In German-speaking areas in Europe, 1st – 20ᵗʰcenturies, a unit of itinerant distance, varying with time and location, but generally about 7.5 kilometers.
The word is derived from a form of the Latin mille passus, (thousand paces). It entered German (without the passus) in the first century ce, about the same time as Strasse (street) came in from the Latin strata (road)¹, perhaps filling related needs. Latin mille is the source of the name of a unit of itinerant distance in many European langages, including the English “mile”. The various Meiles, however, are much larger than the English mile or the Roman mille passus. Its magnitude corresponds more closely to the French lieue, and it was formerly called the Rast. It may be a survival of a unit that preceded the Roman occupation unit. The French retained the Celtic name. They were so insistent upon retaining their measure that the Roman conquerors finally adopted it for Gaul. See leuca.
1. Friedrich Kluge.
An Etymological Dictionary of the German Language.
John Francis Davis, translator, from the fourth German edition.
London: George Bell and Sons, 1891.
|deutsche or geographische||1/15 grad of equator||7407.41||Ha148|
|= 2 Stunden = 2400 Ansbacher Ruthen = 26,400 Fuss
13 = 1 grad of equa
|Hannover||Polizeimeile = 2274 Hanoverian Ruthes = 36,384 Zell Fuss||10.5878||K191, D210|
19 Aug 1836
|Neue Postmeile = 1587½ Ruthen = 25,400 Fuss||7.419206||Do229, Ha120, D210|
|Hamburgh||same as Prussian = 2000 Rhineland Ruthen||7.538||K172|
|legal Silesian Meile = 30 Gewend = 150 Ketten = 1500
Ruthen = 11,250 Silesian Ellen = 22,500 Breslau Fuss.
1½ Silesian Meile = 1 Saxon Meile[?]
|Gdańsk||= 1800 Ruthen = 27,000 Gdańsk Fuss||7.749||K83, D211|
|= 260 Ruthen = 26000 Fuss|
adopted 16 May 1816
|= 2000 Rhineland Ruthes||7.532484|
|Polizeimeile = 4000 Viennese Klafter = 24,000 Fuss||7.58663||D209, Do501|
|Postmeile = 2 Meile|
|grosse Meile, = 2 Stunden||9.2612||D209|
30 Mar 1837
|= 1625 Ruthen||7.419422||Do145|
10 Dec 1817
|= 3000 Klafter||7.500||Do165|
10 Nov 1810
|= 2 Wegstuden. Do144: Stunde is 4.4454, Meile 8.8907 km. D202(trans): "One ordinarily takes this Meile, assuming the degree [of the meridian] is 111,111¹⁄₉ meters, for 8.88889 kilometers." In that case Stunde is 4.44444 km.||8.88889||Do144, D209|
|Weimar||= 1632 Ruthen = 26,112 Fuss||7.363024||Do486|
|Saxony||Polizeimeile = 2000 Ruthen = 32,000 Dresden Fuss = 28,880 Rhineland Fuss||9.0594||D211|
|Postmeile = 1500 ruthen = 24,000 Dresden Fuss||6.7946||D211|
|Mecklenburg||= 2000 perch = 24,000 Rhineland Fuss||7.5325||D210, Ha169|
|Westphalia||= 2 Stunden||11.1134||D211|
|Saxe-Weimar||= 1631 Ruthen = 26,096 Fuss||7.3585||D211|
In the table, the numbers following the symbols listed below are page numbers.
K Kelly, 1820.
Ne Nelkenbrecher, 1820
Ha Handels Almanach, 1838.
D Doursther, 1840.
Do Doring, 1854.
N Nelkenbrecher, 1890.
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Last revised: 7 September 2020.