История формирования единиц измерения в разуме человека

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В статье рассматривается история единиц имерения, используемых в разные периоды исторического развития человечества, и их соответствие современным единицам измерения, передающим бесценное наследие наших предков будущим поколениям. Кроме того, он охватывает информацию об основах теории измерений и метрологических характеристиках средств измерений. Он четко описывает исторические единицы измерения длины, объема, веса и денег с примерами. Кроме того, в статье подчеркивается идея о том, что необходимость измерения жизненно важна сегодня, как и в прошлом. В этой статье описаны имена наших выдающихся предков и их вклад в развитие единиц измерения. Кроме того, приведены некоторые единицы измерения, используемые в некоторых странах Востока, в том числе в Узбекистане. Кроме того, эта статья включает в себя некоторые пословицы, созданные в области единиц измерения и подчеркивающие важность измерения. Эта статья объединяет различные области, такие как история, лингвистика и технологии. По этой причине выводы этой статьи могут быть широко использованы не только на занятиях или семинарах по некоторым аспектам лингвистики, но и те, кто изучает историю и технологии, могут найти их полезными для своего дальнейшего развития.

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Humanity began to deal with issues that we today refer to the tasks of legal and applied metrology a very long time ago. These issues became relevant even when the first civilizations, the first states began to form, when trade began to develop, when it became necessary to carry out rather large collective work as construction of irrigation and defensive structures, roads, temples and other places of worship. In other words, when there is a need for coordinated actions of people, often remote from each other. Significantly, perhaps vital for any state, was the need to determine the size of tributes and taxes and control their flow to the treasury. This required legalized measurement methods and national measures, primarily length, volume and weight. It also required structures to monitor the correct application of these measures, in the absence of any kind of abuse, which is by no means an «invention» of our today’s world [1].

Each unit of measurement has a long history. In the days when there were no units of measurement, people used them to measure the quantity of something based on their needs. In the past, human organs were also used as measuring instruments. In the written monuments that have come down to us, they are expressed and preserved in different periods. The point is, such measurements are intended to be accessible to all. For example, they are based on fingers, hands, feet, eyes, ears, joints, miles, twins, mills, hooks, elbows, stones, and more.

Material and methods

The main research methods are comparative-typological analysis of materials. Methods of modeling, elements of transformational methods were used in determining methods of representing units of measurement. Works depicting the history of metrology, examples of units of measurement and lexical units of measuring were used as material for the article. They are derived from various works of Uzbek, English, American and Russian scientists and explanatory dictionaries.

The main results and findings

Without any hesitation we can say that, the long history of metrology is related to the Egyptian Pyramid of Djoser. The first man to be mentioned in terms of utilizing units of measurement skillfully is Imhotep, the supreme advisor (prime minister) of Pharaoh Djoser, an architect, builder, physician and statesman. Djoser (2780-2760 BC) — the founder of the III dynasty of the Egyptian pharaohs, was, without a doubt, an outstanding personality. For the first time he united Upper and Lower Egypt into a single state with the capital in Memphis. One must think that Djoser knew how to surround himself with talented assistants, the first of whom was Imhotep. He oversaw the construction of the first great pyramid, the so-called "step pyramid of Djoser", the memorial temple at Saqqara, his own tomb and many other structures. He became even more famous as a doctor. His fame was so great and incorruptible that in the 7th century BC, two thousand years after his death, he was included as a healing god among the Memphis deities. During the reign of the pharaohs of the Greek dynasty of the Ptolemies, Imhotep was identified with the Greek god of healing, Asclepius. In the III century BC, the cult of Asclepius penetrated into Rome, where he became known as Aesculapius. What makes it possible to consider Imhotep one of the forerunners of legal metrology? The unification of the two kingdoms required him to introduce uniform measures throughout Egypt. The construction of pyramids and temples, blocks for which were mined in remote quarries, processed to their final dimensions, and then delivered to the construction site (more precisely, assembly), required a fairly high culture of linear measurements. The specialty of a doctor is the same culture of weighing in the preparation of medicines (old recipes often contained dozens of components) [2].

Further successes of metrology are associated in many respects with the development of astronomy. Keeping calendars, navigation tasks required precise measurements of the position of the Sun, Moon, planets and stars, i.e. development, according to modern terminology, measurement techniques [3]. In ancient times, people more often than now turned their eyes to the starry sky. It was both a clock and a calendar and a compass. And some shepherd thousands of years ago knew the constellations much better than a modern city dweller with a secondary (and even higher) education. The famous Greek scientist Pythagoras of Samos (570-500 BC) and the Pythagorean school created by him played an important role in the development of astronomy (and, as a consequence, metrology). Pythagoras was a unique person: an outstanding mathematician, Olympic champion in fist fighting, he was initiated by the Egyptian priests into his secret (exoteric) rites and gained access to the information they kept hidden from the uninitiated. The Pythagoreans considered the Earth to be a ball. They considered all other planets to be balls. Moreover, they believed that the Earth revolves around its axis and around the Sun, anticipating the teachings of Copernicus by almost two millennia.

After this introduction, the majestic figure of Aristarchus of Samos, an outstanding astronomer and metrologist (late 4th — first half of the 3rd century BC), appears on the horizon. He shared the teaching of the Pythagoreans that the Earth, together with the planets, revolves around the Sun, and, relying on this teaching, set himself a daring task: to determine how many times the Sun is farther from the Earth than the Moon (the Moon was considered an independent planet in those days). He found an ingeniously simple way to solve this problem.

At the moment when the Sun illuminates exactly half of the Moon's disk, the angle γ is equal to 90 °. It remains to determine (measure) the angle between the directions to the centers of the Moon and the Sun β. The closer this angle is to 90 °, the farther the Sun is from the Earth compared to the Moon. According to Aristarchus's measurements, it turned out that the Sun is at least 19 times farther from the Earth than the Moon. In fact, this ratio is close to 400, but one should not underestimate the contribution of Aristarchus to our understanding of the true picture of the world. His result, according to Laplace, "pushed the boundaries of the universe far beyond the limits that were attributed to it in those days." Aristarchus of Samos also took one more step towards the truth: noticing that the Earth's motion does not noticeably affect the apparent positions of the stars, he, again, according to Laplace, «removed them from us incomparably further than the Sun so that, apparently, he is better everyone in ancient times imagined the size of the universe. Note that the idea of Aristarchus of Samos to express the distance to the Sun not in stages, but in distances from the Earth to the Moon, turned out to be very rational and vital [4]. And today, scientists often express distances between objects in the solar system not in kilometers, but in astronomical units (au) — the distance from the Earth to the Sun.

Now is the time to get acquainted with Eratosthenes of Cyrene (276-194 BC), curator of the famous Alexandrian library, a friend of Archimedes (287-212 BC). In modern parlance, Eratosthenes developed a technique for taking measurements of the length of the earth's meridian (and therefore the diameter and radius of the Earth) and performed these measurements. He knew that in Siena (present-day Aswan), on the summer solstice (June 22), the Sun illuminates the bottom of deep wells, i.e. is practically at the zenith.

Now it is time to highlight the history of units of measurement in Uzbekistan. Some sources state that the term metrology has appeared in books and treatises since the late 19th century. However, the foundations of measurement were laid by our ancestors long ago. A number of information about measurements and units of measurement is given in the works of the great scientist Abu Abdullah Muhammad ibn Musa al-Khwarizmi, and the great scientist Ahmad Fergani was the first in the world (in 861) invented and developed a device for measuring the water level. Yusuf Khos Hajib's work "Qutadgu bilig" written in Turkish calls not only to use the units of measurement and units of measurement, but also to have a thorough knowledge of measurement and measurement [5]. The Uzbek people, which has a rich cultural heritage and has made an invaluable contribution to the treasury of world science, has long attached great importance to the field of measurement and its development. There were professionals engaged in measurement. There are more than 20,000 unexplored historical written sources in the libraries, archives and museums of our country, and if you look through them, you will come across units of measurement used in the distant past. The information on the history of ancient units of measurement included in the manual serves as an important source in the study of the history of the peoples of Central Asia and our country.

Our ancestors have laid the foundation stone for it since ancient times. Initially, they found and used in practice the methods needed to measure the time, length, surface, volume, and weight required in their daily work. The oldest units of measurement are anthropometric, that is, units of measurement based on conformity or inclination to certain human organs. In fact, while they used terms such as early, late, day, night, day and night to measure time, they did not use steps, inches, ears, fingers, elbows, or barley or wheat grains or to measure length the hair on the horse's neck is used. Surfaces and volumes were measured relative to other known surfaces or volumes. To measure weight, the weight of one item was compared to the weight of another, using mainly grains (barley, wheat, peas, etc.) and fruits (grains, nuts, etc.). Such simple methods of measurement were sufficient for the daily work of our ancestors at that time.

The Uzbek people, which has a rich cultural heritage and has made a significant contribution to the treasury of world science, has long attached great importance to the field of measurement and its development. This is probably why our people have created hundreds of proverbs in this area, as: «Bog`ni boqsang bog` bo`lur, botmon-botmon yog` bo`lur», «Yemak tuz bilan, tuz o`lchov bilan», «Yetti o`lchab, bir kes», «Har yerning oz botmoni bor», «Har kim o`z qarichi bilan o`lchar», «Har yerni qilma orzu, har yerda bor tosh — tarozu» and so on [6]. From time immemorial, our people have established relations with many countries in the world in economic, scientific and many other fields, engaged in trade. In order for these relations to be effective, it was important for our people to pay great attention to the units of measurement and use them correctly. In particular, the educated people of that time not only contributed to the creation of the sciences in the field of measurement, but also encouraged people to study the sciences in this field. As a result, hundreds of measurements and units of measurement were created and put into practice.

Some information about measurements and units of measurement is given in the part of the great Khorezmian scientist Abu Abdullah Muhammad ibn Musa al-Khwarizmi's algebraic treatise "On measurements" and on geometry. The scientist attached great importance to finding lengths, surfaces and volumes by calculation and measurement methods. It provides good information on measuring instruments such as rope, gas, finger, and measuring instruments such as measuring sticks, as well as instructions for their practical application. Khorezmi also made a worthy contribution to the field of measurement in his work "Treatise on Solar Clocks". The great scientist Ahmad Fergani was the first in the world (861) to invent and develop a device for measuring the water level. He also made a worthy contribution to the development of measurement by writing a book "On the construction of the sundial."

The works of the great scholars Abu Rayhan Beruni and Abu Ali Ibn Sina contain many units of measurement. Many of them have not lost their power even today. In the work "Qutadgu bilig" written in 1069 in the Turkish language by our great poet Yusuf Khos Khojib, not only the use of measurements and units of measurement, but also the perfect knowledge of the work of measuring and measuring. The term "work" in this phrase means to test the purity of the metal, to observe the accuracy of the stones and scales in the market, to observe the purity and weight of the gold and silver coins in circulation. In the work "The Story of Ar-Rabguzi" written in 1310 by Nasiruddin Rabguzi in the Turkish language we can get information that Amir Temur, Alisher Navoi, Zakhriddin Muhammad paid great attention to the development of units of measurement [7]. This data can be found in the works of Babur and dozens of other scholars. The units of measurement and measurement used to measure the water level are also created by our people, such as «Tegirmon» (The mill).

After Russia's conquest of Central Asia in the 19th century, he carried out plans to assimilate "European culture" into the local population [8]. In 1894, the Russian government issued a directive on the unconditional use of the Russian measure in Turkestan. The transition period was set at 3 years for large traders and 5 years for others. After that, all the information about the old local measurements and units of measurement began to be phased out. For example, in the 1930s, units of measurement were used instead of analysis, sajen instead of sarjin, desyatina instead of tanob, versta instead of miles. In countries such as France, as well as in the Middle Ages, feudal principalities used different units of measurement. The industrial revolution, the development of trade between the countries of the world, required the abandonment of various units of measurement and the transition to a single metric system. On May 20, 1875, in Paris, diplomatic representatives of 17 countries signed the documents of the metric convention. The International System of Units has been in use in the former USSR since 1960.


These are just a few of the many assumptions that could be made. If you look closely, you will notice that although the names of time, length, surface, volume, weight, and other units of measurement discovered by the peoples of the world over thousands of years are different, their values are very close to each other. From the earliest stages of human development, people needed to measure this or that quantity. In Central Asia, the measurement of length has long been done with the help of one part of the human body, as well as the width of the grain and the width of the horse's bridle, and secondly, as a measure of the weight of wheat and barley grains. is used. Due to the passage of the Great Silk Road through the territory of Central Asia, between the west and the east, the units of measurement and measurement discovered by our ancestors spread to the four corners of the world and were used by the peoples of that side sometimes used in our language, or translated into their own languages [9].

It is time to mention the units of measurement used in some Eastern countries, including Uzbekistan:

1 Marhala is equal to 25-30 kilometers.

1 Sotix is a measure of area, is equal to 10 x 10 = 100 square meters.

1 Botmon is equal to 78 pounds or 128 kg.

1 Qarich is equal to the spread of the thumb and forefinger, i.e. 19-20 centimeters.

1 Enlik is equal to the width of one finger (18-20 mm) or 1 width is equal to the length of 6 grains of barley.

1 Farsax (farsang) — unit of distance measurement — is equal to 6 km.

1 Yig’och — unit of distance measurement — is equal to 5985 meters, in some places — 8-9 km

1 Tanob is the size of an area, varying from place to place: from one to six and a half hectare per hectare.

1 Put — 16 kg.

1 Isbat (finger) — 2-2.5 centimeters.

1 Qadoq — 409.5 grams.

1 Chorak — 250 grams.

1 Tutam is equal to 9 cm: a unit of length selected according to the width of the four fingers of the hand holding a rope or stick.

1 Qadam is a length measurement of 63-71 cm.

1 Shair is equal to 1 misqal.

1 Quloch is the distance between the middle fingertips of both hands.

1 Quloch in Bukhara is equal to 142 cm., In Fergana 167 cm.

1 Arshin is equal to one step.

1 Qadam is equal to 63-71 cm.

1 Tosh (farsax) — Widely used in Eastern countries. A distance of 9-12 thousand steps or 6-8 miles.

1 Chaqirim is equal to 1006 meters.

1 Gaz is a unit of length equal to 0.71 meters. At present, one gas (in Iran) is equal to 104 cm. In the past, Central Asia had 24 finger widths (1 finger width is equal to the width of 6 barley grains) or 7 fist widths (the width of holding a stick) and 1 gas. In Khorezm, 1 gas was 12 inches (30.48 cm). In Bukhara in the XVI-XVII centuries 78.74 cm., In the XIX century 106.68 cm., In Tashkent, Samarkand and Turkestan (in the XIX century) 88.9 cm. In Andijan and Margilan (19th century) 83-84 cm. was

1 Paxsa is equal to 60 centimeters.

1 Qo’sh (water) — taken as the water used to irrigate the land plowed by the ox in one day.

1 Tegirmon is equal to the amount of stream water that turns a millstone.

1 Paysa is a weight of 50 grams.

1 Paqir is equal to 2 pennies.

1 Miri is equal to 5 pennies.

1 Tanga is a silver coin worth 15 tiyin in the Emirate of Bukhara and 20 tiyin in the Kokand Khanate.

1 So’lkavoy — 1 soum coin.

1 Aruzza (rice grain) is equal to 0.017 grams.

1 Sha’ira (barley grain) is equal to 0.059 grams.

1 Habba is equal to 0.059-0.071 grams.

Above-mentioned units of measurement just a drop from the ocean. For this reason, further research on this field is needed.


The science of the past millennia and centuries did not know the division into narrow specialties. Metrology is not an exception as well. It developed in close unity with astronomy, arithmetic, geometry and other divisions of ancient science. Scientists of the past were natural scientists of a wide profile. Moreover, they were usually simultaneously travelers, historians, writers, poets, politicians and even athletes. There were also priests among them. Science of the past, as a rule, was descriptive, it went through a period of accumulation of facts. But at all times, starting from deep antiquity, there were people who understood the importance of ensuring the uniformity of measurements, who strove to introduce a measure and number into science, which could rightfully be done centuries and millennia before D.I. Mendeleev to say that science begins when they begin to measure [10]. It was these people, willingly or unwillingly, who laid the foundation for modern metrology.

Summing up all of the above, it should be emphasized that the history of metrology provides a very interesting and instructive picture of the implementation and development of the idea of measure, depending on the complication of tasks that arose before teams performing cognitive, production and exchange functions. The development of metrology clearly and vividly illustrates the general nature of the movement of cognitive thought in history: it went in the direction from random, arbitrary and subjective to universally significant, normalized and objective, from a chaotic state to ordered diversity, from independence and fragmentation to interconnection and unity, from empiricism to scientific method. Formation of new forms of units of measurement and creation some proverbs in terms of measuring highlights the importance of this term in any periods of human development.

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Список литературы

  1. Herbert Arthur Klein. The Science of Measurement: A Historical Survey. Brooklyn, 2011.
  2. Paul Lockhart. Measurement. New York, 2009.
  3. Bryansky L.N. Uncombed metrology. Moscow, 2002.
  4. Andrew Robinson. The Story of Measurement. England, 2007.
  5. Shoabdurakhmanov Sh., Аskarova M., Xojiev А., Rasulov I., Doniyorov Kh. Hozirgi O’zbek adabiy tili (Modern Uzbek Literary Language.). Toshkent, 1980.
  6. O'zbek Xalq maqollari (Uzbek Folk Proverbs). Toshkent, 2014.
  7. Nosiriddin Rabg’uziy. Qissasi Rabg’uziy. 1309-1310.
  8. Seymour Becker. Russia's Protectorates in Central Asia, Cambridge, 2004.
  9. Bruce R. Gilson. Units and Measurement systems. Second edition. England, 2014.
  10. Bryson, Bill. A Short History of Nearly Everything. New York, 2008.


Умирзокова, Н.А. История формирования единиц измерения в разуме человека / Н.А. Умирзокова. — Текст : электронный // NovaInfo, 2021. — № 130. — URL: https://novainfo.ru/article/18888 (дата обращения: 22.01.2022).