, one of the contests in the ancient Olympic Games
, featuring men in full armor
running the 600 pou1
length of Olympia
's largest athletic enclosure, or "stadium
The stadion became the principal unit of distance
in ancient Greece
; thus we see Phidippides
run from the plain of Marathon
, after the Athenian victory over the Persia
ns, represented as thirty-five stadia, and Eratosthenes
' lucky estimate of the Earth's circumference given as 250,000 stadia.
In modern times, the length of the stadion is assumed to be the length of the Olympia stadium, about 607 standard feet, or 185 meter
However, there being no standard
s bodies in ancient times, the length of the stadion varied from place to place, and also as time passed. The existence of several different distancees labeled as "foot
" only added to the confusion. Other stadia have lengths of 192.27m, 177.6m, 197.3m, 101.25m, 99.9m or even 82.75m!
Some of these other measurements may have caused Christopher Columbus
to vastly underestimate the length of his 1492
trip to Japan
artabic or Greek feet.