Jump to navigation Jump to search

Plethron (Greek: πλέθρον) is a measurement used in Ancient times, equal to 100 Greek feet (ποῦς, pous). It was roughly the width of a typical athletic running-track, and was used as the standard width and length of a Wrestling square, since wrestling competitions were held on the racing track in early times.

A plethron is given as the size of the wrestling area by Libanius in Orationes Chapter 10.

Although the standard measure for a plethron may have varied from polis to polis, it normally corresponded to the length of around 30 meters (100 ft). A square plethron is consequently a square of around 30 by 30 meters, i. e. something like 900 square meters.

The plethron continued to be used in the Byzantine Empire and was defined as 100 feet or 40 paces (bema/βῆμα).[1]

The plethron was also used as a measure of area (i.e., as a square plethron). This functioned as the Greek acre and varied in size to accommodate the amount of land a team of oxen could plow in a day. Under the Byzantine Empire, these differences were codified among different themes and the unit came to be known as the "stremma", which continues as a (now metric) unit in modern Greece.[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b V. L. Ménage, Review of Speros Vryonis, Jr. The decline of medieval Hellenism in Asia Minor and the process of islamization from the eleventh through the fifteenth century, Berkeley, 1971; in Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies (University of London) 36:3 (1973), pp. 659-661. at JSTOR (subscription required); see also Erich Schilbach, Byzantinische Metrologie (referenced but not seen)