Libyan units of measurement

A number of different units of measurement were used in Libya to measure length, mass, area, etc. Metric system adopted in Libya in 1927.[1]

System before the metric system

A number of different units were used.

Tripoli and Cyrenaica

Length

Several units were used to measure length. One pik was equal to 0.68 m as it was defined by metric equivalent.[2][3] Some other units are given below (Note: these units too were defined by metric equivalents):

1 handaze = 1 pik

1 palmo = 1/3 pik

1 draa = 0.46 m.[2][3] In tripoli, draa was equal to 26.42 in and arbi draa (lesser pik) was equal to 19.029 in.[4]

Mass

A number of units were used to measure mass. One rottolo was equal to 0.512 8 kg as it was defined by metric equivalent.[2][3] Some other units are given below (Note: these units too were defined by metric equivalents):

1 oka = 2.5 rottolo = 1282 g

1 metical = 4.76 g

1 kharouba = 1/2560 oka

1 dram = 1/160 oka

1 termino = 1/128 oka

1 uckin = 1/16 oka

1 mattaro = 42 oka

1 cantar = 100 oka.[2][3] In Tripoli, metical (73.6 grains) wnuas to measure gold and silver.[4]

Area

Several units were used to measure area. One pik2 was equal to 0.4624 m2 as it was defined by it metric equivalent.[2][3] Some other units were given below:

1 denum = 1600 pik2

1 jabia = 1800 pik2.[2][3]

Capacity

Two systems, dry and liquid were used to measure capacity.

Dry

Several units were used to measure dry capacity. One orba was equal to 7.5 l as it was defined by metric equivalent (According to some sources, one orba was equal to 7.692 l[3]).[2] Some other units were given below:

1 nufsorbah = 1/2 orba

1 marta = 2 orba[3]

1 kele = 2 orba[3]

1 temen = 4 orba

1 ueba = 16 orba.[2][3]

Following units were also used to measure dry capacity by weight:

1 oka =1282 g (defined by metric equivalent)

1 marta = 11 - 14 (oka of water)

1 kele = 2 marta.[2][3] In Tripoli, 1 cafiso (20 tiberi) was equal to 1.152 bushels.[4]

Liquid

Several units were used to measure liquid capacity. One barile was equal to 64.8 l as it was defined by metric equivalent (According to sources, one barile was equal to 62.4975 l.[3]).[2] One bozze was equal to 1/24 barile.[2][3] One gorraf was equal to 1/5 barrile, and giarra was nearly equal to 50/71 barile.[3] Following units were also used to measure liquid capacity by weight:

1 oka = 1282 g (defined by metric equivalent)

1 gorraf = 9.75 oka (of water)

1 giarra = 58.5 oka.[2][3] In Tripoli, Mataro, for oil, was equal to 9.163 gal.[4]

Marj (ancient Barca) and Fezzan

Barca and Fezzan had the same units as units in Tripoli.[4]

References

1. Cardarelli, F. (2003). Encyclopaedia of Scientific Units, Weights and Measures. Their SI Equivalences and Origins. London: Springer. p. 7. ISBN 978-1-4471-1122-1.
2. Washburn, E.W. (1926). International Critical Tables of Numerical Data, Physics, Chemistry and Technology. 1. New York: McGraw-Hil Book Company, Inc. p. 12.
3. Cardarelli, F. (2003). Encyclopaedia of Scientific Units, Weights and Measures. Their SI Equivalences and Origins. London: Springer. pp. 127–128. ISBN 978-1-4471-1122-1.
4. Clarke, F.W. (1891). Weights Measures and Money of All Nations. New York: D. Appleton & Company. p. 74.