regardless of how it will agree with the theoretical deduction from other weights or measures. Great refinement in statements of values is needless, looking to the uncertainties which beset us. There are innumerable theories unnoticed here; only those are explained which seem to have a reasonable likelihood, and others are only mentioned where it is needful to show that they have not been overlooked. In many cases fuller detail is given of less important points, when they have not been published before, and no other information can be referred to elsewhere; when any point is abundantly proved and known, it has been passed with a mere mention. Finally, to indicate where further information on different matters may be found reference is frequently made by a number to the list of works given below, some early and other works being

omitted, of which all the data will be found in later books.
For historical reference we may state the following units legally abolished.

English Weights and Measures Abolished.—The yard and handful, or 40 inch ell, abolished in 1439. The yard and inch, or 37 inch ell (cloth measure), abolished after 1553; known later as the Scotch ell=37·06. Cloth ell of 45 inches, used till 1600. The yard of Henry VII.=35·963 inches. Saxon moneyers pound, or Tower pound, 5400 grains, abolished in 1527. Mark, pound=3600 grains. Troy pound in use in 1415, established as monetary pound 1527, now restricted to gold, silver, and jewels, excepting diamonds and pearls. Merchant's pound, in 1270 established for all except gold, silver, and medicines=6750 grains, generally superseded by avoirdupois in 1303. Merchant's pound of 7200 grains, from France and Germany, also superseded. (“Avoirdepois” occurs in 1336, and has been thence continued; the Elizabethan standard was probably 7002 grains.) Ale gallon of 1601=282 cubic inches, and wine gallon of 1707=231 cubic inches, both abolished in 1824. Winchester corn bushel of 8×268·8 cubic inches and gallon of 274 are the oldest examples known (Henry VII.), gradually modified until fixed in 1826 at 277·274, or 10 pounds of water.

French Weights and Measures Abolished.—Often needed in reading older works.


ligne,   12=pouce, 12=pied,   6=toise, 2000=lieue de poste.
·08883 in. 1·0658  12·7892 76·735 2·42219 miles. 
grain, 72=gros, 8=ouce???, 8=marc, 2=poids de marc.
·8197 gr. 59·021 472·17 3777·33 1·0792 .


Rhineland foot, much used in Germany, = 12·357 inches = the foot of the Scotch or English cloth ell of 37·06 inches, or 3×12·353.



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III. Commercial.


In this section we shall only refer to such measures as are in actual use at the present time; the various systems of the Continental towns have been superseded by the metric system now in force, and are therefore not needed now except for historical purposes.


Length:—


inch, 12=foot, 3=yard, 5=pole, 4=chain 10=furlong 8=mile.
1 in. 12   36   198  792   7920   63360


Hand, 4 inches; fathom, 2 yards; knot or geographical mile = 1′ = 1·1507 miles. The chain is divided in 100 links for land measure; link = 7·92 inches.
Terms of square measure are squares of the long measures.
Volume: dry:—


pint,   2=quart, 4=gallon, 2=peck,  4=bushel, 8=quarter.
cub. in. 34·659 69·318 277·274 554·548 2218·19 17745·6


Gill= pint; pottle=2 quarts; 5 quarters=wey or load; 2 weys=last.
Volume: wet:—


Pint and quart } gallon,  9=firkin, { 4=barrel or } 2=pipe, butt, or
as above. hogshead, puncheon.
cub. ins.  277·274 2495·5 9981·9   19963·8


Avoirdupois weight, for everything not excepted below:—


drachm, 16=ounce, 16=pound, 14=stone, 2=quarter,   4=hundred, 20=ton.
27·3 grains. 437·5  7000   98,000 196,000 grs. 112    2240  .


Troy weight (gold, silver, platinum, and jewels, except diamonds and pearls):—


grain, 24=pennyweight, 20=ounce, 12=pound.
1 grain 24 480    5760  


Diamond and pearl weight:—


grain, 4=carat, 150=ounce Troy.
·8 grain 3·2   480    


Apothecaries' dispensing weight, for prescriptions only:—


grain, 20=scruple, 3=drachm, 8=ounce, 12=pound.
1 grain 20    60   480   5760  


Apothecaries' fluid measure:—


minim, 60=drachm, 8=ounce, 20=pint, 8=gallon.
91 gr., water 54·7   437·5 8,750 70,000
·036 cub. in. ·216  1·733 34·659 277·274