rotl [Arabic]

See also rottolo, raṭl and rtel.

(Plural, artal) A unit of mass in the Middle East. Various romanizations: rtal, rtol, rot'l


In Saudi Arabia, 20th century, 1 pound, 453.592 grams. Guillame says rattel or rottle 1.02 lb dry measure or 17.219 lb weight ???


In Jordan (Shami), 20th century, about 2.564 kilograms.


In Sudan A map showing the location of Sudan., 20th century, 449.28 grams.

Technical Conversion Factors…, 1972, page 307, says 0.45 kilograms.


In Tunisia, by the decree of 12 January 1895:

rtol attari: a legal unit of mass = 16 ouqiïas = 504 grams, used for spices, drugs, iron, metals.

rtol souki: the rtol of the market. A unit of mass = 18 ouqiïas = 567 grams, used for oil, butter, honey, olives, wood, charcoal, soap, dried fruit, etc.

rtol khaddari: = 20 ouqiïas = 630 grams, used for green produce.

Other units were merely local:

rotolo of the butchers of Tozeur, = 42 ouqiïas = 1.3324 kilograms.

rotolo used for vegetables at Gabès, = 32 ouqiïas = 1.0076 kilograms.

rotolo of the butchers of Gabès, = 24 ouqiïas = 754.9 grams.

rtol bakali = 17 ouqiïas = 535 grams. Also called bach Kahli. This unit was used for vegetables at Nabeul; it was officially abandoned.

The 1895 decree set the magnitude of the ouqiïa at 31.487 grams, which is very close to the size of the corresponding ounces of the Caliph El Mansour, and the Ptolemaic ounce in Egypt.

The rtal, unqualified, was 16 ouqiïas or 503.793 grams. It is now simply 500 grams.

In addition, some local values for cloth

Location rtal in grams
Ksour Essaf 750
Bizerte, Dar Chabane 700
Mokine 570
Msaken 540
Djerba, Zarzis 400

In Redeyef, a rtal of 625 grams was used for silver, in particular for bracelets.

Marcel Legendre.
Survivance des Mesures Traditionnelles en Tunisie.
Publications de L’Institut des Hautes Études de Tunis.
Memoires du Centre D’Études de Science Humaines, volume 4.
Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 1958.

Pages 36 & 37.



Les trois rtals existant encore en Tunisie en 1895 semblent être remplacés partout en général par un rtal unique qui vaut ½ kilo et l'ouqiia n'est plus qu'un souvenir familier sans portée effective.

The three rtals extant in Tunisia in 1895 seem to be everywhere replaced in general by a single rtal worth ½ kilo, and the ouqiïa is just a familiar memory without actual use.

Legendre (cited above), page 63. He was writing circa 1958.

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