The Old Russian Systems of Measurement
Conversion of Measurements
Doukhobor Geneology Website is dedicated to helping decipher historical documents about the non-Orthodox Christian group: the Doukhobors. The website has many useful tools for those interested in converting units of weight, time, length, and similar practical terms to more modern measures.
- There is a chart listing measures of weight, dry and liquid volume, and monetary terms, comparing these measurements to kilograms, liters, dollars, and pennies.
- A document listing various archival terms to identify documents such as deeds, chronicles, and other certifications and legal paperwork.
- A list naming common geographic terms such as bogs, forests, and meadows, as well as man-made geographic denotations such as cities, towns, and various sorts of villages.
- An index of familial terms, family events, and terms indicating age.
- A list of time terms, such as seconds, days of the week, months, and seasons.
Calendars and Numbers
Calendars in the Russian Empire
Most Western European nations adopted the Gregorian Calendar in the late 16th century, switching from the Julian Calendar. The Gregorian Calendar can be indicated by the letters "N.S." (New Style), while the Julian Calendar can be indicated by the letters "O.S." (Old Style). Elisabeth Achelis wrote a summary of the major forces for and against the adoption of the Gregorian calendar in the Russian Empire. In brief, the Julian calendar was adopted in the Russian Empire in 1709, 127 years after many Western European nations had adopted the Gregorian calendar. By the 19th century, the Gregorian calendar was still used in Russian-language publications intended for an international audience, including commerce reports, naval operations, and certain sciences with worldwide relevance.
Roughly speaking, the Julian (O. S.) calendar is 12-13 days behind the Gregorian (N. S.) calendar. The Julian calendar is used by the Russian Orthodox Church to this day. All dates in this LibGuide are presented in the Gregorian calendar.
The Swiss website Fourmillab has a calendar converter that will convert a given date in the Gregorian Calendar to several forms of the Julian calendar, in addition to other calendars used by cultures throughout the globe.
Until Peter the Great's reforms, Cyrillic numerals were used throughout the Russian Empire. Cyrillic numerals can still be encountered in icons and other Orthodox Christian works. The blog Russian Icons is dedicated to explaining the culture and art of Eastern Orthodox icons, and has a very useful page with information on navigating Cyrillic numbers and converting them to the Hindu-Arabic numerical system that we use today.