Attic Greek units of length or distance
this wiki


Ancient Greece consisted of a number of citystates, each with its own set of measurement standards. The most important of these citystates, Athens, eventially came to have dominion over much of the area, so that the Attic Greek units of length or distance (as well as their units of measurement for other quantities) became standard for a large region, and this page tabulates those Attic Greek units.
Although the Greek units of measuring lengths and distances were welldefined and their relationships to each other are well known, no actual Ancient Greek (Attic or other) standards are definitively known by the present day, so that the only way of determining the length of any Attic Greek unit would be to measure something in modern terms whose length was given by the Greeks in their units. And because this procedure does not give us any clue to which unit may have been the base unit and which were subsidiary units, this distinction really does not apply to the Attic Greek units here given, so all the units really have equal status. However, such measurements have been made, and they indicate (though requiring statistical treatment to allow for the inaccuracies of the Greeks' own measurements) that the best estimate of the Attic Greek pous (foot) can be taken as 0.30856 m = 1.0123 ft = 0.3374 yd ^{[1]}, and this distance will be adopted on this wiki as the basis for interpreting all other Attic Greek units of length or distance, as their relation to the mile is known.
Name of unit  Value in terms of smaller units  Value in terms of the meter  Value in terms of United States customary measure 

daktylos  0.019285  0.7593 in.  
condylos  2 daktyloi  0.03857  1.5185 in. = 0.1265 ft 
palestra  2 condyloi  0.07714  3.037 in. = 0.2531 ft 
dichas  2 palestrai  0.15428  6.074 in. = 0.5062 ft 
spithane  1½ dichai  0.23142  9.111 in. = 0.7593 ft 
pous  1⅓ spithanes  0.30856  1.0123 ft = 0.3374 yd 
cubit  2 podoi  0.61712  2.0247 ft = 0.6749 yd 
bema  1¼ cubits  0.7714  2.5308 ft = 0.8436 yd 
orguia  2^{2}/_{5} bemata  1.85136  2.0247 yd = 0.0012 mi 
akaina  1½ orguiai  2.77704  3.037 yd = 0.0017 mi 
amma  6⅔ akainai  18.5136  20.2467 yd = 0.0115 mi 
plethron  1⅔ ammai  30.856  33.7445 yd = 0.0192 mi 
stadion  6 plethra  185.136  202.4672 yd = 0.115 mi 
mile  7½ stadia  1388.52  1518.5039 yd = 0.8628 mi 
ReferencesEdit
 ↑ Cardarelli, François (1998). Scientific Unit Conversion. Berlin, Heidelberg, New York: SpringerVerlag. ISBN 3540760229.