Diophant Ancient Measures Converter is a complex application for MSWindows(TM) operating systems, absolutely safe, and clean. In case you wish to report a problem, please e-mail (use the word DIOPHANT in the subject area of your e-mail) and we will try to answer back as soon as possible.


Numbers that begin with 9
In any unit box, use a 0 before numbers that begin with 9. For example, use 09 instead of just 9 and 0956 instead of 965.

Conversion Operations Data & Results Issues
Not all of the known ancient units have been included in Diophant especially when their relation to other units is not known. Some of the submultiples and multiples in all units are derived from the information given in sources for some of the units and are not yet verified. However, I have used only those that can somehow safely be derived from the units mentioned in the sources.

The Diophant user should be aware that historical and archaeological research has proven that there is fluctuation by time and region in the measurement units and therefore the shown results are approximate.

Notes on the Greek Measures
The Greeks did use specific measures and their multiples as it is shown on the two metrological reliefs that have been unearthed in Greece (see bibliography). However, there has been no absolute uniformity of standards both geographically and chronologically in the ancient Greek world. It seems that in buildings, for example, they did not follow a kanon (=rule) religiously and this explains minor variations in the proportions of constructions. It is well known that the base unit (pous=foot) and its derivatives have varied widely by time and region in Greek antiquity. For example, the Greeks used at least twelve variations of the daktylos (finger), which measured from 0.016 m. (rounded) all the way to 0.020 m. (rounded). It seems that in Attica the daktylos (finger) measured 0.02 m. (rounded) and the pous (foot) 0.32 m. (rounded). Therefore, in Diophant, I had to compromise and use the rounded attic measures of length to facilitate the conversion of units. For educational purposes I have adopted the condition 1 daktylos (finger)=0.02 m. and 1 pous (foot)=0.32 m. This convention will also serve quick conversions for general use.

Another example of the variety of measures in the Greek world is the stadion, which was used to calculate long distances. The actual length of the stadion depended on the way the Greek philosophers and scientists calculated the circumference of the earth. For example, Aristotle calculated that 1 stadion was 1/400.000 of the circumference of the earth (=100 m.) and Eratosthenes calculated it to be 1/252.000 (=158.73 m.). Well, the cited bibliography proves that the problem of Greek measures is not simple at all. Nevertheless, the calculations by Diophant can be at least used for education purposes and quick conversions.

Dihas and Lihas. Dihas means half and can be actually used to refer to the half of any unit. However, it seems that was usually used to refer to half a pous (foot). Lihas is the distance between the thumb and the index finger (shown as the Diophant initial tab image in front of the tab title 'Diophant'). Although lihas must have been the same as dihas=8 daktyloi (fingers), there is at least one reference to the lihas measuring 10 daktyloi (fingers).

There is some confusion in the sources on the actual length of the xylon and the kalamos. Ancients may have used different lengths at different times.

Although different stadion units result in different lengths in modern equivalents, the stadion always contains 600 pous as there is no literary source claiming the opposite.

In the 'Greek-Distance' tab, units marked with an asterisk (*) in the list boxes are not based on the equation 1 pous=0.32 m. but on a different pous length. However, if the same unit is chosen in both A and B Unit list boxes, Diophant can produce a result in modern meters or feet.

In the 'Greek-Distance' tab some units are accompanied by their article ('he' for feminine and 'ho' for masculine) as they differ.

There is contradictory information in the sources on what was the size of cochliarion, cheme, cogkhe and mystron. It seems to me that they varied; they were used to weigh very small quantities; they were most probably used in pharmacology.

Both greek and roman weight conversions can be accessed through the 'Measures' menu or by hitting the F2 computer key.

Notes on the Roman Measures
The conversions in the Roman measures section are safer as they are better documented. The relevant bibliography has proven that they were standardized and used for a long historical period.

The roman measures generally derive from the Greek ones and in the 'Roman-Distance' tab I have given in parenthesis the Greek equivalents.

One must be very careful with the use of the uncia and the libra. They may be used to measure weight (stathmic units) or volume (metric units).

'As' was generally called in the roman period the base unit.

Both Greek and roman weight conversions can be accessed through the 'Measures' menu or by hitting the F2 computer key.

Notes on the Byzantine Measures
The volume conversions must be used with great caution as the equivalent to modern litters must be considered hypothetical. Our fragmentary and scanty information given in the sources do not allow us to construct safe conversion tables. The main hypothesis is that the libra equals 2.1818 lt. and it is the same as the roman stathmic libra.

As the Byzantine litra-libra varied I have used the theoretical absolute equivalent of 327.60 grams.

Both Byzantine and Late Ottoman conversions can be accessed through the 'Measures' menu or by hitting the F3 computer key.

Notes on the Late Ottoman Measures
The Late Ottoman measures in Diophant were mainly used in the Balkan part of the Ottoman Empire even after its disintegration. In Modern Greece, for example, they were in full use until the mid 20th century when they were replaced by the metric system units.

Both Byzantine and Late Ottoman conversions can be accessed through the 'Measures' menu or by hitting the F3 computer key.

If you have installed in your PC the anti-virus program KASPERSKYor AVG and you try to download Diophant, you may receive an anti-virus alert notifying you that Diophant is infected by a troyan virus. This is a false alarm by the KASPERSKY or the AVG anti-virus program. We always make sure that Diophant is clean from viruses if downloaded from this homepage.

Diophant uses the latest MSWindows(TM) routines for better and smoother operation. Some of your system files might be older than the ones used and incorporated in Diophant MSWindows(TM) routines. When this is detected by the installation wizard, you must allow Diophant to perform the system routines update. The new system routines are supplied by Microsoft(TM) itself and you are actually updating some Microsoft(TM) files.

Please follow the procedure described below:
1. Run Diophantus and allow some system files to be updated.
2. Restart Windows (if needed).
3. Run Diophantus once more and install it (see Installation Guide below).

Installation Guide
Step 1: Create folder C:\Temporary or use a temp folder you might have

Step 2: Download file Diophantus.exe to folder C:\Temporary you have just created or to your own temp folder

Step 3: Run Diophantus.exe and follow instructions to extract and install the necessary files. If file installation does not begin automatically, then after the extraction of the files run 'Setup' or 'Setup.exe' located in folder DIOPHANT that was created on your desktop to complete installation.

Step 4: Installation has been completed. Run Diophant by selecting it from:

Step 5: Select Start/Programs/Diophant/Diophant Manual and read it in order to understand how the program works.

To remove Diophant follow instruction below.

Possible Installation Problem
Problem: Installation was not completed due to power failure, disk error etc.

Solution: Make sure the first attempted installation is completely removed. Remove it from:
-->Control Panel/Add-Remove Programs
If Diophant appears in that window, follow its instructions to remove it.
Reinstall Diophant.

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