Author of the Month

Plato's Mistake (cont.)
By Nick Kollerstrom, PhD


The book The Measure of Albion, the Lost Science of Prehistoric Britain by Robin Heath & John Michell (2004) has the basic length-measures of different cultures in antiquity all derive from one value of the Earth’s circumference, which they give as 24,883.2 miles (pp. 6, 12, 20 etc) and they called that the ‘Meridian circumference’. (By that term they meant a Great circle passing through the poles, which I don’t believe it ever was). They obtained the number from Michell’s earlier work Ancient Metrology, where it’s given as the fifth power of 12. Wiki gave 24,880 miles as a modern, mean Earth-circumference, so it’s as close as makes no difference.

Let’s write the (rather mystic-looking) equations, as John Michell saw them:

Mean Earth-circumference = 125/10 miles = 604 x10 Greek feet.

That works as exactly as can be ascertained by the figures. From that ratio there follows John Michell’s insight [11] that

English mile / Greek mile = Greek mile / Roman mile = 25 / 24

It just tumbles out of the maths so to speak; bearing in mind that the Greek & Roman miles had 5000 feet whereas the English mile had 5280 feet. The ratio linking Greek and Roman feet or miles by 25:24 is well-established and was accepted by ancient sources; whereas that linking the English and Greek miles is not, and seemingly has no business to exist. After all, it was the Roman and not the Greek mile that was introduced into Britain and there was ‘no trace of the Olympic foot in Northern Europe’ [12].

By Nick Kollerstrom, MA Cantab., PhD, FRAS (for other articles by NK, see here)

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  1. The Measure of Albion, p.79. [back to text]
  2. Edward Nicholson, Men and Measures, 1912, p. 49. [back to text]

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