Rome
18th – 19th century

The metric system was introduced to the Roman State by a law of 1848, which made use of the system mandatory by 1 January 1850. However, as Martini comments, “ma sta nel fatto che fino al 1 gennaio 1871 si usavano a Roma le antiche Misure ed i Pesi seguenti” (“but the fact is, that until January 1, 1871, the following old weights and measures were used in Rome”).

Units of length

   

miglio romana

             

catena agrimensoria

~116

             

catena architettonica

 

133 1/3

     

canna architettonica

5

666 2/3

         

canna mercantile

 

 

 

 

         

passo geometrico

 

 

1000

           

staiole

 

 

 

 

10

 

     

braccio mercantile

 

 

2

 

 

 

 

   

braccio or passetto

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

braccio da tessitore

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

pied romano

 

 

 

 

5

 

 

 

5000

 

palmo

 

3

 

 

 

10

 

 

 

Tavole, 1877

223.4218
mm

297.895
mm

636.140
mm

670.265
mm

995.95
mm

1.284675
m

1.489
m

1.991897
m

2.234218
m

11.171
m

12.846
m

1.489479
km

Subdivisions of the canna architettonica
     

canna architettonica

 

palmo architettonica or romano

10

   

oncia

12

120

 

minuto

5

60

600

decimo

2

10

120

1200

1.86
mm

3.72
mm

18.62
mm

223.4218
mm

2234.218
mm

Subdivisions of the canna mercantile
   

canna mercantile

braccio mercantile

2

palmo mercantile

4

8

parto

3

12

24

83
mm

249.000
mm

995.95
mm

1.991897
mm

Note that though the canna architettonica is larger than the canna mercantile, the palmo mercantile is larger than the palmo architettonica.

Subdivisions of the braccio da tessitore

braccio da tessitore

palmo da tela

3

212
mm

636
mm

An additional system was in use in the Church. It was very old; the palmo of this system is 5 ancient Roman unciæ. The braccio d'ara is the Roman gradus or passus minor.

     

canna d'ara

   

braccio d'ara

   

palmo d'ara or palmo sacre

6

9

Doursther, 1840  

125
mm

0.75
m

1.125
m

On 6 July 1816 the Congregazione dei Catasti, in a project to metrify the land records of the Roman state, gave the names of existing Italian units to the new metric units, usually a bad idea. The meter was called a canna censuaria, the decimeter a palmo, the centimeter an oncia, and the millimeter a minuto.

Units of land area

       

rubbio

     

quarta

4

   

scorzo

4

16

 

quartuccio

4

16

64

staiolo

175

700

2800

11,200

1.65
sq. m

288.82
sq. m

1155.3
sq. m

4,621.1
sq. m

18,484.38
sq. m

For vineyards
       

pezza

     

quarta

4

   

ordine

40

160

 

staiolo

10

400

1600

Tavole, 1877

1.65
sq. m

16.504
sq. m

660.158
sq. m

2,640.63
sq. m

Note that the staiolo of area is a square staiolo of length. One square catena agrimensoria = 10 ordini or 100 staioli, and the vineyard quarta = 4 square catena agrimensoria.

In the cadastral project of the Congregazione dei Catasti, described above:

     

quadrato

 

tavola censuaria

10

canna quadrata

1000

10,000

square palmo

100

100,000

1,000,000

100
sq. cm

1
sq. m

1000
sq. m

10,000
sq. m

Units of dry capacity

     

rubbio

   

quarta

4

 

scorzo

22

quartucci

4

22

88

3.346
L

13.385
L

736.162
L

294.46
L

Older Subdivisions of the rubbio
       

rubbio

   

rubbiatella

2

   

quarta

2

4

 

staia

3

6

12

quartuccio delle dodici

4

12

24

48

6.135
L

24.539
L

73.616
L

147.233
L

294.46
L

     

rubbio

   

quarta

4

staio or starello or coppa

4

16

quartuccio delle sedici

4

16

64

4.601
L

18.404
L

73.616
L

294.465
L

For fodder

rubbio da biada

quarta

4

62.365
L

249.458
L

As is common, this capacity measure tended to turn into a measure of mass:

Fave, ceci, fagiuoli ed altri prodotti si misuravano come la biada o si vendevano a peso, calcolando il Rubbio per 720 Libbre romane = chilogr. 244,131732. Ultimamentè biada, fave, ceci, fagiuoli, ecc. misuravansi a. Quarta del grano, calcolando 5 di dette Quarte rase per un Rubbio.

Broad beans, chickpeas, beans and other products were measured as fodder was, or sold by weight, reckoning the rubbio as 720 libbre romane = 244.131732 kilograms. Lately fodder, broad beans, chickpeas, beans, etc. have been measured in grain quartas, calculating 5 of the said quarta, stricken, for a rubbio.

Martini, 1883 (page 598).

For salt
     

rubbio

   

quarta

2

 

scorzo

6

12

quartuccio

4

24

48

3.429
L

13.717
L

82.299
L

164.598
L

Salt also came to be sold by weight, reckoning a rubbio as 600 libbre romane (203.443110 kilograms).

Some special units:

Units of liquid capacity

For wine
             

botte

           

soma

8

         

barile

2

16

     

quartarolo

4

8

64

     

boccale

8

32

64

128

   

mezzo

2

16

64

128

256

 

foglietta

2

4

32

128

256

2048

quartuccio

4

8

16

128

512

1024

8192

113.948
mL

455.794
mL

911.587
mL

1.823
L

14.585
L

58.342
L

116.6832
L

933.465
L

For oil
           

soma

       

mastello

2

       

barile

1 3/7

2 6/7

   

cognatella

7

10

20

 

boccale

4

28

40

80

 

foglietta

4

16

112

160

320

quartuccia

4

16

64

448

6400

12,800

128.305
mL

513.220
mL

2.053
L

8.212
L

57.481
L

82.115
L

164.230
L

Units of mass

               

migliaio

       

centinaio or quintale

10

           

decina

10

100

         

libbra

10

100

1000

       

oncia

12

120

1200

12,000

     

ottava

8

96

960

9600

96,000

 

scrupolo or denaro

3

24

288

2880

28,800

288,000

 

grano

24

72

576

6912

69,210

692,100

6,921,000

 

49.056
mg

1.177
g

3.532
g

28.256
g

339.072
g

3.391
kg

33.907
kg

339.07185
kg

                 
Apothecaries weight
         

libbra

       

oncia

12

   

dramma

8

96

 

scrupolo

8

64

768

 

grano

24

192

1536

18,432

parti or ventiquattresimo

24

576

4608

36,864

442,368

2.044
mg

49.056
mg

1.177
g

3.532
g

28.256
g

399.071850
g

For gold and silver
       

libbra

     

oncia

12

   

denaro

24

288

 

grano

24

576

6912

parti or ventiquattresimi

24

576

13,824

165,888

2.044
mg

49.055
mg

1.177
g

28.256
g

339.071850
g

X

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