alto palmo uno ed once nove

< Previous | Next >


Senior Member
This 1839 description of a 'Vaso cilindrico di piombo' found in Pompei gives its dimensions as
Alto palmo uno ed once nove, per palmo uno e once otto di diametro.

It seems that at some point the palmo was standardized in Naples at 26,4 cm ( Anybody knows what once nove and once otto would be?

Thanks very much in advance.
  • rainbowizard

    Senior Member
    Italian - Italy
    I cannot say for sure but one "oncia", when directly referred to a prime unit (as "palmo" in your excerpt) should be intended as 1/12 part of that prime misure.
    So, in your example "palmo uno ed once nove" should be "1.75 palmi" that is 1 palmo + 9/12 palmo. "palmo uno ed once otto" should be approx "1.67 palmi" that's 1 palmo + 8/12 palmo.

    Anyway these are pretty old standards and are now completely substituted by the MKS system.

    london calling

    Senior Member
    UK English
    TheChabon, see this Wiki article, I quote: :)

    NameLatin name Equivalent Roman value Metric equivalent
    Digitdigitus1341411618.5 mm
    Inch uncia orpollex 11311311224.6 mm
    Palm palmus minor 4311474 mm
    Great palmpalmus major129334222 mm
    Footpes161241296 mm
    Foot + palm palmipes20155114370 mm
    Cubitcubitus241861 12444 mm
    Metric equivalents are based on the estimated value 1 pes = 296 mm[4]
    Ancient Roman units of length


    Senior Member
    Thanks very much for both replies. I discovered a whole world I was not remotely aware of.

    With nine inch 'great palms' he would not have said palmo uno ed once nove but two palms. Soperhaps '1/12 palmo' is what the author was meaning here --or alternatively, the 26,4 cm palm is a 10 inch palm --sometimes engineers and technicians went decimal.

    If I ever get to any certainty I'll post back.
    < Previous | Next >