The stadion (Greek: στάδιον;[1] Latin: stadium), formerly also anglicized as stade, was an ancient Greek unit of length, based on the circumference of a typical sports stadium of the time. According to Herodotus, one stadion was equal to 600 Greek feet (podes). However, the length of the foot varied in different parts of the Greek world, and the length of the stadion has been the subject of argument and hypothesis for hundreds of years.[2][3] Various hypothetical equivalent lengths have been proposed, and some have been named.[4] Among them are:

Stade name Length (approximate) Description Proposed by
metres yards
Itinerary 157 m 172 yd used in measuring the distance of a journey.[5] Jean Antoine Letronne, 1816[2]
Olympic 176 m 192 yd 600 × 294 mm Carl Ferdinand Friedrich Lehmann-Haupt, 1929[4][6]
Ptolemaic[7] or Attic 185 m 202 yd 600 × 308 mm Otto Cuntz, 1923;[4][7] D.R. Dicks, 1960[3][8]
Babylonian-Persian 196 m 214 yd 600 × 327 mm Lehmann-Haupt, 1929[4][6]
Phoenician-Egyptian 209 m 229 yd 600 × 349 mm Lehmann-Haupt, 1929[4][6]

An empirical determination of the length of the stadion was made by Lev Vasilevich Firsov, who compared 81 distances given by Eratosthenes and Strabo with the straight-line distances measured by modern methods, and averaged the results. He obtained a result of about 157.7 metres (172.5 yd).[2]

Which measure of the stadion is used can affect the interpretation of ancient texts. For example, the error in the calculation of the Earth's circumference by Eratosthenes[9] or Posidonius is dependent on which stadion is chosen to be appropriate.

During the Middle Ages and the modern period, the word stadium has been used as a synonym for the furlong, which is of Anglo-Saxon origin.[10]

References

1. ^
2. ^ a b c Donald Engels (1985). The Length of Eratosthenes' Stade. American Journal of Philology 106 (3): 298–311. doi:10.2307/295030 (subscription required).
3. ^ a b J. L. Berggren, Alexander Jones (2000). Ptolemy's Geography: An Annotated Translation of the Theoretical Chapters. Princeton: Princeton University Press. ISBN 9780691010427.
4. Edward Gulbekian (1987). The Origin and Value of the Stadion Unit used by Eratosthenes in the Third Century BC. Archive for History of Exact Sciences 37 (4): 359–363. doi:10.1007/BF00417008. (subscription required).
5. ^ Hoyle, Fred Astronomy, Rathbone Books Limited, London 1962 LC 62-14108
6. ^ a b c C.F. Lehmann-Haupt (1929) "Stadion"; in August Friedrich von Pauly (ed.), Paulys Real-Encyclopädie der classischen Altertumswissenschaft. Stuttgart: Metzler; cited in: Edward Gulbekian (1987). The Origin and Value of the Stadion Unit used by Eratosthenes in the Third Century BC. Archive for History of Exact Sciences 37 (4): 359–363. doi:10.1007/BF00417008. (subscription required).
7. ^ a b Otto Cuntz (1923). Die Geographie des Ptolemaeus: Galliae, Germania, Raetia, Noricum, Pannoniae, Illyricum, Italia (in German). Berlin: Weidmann. Cited by: Edward Gulbekian (1987). The Origin and Value of the Stadion Unit used by Eratosthenes in the Third Century BC. Archive for History of Exact Sciences 37 (4): 359–363. doi:10.1007/BF00417008. (subscription required).
8. ^ D.R. Dicks (1960). The Geographical Fragments of Hipparchus. Edited with an Introduction and Commentary. London: Athlone Press. Cited in: J. L. Berggren, Alexander Jones (2000). Ptolemy's Geography: An Annotated Translation of the Theoretical Chapters. Princeton: Princeton University Press. ISBN 9780691010427.
9. ^ Walkup, Newlyn (2005). "Eratosthenes and the Mystery of the Stades". The MAA Mathematical Sciences Digital Library. Retrieved 2008-07-29.
10. ^ Pausanias (2012-05-17). Pausanias's Description of Greece. ISBN 9781108047241.
Astronomical unit

The astronomical unit (symbol: au, ua, or AU) is a unit of length, roughly the distance from Earth to the Sun. However, that distance varies as Earth orbits the Sun, from a maximum (aphelion) to a minimum (perihelion) and back again once a year. Originally conceived as the average of Earth's aphelion and perihelion, since 2012 it has been defined as exactly 149,597,870,700 metres, or about 150 million kilometres (93 million miles). The astronomical unit is used primarily for measuring distances within the Solar System or around other stars. It is also a fundamental component in the definition of another unit of astronomical length, the parsec.

Eratosthenes

Eratosthenes of Cyrene (; Greek: Ἐρατοσθένης ὁ Κυρηναῖος, romanized: Eratosthénis o Kyrinaíos, IPA: [eratostʰénɛːs]; c. 276 BC – c. 195/194 BC) was a Greek polymath (mathematician, geographer, poet, astronomer, and music theorist). He was a man of learning, becoming the chief librarian at the Library of Alexandria. He invented the discipline of geography, including the terminology used today.He is best known for being the first person to calculate the circumference of the Earth, which he did by comparing angles of the mid-day Sun at two places a known North-South distance apart. His calculation was remarkably accurate. He was also the first to calculate the tilt of the Earth's axis, again with remarkable accuracy. Additionally, he may have accurately calculated the distance from the Earth to the Sun and invented the leap day. He created the first map of the world, incorporating parallels and meridians based on the available geographic knowledge of his era.

Eratosthenes was the founder of scientific chronology; he endeavoured to revise the dates of the chief literary and political events from the conquest of Troy. Eratosthenes dated The Sack of Troy to 1183 BC. In number theory, he introduced the sieve of Eratosthenes, an efficient method of identifying prime numbers.

He was a figure of influence in many fields. According to an entry in the Suda (a 10th-century reference), his critics scorned him, calling him Beta (the second letter of the Greek alphabet) because he always came in second in all his endeavors. Nonetheless, his devotees nicknamed him Pentathlos after the Olympians who were well rounded competitors, for he had proven himself to be knowledgeable in every area of learning. Eratosthenes yearned to understand the complexities of the entire world.

Furlong

A furlong is a measure of distance in imperial units and U.S. customary units equal to one eighth of a mile, equivalent to 660 feet, 220 yards, 40 rods, or 10 chains.

Using the international definition of the inch as exactly 25.4 millimetres, one furlong is 201.168 metres. However, the United States does not uniformly use this conversion ratio. Older ratios are in use for surveying purposes in some states, leading to variations in the length of the furlong of two parts per million, or about 0.4 millimetre (​1⁄64 inch). This variation is too small to have practical consequences in most applications. Five furlongs are about 1 kilometre (1.00584 km is the exact value, according to the international conversion).

Stadion (running race), an ancient Greek running event, part of the Olympic Games and other Panhellenic Games, and the name of the building in which it took place

Stadion metro station, a metro station in Stockholm, Sweden

Stadion (Vienna U-Bahn), a metro station in Vienna, Austria

Stadion (journal), a multilingual periodical newspaper for the history of sport

Stadion (state), a county of the Holy Roman Empire

Johann Philipp Stadion, Count von Warthausen (1763–1824), Austrian statesman

Franz Stadion, Count von Warthausen (1806–1853), Austrian statesman, son of the previous

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