The ancient civilization of Babylonia was quite the cultural forerunner in its time. The Babylonians had consistent laws, a complex written language, advanced agriculture, poetry, astronomy, some really curious mathematics using a unique base 60 system, and a pantheon whose chief bigshot Marduk made such upstart deities as Yahweh look like rank amateurs.

The Babylonian empire's wealth was renowned throughout the ancient world as well - it allowed Babylonians enough prosperity to devote their time to all those great cultural pursuits. But it's a wonder they were able to manage their assets effectively at all! Their measurement system was an utterly confusing mess, and the previous Sumerian system had been much worse. Here's how the Babylonians quantified their world:


Length:

The base unit is the she, the measure of the size of a barleycorn, about 1/360 of a meter.

6 she = 1 shu-si
30 shu-si = 1 kush
6 kush = 1 gi or qanu
12 kush = 1 nindan
10 nindan = 1 eshe
60 nindan = 1 USH
30 USH = 1 beru




Area:

Area measures are based on the sar, which is one square nindan or about 36 square meters.

180 she = 1 gin
60 gin = 1 sar
50 sar = 1 ubu
100 sar = 1 iku
6 iku = 1 eshe
18 iku = 1 bur (a rectangular area 1 beru by 1 nindan)




Volume:

Solid volume was computed in units identical to area units; a volumetric unit was defined as a box whose base was that of the corresponding areal unit and whose height was 1 kush.

Fluid volume followed a different convention. The base unit here is the sila, about 1 modern liter.

180 she = 1 gin
60 gin = 1 sila
10 sila = 1 ban
6 ban = 1 bariga
5 bariga = 1 gur




Weight:

Weight was based on the mana, approximately half a kilogram.

180 she = 1 gin or shiqlu
60 gin = 1 mana
60 mana = 1 gu or biltu




Data from http://it.stlawu.edu/~dmelvill/mesomath/obmetrology.html

Log in or registerto write something here or to contact authors.