# The original definition of a mile

1. Mar 4, 2005

### chronon

The mile comes from the distance a Roman soldier covered with 1000 steps.

To get the decimal point in the right place you just need to find a very big Roman soldier

2. Mar 4, 2005

### Integral

Staff Emeritus
This post originally appeared in a now locked TD thread. I, however, love such bits of totally useless trivia.

As stated this definition has a problem. The average persons STEP is about 2.5ft, this would get you about .5 miles. The resolution to this is that when measuring distance by walking. the pace is the fundamental unit. A PACE is counted each time the right (or left) foot hits the ground. This would but 1000 paces right around 5000ft, pretty close to a mile. So when you are out for a walk, when your right foot has hit the ground 1000 times you have traveled about 1 mile. Nice to know, but counting can be a bit tedious, I guess that is what pedometers are all about.

3. Mar 4, 2005

### brewnog

Yup, or counting in triangle numbers :-)

4. Mar 5, 2005

### HallsofIvy

HOWEVER, the "pace" in "mille pacem" ("a thousand paces" which became "mile") was measured from left foot to left foot. That is twice what you may be thinking of as a "pace". It wouldn't take a very large soldier for that to be about 5.3 feet.

5. Mar 5, 2005

### KingNothing

Perhaps the first real evidence that roman soldiers frolicked, rather than marched.

Intersting 'tidbit'

6. Mar 5, 2005

### Andrew Mason

I think pacem means peace as in dona nobis pacem. Roman soldiers were not terribly concerned with peace, let alone peace x 1000. Perhaps it was 1000 pieces to the mile, used as a measure of the destruction that they left behind as they marched.

AM

7. Mar 5, 2005

### Integral

Staff Emeritus
We are in tune Halls, perhaps I did not state it clearly enough, but I meant Right to right or Left to left, should be about the same.

8. Mar 5, 2005

### HallsofIvy

Actually, you did say it clearly- I didn't read all of your response until after I wrote mine!

9. Mar 10, 2005

### mapper

I count my steps as I walk every day, mostly only longer distances like from work to my car and dont do count from my desk to the coffee machine much anymore cause i know exactly how much they are....

I have been doing since i was 6 to help me start counting. I cant stand it anymore! Its driving me nutz! Its like having a song stuck in your head for 22 years!!! help meeeee......

Last edited: Mar 10, 2005
10. Mar 10, 2005

### mapper

That would only start a challenge for me to which im sure would drive me even more insane. I have to hit my head against a wall in hopes i forget your post.

11. Mar 10, 2005

### arildno

I am a nice guy, really, deep down.
So, in order not to drive you into the asylum, I have deleted my insidious post..