Oracc metrology guidelines

This page summarises the most widespread cuneiform metrological systems and units of second- and first-millennium Babylonia

Numbers in default "diš-less" notations

Unit fractions

Transliteration Lemmatisation Translation
𒈦1/2 n; 1/2
𒑚1/3 n; 1/3
𒑛2/3 n; 2/3
𒑜5/6 n; 5/6
𒅆𒐋𒅅IGI 6-GAL₂ +igû[reciprocal]N$igi; n a 6th

Ones

Transliteration Lemmatisation Translation
𒁹1 n; 1
𒈫2 n; 2
𒐈3 n; 3
𒐉4 n; 4
𒐼4@v n; 4
𒐊5 n; 5
𒐋6 n; 6
𒐌7 n; 7
𒑂7@v n; 7
𒐍8 n; 8
𒑄8@v n; 8
𒑆9 n; 9
𒑈9@v n; 9

Tens

Transliteration Lemmatisation Translation
𒌋10 n; 10
𒌋𒌋20 n; 20
𒌍30 n; 30
𒐏40 n; 40
𒐐50 n; 50

Classic Ur III and Old Babylonian metrologies

Length

Transliteration Lemmatisation Translation and relationships Approximate modern value
𒁹𒋗𒋛1 ŠU.SI n; +ubānu[finger//unit]N$ubān 1 finger 17 mm
𒁹𒌑1 KUŠ₃ n; +ammat[forearm//unit]N$ammat 1 cubit = 30 fingers 0.5 m
𒁹𒃻1 NINDA n; +nindanu[rod//unit]N$nindan 1 rod = 12 cubits 6 m
𒁹𒂠1 EŠE₂ n; +ašlu[unit]N$ašal 1 rope = 10 rods 60 m
𒁹𒍑1 UŠ n; +UŠ[unit]N$; (Akkadian unknown) 1 cable = 1 00 rods 360 m
𒁹𒆜𒁍1 DANNA n; +bēru[unit]N$bēr 1 league = 30 00 rods or 30 cables 10.8 km

Area, volume and bricks

Transliteration Lemmatisation Translation and relationships Approximate modern value
𒁹𒊬1 SAR n; +mūšaru[garden(-plot)//unit]N$mūšar 1 area mūšarum = 1 rod square 36 m²
𒁹𒊬1 SAR n; +mūšaru[garden(-plot)//unit]N$mūšar 1 volume mūšarum = 1 area mūšarum × 1 cubit 18 m³
𒁹𒊬1 SAR n; +mūšaru[garden(-plot)//unit]N$mūšar 1 brick mūšarum = 12 00 bricks 720 bricks
𒃷*GANA₂ (no lemmatisation or translation; punctuation/reading aid for the large count-unit graphemes of the area-volume system)
𒑠1/4(IKU) n; 1/4(ikûm) or 1/2(ubûm) = 25 mūšarum 900 m², 450 m³ or 18,000 bricks
𒀹1/2(IKU) n; 1/2(ikûm) or 1(ubûm) = 50 mūšarum 1800 m², 900 m³, or 36,000 bricks
𒀸1(IKU) n; 1(ikûm) = 2(ubûm) = 1 40 mūšarum 3600 m², 1800 m³ or 72,000 bricks
𒐀2(IKU) n; 2(ikûm)
𒐁3(IKU) n; 3(ikûm)
𒐻3(IKU)@v n; 3(ikûm)
𒐂4(IKU) n; 4(ikûm)
𒐃5(IKU) n; 5(ikûm)
𒑘1(EŠE₃) n; 1(eblum) = 6(ikûm) 2.16 ha or 108,000 m³
𒑙2(EŠE₃) n; 2(eblum)
𒌋1(BUR₃) n; 1(būrum) = 3(eblum) = 18(ikûm) 6.48 ha or 324,000 m³
𒌋𒌋2(BUR₃) n; 2(būrum)
𒌍3(BUR₃) n; 3(būrum)
3(BUR₂)@v n; 3(būrum)
𒐏4(BUR₃) n; 4(būrum)
𒐐5(BUR₃) n; 5(būrum)
𒐑6(BUR₃) n; 6(būrum)
𒐒7(BUR₃) n; 7(būrum)
𒐓8(BUR₃) n; 8(būrum)
𒐔9(BUR₃) n; 9(būrum)
𒐴1(BURʾU) n; 10(būrum) = 30(eblum) 64.8 ha or 0.648 km²
𒐵2(BURʾU) n; 20(būrum)
𒐶3(BURʾU) n; 30(būrum)
𒐷3(BURʾU)@v n; 30(būrum)
𒐸4(BURʾU) n; 40(būrum)
𒐹5(BURʾU) n; 50(būrum)
𒊹1(ŠAR₂) n; 1 00(būrum) 390 ha or 3.9 km²
𒐣2(ŠAR₂) n; 2 00(būrum)
𒐤3(ŠAR₂) n; 3 00(būrum)
𒐥3(ŠAR₂)@v n; 3 00(būrum)
𒐦4(ŠAR₂) n; 4 00(būrum)
𒐧5(ŠAR₂) n; 5 00(būrum)
𒐨6(ŠAR₂) n; 6 00(būrum)
𒐩7(ŠAR₂) n; 7 00(būrum)
𒐪8(ŠAR₂) n; 8 00(būrum)
𒐫9(ŠAR₂) n; 9 00(būrum)
𒐬1(ŠARʾU) n; 10 00(būrum) 3900 ha or 39 km²
𒐭2(ŠARʾU) n; 20 00(būrum)
𒐮3(ŠARʾU) n; 30 00(būrum)
𒐯3(ŠARʾU)@v n; 30 00(būrum)
𒐰4(ŠARʾU) n; 40 00(būrum)
𒐱5(ŠARʾU) n; 50 00(būrum)
𒊹𒃲1(ŠARGAL){gal} n; 1 00 00(būrum) 22.3 km

Capacity

Transliteration Lemmatisation Translation and relationships Approximate modern value
𒁹𒋡1 SILA₃ n; +qû[unit]N$qā 1 qûm 1 litre
𒑏1(BAN₂) n; 1(sūtum) = 10 10 litres
𒑐2(BAN₂) n; 2(sūtum)
𒑑3(BAN₂) n; 3(sūtum)
𒑒4(BAN₂) n; 4(sūtum)
𒑓4(BAN₂)@v n; 4(sūtum)
𒑔5(BAN₂) n; 5(sūtum)
𒑕5(BAN₂)@v n; 5(sūtum)
𒁹1(BARIG) n; 1(pānum) = 6(sūtum) 60 litres
𒑖2(BARIG) n; 2(pānum)
𒑗3(BARIG) n; 3(pānum)
𒐉4(BARIG) n; 4(pānum)
𒀸𒄥1(AŠ) GUR n; +kurru[unit]N$kur 1 kurrum = 5(pānum) 300 litres
𒐀𒄥2(AŠ) GUR n; +kurru[unit]N$kur 2 kurrum
𒐁𒄥3(AŠ) GUR n; +kurru[unit]N$kur 3 kurrum
𒐻𒄥3(AŠ)@v GUR n; +kurru[unit]N$kur 3 kurrum
𒐂𒄥4(AŠ) GUR n; +kurru[unit]N$kur 4 kurrum
𒐃𒄥5(AŠ) GUR n; +kurru[unit]N$kur 5 kurrum
𒐄𒄥6(AŠ) GUR n; +kurru[unit]N$kur 6 kurrum
𒐅𒄥7(AŠ) GUR n; +kurru[unit]N$kur 7 kurrum
𒐆𒄥8(AŠ) GUR n; +kurru[unit]N$kur 8 kurrum
𒐇𒄥9(AŠ) GUR n; +kurru[unit]N$kur 9 kurrum
𒌋𒄥1(U) GUR n; +kurru[unit]N$kur 10 kurrum = 50(pānum) 3000 litres
𒌋𒌋𒄥2(U) GUR n; +kurru[unit]N$kur 20 kurrum
𒌍𒄥3(U) GUR n; +kurru[unit]N$kur 30 kurrum
𒐏𒄥4(U) GUR n; +kurru[unit]N$kur 40 kurrum
𒐐𒄥5(U) GUR n; +kurru[unit]N$kur 50 kurrum
𒐕𒄥1(GEŠ₂) GUR n; +kurru[unit]N$kur 1 00 kurrum = 5 00(pānum) 18,000 litres
𒐖𒄥2(GEŠ₂) GUR n; +kurru[unit]N$kur
𒐗𒄥3(GEŠ₂) GUR n; +kurru[unit]N$kur
𒐘𒄥4(GEŠ₂) GUR n; +kurru[unit]N$kur
𒐙𒄥5(GEŠ₂) GUR n; +kurru[unit]N$kur
𒐚𒄥6(GEŠ₂) GUR n; +kurru[unit]N$kur
𒐛𒄥7(GEŠ₂) GUR n; +kurru[unit]N$kur
𒐜𒄥8(GEŠ₂) GUR n; +kurru[unit]N$kur
𒐝𒄥9(GEŠ₂) GUR n; +kurru[unit]N$kur
𒐞𒄥1(GEŠʾU) GUR n; +kurru[unit]N$kur 10 00 kurrum 180,000 litres
𒐟𒄥2(GEŠʾU) GUR n; +kurru[unit]N$kur
𒐠𒄥3(GEŠʾU) GUR n; +kurru[unit]N$kur
𒐡𒄥4(GEŠʾU) GUR n; +kurru[unit]N$kur
𒐢𒄥5(GEŠʾU) GUR n; +kurru[unit]N$kur
𒊹𒄥1(ŠAR₂) GUR n; +kurru[unit]N$kur 1 00 00 kurrum = 1 karûm 1,080,000 litres
𒐣𒄥2(ŠAR₂) GUR n; +kurru[unit]N$kur
𒐤𒄥3(ŠAR₂) GUR n; +kurru[unit]N$kur
𒐦𒄥4(ŠAR₂) GUR n; +kurru[unit]N$kur
𒐧𒄥5(ŠAR₂) GUR n; +kurru[unit]N$kur
𒐨𒄥6(ŠAR₂) GUR n; +kurru[unit]N$kur
𒐩𒄥7(ŠAR₂) GUR n; +kurru[unit]N$kur
𒐪𒄥8(ŠAR₂) GUR n; +kurru[unit]N$kur
𒐫𒄥9(ŠAR₂) GUR n; +kurru[unit]N$kur
𒐬𒄥1(ŠARʾU) GUR n; +kurru[unit]N$kur 10 00 00 kurrum = 10 karûm 10,800,000 litres
𒐭𒄥2(ŠARʾU) GUR n; +kurru[unit]N$kur
𒐮𒄥3(ŠARʾU) GUR n; +kurru[unit]N$kur
𒐰𒄥4(ŠARʾU) GUR n; +kurru[unit]N$kur
𒐱𒄥5(ŠARʾU) GUR n; +kurru[unit]N$kur
𒀸𒄦1(AŠ) GUR₇ n; +karû[grain-heap//unit]N$karā 1 karûm = 1 00 00 kurrum 1,080,000 litres
𒐀𒄦2(AŠ) GUR₇ n; +karû[grain-heap//unit]N$karā
𒐁𒄦3(AŠ) GUR₇ n; +karû[grain-heap//unit]N$karā
𒐂𒄦4(AŠ) GUR₇ n; +karû[grain-heap//unit]N$karā
𒐃𒄦5(AŠ) GUR₇ n; +karû[grain-heap//unit]N$karā
𒐄𒄦6(AŠ) GUR₇ n; +karû[grain-heap//unit]N$karā
𒐅𒄦7(AŠ) GUR₇ n; +karû[grain-heap//unit]N$karā
𒐆𒄦8(AŠ) GUR₇ n; +karû[grain-heap//unit]N$karā
𒐇𒄦9(AŠ) GUR₇ n; +karû[grain-heap//unit]N$karā
𒌋𒄦1(U) GUR₇ n; +karû[grain-heap//unit]N$karā 10 karûm = 10 00 00 kurrum 10,800,000 lires
𒌋𒌋𒄦2(U) GUR₇ n; +karû[grain-heap//unit]N$karā
𒌍𒄦3(U) GUR₇ n; +karû[grain-heap//unit]N$karā
𒐏𒄦4(U) GUR₇ n; +karû[grain-heap//unit]N$karā
𒐐𒄦5(U) GUR₇ n; +karû[grain-heap//unit]N$karā

Weight

Transliteration Lemmatisation Translation and relationships Approximate modern value
𒁹𒊺1 ŠE n; +uṭṭatu[barley//unit]N$uṭṭat 1 grain 0.05 g
𒁹𒂆1 GIN₂ n; +šiqlu[unit]N$šiqil 1 shekel = 3 00 grains 8.3 g
𒁹𒈠𒈾1 MA.NA n; +manû[unit]N$manā 1 mina = 1 00 shekels 0.5 kg
𒀸𒄘𒌦1(AŠ) GUN (or GU₂) n; +biltu[load//unit]N$bilat 1 talent = 1 00 minas 30 kg
𒐀𒄘𒌦2(AŠ) GUN n; +biltu[load//unit]N$bilat
𒐁𒄘𒌦3(AŠ) GUN n; +biltu[load//unit]N$bilat
𒐂𒄘𒌦4(AŠ) GUN n; +biltu[load//unit]N$bilat
𒐃𒄘𒌦5(AŠ) GUN n; +biltu[load//unit]N$bilat
𒐄𒄘𒌦6(AŠ) GUN n; +biltu[load//unit]N$bilat
𒐅𒄘𒌦7(AŠ) GUN n; +biltu[load//unit]N$bilat
𒐆𒄘𒌦8(AŠ) GUN n; +biltu[load//unit]N$bilat
𒐇𒄘𒌦9(AŠ) GUN n; +biltu[load//unit]N$bilat
𒌋𒄘𒌦1(U) GUN n; +biltu[load//unit]N$bilat 10 talents 300 kg
𒌋𒌋𒄘𒌦2(U) GUN n; +biltu[load//unit]N$bilat
𒌍𒄘𒌦3(U) GUN n; +biltu[load//unit]N$bilat
𒐏𒄘𒌦4(U) GUN n; +biltu[load//unit]N$bilat
𒐐𒄘𒌦5(U) GUN n; +biltu[load//unit]N$bilat
𒐕𒄘𒌦1(GEŠ₂) GUN n; +biltu[load//unit]N$bilat 1 00 talents 1800 kg
𒐖𒄘𒌦2(GEŠ₂) GUN n; +biltu[load//unit]N$bilat
𒐗𒄘𒌦3(GEŠ₂) GUN n; +biltu[load//unit]N$bilat
𒐘𒄘𒌦4(GEŠ₂) GUN n; +biltu[load//unit]N$bilat
𒐙𒄘𒌦5(GEŠ₂) GUN n; +biltu[load//unit]N$bilat
𒐚𒄘𒌦6(GEŠ₂) GUN n; +biltu[load//unit]N$bilat
𒐛𒄘𒌦7(GEŠ₂) GUN n; +biltu[load//unit]N$bilat
𒐜𒄘𒌦8(GEŠ₂) GUN n; +biltu[load//unit]N$bilat
𒐝𒄘𒌦9(GEŠ₂) GUN n; +biltu[load//unit]N$bilat
𒐞𒄘𒌦1(GEŠʾU) GUN n; +biltu[load//unit]N$bilat 10 00 talents 18,000 kg or 18 tonnes
𒐟𒄘𒌦2(GEŠʾU) GUN n; +biltu[load//unit]N$bilat
𒐠𒄘𒌦3(GEŠʾU) GUN n; +biltu[load//unit]N$bilat
𒐡𒄘𒌦4(GEŠʾU) GUN n; +biltu[load//unit]N$bilat
𒐢𒄘𒌦5(GEŠʾU) GUN n; +biltu[load//unit]N$bilat
𒊹𒄘𒌦1(ŠAR₂) GUN n; +biltu[load//unit]N$bilat 1 00 00 talents 108,000 kg or 108 tonnes
𒐣𒄘𒌦2(ŠAR₂) GUN n; +biltu[load//unit]N$bilat
𒐤𒄘𒌦3(ŠAR₂) GUN n; +biltu[load//unit]N$bilat
𒐦𒄘𒌦4(ŠAR₂) GUN n; +biltu[load//unit]N$bilat
𒐧𒄘𒌦5(ŠAR₂) GUN n; +biltu[load//unit]N$bilat
𒐨𒄘𒌦6(ŠAR₂) GUN n; +biltu[load//unit]N$bilat
𒐩𒄘𒌦7(ŠAR₂) GUN n; +biltu[load//unit]N$bilat
𒐪𒄘𒌦8(ŠAR₂) GUN n; +biltu[load//unit]N$bilat
𒐫𒄘𒌦9(ŠAR₂) GUN n; +biltu[load//unit]N$bilat
𒐬𒄘𒌦1(ŠARʾU) GUN n; +biltu[load//unit]N$bilat 10 00 00 talents 1,080 tonnes
𒐭𒄘𒌦2(ŠARʾU) GUN n; +biltu[load//unit]N$bilat
𒐮𒄘𒌦3(ŠARʾU) GUN n; +biltu[load//unit]N$bilat
𒐰𒄘𒌦4(ŠARʾU) GUN n; +biltu[load//unit]N$bilat
𒐱𒄘𒌦5(ŠARʾU) GUN n; +biltu[load//unit]N$bilat 50 00 00 talents 5,400 tonnes

Kassite and first-millennium metrologies

arû-measure for lengths and areas

Transliteration Lemmatisation Translation and relationships Approximate modern value
𒁹𒋗𒋛1 ŠU.SI n; +ubānu[finger//unit]N$ubān 1 (big) finger 3.1 cm
𒁹𒌑1 KUŠ₃ n; +ammat[forearm//unit]N$ammat 1 arû-cubit = 24 (big) fingers 75 cm
𒄿𒈾𒁹𒌑𒀀𒁺𒂊i-na 1 KUŠ₃ A.RA₂{+e} +ina[//by]PRP$; n; ammat[unit]N; +arû[unit]N$arê by the arû-cubit
𒁹𒃻1 NINDA n; +nindanu[rod//unit]N$nindan 1 rod = 12 cubits 9 m
𒁹𒊬1 SAR n; +mūšaru[garden(-plot)//unit]N$mūšar 1 rod × 1 rod = 1 mūšaru 81 m²

arû 'seed measure' for areas and capacities

Transliteration Lemmatisation Translation and relationships Approximate modern value
𒁹𒋡1 SILA₃ n; +qû[unit]N$qā 1 270 m²
𒑏1(BAN₂) n; 1(sūtu) = 10 0.27 ha
𒑐2(BAN₂) n; 2(sūtu)
𒑑3(BAN₂) n; 3(sūtu)
𒑒4(BAN₂) n; 4(sūtu)
𒑓4(BAN₂)@v n; 4(sūtu)
𒑔5(BAN₂) n; 5(sūtu)
𒑕5(BAN₂)@v n; 5(sūtu)
𒉿*PI (no lemmatisation or translation; punctuation/reading aid for the large count-unit graphemes of the arû system)
𒁹1(BARIG) n; 1(pānu) = 6(sūtu) 1.62 ha
𒑖2(BARIG) n; 2(pānu)
𒑗3(BARIG) n; 3(pānu)
𒐉4(BARIG) n; 4(pānu)
𒀸𒄥1(AŠ) GUR n; +kurru[unit]N$kur 1 kurru = 5 pānu = 10(ikû) 8.1 ha

aslu 'reed measure' for lengths and areas

Transliteration Lemmatisation Translation and relationships Approximate modern value
𒁹𒋗𒋛1 ŠU.SI n; +ubānu[finger//unit]N$ubān 1 (small) finger 2 cm
𒁹𒌑1 KUŠ₃ n; +ammat[forearm//unit]N$ammat 1 aslu-cubit = 24 fingers 0.5 m
𒀸𒁹𒌑𒊍𒈝Ina 1 KUŠ₃ as-lu₄ +ina[in//by]PRP$; n; ammat[unit]N; +aslu[unit]N$ by the aslu-cubit
𒁹𒃻1 NINDA n; +nindanu[rod//unit]N$nindan 1 rod = 12 cubits 6 m
𒁹𒍮𒌒𒉺𒀭1 ṣu-up-pa-an n; +ṣuppān[unit]N$ 1 chain = 5 rods = 60 cubits 30 m
𒁹𒍑1 UŠ n; +UŠ[unit]N$; (Akkadian unknown) 1 cable = 2 chains = 10 rods 60 m
𒁹𒊬1 SAR n; +mūšaru[garden(-plot)//unit]N$mūšar 1 rod × 1 rod = 1 mūšaru 36 m²
𒃷*GANA₂ (no lemmatisation or translation; punctuation/reading aid for the large count-unit graphemes of the area-volume system)
𒀸1(IKU) n; 1(ikû) = 1 40 mūšaru 0.36 ha

aslu 'seed measure' for areas and capacities

Transliteration Lemmatisation Translation and relationships Approximate modern value
𒁹𒊺1 ŠE n; +uṭṭatu[barley//unit]N$uṭṭat 1 grain 70 cm²
𒁹𒃻1 NINDA n; +akalu[bread//unit]N$akal 1 akalu = 18 00 grains 7.5 m²
𒁹𒋡1 SILA₃ n; +qû[unit]N$qā 1 = 10 akalu 75 m²
𒑏1(BAN₂) n; 1 sūtu = 6 450 m²
𒑐2(BAN₂) n; 2(sūtu)
𒑑3(BAN₂) n; 3(sūtu)
𒑒4(BAN₂) n; 4(sūtu)
𒑓4(BAN₂)@v n; 4(sūtu)
𒑔5(BAN₂) n; 5(sūtu)
𒑕5(BAN₂)@v n; 5(sūtu)
𒉿*PI (no lemmatisation or translation; punctuation/reading aid for the large count-unit graphemes of the arû system)
𒁹1(BARIG) n; 1(pānu) = 6 sūtu 0.27 ha
𒑖2(BARIG) n; 2(pānu)
𒑗3(BARIG) n; 3(pānu)
𒐉4(BARIG) n; 4(pānu)
𒀸𒄥1(AŠ) GUR n; +kurru[unit]N$kur 1 kurru = 5(pānu) 1.35 ha

'Reed measure' for small lengths and areas

Transliteration Lemmatisation Translation and relationships Approximate modern value
𒁹𒋗𒋛1 ŠU.SI n; +ubānu[finger//unit]N$ubān 1 finger 2 cm
𒁹𒌑1 KUŠ₃ n; +ammat[forearm//unit]N$ammat 1 cubit = 24 fingers 0.5 m
𒁹𒄀1 GI n; +qanû[reed//unit]N$qanā 1 reed = 7 cubits 3.5 m
𒁹𒃻1 NINDA n; +nindanu[rod//unit]N$nindan 1 rod = 2 reeds or 14 cubits 7 m
𒁹𒋗𒋛𒌉1 ŠU.SI TUR n; +ubānu[finger//unit]N$ubān; +ṣehru[small]AJ$ṣehertu 1 finger × 1 finger = 1 small finger 4 cm²
𒁹𒊺1 ŠE n; +uṭṭatu[barley//unit]N$uṭṭat 1 cubit × 1 finger = 1 grain 100 cm²
𒁹𒋗𒋛1 ŠU.SI n; +ubānu[finger//unit]N$ubān 1 reed × 1 finger = 1 area finger 730 cm²
𒁹𒋢𒌉1 KUŠ TUR n; ammat[unit]N; +ṣehru[small]AJ$ṣehertu 1 cubit × 1 cubit = 1 small cubit 0.25 m²
𒁹𒋢1 KUŠ n; +ammat[forearm//unit]N$ammat 1 reed × 1 cubit = 1 area cubit 1.75 m²
𒁹𒄀1 GI n; +qanû[reed//unit]N$qanā 1 reed × 1 reed = 1 area reed 12.25 m²
23 Jul 2014 osc at oracc dot org

Eleanor Robson

Eleanor Robson, 'Oracc metrology guidelines', Oracc: The Open Richly Annotated Cuneiform Corpus, Oracc, 2014 [http://oracc.museum.upenn.edu/doc/help/editinginatf/metrology/metrologicaltables/]

 
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