See also: misqal, miskal.
Also romanized as mitgal and mithkal. From pre-Islamic times to the present, an Arabic unit of mass for gold and precious stones.
In Africa, 13th – 20th centuries, the principal unit of mass in the trade in gold dust between West and North Africa, = 1/6th of the North African trade ounce, about 4.5 grams. The trade ounce was descended from the Roman ounce, which had been similarly divided into 6 sextarii.
According to Garrard (1980, page 225), the eastern part of the Akan area, in what is now Ghana, tended to use a weight series based on this mitkal, while to the west, in present-day Ivory Coast, a series based on the trade ounce was more common. He explains the difference by the difference in predominant trade items: Ghana produced more gold dust, while the future Ivoriens traded ivory and other more massive items.
In North Africa and the Sahel, for coined gold the mitkal (or dinar) was reckoned at 6 2/3 mitkals to the ounce, so the mitkal was about 4.05 grams.
In Mande, a language often used in trade, the word was metikale.
In Sudan , a unit of mass = 40 habba. Amery contradicts himself on this subject. On page 427 he states the mitgal equals 40 habba of gold, and the kirat 10 habba (i.e., 1 mitgal = 4 kirats), while on page 430 he says the mitgal equals 24 kirat. One mitgal = 1½ dirhem, about 4.68 grams (72.22 grains).
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.
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