Did you know that the Roman mile was one thousand paces (mille passus), close to 1620 yards (1480 meters or 4860 feet).
The mile as measured in the United States and Great Britain is 1760 yards ( 1610 meters or 5280 feet). Try this out: pace off a thousand paces on a running track whose length you know accurately. Measure the distance you have covered. Which are you more nearly like, the Roman soldiers and engineers who established the Roman mile, or the Englishmen who, prior to the nineteenth century, gave us a mile close in length to the one we use today?
The Latin word – MILLE – means – A THOUSAND.
Many English words begin with – MILLE, such as: MILLION, MILLIONAIRE, MILLEPEDE (MILLIPEDE), MILLENNIUM, MILLILITER, MILLIMETER.
Today’s word is – MILITARY. It comes from the Latin word – MILES, MILITIS- which means soldier.
Many will remember the name – MILES STANDISH – from our American history course in High School and some will recall the character in the broadway play – A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE FORUM – Miles Gloriosus (a pompous braggadoccio who comes to seek his bride at a bordello). The Roman soldier made Rome the greatest power in the Mediterraenean. The word is less common as a first name in today’s modern world.
The word – MILE (singular), MILES (plural) – is from another Latin word. The Roman soldier, of course, marched many miles each day. The distance was measured by the paces. The Latin word – MILLE – means a thousand. The military mile was a thousand paces (Latin – Mille passuum). Kilometer means just that … a thousand paces because the meter was the measurement of the lenght of the soldier’s step. In the USA the mile is 5,280 feet
The words – million, millepede, millenium – come from – MILLE – meaning – 1,000.