Foot (unit of length)

Foot (unit of length)

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A foot is a Belgian city and municipality located in the Flemish province West Flanders...

Belgium voet 297.6 Galicia Ukraine stopa galicyjska 296.96 Part of Austria before World War I Tournai
Tournai is a Walloon city and municipality of Belgium located 85 kilometres southwest of Brussels, on the river Scheldt, in the province of Hainaut....

Belgium pied 297.77 Warsaw
Warsaw is the capital and largest city of Poland. It is located on the Vistula River, roughly from the Baltic Sea and from the Carpathian Mountains. Its population in 2010 was estimated at 1,716,855 residents with a greater metropolitan area of 2,631,902 residents, making Warsaw the 10th most...

Poland stopa 297.8 until 1819 288.0 (From 1819) Polish stopa Bloois (Zeeland) Netherlands voet 301.0 Nürnberg Germany Fuß 303.75 Meiningen
Meiningen is a town in Germany - located in the southern part of the state of Thuringia and is the district seat of Schmalkalden-Meiningen. It is situated on the river Werra....

Hildburghausen is a town in Thuringia in central Germany, capital of the district Hildburghausen. It is situated on the river Werra, 20 km south of Suhl, and 25 km northwest of Coburg....

Germany Fuß 303.95 Scotland
Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Occupying the northern third of the island of Great Britain, it shares a border with England to the south and is bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the...

United Kingdom Fuit, Fit, Troigh 305.287 The Scots foot ceased to be legal after the Act of Union
Acts of Union 1707
The Acts of Union were two Parliamentary Acts - the Union with Scotland Act passed in 1706 by the Parliament of England, and the Union with England Act passed in 1707 by the Parliament of Scotland - which put into effect the terms of the Treaty of Union that had been agreed on 22 July 1706,...

 in 1707
Schouw Netherlands voet 311.0 Rotterdam
Rotterdam is the second-largest city in the Netherlands and one of the largest ports in the world. Starting as a dam on the Rotte river, Rotterdam has grown into a major international commercial centre...

Netherlands voet 312.43 Norway
Norway , officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic unitary constitutional monarchy whose territory comprises the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula, Jan Mayen, and the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard and Bouvet Island. Norway has a total area of and a population of about 4.9 million...

Norway fot 313.75 (1824 - 1835)The Norweigian fot was defined in 1824 as the length of a (theoretical) pendulum that would have a period  s at 45° from the equator Thereafter as for Sweden Prussia
Prussia was a German kingdom and historic state originating out of the Duchy of Prussia and the Margraviate of Brandenburg. For centuries, the House of Hohenzollern ruled Prussia, successfully expanding its size by way of an unusually well-organized and effective army. Prussia shaped the history...

Germany Rheinfuß 313.85 Denmark
Denmark is a Scandinavian country in Northern Europe. The countries of Denmark and Greenland, as well as the Faroe Islands, constitute the Kingdom of Denmark . It is the southernmost of the Nordic countries, southwest of Sweden and south of Norway, and bordered to the south by Germany. Denmark...

Denmark fod 313.85 Until 1835, thereafter the Prussian foot 330.5 (1759) Quoted as "2½ lines larger than the pied [de Paris]" Lisbon
Lisbon is the capital city and largest city of Portugal with a population of 545,245 within its administrative limits on a land area of . The urban area of Lisbon extends beyond the administrative city limits with a population of 3 million on an area of , making it the 9th most populous urban...

Portugal Pé 330.0 (From 1835) Prior to 1835,the pé or foot was not used in Portugal - instead a palm was used. In 1835 the size of the palm was increased from 217.37 mm (according to Palaiseau) to 220 mm Rijnland
The name Rijnland means "Rhineland" in Dutch. When referring to the Rhine in Germany, "Rijnland" has the same meaning as "Rhineland" in English or "Rheinland" in German...

Cape Colony
The Cape Colony, part of modern South Africa, was established by the Dutch East India Company in 1652, with the founding of Cape Town. It was subsequently occupied by the British in 1795 when the Netherlands were occupied by revolutionary France, so that the French revolutionaries could not take...

South Africa voet 314.858 Vienna
Vienna is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Austria and one of the nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria's primary city, with a population of about 1.723 million , and is by far the largest city in Austria, as well as its cultural, economic, and political centre...

Austria Fuß 316.11 France France pied du roi 324.84 The original metre was computed using pre-metric French Units Tyrol
Tyrol is an historical region in Western Central Europe. The term has its origin in the former County of Tyrol, and today can be referred to different regions and entities.- Prehistory :...

Austria fuß 334.12 Venice
Venice is a city in northern Italy which is renowned for the beauty of its setting, its architecture and its artworks. It is the capital of the Veneto region...

 & Lombardy
Lombardy is one of the 20 regions of Italy. The capital is Milan. One-sixth of Italy's population lives in Lombardy and about one fifth of Italy's GDP is produced in this region, making it the most populous and richest region in the country and one of the richest in the whole of Europe...

Italy 347.73


Historical origin

Historically the human body has been used to provide the basis for units of length. The foot of a Caucasian male is about 15.3% of their height, giving a person of 160 cm ( a foot of 245 mm and one of 180 cm ( a foot of 275 mm. These figures are less than the foot used in most cities over time, suggesting that the "foot" was actually a synonym for a "shoe".

Archeologists believe that the Egyptians
Ancient Egypt
Ancient Egypt was an ancient civilization of Northeastern Africa, concentrated along the lower reaches of the Nile River in what is now the modern country of Egypt. Egyptian civilization coalesced around 3150 BC with the political unification of Upper and Lower Egypt under the first pharaoh...

, Mesopotamians
Mesopotamia is a toponym for the area of the Tigris–Euphrates river system, largely corresponding to modern-day Iraq, northeastern Syria, southeastern Turkey and southwestern Iran.Widely considered to be the cradle of civilization, Bronze Age Mesopotamia included Sumer and the...

 favoured the cubit
The cubit is a traditional unit of length, based on the length of the forearm. Cubits of various lengths were employed in many parts of the world in Antiquity, in the Middle Ages and into Early Modern Times....

 while the Romans
Ancient Rome
Ancient Rome was a thriving civilization that grew on the Italian Peninsula as early as the 8th century BC. Located along the Mediterranean Sea and centered on the city of Rome, it expanded to one of the largest empires in the ancient world....

 and the Greeks
Ancient Greece
Ancient Greece is a civilization belonging to a period of Greek history that lasted from the Archaic period of the 8th to 6th centuries BC to the end of antiquity. Immediately following this period was the beginning of the Early Middle Ages and the Byzantine era. Included in Ancient Greece is the...

 favoured the foot. Originally both the Greeks and the Romans subdivided the foot into 16 digits
Digit (unit)
The digit or finger is an ancient and obsolete non-SI unit of measurement of length. It was originally based on the breadth of a human finger...

, but in later years, the Romans also subdivided the foot into 12 unica (from which both the English words "inch
An inch is the name of a unit of length in a number of different systems, including Imperial units, and United States customary units. There are 36 inches in a yard and 12 inches in a foot...

" and "ounce
The ounce is a unit of mass with several definitions, the most commonly used of which are equal to approximately 28 grams. The ounce is used in a number of different systems, including various systems of mass that form part of the imperial and United States customary systems...

" are derived). The Greek foot (pous) varied from city to city and ranged between 270 mm and 350 mm, but lengths used for temple construction appear to be about 295 mm and 325 mm, the former being close to the size of the Roman foot. The standard Roman foot (pes) was normally about 295.7 mm, but in the provinces, the pes Drusianus (foot of Nero Claudius Drusus
Nero Claudius Drusus
Nero Claudius Drusus Germanicus , born Decimus Claudius Drusus also called Drusus, Drusus I, Nero Drusus, or Drusus the Elder was a Roman politician and military commander. He was a fully patrician Claudian on his father's side but his maternal grandmother was from a plebeian family...

) having a length of about 334 mm was used. (In reality, this foot predated Drusus).

After the fall of the Roman Empire, some Roman traditions were continued but others fell into disuse. In 790 AD Charlemagne
Charlemagne was King of the Franks from 768 and Emperor of the Romans from 800 to his death in 814. He expanded the Frankish kingdom into an empire that incorporated much of Western and Central Europe. During his reign, he conquered Italy and was crowned by Pope Leo III on 25 December 800...

 attempted to reform the units of measure in his domains by placing them on a sound footing. His units of length were based on the toise and in particular the toise de l'Écritoire, the distance between the fingertips of the outstretched arms of a man. The toise has 6 pied (feet) each of 326.6 mm (12.86 in).

He was unsuccessful in introducing a standard unit of length throughout his realm: an analysis of the measurements of Charlieu Abbey
Charlieu Abbey
Charlieu Abbey or St. Fortunatus' Abbey, Charlieu , located at Charlieu, Loire, Burgundy, France, was a Benedictine abbey, and later a Cluniac priory.-History:...

 shows that during the ninth century, the Roman foot 296.1 mm was used, during its rebuilding in the tenth century a foot of 320 mmThe original reference was given in a round number of centimetres was used. At the same time, monastic buildings used the Carolignian foot of 340 mm.

The verification of the foot as described in the 16th century by Jacob Koebel in his book Geometrei. Von künstlichem Feldmessen und absehen is:

In England

The Roman foot was introduced to Britain in the 1st century AD. The length of the Roman foot has been estimated at 296 mm or 11.65 inches. In the 5th century, the Anglo-Saxons introduced the North German foot of 335 mm (13.2 inches). The new foot was used for land measurement, while the Roman foot continued to be used in the construction crafts. Some time between 1266 and 1303 the weights and measures of England were radically revised by a law known as the Composition of Yards and Perches (Compositio ulnarum et perticarum) often known as the Compositio for short. This law, attributed to either Henry III or his successor Edward I, instituted a new foot that was exactly 10/11 the length of the old foot, with corresponding reductions in the size of the yard, ell, inch, and barleycorn. Furlongs and rods, however, remained the same. The furlong remained an eighth of a mile, but changed from 600 old feet to 660 new feet. The rod remained the same length, but changed from 15 old feet to 16 1/2 new feet.

"Ordinatum est quod tria grana ordei sicca & rotunda faciunt pollicem, duodecim pollices faciunt pedem, tres pedes faciunt ulnam, quinque ulne & dimidia faciunt perticam, & quiadraginta pertice in longitudine & quatuor in latitudine faciunt unam acram." — Compositio ulnarum et perticarum

See also

  • Anthropic units
    Anthropic units
    Anthropic units are units of measurement which explicitly arose from human physiology or behavior. Some were derived directly from the dimensions of the human body, and as such, are commonly referred to as anthropomorphic...

  • English units
  • History of measurement
    History of measurement
    Units of measurement were among the earliest tools invented by humans. Primitive societies needed rudimentary measures for numerous tasks such as: constructing dwellings of an appropriate size and shape, fashioning clothing, or bartering food or raw materials....

  • Imperial units
  • Inch
    An inch is the name of a unit of length in a number of different systems, including Imperial units, and United States customary units. There are 36 inches in a yard and 12 inches in a foot...

  • International System of Units
    International System of Units
    The International System of Units is the modern form of the metric system and is generally a system of units of measurement devised around seven base units and the convenience of the number ten. The older metric system included several groups of units...

  • Systems of measurement
    Systems of measurement
    A system of measurement is a set of units which can be used to specify anything which can be measured and were historically important, regulated and defined because of trade and internal commerce...

  • United States customary units
    United States customary units
    United States customary units are a system of measurements commonly used in the United States. Many U.S. units are virtually identical to their imperial counterparts, but the U.S. customary system developed from English units used in the British Empire before the system of imperial units was...

  • Units of measurement
    Units of measurement
    A unit of measurement is a definite magnitude of a physical quantity, defined and adopted by convention and/or by law, that is used as a standard for measurement of the same physical quantity. Any other value of the physical quantity can be expressed as a simple multiple of the unit of...

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