THE PRINCELY FATHOM. UNIFORMIZATION OF MEASURES AND STATE MAKING IN WALLACHIA, 1775-1831 Cover Image
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THE PRINCELY FATHOM. UNIFORMIZATION OF MEASURES AND STATE MAKING IN WALLACHIA, 1775-1831
THE PRINCELY FATHOM. UNIFORMIZATION OF MEASURES AND STATE MAKING IN WALLACHIA, 1775-1831

Author(s): Vasile Mihai Olaru
Subject(s): History
Published by: Studia Universitatis Babes-Bolyai
Keywords: fathom; standardization; Wallachia; Phanariot period; state; state idea; bureaucratisation

Summary/Abstract: This article discusses the relationship between the uniformization of measures and the transformation of the state in Wallachia from 1775 to 1831 by focusing on the fathom (stânjen), a measure of length used before the introduction of the metric system. The extant Romanian historiography of weights and measure tended to consider early modern measures as standards easy to convert in the metric system. To the contrary, my article shows that that consistent attempts made by the central power – the princedom – to define and control the measures can be documented consistently only from the last quarter of the 18th century on. Triggered by the dissolution of communal property and the incipient commodification of land, this process of standardization contributed to the bureaucratisation of the state apparatus and to the constitution of the state as an impersonal entity.

  • Issue Year: 60/2015
  • Issue No: 1
  • Page Range: 200-220
  • Page Count: 21
  • Language: English