It is remarkable how near this early decimal system of Germany and Britain is the double of the modern decimal metric system. Had it not been unhappily driven out by the 12-in. foot, and repressed by statutes both against its yard and mile, we should need but a small change to place our measures in accord with the metre.

* Flinders Petrie, M.W., "Weights and Measures", Encyclopædia Britannica **1911 **(**6**)*

The idea that the metre could have existed long before the French Revolution may sound impossible to many. Yet, the research of figures such as David Kenworthy, Quentin Leplat, Jim Wakefield, Howard Crowhurst, and the pioneering archaeologist Sir Flinders Petrie reveals compelling evidence that a unit very close to the modern metre was known and used in ancient times.

Flinders Petrie himself noted the striking similarity between early systems of measurement in Germany and Britain and the modern decimal metric system. He lamented that these ancient systems, once nearly compatible with the metre, were gradually replaced by the 12-inch foot and restricted by legal statutes.

Despite the wealth of data from accurately measured ancient sites, many remain convinced that the metre only emerged in the 18th century. This persistent belief overlooks the fact that the English foot and inch themselves imply an ancient and accurate knowledge of the Earth's dimensions. For instance, the Earth's equatorial circumference is astonishingly close to 365.242199 times 4,320,000 inches, a yuga, a unit of time from Hindu cosmology. These and other clues suggest that early civilisations measured the Earth with a precision we tend to attribute solely to modern science.

In this article, I explore how reading ancient measurements in terms of metres and millimetres can reveal intriguing patterns. Special attention is given to the work of French metrologist C. Mauss, whose findings offer new insights into the ancient world's sophisticated understanding of measurement. I argue that ancient civilisations had a sophisticated understanding of Earth's dimensions and that measurement systems like the metre predate the Enlightenment.

It is not a new observation that the metre is not so new. Writing in 1892 (1), C. Mauss compiled an account of many historical units of measure and classified them into various series. Not only was he able to make many parallels between geographical locations through this study, but he was able to show that many units could be shown to be part of a system based on a multiples of 3, 4, 6, 7, or 9 millimetres.

He could not help but observe that "the ancients knew a cubit of three feet, of which the length corresponds to our metre." (2) Mauss points out that many of the measures found in Syria, Italy, and Spain are linked to the "Grande Hachémique", the Persian royal cubit, a unit which he gives a measure of 658.285 mm. If we take this as 4 608 / 7 = 658.2857142 mm and convert to inches using the 39.375 inch metre, which Mauss himself uses, we get 25.92 inches, which is 6⁴ x 2 / 100. The modern metre relates to the 39.375 inch measure as 39.375 x 8 000 / 8 001 = 39.3700787402 inches. Mauss writes:

In his Study on the Measures of Persia and Chaldea, Mr. Marcel Dieulafoy said:

“In vain have I sought to connect the two standards of Persepolis and Susa. They are different, just like the old Burgundian and Languedoc feet.”

However, these two feet have a common origin. Mr. Dieulafoy estimates the Persepolis foot at 330 millimeters and the working cubit at 550 millimeters. Here we find the royal foot of 329mm.142 and the working cubit of 548mm.571. The foot of the apadana of Susa is estimated by the author at 350 millimeters and the working cubit at 583mm.3.

This worker’s cubit of 583.3 mm, if taken as 583.3333 mm, is 7 / 12 of a metre, exactly. The foot of the apadana of Susa, as 350 mm, is 7 / 20 of a metre. This is not part of a decimal system, however, but one which uses multiples of 2, 7 and 12. This is consistent with the values of many of the other units studied by Mauss which are multiples of or divisions by 7, 3 or 4.

Other units of measure discussed by Mauss can be simply connected to a metre. The Babylonian foot given by Mauss as 350 mm is 7 x 9 / 200 of a metre. The Persian foot of 350 mm is 7 / 20 of a metre. The Egyptian royal cubit as 525 mm is 7 x 3 / 40 of a metre. The Cairo Coptic cubit of 577.5 mm is 7 x 33 / 400 of a metre. The Babylon cubit of 630 mm is 9 x 7 / 100 of a metre. The vara of Vara of Madrid / Jaen / Ciudad Real / Canaries of 840 mm is 9 x 7 x 4 / 300 of a metre. The Tello cubit of 972 mm is 81 x 12 / 1 000 of a metre.The Philitarian / Alexandrian stade (600 feet of 360 mm) is 6 x 9 x 4 / 1000 of metre.

The "Petite Hachémique" of 596.571 mm is also linked to many units of measure across Europe, and is three digits less than the grande hachémique and was possibly the basis of the Roman foot (3). These Persian digits would be 12² / 7 = 20.57142857 mm, or 9² / 100 = 0.81 inches. Twenty nine of these Persian digits would make up the petite hachémique and 32 the grande. Whether read in inches or millimetres, these values given by Mauss seem to be part of a system, in millimetres based on the numbers 7 and 12, and in inches based on the number 9.

A digit of 0.81 inches relates to an Egyptian digit of 0.729 inches as 10 / 9. We can interpret the imperial yard of 36 inches as 400 / 9 of these Persian digits, and the imperial foot as 400 / 27 of these digits of 0.81 inches. We can interpret a metre of 39.375 inches as 7 000 / (9 x 16) such digits. However, units such as the Saxon foot of 13.2 inches, the shusi or angula of 0.66 inches, if read precisely in this way, do not fit, and based on the number 11, for example, there are 40 / 27 x 11 digits of 0.81 inches in 13.2 inches, and 2 / 27 x 11 digits in a shusi of 0.66 inches. There is a whole system of units which do not fit with multiples of 12/7 metres, from the Saxon foot to the mile. However, if we read the shusi as 0.65625 inches, then we get 700 / 864 digits of 0.81 inches. If we read the shusi as 0.6561 inches, then it relates to a digit of 0.81 inches as 9 / 10.

A megalithic yard, if interpreted as 2.7216 feet, or 32.6592 inches, converts to 0.82944 metres with the 39.375 inch metre. It too fits well within this system, as it is comprised of 40.32 Persian digits of 0.81 inches, which is 12² x 28. This fits well with a reading of these digits in millimetres as they themselves are 12² /7 mm. The megalithic inch, a 40th part of the yard, is comprised of 1.008 Persian digits, or 7 x 12² /1 000. The Roman foot can be understood as 11.664 inches, and converted to metres with the 39.375 inch metre, we get 0.29622857142857 m, which is equivalent to 12⁴ /70 000 m. Of course there are other approximations for the megalithic yard and the Roman foot which can be given, and other interpretations, be they in feet, inches, or any other unit. But the coincidence of the connection to a duodecimal metric system which depends on division by 7 is at least worth paying attention to.

The megalithic yard and the Roman foot are both suited to being expressed in metres in that you can see clearly that they are part of a duodecimal system expressed in metres.

The table below shows most of the units of measure discussed by Mauss, with their values in millimetres, and inches, and their relation to a digit of 20.57142857 mm, or 0.81 inches. I have added the megalithic inch and yard too. Many of these measures, when read in millimetres, are clearly divisions by 7 of a greater length. Many ancient units appear to have been derived from simple fractions of a larger, standardised unit. The use of fractions like 1/7, 1/6, and 1/12 across various cultures suggests a shared understanding or a base unit that these cultures modified to suit their needs.The metre, as a fundamental unit, allows for easy conversion and interpretation of these fractions. For instance, multiples of 72/7, 128/7, 2048/7, and so forth are seen across different measures, showing a consistent mathematical approach that can be easily understood when using the metre. The metric system can be seen as a modern continuation or refinement of ancient principles. This continuity supports the idea that the metre is not just a modern invention but is connected to a long history of measurement practices.

Also of interest in the list above is the Roman foot. For example Roman foot A, of 294.545 mm, is equivalent to 25 920 / 88 mm, and close to 25 920 / (pi x 28). And Roman foot B is close to a lunation in days, 29.53059. And Roman foot D is very close to being 144 Persian digits.

The mathematical foot of China is very close to being a third of a metre, as Mauss remarks.

The megalithic yard, the Burgos Vara which Mauss attributes to Ciscar, the coudée des entr'axes and the Burgos vara which Mauss has an accurate drawing of, are all close to 25 920 / *π³* = 835.9598 mm.

The graph below shows an overview of the units referred to by Mauss.

It's also interesting to look at the measures in millimetres multiplied by 7 and divided by 8 and 9 (or 72). The table below presents an intriguing progression of units, evident in the third column. 72/7 is 10.2857142857, which is half the Persian digit of 20.57142857 mm. The neatness of the progression, where units seem to almost "snap" into place under the transformation, suggests there could be an underlying mathematical harmony to these ancient systems. The systematic relationships between these units could indicate that the cultures associated with these units, from diverse geographical places and historical times, shared a more unified or at least communicative approach to measurements than previously thought.

The terms given to the units are Mauss's, sometimes the word foot is used when it might better be called a cubit, or a cubit when it might better be called a yard, but the important thing is the values in mm.

The data includes measures from various cultures (e.g., Egyptian, Persian, Roman, Chinese). Despite geographical and temporal differences, there’s a notable harmony in the measures, especially when related to the metre.

The table of historical measures derived from the work of C. Mauss reveals a striking pattern when viewed through the lens of mathematical relationships. Specifically, the column titled "Unit x 7 / (8 x 9)" reflects an underlying proportional structure linking various ancient measurements to a consistent ratio. This ratio is produced by multiplying each historical unit by 7 and dividing the product by the factors 8 and 9, effectively normalising the measures and allowing for cross-comparison. When this operation is applied, many of the results fall into similar ranges, suggesting that these measures, from different times and cultures, were not arbitrary but part of a coherent system of metrology.

This relationship emphasises that historical units were not isolated but interconnected through mathematical principles. By analysing these units in millimetres (mm) or meters, modern researchers can detect repeating patterns, which may indicate a shared understanding of proportion and geometry across cultures. These units likely derived from natural or cosmic phenomena, and their recurrence across different civilisations points to a common, perhaps even sacred, method of understanding space and measurement. Hence, viewing historical measures in terms of their mathematical relationships, rather than merely as standalone values, is key to uncovering the broader metrological system that underpinned ancient engineering, architecture, and cosmology.

### The right unit?

The metre can serve as a translator, showing that these ancient measures might have been different expressions of a common mathematical understanding. There are many units which do not derive from the polar circumference, and so and do not fit with the metre, which is derived from the *polar* circumference.

The mile, for example, is suited to express the *mean* circumference of the earth, in a duodecimal fashion: 24 883.2 miles. The mile also is suited to, or derived from, the radii of the moon and the sun, 1 080 (equatorial radius) and 864 000 miles respectively (Wikipedia in fact gives 864 575.88 miles for the sun but the moon's equatorial radius as 1 080 miles corresponds exactly to the modern estimate, Wikipedia giving 1 080.00527 miles, though expressed in km). The mile relates to some of the measures in Mauss's research via the number 11. If we convert a mile to metres, still with the 39.375 inch per metre conversion, and multiply it by 10 / 11, which is the ratio also between a Saxon foot and an imperial foot, and divide by 1 000, we get 5 feet of 292.57142857 mm, which is the length of the foot from the museum of Naples which Mauss discusses (11.52 inches). If we multiply the mile by 10 / 11 and divide the mile by 1 000, we also get 36 / 80 Grande Hachémiques, or royal Persian cubits of 658.285714 mm, or 4 of what Mauss refers to as "Pieds constatés au Saint Sepulcre de Jérusalem", of 365.7142857 mm, or 8 / 3 cubits of 548.57142857 mm, which are Mauss's estimate of the workers' cubits of Mayence, Riga and Sardinia, and the Amman worker's cubit. So if a mile is a thousand of something from Mauss's list, we could say it is ten thousand of half the Roman foot of the Naples Museum (292.57142857 mm or 11.52 inches), multiplied by 11 / 10... The mile is more closely connected to the shusi / angula of 0.66 inches, and the Saxon or Sumerian foot of 13.2 inches. Nine miles make a yojana, also equivalent to 43 200 Saxon or Sumerian feet. In the ancient Indian system, 96 angulas make an ordinary dhanusha, and this is exactly a thousandth part of an English mile: 96 x 0.66 x 1 000 = 63 360.

The foot and inch are related to the *equatorial* circumference, which can be thought of as a spatial manifestation of the passage of a day, and also to time measures more generally, expressed in architecture. The presence of recurring numbers across many different units, as demonstrated by Mauss, when converted to metric units, shows a commonality in thought processes that can be aligned with the metre, but also with the mile, the foot, and the inch, which all correspond to different aspects of the universe.

We observe that the same sets of significant numbers are expressed in metres in Mauss’s work, just as they are in feet and miles in the research of John Michell and John Neal. These numbers—144, 1296, 864, 2592, 4320, 248832, 20736, 5040, 63, 64, and others—hold particular importance across metrological studies, representing foundational values used in both sacred and scientific contexts. These key numbers are not arbitrary but are consistently applied to critical features of ancient cosmology and geometry.

For example, the number 864,000 is frequently associated with the sun. As John Michell explains, the mile may have been derived from a division of the sun’s radius in miles, which might have been considered a scientifically accurate measurement long ago. The number 864 carries deep symbolic significance. In Michell’s words:

In the language of symbolic number, 864 pertains to a centre of radiant energy, the sun in the solar system, Jerusalem on earth, the inner sanctuary of the temple, the altar … and the corner stone on which the whole sacred edifice is founded. “864 is called the ‘foundation number’ and a thousand times 864 is the diameter of the sun in miles. In the gematria of New Testament Greek, 864 corresponds to words or phrases such as ‘altar’, ‘corner stone’, ‘sanctuary of the gods’, ‘holy of holies’ and, most strikingly in this context, ‘Jerusalem’. The sum of the numerical values of the ten Greek letters in ‘Jerusalem’ is: Iota 10 + epsilon 5 + rho 100 + omicron 70 + upsilon 400+ sigma 200 + alpha 1 + lamda 30 + eta 8 + mu 40 = 864. (7)

This observation suggests that the mile, far from being a purely arbitrary unit of distance, is closely linked to ancient astronomical and symbolic studies of the sun. The number 864, with its many connections to cosmological and sacred structures, reflects a profound understanding of both the physical and metaphysical world.

Recognising the usefulness of reading historical units of measurement in metres, rather than exclusively in feet or miles, does not necessarily diminish the legacy of English or imperial measurements. Nor does it imply a betrayal of one's principles or an anachronistic misreading of history. Some metrologists argue that only by examining ancient units in feet or inches can we discern the underlying patterns. This is certainly true in many cases, but it is equally important to acknowledge that similar patterns can emerge when these measurements are expressed in metres or millimetres.

Interestingly, there is a tendency among English-speaking researchers to insist that historical measurements must be understood in feet and inches, while their French-speaking counterparts often assert that reading these values in metres or millimetres unlocks the true structure of ancient systems. Both approaches reveal different layers of meaning and pattern, underscoring the idea that historical units of measurement may have been part of a universal system, transcending the distinctions between imperial and metric standards.

Ultimately, what becomes clear is that ancient metrological systems were designed to reflect mathematical and cosmic principles, and these principles can be revealed through multiple lenses, whether in feet, miles, metres, or millimetres. This suggests a shared ancient knowledge of the Earth’s dimensions, encoded in different forms but consistently pointing back to a unified, global system of measurement that reflects both scientific understanding and symbolic meaning.

### Measures of the earth

In relation to the widespread idea that the earth could not possibly have been accurately measured until just a century or two ago, it is interesting to note that the unit of 548.57148257 mm, Mauss's estimate of the Riga and Permau workers' cubits and Amman worker's cubit, and the Florentine Braccio, corresponds to a division of the polar circumference. The metre is itself a division of the polar circumference, though today a slightly different value is given to the circumference than it was when the metre was calculated in the 18th century. If we take this circumference as 40 000 000 m exactly, rather than the more accurate 40 007.863 km) the 548.7142857 mm unit corresponds to the polar circumference x 8 x 12 / 7 000 000. Reading these cubits in this way, in millimetres, implies a division of the polar quadrant by 7. If we can link reading this unit in metres to an ancient practice of dividing up the space between the equator and the north pole into seven parts, then this lends some weight towards the theory that this, and other units of measure were designed against an accurate measure of the polar circumference which was divided into seven parts. It's possible to approximate the polar circumference of the earth fairly well with 9² x 6² x 7³ x 40 = 40 007 520 m. Perhaps a division into seven parts was also linked to this.

There are several indications that this practice of dividing the distance between the equator and the north pole into seven parts did indeed take place. We have historical reference to this by Pliny and, later, by Ibn Khaldun. And if we look at a key ancient site such as Avebury, we can see it is placed at one of the divisions into seven parts of the polar quadrant. I had forgotten about these when I was wondering about this connection of the units to the number 7, when I picked up a book by Hugh Newman called *Earth Grids*, and came to the page where he discusses this (4).

Ptolemy’*s Geography* (5) (2nd century) outlines his division of the Earth into climatic zones, which served as a foundation for medieval and later geographic concepts. The Earth is divided into five zones: the torrid zone in the middle, two temperate zones on either side of it, and two frigid zones in the utmost parts. The torrid zone is the closest to the equator, characterised by intense heat, and was considered uninhabitable by ancient geographers. The first temperate zone came next, and included the Mediterranean region, which Ptolemy considered ideal for human habitation. The second temperate zone was cooler than the first but still suitable for habitation, and included northern Europe. Beyond that came the first frigid zone, marked by long winters and short summers. The second frigid zone was characterised by extreme cold and long periods of darkness, and considered largely uninhabitable. Finally came the polar zone.

In the *Muqaddimah (1377)*, Ibn Khaldun also outlines a division of the Earth into seven climatic zones, which he associates with varying levels of civilisation and human development. These zones are based on latitude, also starting from the equator and extending to the poles. Ibn Khaldun writes:

The equator divides the earth into two halves from west to east. It represents the length of the earth. It is the longest line on the sphere of (the earth), just as the ecliptic and the equinoctial line are the longest lines on the firmament. The ecliptic is divided into 360degrees. The geographical degree is twenty-five parasangs, the parasang being 12,000cubits or three miles, since one mile has 4,000 cubits. The cubit is twenty-four fingers, and the finger is six grains of barley placed closely together in one row. The distance of the equinoctial line, parallel to the equator of the earth and dividing the firmament into two parts, is ninety degrees from each of the two poles. However, the cultivated area north of the equator is (only) sixty-four degrees. The rest is empty and uncultivated because of the bitter cold and frost, exactly as the southern part is altogether empty because of the heat. We shall explain it all, if God wills. (6)

The arctic circle really does begin very close to latitude 64.

The Attic foot derived from the Parthenon is according to Mauss 308.5714 mm (12.15 inches). A 20th part of this would be 15.4285714 mm, and would correspond to a "finger" or digit as it is described in the quotation above: 15.42857 mm multiplied by 24 would give a cubit of 370.2857142 mm. This same measure is in Mauss's work, but described as a foot, the sometimes the "foot of the Stadium of Laodikeia", that is, a hundredth part of the stade there, and sometimes called the "Asian foot" (pied asiatique). So this "foot" is identical to the cubit mentioned in the *Muqaddimah. *The book tells us that 4000 such cubits make a mile, so that's 1 481.142857 m (58 320 inches or 4860 feet), and that 24 000 such cubits make a parasang, which is then 4 443.42857 m (14 580 feet). A geographical degree is 25 parasangs, so 111 085.7142857 m (364 500 feet). And with 360 degrees in total, the polar circumference is then 39 990 857.142857 m, about 17 km short of the current estimate.

If we start from today's estimate of 40 007.863 km and work back downwards, we would get a cubit 370.44317 mm and a digit of 15.435132 mm. This is 0.00656 mm over a finger derived from the foot of the stadium of Laodikeia.

A mile of 1 481.142857 m is 864 x 12/7 m. The Apadana cubit / vara of Seville / susa Cubit are 864 mm so this mile is 1 000 Apadana cubits / Seville varas / cubits of Susa, which corresponds well to the name "mile" meaning a thousand.

A parasang of 4 443.42857 m is 18 x 12 x 12 x 12 / 7 m. The Delphi foot is 18 mm, according to Mauss, so the parasang is therefore 1 000 x 12 x 12 x 12 / 7 Delphi feet.

Again we see that so many of these units when read in metres and millimetres reflect the division of the polar circumference into 7 parts, as well as 12, 9, 4 and 3. It is clear that many of the units recorded by Mauss are linked to the polar circumference through these numbers, and so when we read them in millimetres or metres, we can see that the figures are often divisions of 7.

If the ecliptic is divided into 360 degrees, then so must be the polar circumference. The royal Persian foot is given by Mauss as 329.1428 mm. If we take the polar circumference as 40 000 km exactly, and divide it up into 360 parts, then 7 parts, and 1 000 000 000, and multiply by 12⁴, we get a value of 329.142857. This foot is made up of exactly 16 Persian digits of 20.57142857 mm, and we've seen that the petite hachémique is 29 such digits and the grande hachémique 32 digits. Other measures are related by simple fractions to the grande hachémique, as Mauss points out: the cubit of 648 mm is 63/64 of the grande hachémique, the cubit of 540 mm is 5/6 of the grande hachémique. It is difficult to argue that the earth wasn't measured almost as well as we have today in the distant past.

It's interesting to note that Ibn Khaldun tells us that there were 25 parasangs to the degree. This is also what de l'Isle tells us about the *Lieue de France*, in the 18th century: there were 25 to the degree. (9)

We can go back to the table of values given by Mauss, and compare a 25th part of the meridian degree to his units, and to the Lieue mentioned by de l'Isle.

Mauss gives the value of a Tello cubit as 972 mm, which divided by 3 is 324 mm, which is close to the pied de roi. If we take this Tello cubit of 972 mm, it is very close to 40 007 863 / (120 x 7³), suggesting a threefold division by 7 as well as by 12. So starting with the modern estimate for the earth's polar circumference, in metres, 40 007 863 / (120 x 7³) = 972.008333. Or starting with the Tello cubit, we get a polar circumference of 40 007 520 m, about 343 metres difference from the modern estimate.

De l'Isle: 25 Lieues of 2282 toises du Chatelet per meridian degree.

If we start with a polar circumference of 40 007.863 km, then a mean degree measures 111 132.952778 m, a 25th part of the degree measures 4 445.3181111 m, and a 2282th part of this measures 1.94799216 m. A toise was made up of 6 pieds, and a 6th part of 1.94799216 m is 0.32466536 m. This is very close to the actual value of the pied de roi, though this varied over time, and of course de l'Isle's estimate of the length of a degree is also an estimate, and we don't know exactly the length of the toises he talks about.

Below is a list of historical value of the pied de roi, compiled from various sources. (see __Charlemagne's Foot__).

Ibn Khaldun’s understanding of the Earth’s structure, particularly his division of the planet into seven climatic zones, aligns remarkably well with modern measurements. His reference to parasangs and cubits provides a unique insight into the level of precision achieved by ancient metrologists. According to his calculations, a parasang consists of 24,000 cubits, and 25 parasangs constitute a geographical degree. This gives a degree the length of 111,085.7 meters, astonishingly close to the modern estimate of 111,132.95 meters per degree at the equator. Such precision suggests that ancient scholars had a more accurate understanding of Earth’s dimensions than previously thought.

The cubit, in particular, appears as a recurring unit of measure across various ancient cultures. Ibn Khaldun’s description of a cubit measuring 24 fingers, where each finger is defined as six grains of barley placed end-to-end, provides insight into how even the smallest units were standardised. When comparing this to the Attic foot of 308.57 mm, as documented by Mauss, it becomes clear that these measurements were part of a broader, interconnected system. Dividing the polar circumference into 360 degrees and further into parasangs reveals how closely these ancient measurements align with modern metrics.

### Metre and moon

The base side of the Great Pyramid can be interpreted as 230.338602 metres, which is 29.53059 x 3 / 2 x 364 / 70 metres, which again shows a division by 7 expressed in metres. The 364 is sometimes given as the number of days in a year, as per the* Book of Enoch*, and *Genesis*, because this is exactly 13 months of 28 days, and 10 days more than a lunar year approximated to 354 days. Coincidentally, 230.34 is the number of *inches* in the height of the King's chamber, as pointed out by Dennis Payne, and so the same lunar associations can be made there, but in inches instead of metres. If this is correct, it might explain why we sometimes come across lunar numbers expressed in metres, for example at Giza. Another way of interpreting the side of the Great Pyramid in terms of metres and the moon is with the synodic orbital period for Mars of 779.94 days (close to 780). With 779.94 / 10, we get 779.94 / 10 x 29.53059 = 230.32088, which is the value of the base side in metres, equivalent to 9067.75132 inches. Or rounding the Mars period up, we get 780 / 10 x 29.53059 = 230.3386 for the measure in metres, equivalent to 9068.4489 inches. The metre seems to express lunar cycles in conjunction with other cycles, such as Mars.

### Dividing by 7 (or 28?)

Why divide the northern hemisphere, or the northern quadrant, into 7 parts? This may imply that the entire polar circumference was divided into 28 parts. Dividing by 28 is seen elsewhere in the ancient world. The ecliptic or zodiac was divided into 27 or 28 lunar mansions, from the Middle East to China. In India, for example, Jean-Sylvain Bailly teaches us that:

Their zodiac has two different divisions, one into 28, the other into 12 conftellations, or 12 figures, almost similar to ours. We will give the details elsewhere (a). But what we must say is that they have two zodiacs, one fixed and the other mobile.(8)

This was because the sidereal lunar month is 27.321661 days and can be rounded down to 27 or up to 28. Also, 28 is a perfect number. We see the division by 28 at Giza in particular. For example, the north-west length of the area marked out by the Great Pyramid and the third pyramid is almost exactly 1 000 000 / 28 = 35 714.2857 inches (Petrie: 35 713.2 inches). The side of the Great Pyramid itself can be interpreted as 1 000 / 28 x 254 = 9071.42857 inches (Petrie: 9068.8 inches).

The polar circumference, like the zodiac or ecliptic, may have been divided into 28 parts. This would explain why the section between the equator and a pole would be divided into 28 / 4 = 7 parts.

It's also possible that each hemisphere was divided into 7 parts, to the north and to the south, in a series of concentric rings round the pole, as opposed to divisions on a polar circumference. Each hemisphere would then reflect the hemisphere of stars above it in some way. The number 7 holds profound significance across various ancient cultures, symbolising completeness, divine order, and cosmic harmony. In many traditions, including Mesopotamian, Greek, and later Abrahamic religions, the number 7 represents the totality of the cosmos, often reflected in the seven visible celestial bodies: the Sun, Moon, and five planets visible to the naked eye. These celestial bodies were believed to govern the fates and rhythms of life on Earth, and their influence was thought to be all-encompassing. The division of the northern hemisphere into seven parts could be seen as a mirror of the heavens, with each section corresponding to one of these celestial entities. A Sumerian incantation goes "an-imin-bi ki-imin-bi" (the heavens are seven, the earths are seven."(9) This division would not only symbolise the unity between the heavens and the Earth but also suggest a deep connection between terrestrial geography and celestial order. Such a system might have been used to encode the belief that the physical world was governed by the same principles that ordered the heavens, reinforcing the idea of a universe that is both interconnected and divinely structured.

If we associate each of the seven visible celestial bodies (Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn) with one of the seven divisions of the northern hemisphere, they might be arranged from the outermost to the innermost or vice versa, depending on the cultural or symbolic significance given to each body. For example, the Sun could correspond to the outermost division (near the equator) due to its central role in life, while Saturn, often associated with boundaries and limitations, could correspond to the innermost division (closest to the pole). However if we look at medieval depictions of this idea, the sun is always between Venus and Mars.

Avebury is at latitude 51.428611, almost exactly 90 / 7 x 4 = 51.4285714, and according to this scheme, it is at the boundary between the zones dedicated to the Sun and to Mars. It's difficult to know whether the spaces between the lines or the lines themselves are more significant.

The idea that the Earth's northern hemisphere could be divided into seven parts, each connected to one of the seven visible celestial bodies, is a logical extension of ancient cosmological thought. This system would align with the principle that earthly realms were governed by the same forces that ruled the heavens, creating a unified cosmological and geographical worldview. This connection might have influenced everything from ancient territorial divisions to cultural practices, reflecting the deep integration of astronomy, mythology, and geography in ancient thought.

The remarkable consistency in ancient units of measure across vast geographical regions—ranging from the Egyptian cubit to the Persian royal cubit—indicates a shared understanding of metrology among ancient civilisations. This suggests that far from being isolated, these cultures engaged in extensive knowledge exchange, facilitated by trade routes, imperial conquests, and shared astronomical observations. Such a degree of standardisation points to the existence of a proto-metric system that was likely disseminated through a global network of scholars and merchants. This interconnectedness in ancient times challenges the modern view of pre-modern civilisations as fundamentally disconnected and highlights the sophisticated nature of ancient scientific knowledge.

### Conclusion

The evidence presented here suggests that the metre, or a unit remarkably close to it, was known and used by ancient civilisations long before its official adoption in the 18th century. This challenges the conventional narrative that modern measurement systems are solely a product of Enlightenment science. Instead, it appears that ancient societies possessed a sophisticated understanding of the Earth’s dimensions, which they encoded in their metrological systems. This revelation invites us to reconsider the technological and scientific capabilities of our ancestors. If the ancients could measure the Earth with such precision, what other knowledge might they have possessed that has yet to be fully appreciated?

Ancient measurements were often based on harmonic proportions, reflecting the belief that the universe was constructed according to divine or mathematical laws. The inch is similarly connected to the Earth's equatorial circumference, not just spatially but also temporally. As the Earth rotates, the inch can be seen as a measure that links time (the rotation of the Earth) with space (the distance travelled at the equator). The fact that 365.256363 sidereal days multiplied by 4,320,000 gives a result so close to the equatorial circumference in inches suggests a deep, ancient understanding of the Earth’s dimensions. If we approach this evidence without the preconceived notion that the meter is a modern invention. By doing so, we can recognise that both the metre and the inch are part of a unified system of measurement that has existed for many centuries, and goes back to antiquity. The metre and the inch are not independent developments but are rather two parts of the same ancient metrological system. This system was designed with an understanding of both the Earth’s dimensions and the relationship between time and space, as evidenced by the way the inch relates to the Earth’s rotation and the meter to its meridian circumference.

The metrological consistency observed across different ancient cultures is evidence of a global network of knowledge that transcended political and geographical boundaries. This network likely facilitated the transmission of scientific and practical knowledge, including measurement systems, helping to create a more unified understanding of the world. The enduring influence of these ancient measurement systems is still evident today, as modern units like the metre, inch and foot, can be seen as the culmination of thousands of years of metrological development. This calls for a re-evaluation of how we view ancient civilisations and their capabilities.

The evidence presented in this essay suggests that ancient civilisations had a far more sophisticated understanding of the Earth's dimensions than modern scholarship often credits them with. The precision seen in their metrological systems, particularly with units like the cubit, parasang, and pied de roi, reveals a shared, interconnected knowledge base that spanned continents and cultures. This global network of scientific knowledge likely transcended political and geographical boundaries, demonstrating that ancient societies were not isolated in their intellectual pursuits.

Moreover, the recurring division of the Earth's circumference, particularly into multiples of 7 and 28, points to a deep symbolic connection between metrology and cosmology. The alignment of geographical zones with celestial bodies, as well as the intricate mathematical relationships encoded in ancient units of measurement, reflects a worldview in which the heavens and Earth were intimately linked.

These findings challenge the conventional narrative that modern measurement systems, such as the meter, are purely products of Enlightenment science. Instead, they suggest that ancient societies possessed a profound understanding of both terrestrial and celestial dimensions, laying the groundwork for modern systems long before their official adoption. By recognising this continuity, we gain a deeper appreciation for the intellectual achievements of our ancestors and the enduring legacy of their metrological systems. This calls for a re-examination of how we perceive ancient civilisations, urging us to appreciate the vast scope of their scientific and technological capabilities, which continue to influence the world today.

Flinders Petrie's observation about the early decimal system of Germany and Britain being remarkably close to the modern metric system is highly relevant to the arguments presented in this essay. His statement emphasises that ancient and early measurement systems were not only sophisticated but, in some cases, were already aligned with the principles of the modern metric system. Petrie's lament that the 12-inch foot system replaced these earlier decimal measures, leading to their suppression through legal statutes, aligns with the essay's argument that ancient civilisations had a deep and accurate understanding of the Earth's dimensions.

To return to the opening quotation, Petrie's insight suggests that the transition to modern systems of measurement such as the metre was less about innovation and more about a shift in cultural or political priorities. If the early decimal systems of measurement had persisted, societies would have needed minimal adjustment to align with the metric system. This reinforces the essay's central argument: that ancient metrological systems, including those described by Ibn Khaldun and others, were not primitive or inaccurate but were part of a continuous, global understanding of the Earth's dimensions that extended far into the past.

Petrie's comment also underscores how modern systems, such as the metre, may have roots in much older measurement traditions, thus supporting the idea that the metre was not a purely modern invention. Rather, it is the culmination of an ancient and evolving understanding of measurement, one that was disrupted but never fully eradicated by changes in political and legal systems. This makes Petrie’s point an important reminder of the sophistication of early systems and how close they were to what we use today, reinforcing the need to re-evaluate the scientific and metrological capabilities of ancient cultures.

### Notes

Mauss, C. “L’ÉGLISE DE SAINT-JÉRÉMIE A ABOU-GOSCH OBSERVATIONS SUR PLUSIEURS MESURES DE L’ANTIQUITÉ (Suite).”

*Revue Archéologique*, vol. 20, 1892, pp. 80–130.*JSTOR*, http://www.jstor.org/stable/41747027. Accessed 25 Aug. 2024.Ibid p 114

Ibid. p 103Newman, Hugh, 2008, Earth Grids: The Secret Patterns of Gaia's Sacred Sites, Wooden Books

Ptolomy, 2nd century, The Geography, Translation of the Geographia and dedication of the 1460 ms. ed. (Codex Ebnerianus) prepared by Donnus Nicholas [Nicolaus] Germanus,

__https://archive.org/details/geography0000ptol/page/n1/mode/2up__Flinders Petrie, M.W. 1911, "Weights and Measures", Encyclopædia Britannica 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Weights and Measures - Wikisource, the free online library

Neal, John, 2024, The Measures and Numbers of the Temple,

__https://www.academia.edu/123098066/The_Measures_and_Numbers_of_the_Temple__

8. Bailly, Jean-Sylvain, *Histoire de l'astronomie ancienne, depuis son origine jusqu'à l'établissement de l'École d'Alexandrie*, p 109

9. Horowitz, Wayne (1998). *Mesopotamian Cosmic Geography*. Eisenbrauns. p. 208

10. De l'Isle, Romé, 1721, __Histoire de l'Académie royale des sciences, avec les mémoires de mathématique et de physique____e de l'Académie royale des sciences, avec les mémoires de mathématique et de physique__

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