I've read that a [Roman] mile is a thousand double paces--left, right.
Yes. I remember that we discussed that a few years ago...
I was particularly interested in whether the "10 paces" (each)
for a duel amounted to 50 feet or 100 feet, but I think I got no
satisfaction of a firm answer. By 1800, which was close to the
end of duels, a cited "pace" may have been a single step, not two.
I suspect so.
As everyone knows, a modern baseball diamond is a square with sides
(baselines) 90 feet long. The diagonals are therefore 90*sqrt(2)
feet, or 127 feet and about 3.35 inches.
I was interested to learn recently -- from Richard Hershberger's
"Strike Four: The Evolution of Baseball" -- that in the earliest
known codified rules of the game, in 1845, the length of the
baselines was *not specified*, but the *diagonal* of the square
was set at "42 paces".
The modern square with 90-foot sides was established only when
the rules were rewritten in 1857. If this was intended as
a clarification with no change in the size of the diamond, it
means that the "pace" used in the earlier rules was a little over
36 inches. And before that rewrite, one club actually had a rule
book that made the diagonals "42 paces or yards".
The nearest thing to a general consensus today on the size of a
"pace", Hershberger writes, is 30 inches, representing a single step.
He suggests that the original idea was that a "pace" would be
about that size, making the baselines around 75 feet, which still
was longer than in some other versions of the variously named game
before the rules were standardized.
But in those days the diamond was not already laid out for the players
on the ground; they had to set out the bases before starting the game,
pacing off the 42 paces each time. And so they got experience with
using different size diamonds according to who was pacing the
distance. And, Hershberger conjectures, they simply came to prefer
a larger size. And this got standardized on, producing "42 paces or
yards" for the diagonal and then 90 feet for the baseline.
Mark Brader "I'm not Richard, either.
Toronto Oh, wait: I am! Lucky me!"
***@vex.net --Richard R. Hershberger
My text in this article is in the public domain.