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Encyclopedia > Cubit
This derivation of the Vitruvian Man by Leonardo da Vinci, depicts nine historical units of measurement: the Yard, the Span, the Cubit, the Flemish Ell, the English Ell, the French Ell, the Fathom, the Hand , and the Foot. The Vitruvian man was drawn to scale, so the units depicted are displayed with their proper historical ratios.
This derivation of the Vitruvian Man by Leonardo da Vinci, depicts nine historical units of measurement: the Yard, the Span, the Cubit, the Flemish Ell, the English Ell, the French Ell, the Fathom, the Hand , and the Foot. The Vitruvian man was drawn to scale, so the units depicted are displayed with their proper historical ratios.

Cubit is the name for any one of many units of measure used by various ancient peoples and is among the first recorded units of length. Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... Leonardo da Vincis Vitruvian Man (1492). ... “Da Vinci” redirects here. ... A yard (abbreviation: yd) is the name of a unit of length in a number of different systems, including English units, Imperial units, and United States customary units. ... This does not cite any references or sources. ... An ell, when used as a unit of length, is usually 45 inches, i. ... An ell, when used as a unit of length, is usually 45 inches, i. ... An ell, when used as a unit of length, is usually 45 inches, i. ... A fathom is the name of a unit of length in the Imperial system (and the derived U.S. customary units). ... A hand (or handbreadth) is a unit of length measurement, usually based on the breadth of a male human hand and thus around 1 dm, i. ... This article is about a foot as a unit of length. ... For other uses of this word, see Length (disambiguation). ...


The cubit is based on measuring by comparing – especially cords and textiles, but also for timbers and stones – to one's forearm length. The Egyptian hieroglyph for the unit shows this symbol. It was employed consistently through Antiquity, the Middle-Ages up to the Early Modern Times. “Hieroglyphics” redirects here. ... Antiquity means different things: Generally it means ancient history, and may be used of any period before the Middle Ages. ... Lamentation, Giotto di Bondone, c. ... The early modern period is a term used by historians to refer to the period in Western Europe and its first colonies which spans the two centuries between the Middle Ages and the Industrial Revolution. ...


The distance between thumb and another finger to the elbow on an average person and measures about 24 digits or 6 palms or 1½ foot. This is about 45 cm or 18 inches. This so-called "natural cubit" of 1½ foot is used in the Roman system of measures and in different Greek systems.


Over time, units similar in type to the cubit have measured:

  • 6 palms  =  24 digits, i.e. ~45.0 cm or 18 inches (1.50 ft)
  • 7 palms  =  28 digits, i.e. ~52.5 cm or 21 inches (1.75 ft)
  • 8 palms  =  32 digits, i.e. ~60.0 cm or 24 inches (2.00 ft)
  • 9 palms  =  36 digits, i.e. ~67.5 cm or 27 inches (2.25 ft)

From late Antiquity, the Roman ulna, a four-feet-cubit (about 120 cm) is also attested. This length is the measure from a man's hip to the fingers of the outstretched opposite arm.


The English yard could be considered to be a type of cubit, measuring 12 palms, ~90 cm, or 36 inches (3.00 ft). This is the measure from the middle of a man's body to his fingers, always with outstretched arm. The English ell is essentially a kind of great cubit of 15 palms, 114 cm, or 45 inches (3.75 ft). A yard (abbreviation: yd) is the name of a unit of length in a number of different systems, including English units, Imperial units, and United States customary units. ... An ell, when used as a unit of length, is usually 45 inches, i. ...

Contents

History of the different cubits

The Egyptian Royal Cubit and Sumerian Nippur cubit

From the Nippur ell to the old royal cubit
From the Nippur ell to the old royal cubit

The cubit is among the first recorded units of length used by an ancient people. Image File history File links Download high resolution version (864x684, 102 KB) Summary Author: Paul Martin Title: The principle of the Old Egyptian construction Remen. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (864x684, 102 KB) Summary Author: Paul Martin Title: The principle of the Old Egyptian construction Remen. ... For other uses of this word, see Length (disambiguation). ...


The earliest attested standard measure was called the Royal Cubit and was 523.5 to 524 mm (20.61 to 20.63 inches) in length, and was subdivided into 7 palms of 4 digits, giving a 28 part measure in total. Secure evidence for this unit is known from architecture, from at least as early as the construction of the Step Pyramid of Djoser from around 2,700 B.C. The Pyramid of the Moon, Teotihuacan, is one example of an enormous step pyramid. ... Netjerikhet Consort(s) Inetkawes, Hetephernebti Unknown Father Khasekhemwy? Mother Nimaethap? Major Monuments Pyramid of Djoser Netjerikhet Djoser (Turin King List Dsr-it; Manetho Tosarthros) is the best-known pharaoh of the Third dynasty of Egypt, for commissioning the official Imhotep to build his Step Pyramid at Saqqara. ...


This unit was used virtually unchanged throughout the Egyptian dynastic period, and is evidenced into the 1st millennium B.C.


In 1916, during the last years of Ottoman Empire and in the middle of WWI the German assyriologist Eckhard Unger found a copper-alloy bar during excavation at Nippur from c. 2650 BC. which he claimed was a measurement standard. This irregularly formed and irregularly marked graduated rule supposedly defined the Sumerian cubit as about 518.5 mm or 20.4 inches, although this does not agree with more secure evidence from the statues of Guduea from the same region. A 30-digit-cubit known a a kus was nevertheless known from the 2nd millennium B.C., with a digit-length of about 17.28 mm (more than 0.68 inch). 1916 (MCMXVI) was a leap year starting on Saturday (link will display the full calendar). ... Ottoman redirects here. ... “The Great War ” redirects here. ... Assyriology is the historical and archaeological study of ancient Mesopotamia. ...


Old Egyptian geometers could calculate the square root of two from the value of the hypotenuse of a Cubit. This well-attested old Egyptian unit was known as the "construction remen" and used a good approximation: 2×20/28 root 2. In mathematics, a square root of a number x is a number r such that , or in words, a number r whose square (the result of multiplying the number by itself) is x. ... A right triangle and its hypotenuse, h, along with catheti, c1 and c2. ...


Other important cubits

  • The Roman cubitus is a six-palm cubit of about 444.5 mm. Twenty-four Roman cubits ≈ thirty-five English feet, so the Roman cubit is about 17.5 inches or 444.5 mm.
  • The Greek pechua (πεχυα) was also a 24-digit cubit. So, the Greek kyrenaika cubit measured about 463.1 mm and the Greek metrios cubit about 474.2 mm; respectively roughly 25/24 and 16/15 Roman cubits. Other Greek cubits based on different digit measures of other city-states are less important. The Greek 40-digit-measure, called bema, corresponds to the Latin gradus, the step or half-a-pace.
  • The Arabic Hashimi cubit of about 650.2 mm (25.6 inches) is considered to measure two French feet. Since the established ratio between the French and English foot is about 16 to 15, one can give following equation:  5 Hashimi cubits ≈ 10 French feet ≈ 128 English inches. Also the length of 256 Roman cubits and the length of 175 Hashimi cubits are nearly equivalent.
  • The guard cubit (Arabic: ammatu rabitu) measured about 555.6 mm; 5/4 of the Roman cubit. Therefore:  96 guard cubits ≈ 120 Roman cubits ≈ 175 English feet.
  • The Arabic nil cubit (or black cubit) measured about 540.2 mm. This means 28 (later called) Greek digits of the "pous of kyrenaika" ≈ 25/24 of a Roman foot or just 308.7 mm. Thus 175 Roman cubits ≈ 144 black cubits.
  • The Mesopotamian cubit measured about 533.4 mm, 6/5 Roman cubit. Thus, 20 Mesopotamian cubits ≈ 24 Roman cubits ≈ 35 English feet.
  • The Babylonian cubit (or cubit of Lagash) measured about 496.1 mm. Also a Babylonian trade cubit existed, nine-tenths of the normal cubit, i.e. 446.5 mm. The Babylonian Cubit is fifteen-sixteenths of the royal cubit. 160 Babylonian trade cubits ≈ 144 Babylonian cubits ≈ 135 Egyptian royal cubits. (The royal cubit ≈ 529.2 mm. See above.)
  • The Pergamon cubit 520.9 mm or 75/64 of the Roman cubit.
  • The Salamis cubit 484.0 mm or 98/90 of the Roman cubit.
  • The Persian cubit of about 500.1 mm or 9/8 of the Roman cubit, which is also 9/10 of the guard cubit.
  • In Izapa, a pre-Columbian Mesoamerican city, the measuring unit was equivalent to about 495 mm, very close to the Lagash cubit. This is probably a coincidence, since a diffusion of culture from Mesopotamia to Mesoamerica has not been conclusively demonstrated.
  • The different Jewish cubits (אַמָּה ama) are generally borrowed either from Babylonians or Greeks or Romans. In ancient Israel during the First Temple period, the cubit was 428.1 mm (≈ 26/27 Roman cubit). During the Second Temple period, a cubit of about 444.5 mm (≈ Roman cubit) was in general use, but in the sacred areas of the temple a special cubit of 437.6 mm seems to have been used instead (≈ 63/64 Roman cubit).[1]

The ancient Roman units of measurement were built on the Greek system with Egyptian influences. ... In France, before the decimalised metric system of 1799, a well-defined old system existed, however with some local variants. ... Lagash (Akkadian lagaÅ¡) or Sirpurla (Sumerian Å IR.BUR.LAKI; modern Tell al-Hiba), northwest of the junction of the Euphrates and Tigris rivers and east of Uruk, was one of the oldest cities of Sumer and later Babylonia. ... The Persians of Iran (officially named Persia by West until 1935 while still referred to as Persia by some) are an Iranian people who speak Persian (locally named Fârsi by native speakers) and often refer to themselves as ethnic Iranians as well. ... This article is about the culture area. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... The Kingdom of Israel (Hebrew מַלְכוּת יִשְׂרָאֵל, Standard Hebrew Malḫut Yisraʾel, Tiberian Hebrew Malḵûṯ Yiśrāʾēl) according to the Bible, was the nation...

See also

A system of measurement is a set of units which can be used to specify anything which can be measured and were historically important, regulated and defined because of trade and internal commerce. ... Some human-referenced units of measurement Units of measurement were among the earliest tools invented by humans. ... The former Weights and Measures office in Middlesex, England. ...

References

Notes

  1. ^ Cf. Biblical Archaeology Review, March-April 1983, and Newsletter and Proceedings of the Society for Early Historical Archaeology, issue 159.)

External links

Look up cubit in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.

  Results from FactBites:
 
Cubit - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1385 words)
The cubit is among the first recorded units of length used by an ancient people.
The Babylonian Cubit is fifteen sixteenth of the Royal cubit.
For example the Pergamon cubit 520.9 mm or 75/64 Roman cubit and the Salamis cubit 484.0 mm or 98/90 Roman cubit and the Persian cubit of about 500.1 mm or 9/8 Roman cubit, which is also 9/10 Guard cubit.
cubit - definition of cubit in Encyclopedia (186 words)
Cubit is the name for the ancient Egyptian and Sumerian units of measure.
These Cubits are among the first recorded units of length used by an ancient people.
From around 1950 BC, the copper bar cubit of Nippur defines the Sumerian cubit as 517.2 mm (20.36 inches) and is the earliest known length standard.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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