sporta

In Egypt, 11th – 15th century, the European name for an Arabic unit of mass used in the pepper trade (but also in trading frankincense, cinnamon, brazilwood and indigo) = 5 cantaro forfori = 500 raṭl forfori. The word also means “load”.

Hinz estimates it at 222.4656 kilograms, based on the value of the raṭl. See the table below for estimates based on Chiarini.

Hinz, page 33.

E. Ashtor.
Levantine Weights and Standard Parcels: A Contribution to the Metrology of the Later Middle Ages.
Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, U. of London, vol. 45, no. 3 pages 471-488 (1982).

Page 475-476.

Sources

La sporta a che si vende pepe in Alexandria fa in Firenze libbre ccccccxij e mezo.

The sporta, by which pepper is sold in Alexandria, is 612½ Florentine libbre.

Chiarini, 1481.

Ussano says 630 libre.

Pepe si vende in Alessandria a sporta che'è chantara 5 forfori e detta sporta tornia in Vinegia libbre 720 sottili sichè sporta 1 e ¹⁄₉ (I) torna in Vinegia libre 800 sottili, e soo chariche 2 di Vinegia, che ogni charica di Vinegia si è libre 400 sottili.

Pepper is sold in Alexandria by the sporta, which is 5 cantari forfori, and the said sporta makes 720 Venetian libbre sottile, so 1¹⁄₉ sporta is 800 Venetian libbre sottili, and also 2 Venetian carica, each Venetian carica being 400 libbre sottili.

Chiarini, 1481. Borlandi, page 76.

Pepe si vende [in Alexandria] a uno pexo che si chiama sporta che torna in Vinegia detta sporta gabbellata libre 670, e in Gienova libre 666²⁄₃, e chosì quasi ogni spezaria grossa vi xi vende a chantare che si chiama forfori chè de libre  *** e torna in Gienova libbre 133¹⁄₃.

Pepper is sold by a weight that they call sporta. The said sporta is equal to 670 customs libbre in Venice, and in Genoa 666²⁄₃ libbre, and nearly all these are broken up and sold by weight by the cantaro which they call “forfori” *** and is equal to 133¹⁄₃ Genoese libbre.

Chiarini, 1481. Borlandi, page 140.

Comparing Chiarini's Equivalents
  Estimate of value of
unit referenced,
grams
Resulting size of sporta,
kilograms
612½ Florentine libbre 339.55 207.97
5 cantari forfori 43,400  217
720 Venetian libbre sottili 301 216.7
(customs) 670 Venetian    
666²⁄₃ Genoese libre 317 (lighter lb.) 211.3

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