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Cultural-Historical Psychology

Publisher: Moscow State University of Psychology and Education

ISSN (printed version): 1816-5435

ISSN (online): 2224-8935


License: CC BY-NC 4.0

Started in 2005

Published quarterly

Free of fees
Open Access Journal

Affiliated ISCAR


Cultural and Historical Aspects of Russian Traditional Anthropomeasure 816

Kazachenko B.N., PhD in Biology, Senior Researcher, Research Institute and Museum of Anthropology of Moscow State University, Moscow, Russia,
This article is devoted to the history of science in general and to the history of Russia's anthropology, in particular. The aim of this work was to review an Old Russian system of «human» measures from the cultural-historical perspective. In order to capture this phenomenon a new term was introduced — anthropomeasure. The traditional ways of anthropomeasuring definition of the «living» space of the eastern Slavs are shown in the specific examples. Small distances in Russia have always been measured by parts of the human body: «pyad» (span; old Russian measure equals to the distance between stretched thumb and index fingers) icons); «vershok» (from a Russian word meaning «upper part», a small surplus that originated on the top when pouring the crop, equals to the size of the upper phalanx of the index finger) (eight-vershok bucket); «perst» (finger) (duodenum — in Russian literally «12 fingers intestine»); «lokot» (elbow) (cloth), etc. The measurement of the length of the surrounding physical world was done using the «foot measurements» (parshg), expressed in units of reach — in «sagenes» (amplitude of the hands from the fingers on one hand to the fingers on the other hand) or «arshines» (from Turk; equals to the length of the whole arm from the shoulder, or a free foot-step): field (750 sagenes), verst (from 500 up to 1000 sagenes). A man interacting with the surrounding habitat thus was a «measure of all things». The social disruptions in France and Russia predetermined the appearance of the meter in our country. Meter quickly became the standard of the individual and science that studies him.

Keywords: man, anthropomeasure, measures of Ancient Rus, anthropometry

Column: Discussions And Discourses

For Reference

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