# Persian units of measurement

## Ancient Persian units

An official system of weights and measures was established in the ancient Persian Empire under the Achaemenid dynasty (550-350 BCE).

### Length

Persian unit Persian name Relation to previous unit Metric Value Imperial Value
finger aiwas  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[1][2][3]  187–195 m and = 360 cubits

### Volume

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).

### Weight

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.[4][5]

## Units used in modern Persia (Iran)

Some related units were used in Persia in the 19th century, and are still used in contemporary Iran.

### Length

1 arsani or ulna = 52-64 cm.
1 arish = 38.27 inches (97.21 cm)[6]
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.

### Volume

1 chenica = 1.32 liters.

## References

1. http://www.smithlifescience.com/AncientMeasurements.htm
2. http://www.loghatnaameh.org/dehkhodaworddetail-08b73cdcf25247689c183b1eaeec389f-fa.html
3. Measures from Antiquity and the Bible; http://users.aol.com/jackproot/met/antbible.html
4. Herodotus, Book III, 90-96
5. 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.
6. Rose, Joshua (1900). Pattern Makers Assistant (9th ed.). New York: D. van Nostrand Co. p. 264.