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@ L’origine d’arrobase

A l’automne 1971 , l’ingénieur Ray Tomlinson décidait d’utiliser un signe typographique oublié pour séparer les 2 parties d’une adresse électronique. Se doutait-il alors du destin qu’allait connaître l’arrobase (@).  Quel est donc ce symbole mystérieux ? D’où vient-il ? A quoi servait-il jusqu’alors ? Des spécialistes se sont penché sur la question.

À défaut de certitudes, voici deux propositions d’explications étymologiques qui ont cours en ce moment : arrobas viendrait d’un rapprochement ou d’une confusion avec le symbole d’une unité de poids espagnole, arroba, dont le nom français est arrobe (avec un ou deux r), et dont l’origine est l’arabe [ar-roub]; ou arobas serait la déformation de a rond bas (de casse), c’est-à-dire a minuscule entouré d’un rond.

Mais un article de Jose Luis Riera apporte un éclairage nouveau sur l’origine de @ :

Dès le XIIe siècle, les Templiers de Tortosa (Catalogne) envoyaient des centaines de navires chargés de blé à la Terre Sainte … L’unité de mesure utilisée pour ces expéditions était le symbole « @ », « quintal » , un quintal = 4 * @ …
Un livre datant de 1272 “EL LLIBRE DELS USOS I COSTUMS DE LA ILUSTRE CIUTAT DE TORTOSA” en Catalan. Le mot  » La arrova » en Catalan était donc utilisé depuis très longtemps comme unité de mesure et ceci bien avant la venue des arabes, elle représentait un quart de quintal.

D’autre part on retrouve ce symbole @ dès les premiers jours de la conquête de l’Amérique. En effet les marins de Tortosa faisaient parti des expéditions de Christophe Colomb. MIQUEL BALLESTER de Tortosa était un ami d’enfance de Christophe Colomb.

Quant à son appellation graphique, Jose Luis Riera propose :

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