ETRUSCAN UNITS OF MEASUREMENT
- In common with many other state-organized societies, the Etruscans developed standardized units of measurement for value (as represented by coinage) and the closely related issue of weight, length, and time. These potentially formed a means of hierarchical control, but given the regionality of Etruscan organization based on individual cities, complete standardization was unlikely to have been achieved. The evidence for units of length has been investigated in at least the two sites of Murlo and Marzabotto, which may have provided chronologically distinct phases of development. In the case of Murlo, a predictable unit of measurement of 0.27 meters has been proposed for both the Orientalizing and Archaic phase buildings on the site, showing a local regional continuity. This interpretation becomes more convincing because it appears to apply not only to the building foundations, but also to the component parts such as tiles. In the case of fifth-century BC Marzabotto, initial work suggested a regular urban layout based on four 15-meter-wide streets, interspersed with 5-meter-wide streets. This street layout divided the city into regular sections originally conceived as 144 meters long and between 36 and 40 meters wide. More recent work has, however, emphasized the governance of religion in the layout of the city, based more on cosmological considerations, which show the measurements to vary between 190.3 and 158.7 meters.
Historical Dictionary of the Etruscans. Simon K. F. Stoddart.
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