STADIUM (6 a-Mae:nand TD crrcibies), the principal Greek measure of length, was equal to 600 Greek or 625 Roman feet, that is, to 606 feet 9 inches English. The Roman mile contained 8 stadia. The Roman writers often measure by stadia, chiefly in geographical and astro nomical measurements. (Herod., ii. 149; Plin., Hist. Nat.,' ii., 23 or 21 ; Columell., Re. Rust.,' v. 1; Strabo, vii., p. 497.) The standard length of this measure was the distance between the pillars at the two ends of the footrace course at Olympia, which was itself called stadium, from its length, and this standard prevailed throughout Greece. Some writers have attempted to show that there were other stadia in use in Greece besides the Olympic. The only passages in which anything of the kind seems to be stated are one in Censorinus (` De Die Natali,' c. 13), which, as far as it can be understood, evidently contains some mistake ; and another which is quoted by Aulus Gellius (i. 1) from Plutarch, but which speaks of the race-courses called stadia, not of the stadium as a measure.
The principal argument for a variety of stadia is that of Major Rennell (' Geog. of Herod ,' s. 2); namely, that when ancient authors have stated the distances between known places, and a comparison is made between their statements and the' actual distances, the distances stated by them are invariably found to be too great, never too small. Hence the conclusion is drawn that they used an itinerary stade shorter than the Olympic. If so, it is strange that the very writers who have left us these statements of distances have not said a word about the itinerary stade which they are supposed to have used, while several of them often speak of the Olympic stade as containing 600 Greek feet. But there is a very simple explanation of the difficulty, which is given by Ukert, in his geographie der Griechen and Romer' (i., p. 56, &c.). The common Greek method of reckoning distances, both by sea and laud, was by computation, not by measurement. A journey or voyage took a certain number of days, and this number was reduced to stadia, by allowing a certain number of stadia to each day's journey.
The number of stadia so allowed was computed on the supposition that circumstances were favourable to the traveller's progress ; and there fore every impediment, such as wind, tide, currents, windings of the coast, a heavily laden or badly sailing ship, or any deviation from the shortest track by sea, and the corresponding hindrances by land, would all tend to increase the number of days which the journey took, and consequently the number of stadia which the distance was computed to contain. These circumstances, together with the fact that the Greek writers are by no means agreed as to the number of stadia contained in a day's journey, and other sources of inaccuracy which we know to have existed, furnish a satisfactory explanation of the discrepancies which we find in their statements of distances, both when compared with one another, and when compared with the actual fact, without there being any occasion to resort to the supposition of a stale different from the Olympic. Colonel Leake On the Stade as a Linear Measure' (` Journal of the Royal Geographical Society of London,' vol. ix., 1839), has also come to the conclusion " that the stade, as a linear, measure, had but one standard, namely, the length of the foot-race, or interval between the luperbpla and taaorrilp in all the stadia of Greece, and which is very clearly defined as having contained 600 Greek feet." When we come however to writers as late as the 3rd century of the Christian era, we do find stadia of different lengths. Of these the chief are those of 7 and 7i to the Roman mile. (Wilma, De'Pond.,' &c., § 58.) The following table, from the Appendix to Hussey's 'Ancient Weights and Money,' represents the supposed varieties of the Greek stadium :— Tda. Ft. Loch.
Stada'aralyned to Aristotle's measurement of the earth's 1 210992 Mean geographical stade, computed by Major Benne11 . . . . . . 163 1 6 Olympic stada .......202 0 9 Stade 047} to the Roman mile . . . 213 2 2.4 Stade at 1 to tha Roman mile . . . 331 0 8.124 2. The race-course for foot-races at Olympia was called stadium, as above mentioned, and the mune name wars applied to all other such courses.