The ancient civilization of Babylonia was quite the cultural forerunner in its time. The Babylonians had consistent laws, a complex written language, advanced agriculture, poetry, astronomy, some really curious mathematics using a unique base 60 system, and a pantheon whose chief bigshot Marduk made such upstart deities as Yahweh look like rank amateurs.

The Babylonian empire's wealth was renowned throughout the ancient world as well - it allowed Babylonians enough prosperity to devote their time to all those great cultural pursuits. But it's a wonder they were able to manage their assets effectively at all! Their measurement system was an utterly confusing mess, and the previous Sumerian system had been much worse. Here's how the Babylonians quantified their world:

#### Length:

The base unit is the

she, the measure of the size of a

barleycorn, about 1/360 of a

meter.

6 she = 1 shu-si

30 shu-si = 1 kush

6 kush = 1 gi or qanu

12 kush = 1 nindan

10 nindan = 1 eshe

60 nindan = 1 USH

30 USH = 1 beru

#### Area:

Area measures are based on the

sar, which is one square nindan or about 36 square meters.

180 she = 1 gin

60 gin = 1 sar

50 sar = 1 ubu

100 sar = 1 iku

6 iku = 1 eshe

18 iku = 1 bur (a rectangular area 1 beru by 1 nindan)

#### Volume:

Solid volume was computed in units identical to area units; a volumetric unit was defined as a box whose base was that of the corresponding areal unit and whose height was 1 kush.

Fluid volume followed a different convention. The base unit here is the sila, about 1 modern liter.

180 she = 1 gin

60 gin = 1 sila

10 sila = 1 ban

6 ban = 1 bariga

5 bariga = 1 gur

#### Weight:

Weight was based on the

mana, approximately half a

kilogram.

180 she = 1 gin or shiqlu

60 gin = 1 mana

60 mana = 1 gu or biltu

*Data from http://it.stlawu.edu/~dmelvill/mesomath/obmetrology.html*