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# NUMERICAL SYSTEM OF ANCIENT

## The Basics... symbols value

The history of Roman numerals and
Roman mathematics isn't well I 1
documented. As humans likely began
counting by using the simplest things
available, the fingers, mathematics
V 5
developed in a base unit of 10.
Actively involved in trade and the use X 10
of monetary units, the Romans
required a system where counting
was more than fingers. The L 50
development of the numeric symbols
may have been closely related,
originally, to the shape of the hand: I
C 100
for a single finger, V for the whole
hand outstretched, X for both hands D 500
in the same manner.
Aside from the lack of the "zero" unit
in the Roman system, the modern M 1000
system and the ancient are
remarkably similar. Considering that

History of Roman
throughout the western world, it
really isn't a surprise that many
numerical terms have a basis in
Latin. numbers
Although the Roman numerals notches on tally sticks, which
EXAMPLES: are now written with letters of continued to be used by Italian
the Roman alphabet, they were and Dalmatian shepherds into
• VIII = 5+3 = 8 originally independent the 19th century The hundredth
symbols.only I and X happened V or X was marked with a box or
• IX = 10-1 = 9 to be letters in their alphabet. circle, thus 500 was like a Ɔ
• XL = 50-10 = 40 One ‘numerical revolution’ has
it that the V represented a hand,
• XC = 100-10 = 90 and that the X was made by
placing two Vs on top of each
• MCMLXXXIV = other, one inverted. However,
1000+(1000-100)+50 the Etrusco-Roman numerals
actually appear to derive from
+30+(5-1) = 1984

(The correct
Roman way to
x1 x2 x3 x4 x5 x6 x7 x8 x9 show multiples of
1,000, which
ones I II III IV V VI VII VIII IX would be
indicated with a
tens X XX XXX XL L LX LXX LXXX XC line ABOVE the
number rather
hundreds C CC CCC CD D DC DCC DCCC CM than beside, has
been replaced
with an
thousands M MM MMM underscore only
because of the
ten thousands conve-nience of
modern html
textual.)