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How far is a league?

Niniel

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I was just wondering how far is a league? in LOTR people are talking about distances in terms of 'leagues' all the time, but how many kilometres is that? I figured it was about 5 km, but I couldn't find it exactly.
 

Landroval

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Ok, so it is a given that 1 league is 3 miles. So, what I have always wondered is where does "20 thousand leagues under the sea" come from. That would be 60 thousand miles under the sea, on a planet that is 24 thousand miles in diameter. Was Verne an idiot or am I missing something?

:)
 

Dwimmerlaik

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I'm not sure,but I think that sea unit's of measure,whilst using the same terms as land are different,See Smeagol's example of Nautical miles.
Even if this were not the case,I believe that Verne was attempting to convey a sense of great depth that his readership(many of whom were exclusively land bound),could begin to understand.
One should never let unpleasant fact's get in the way of a good tale.
Look at the Zane Grey,he was a Cincinatti dentist whose experience of the wild west was limited to cowboy and indian films.
 

Niniel

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Seeing that one league is 3 statute miles and 2,6 nautical miles makes it even stranger, since then 20,000 nautical miles are even further than 60,000 kilometres. It mustn't be taken literally I suppose.

But then he'd have to go around the earth one and a half times under water. I haven't read the book, but it seems a bit long.
 

pohuist

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It has been a long time since I read that book, but I believe, he did. He (Captain Nemo) made Nautilus his home for the rest of his life.
 

Elu Thingol

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The actual definition for a league is the following

From Merriam Webster's Dictionary:
1 : any of various units of distance from about 2.4 to 4.6 statute miles (3.9 to 7.4 kilometers)
2 : a square league
 

pohuist

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Originally posted by Smeagol

1 League = 4828032 Millimeters
1 League = 482803.2 Centimeters
1 League = 190080 Inches
1 League = 48280.32 Decimeters
1 League = 15840 Feet
1 League = 5280 Yards
1 League = 4828.032 Meters
1 League = 960 Poles
1 League = 240 Chains
1 League = 24 Furlongs
1 League = 4.828032 Kilometers
1 League = 3 Statute Miles
1 League = 2.60526315789473684 Nautical Miles
1 League = 0.04341953447416941 Degrees
Where did you get it? And, while, we are on the subject maybe you know how long the 'fathom' is.

Elu, I believe I read somewhere in UT that a league is a measure not necessarily equivalent to ours (so the dictionary doesn't help) and corresponds to 5,000 paces of a Numenorean man/king, those being rather tall, a league would be about 5km. So, I think Smeagol is right.
 

Elu Thingol

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I was just showing the definition for a league. Actually in the unabriged version of the same dictionary it refers to a league as 3 miles which would actually be less than 5k. Also could you provide me with the quote from the book about the 5000 paces.
 

Lantarion

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I tried to find information on the Númenórean measure for a league (described in the appendix of UT as 'very nearly three miles'), but found only the actual name: lár.
 

pohuist

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Elu: The note that Lan refers to (that I believe provides the description of the league) is

From UT, Appendix to the "Description of the Island of Numenor"

Measures of distance are converted as nearly as possible into modern terms. "League" is used because it was the longest measurement of distance: in Númenórean reckoning (which was decimal) five thousand rangar (full paces) made a lár, which was very nearly three of our miles. Lár meant "pause," because except in forced marches a brief halt was usually made after this distance had been covered [see note 9 above]. The Númenórean ranga was slightly longer than our yard, approximately thirty-eight inches, owing to their great stature. Therefore five thousand rangar would be almost exactly the equivalent of 5280 yards, our "league:" 5277 yards, two feet and four inches, supposing the equivalence to be exact.
(emphasis added)

Originally posted by Smeagol
1 Fathom = 6 Feet = 1.8288 Meters of water depth.

Thank you. Now, when reading books I will finally understand what is the distance when fathom or furlong is mentioned.
 

Saeledhel

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The title refers to the distance traveled while under the sea and not to a depth, as 20,000 leagues (80,000 km) is nearly twice the circumference of the Earth. The greatest depth mentioned in the book is four leagues. The book uses metric leagues, which are four kilometers each.
 

Squint-eyed Southerner

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Valandil

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The 20,000 Leagues of the Jules Verne book indicates their travel distance while the narrator was aboard - not their depth below the surface.

A league in Middle Earth is three miles - more or less. JRRT spells it out in one of the notes on "The Disaster of the Gladden Fields" in Unfinished Tales. He actually has it come out to very, very slightly less. I just worked it out to 6'-8" less than three miles, if I did the math right. But he adds the qualifier about the degree of certainty that a ranga = 38" exactly.

Three miles.

EDIT: Oh - I see a couple quotes just a little before mine cover all the territory that I touched on, only better. I scanned the thread before I posted, but ought to read it more closely next time. :)
 

Halasían

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Hey Val! How is my fellow Nortrhern Dunedain fanfic writer?
I see Entmoot has been on bandwith limits for a while now.

I tend to use a league as 3 miles in RP and fanfic. It works well.
 

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