kassabah

See also kassabé.

An Islamic unit of length, from the Arabic qaṣaba. Also romanized as qasaba and gasaba. Doursther says it = 1/1500 parasang = 2 kathouah = 6 hashemite cubits = 8 24-assbaa cubits = 12 pieds = 16 aschbar = 48 cabda = 192 assbaa = 3.84 meters.

In Egypt, surveyors accompanying the French army in its invasion (1798 – 1801) measured the kassabah as 3.75 meters.¹ The value later used by Egyptian customs was about 3.55 meters (about 3.8824 yards).

In the Sudan A map showing the location of Sudan., 19th century, about 3.55 meters (about 3.882 yards).²

1. Poids et mesures du Kaire (1804).

2. H[arald] F[rançois] S[aphir] Amery.
English-Arabic Vocabulary for the Use of Officials of the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan, compiled in the Intelligence Department of the Egyptian Army.
Cairo: Al-Mokattam Printing Office, 1905.

sources

Mesures Agraires. - La Kasabah.

L'unité de longueur de la mesure agraire en Egypte était de tout temps et est encore aujourd'hui la kasabah.

La kasabah est beaucoup plus ancienne que la coudée baladi; elle est du temps pharaonique; elle a sùbi des modifications très-graves. Elle parait avoir été, à l'époque romaine, d'environ 3m,94. La kasabah hakimite avait 6 coudées baladi et 2/3 d'une coudée, c'est-à-dire 3m,884 de longueur.

Ce n'est que dans les deux derniers siècles, pendant l'anarchiè ou le gouvernenment des Mamluks, que la kasabah a éprouvé de notables diminutions. Dans les commencements du règne de Mohammad Ali, sa longueur variait, suivant les provinces, entre 3 et 4 mètres, et c'est pour cela qu'on a pris un terme moyen et fixé la longueur de la kasabah actuelle à 3m,55, sans aucune consideration du système métrique, dont on ignorait le principe et même l'existence. Ainsi, la kasabah, telle qu'elle est en usage maintenant, a pour longueur 3m,55, ou en coudées baladi, 6coud,0933745.

The unit of length for rural land in Egypt has always been and still is today, the kasabah.

The kasabah is much older than the diraa baladi; it is from the time of the pharaohs; it has suffered serious modifications. It seems to have been, in Roman times, around 3.94 meters. The hashemite kasabah was 6 2/3 coudées baladi, that is 3.884 meters in length.

It was not until the last two centuries, during the anarchy or the government of the Mamluks, that the kasabah suffered serious reductions. In the beginning of the reign of Mohammad Ali, its length varied, depending on the province, between 3 and 4 meters, and that is why we took an average value and fixed the length of the contemporary kasabah at 3.55 meters, without any consideration of the metric system, being ignorant of its principles and even its existence. Thus, the kasabah now in use, 3.55 meters long, or in diraa baladi, 6.093375.

Mahmoud Bey.
Le système métrique actual d'Égypte. Les Nilometres anciens et moderns et les antiques coudées d'Égypte.
Journal Asiatique. 7th series, vol 1, pages 67-110 (January 1873).
Pages 86-87.
Available online at Gallica, the Bibliothèque Numérique of the Bibliothèque National de France.

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