Return to Numbers & Metrology in the 4th & 3rd millennium

ED IIIb metrology: texts from Lagaš

The following charts are based on the Lagaš royal inscriptions, and on the body of ED IIIb administrative texts mainly originating from the e2-mi2 / e2-dBa-U2 Girsu archive (approximately 1700 tablets). For an overview of the metrological systems used in the ED IIIb texts from Lagaš, see notably Powell, RlA 7, Selz AWEL, pp. 21-22. Contemporary metrological systems in usage in Nippur or Umma show many differences with those from Lagaš.

Bibliography.

  • Bauer, J. (1972). Altsumerische Wirtschaftstexte aus Lagash, Studia Pohl 9
  • Powell, M. (1971). Sumerian Numeration and Metrology, Ph.D thesis
  • Powell, M. (1987-1993) “Masse und Gewischte”, RlA 7, pp.
  • Selz, G. (1989). Die altsumerischen Wirtschaftsurkunden der Eremitage zu Leningrad, FAOS 15/1

Units of length

šu-si lagasimage002.jpg ca. 1,6 cm
↓ ×10
šu-du3-a lagasimage004.jpg ca. 0,16 m
↓ ×1 ½
šu-bad lagasimage006.jpg ca. 0,25 m
↓ ×2
kuš3 ca. 0.5 m
↓ ×6
gi lagasimage010.jpg ca. 3 m
↓ × 2
ninda-DU lagasimage012.jpg ca. 6 m
↓ × 10
1 eš2 ca. 60 m

Note also the existence of the gi si-sa2, mentioned in a few texts1).

Units of surface

giĝ42) lagasimage016.jpg ca. 0,6 m2
↓ ×60
sar lagasimage018.jpg ca. 36 m2
↓ ×100
iku (GAN2) ⅛ iku = 1 ubu lagasimage020.jpg ca. 0,36 ha
¼ iku lagasimage022.jpg
½ ikulagasimage024.jpg
1 iku lagasimage026.jpg
↓ ×6
eše3 (GAN2) lagasimage028.jpglagasimage029.jpg ca. 2,16 ha
↓ ×3
bur3 (GAN2) lagasimage031.jpg ca. 6,48 ha
↓ ×10
burʾu (GAN2) lagasimage033.jpglagasimage034.jpg ca. 64,6 ha
↓ 6
šar2 (GAN2) lagasimage035.jpglagasimage036.jpg ca. 388,8 ha
↓ ×10
šarʾu (GAN2) lagasimage039.jpg ca. 3888 ha

Units of capacity

Lagaš gur saĝ ĝal2:

sila3 lagasimage041.jpg ca. 1 l
↓ ×6
ban2 3) ca. 6 l
↓ ×6
bariga 4) ca. 36 l
↓ ×4
gur (saĝ ĝal2) lagasimage058.jpg ca. 144 l
↓ ×3600
guru7 lagasimage060.jpg ca. 5185 hl

Aside from the gur saĝ ĝal2, the ED IIIb texts from Lagaš show the use of the 72 sila3 gur “of 2 ul” (2 bariga).

sila3 lagasimage041.jpg ca. 1 l
↓ ×6
ban25) ca. 6 l
↓ ×6
bariga ca. 36 l
↓ ×2
gur ca. 144 l

Units of weight

giĝ4 lagasimage067.jpg ca. 500 g
↓ ×60
ma-na lagasimage069.jpg ca. 8,33 g

Fractions of ma-na:

,lagasimage071.jpg ,lagasimage073.jpg.

Fractions of giĝ4: and igi 3 – 4 – 5 – 6 ĝal2 f lagasimage075.jpg

Use of the sign NINDA2+KUR2+1 or 2, as noticed by Powell 6) : VS 14, 175, respectively ⅓ and ⅔ of the giĝ4.

lagasimage077.jpg and lagasimage079.jpg

Unlike later periods, amounts of ma-na superior to 60 in Lagaš are seemingly represented by the numeral 1(ĝeš2), instead of gu2, cf. VS 14, 183 (AWL 127). Rs. i. 1. 1(geš2) 2(u) 6(aš) ma-na sig2-mug siki u2-ka

As evidenced by several documents, diverse standards seem to have existed.

Two weights belonging to the sanga administrator Du-du give an idea of the value of the ma-na:

1st weight: ma-na, “regular” ma-na: 497.5 g

2nd weight: ma-na sig3-ba, “wool allocation”: 680.485 g 7)

According to the administrative documents, the ma-na unit is measured by means of the following weight stones:8)

  • ma-na na4 sig2-ba, “weight of wool allocation”
  • ma-na na4 si-sa2, “regular weight stone”
  • ma-na na4 ša3-tug2, “weight for clothes”
  • ma-na na4 Derki, “weight of the city of Dēr”

Page prepared by Camille Lecompte.

1)
Powell, RlA 7, p. 463: “it is not clear whether this denotes the reed of six cubits ot the nindan-reed of 12 cubits”.
2)
Also transliterated gin2.
3)
1(ban2) ; 2(ban2) ; 3(ban2) ; 4(ban2) lagasimage048.jpg; 5(ban2) lagasimage050.jpg
4)
1(bariga) ; 2(bariga) ; 3(bariga)
5)
1(ban2) ; 2(ban2) ; 3(ban2) , 4(ban2) lagasimage048.jpg ; 5(ban2) lagasimage050.jpg
6)
Powell 1971: 217-18; cf. also Powell RlA 7, p. 510, “little mina”.
7)
Powell RlA 7, p. 508.
8)
Selz AWEL 301, p. 530.
ed_iii_metrological_systems.txt · Last modified: 2016/04/12 10:31 by gombert
CC Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International
Driven by DokuWiki Recent changes RSS feed Valid CSS Valid XHTML 1.0