 Aegean
Roman numerals are a numeral system that originated in ancient Rome and remained the usual way of writing numbers throughout Europe well into the Late Middle Ages. Numbers in this system are represented by combinations of letters from the Latin alphabet. Modern usage employs seven symbols, each with a fixed integer value:^{[1]}
Symbol

I

V

X

L

C

D

M

Value

1

5

10

50

100

500

1000

The use of Roman numerals continued long after the decline of the Roman Empire. From the 14th century on, Roman numerals began to be replaced in most contexts by the more sophisticated Arabic numerals; however, this process was gradual, and the use of Roman numerals persists in some minor applications to this day.
One place they are often seen is on clock faces. For instance, on the clock of Big Ben (designed in 1852), the hours from 1 to 12 are written as:
 I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII, IX, X, XI, XII
The notations IV and IX can be read as "one less than five" (4) and "one less than ten" (9), although there is a tradition favouring representation of "4" as "IIII" on Roman numeral clocks.^{[2]}
Other common uses include year numbers on monuments and buildings and copyright dates on the title screens of movies and television programs. MCM, signifying "a thousand, and a hundred less than another thousand", means 1900, so 1912 is written MCMXII. For the years of this century, MM indicates 2000. The current year is MMXX (2020).
Description
Roman numerals are essentially a decimal or "base 10" number system, but instead of place value notation (in which 'placekeeping' zeros enable a digit to represent different powers of ten) it uses a set of symbols with fixed values. Tallylike combinations of these fixed symbols correspond to the digits of Arabic numerals. This structure allows for significant flexibility in notation, and many variant forms are attested.
In fact, there has never been an officially "binding", or universally accepted standard for Roman numerals. Usage in ancient Rome varied greatly and became thoroughly chaotic in medieval times. Even the postrenaissance restoration of a largely "classical" notation has failed to produce total consistency: variant forms are even defended by some modern writers as offering improved "flexibility".^{[3]} On the other hand, especially where a Roman numeral is considered a legally binding expression of a number, as in U.S. Copyright law (where an "incorrect" or ambiguous numeral may invalidate a copyright claim, or affect the termination date of the copyright period^{[4]}) it is desirable to strictly follow the usual standard form described below.
Standard form
Roman numerals typically use a conventional notation, as shown in the following table:^{[5]}
Individual decimal places

Thousands 
Hundreds 
Tens 
Units

1 
M 
C 
X 
I

2 
MM 
CC 
XX 
II

3 
MMM 
CCC 
XXX 
III

4 

CD 
The use of Roman numerals continued long after the decline of the Roman Empire. From the 14th century on, Roman numerals began to be replaced in most contexts by the more sophisticated Arabic numerals; however, this process was gradual, and the use of Roman numerals persists in some minor applications to this day.
One place they are often seen is on clock faces. For instance, on the clock of Big Ben (designed in 1852), the hours from 1 to 12 are written as:
 I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII, IX, X, XI, XII
The notations IV and IX can be read as "one less than five" (4) and "one less than ten" (9), although there is a tradition favouring representation of "4" as "IIII" on Roman numeral clocks.^{[2]}
Other common uses include year numbers on monuments and buildings and copyright dates on the title screens of movies and television programs. MCM, signifying "a thousand, and a hundred less than another One place they are often seen is on clock faces. For instance, on the clock of Big Ben (designed in 1852), the hours from 1 to 12 are written as:
The notations IV and IX can be read as "one less than five" (4) and "one less than ten" (9), although there is a tradition favouring representation of "4" as "IIII" on Roman numeral clocks.^{[2]}
Other common uses include year numbers on monuments and buildings and copyright dates on the title screens of movies and television programs. MCM, signifying "a thousand, and a hundred less than another thousand", means 1900, so 1912 is written MCMXII. For the years of this century, MM indicates 2000. The current year is MMXX (2020).
Roman numerals are essentially a decimal or "base 10" number system, but instead of place value notation (in which 'placekeeping' zeros enable a digit to represent different powers of ten) it uses a set of symbols with fixed values. Tallylike combinations of these fixed symbols correspond to the digits of Arabic numerals. This structure allows for significant flexibility in notation, and many variant forms are attested.
In fact, there has never been an officially "binding", or universally accepted standard for Roman numerals. Usage in ancient Rome varied greatly and became thoroughly chaotic in medieval times. Even the postrenaissance restoration of a largely "classical" notation has failed to produce total consistency: variant forms are even defended by some modern writers as offering improved "flexibility".^{[3]} On the other hand, especially where a Roman numeral is considered a legally binding expression of a number, as in U.S. Copyright law (where an "incorrect" or ambiguous numeral may invalidate a copyright claim, or affect the termination date of the copyright period^{[4]}) it is desirable to strictly follow the usual standard form described below.
Standard form
Roman numerals typically use a conventional notation, as shown in the following table:^{[5]}
Individual decimal places

Thousands 
Hundreds 
Tens 
Units

1 
M 
C 
X 
I

2 
MM 
CC 
XX 
II

3 
MMM 
CCC 
XXX 
III

4 

CD 
XL 
IV

5 

D 
L 
V

6 

DC 
LX 
VI

7 

DCC 
LXX 
VII

8 

DCCC 
LXXX 
VIII

9 

CM 
XC 
IX

The numerals for 4 (IV) and 9 (IX) are written using "subtractive notation",^{[6]} where the first symbol (I) is subtracted from the larger one (V, or X), thus avoiding the clumsier (IIII, and VIIII).^{[a]} Subtractive notation is also used for 40 (XL) and 90 (XC), as well as 400 (CD) and 900 ([3] On the other hand, especially where a Roman numeral is considered a legally binding expression of a number, as in U.S. Copyright law (where an "incorrect" or ambiguous numeral may invalidate a copyright claim, or affect the termination date of the copyright period^{[4]}) it is desirable to strictly follow the usual standard form described below.
Roman numerals typically use a conventional notation, as shown in the following table:^{[5]}
The numerals for 4 (IV) and 9 (IX) are written using "subtractive notation",^{[6]} where the first symbol (I) is subtracted from the larger one (V, or X), thus avoiding the clumsier (IIII, and VIIII).^{[a]} Subtractive notation is also used for 40 (XL) and 90 (XC), as well as 400 (CD) and 900 (CM).^{[7]} These are the only subtractive forms in standard use.
A number containing several decimal digits is built by appending the Roman numeral equivalent for each, from highest to lowest, as in the following examples:
 39 = XXX + IX = XXXIX.
 246 = CC + XL + VI = CCXLVI.
 789 = DCC + LXXX + IX = DCCLXXXIX.
 2,421 = MM + CD + XX + I = MMCDXXI.
Any missing place (represented by a zero in the placevalue equivalent) is omitted, as in Latin (and English) speech:
 160 = C + LX = CLX
 207 = CC + VII = CCVII
 1,009 = M + IX = MIX
 1,066 = M + LX + VI = MLXVI^{[8]}^{[A number containing several decimal digits is built by appending the Roman numeral equivalent for each, from highest to lowest, as in the following examples:
Any missing place (represented by a zero in the placevalue equivalent) is omitted, as in Latin (and English) speech:
160 = C + LX = CLX
207 = CC + VII = CCVII
1,009 = M + IX = MIX
1,066 = M + LX + VI = MLXVI[8][9]
Roman numerals foRoman numerals for large numbers are seen in the form of year numbers, as in these examples:
1776 = M + DCC + LXX + VI = MDCCLXXVI (the date written on the book held by the Statue of Liberty).
1918 = M + CM + X + VIII = MCMXVIII (the first year of the "Spanish" flu pandemic)
1954 = M + CM + L + The largest number that can be represented in this notation is 3,999 (MMMCMXCIX), but since the largest Roman numeral likely to be required today is MMXX (the current year) there is no practical need for larger Roman numerals. Prior to the introduction of Arabic numerals in the West, ancient and medieval users of the system used various means to write larger numbers; see Large numbers below.
Variant forms
Forms exist that vary in one way or another from the general "standard" described above.
Use of additive notation
A typical clock face with Roman numerals in Bad Salzdetfurth, Germany
While subtractive notation for 4, 40 and 400 (IV, XL and CD) has been the usual form since Roman times, additive notation (IIII, XXXX and CCCC)[10]continued to be used, including in compound numbers like XXIIII,Forms exist that vary in one way or another from the general "standard" described above.
Use of additiveWhile subtractive notation for 4, 40 and 400 (IV, XL and CD) has been the usual form since Roman times, additive notation (IIII, XXXX and CCCC)[10]continued to be used, including in compound numbers like XXIIII,[11] LXXIIII,[12] and CCCCLXXXX.[13] The additive forms for 9, 90, and 900 (VIIII,[10] LXXXX,[14] and DCCCC[15]) have also been used, although less frequently.
The two conventions could be mixed in the same document or inscription, even in the same numeral. On the numbered gates to the Colosseum, for instance, IIII is systematically used instead of IV, but subtractive notation is used for other digits; so that gate 44 is labelled XLIIII.[16]
Modern clock faces that use Roman numerals still usually employ IIII for four o'clock but IX for nine o'clock, a practice that goes back to very early clocks such as the Wells Cathedral clock of the late 14th century.[17]The two conventions could be mixed in the same document or inscription, even in the same numeral. On the numbered gates to the Colosseum, for instance, IIII is systematically used instead of IV, but subtractive notation is used for other digits; so that gate 44 is labelled XLIIII.[16]
Modern clock faces that use Roman numerals still usually employ IIII for four o'clock but IX for nine o'clock, a practice that goes back to very early clocks such as the Wells Cathedral clock of the late 14th century.[17][18][19] However, this is far from universal: for example, the clock on the Palace of Westminster tower, "Big Ben", uses a subtractive IV for 4 o'clock.[18]
Isaac Asimov theorises that the use of IV, as the initial letters of IVPITTER (a classical Latin spelling of the name of the Roman god Jupiter), may have been felt to have been impious in this context.[20] Although this, like several other theories, seems to be pure speculation.
Several monumental inscriptions created in the early 20th century use variant forms for "1900" (usually written MCM). These vary from MDCCCCX for 1910 as seen on Admiralty Arch, London, to the more unusual, if not unique MDCDIII for 1903, on the north entrance to the Saint Louis Art Museum.[21]
Especially on tombstones and other funerary inscriptions 5 and 50 have been occasionally written IIIII and XXXXX instead of V and L, and there are instances such as IIIIII and XXXXXX rather than VI or LX.[22]IIIII and XXXXX instead of V and L, and there are instances such as IIIIII and XXXXXX rather than VI or LX.[22][23]
It is a common belief that any smaller digit placed earlier than a larger digit is subtracted from the total, and that by clever choices a Roman numeral can be "compressed." The best known example of this is the ROMAN() function in Microsoft Excel, which can turn 499 into CDXCIX, LDVLIV, XDIX, VDIV, or ID depending on the ".mwparseroutput .monospaced{fontfamily:monospace,monospace}Form" setting.[24] There is no indication this is anything other than an invention by the programmer, and the universalsubtraction belief may be a result of modern users trying to rationalize the syntax of Roman numerals.
IIIXX for 17,[25] IIXX for 18,[26] IIIC for 97,[27] IIC for 98,[28][29] and IC for 99.[30] A possible explanation is that the word for 18 in Latin is duodeviginti, literally "two from twenty", 98 is duodecentum (two from hundred), and 99 is undecentum (one from hundred).[31] However, the explanation does not seem to apply to IIIXX and IIIC, since the Latin words for 17 and 97 were septendecim (seven ten) and nonaginta septem (ninety seven), respectively.
There are multiple examples of IIX being used for 8. There does not seem to be a linguistic explanation for this use, although it is one stroke shorter than VIII. XIIX was used by officers of the XVIII Roman Legion to write their number.[32][33] The notation appears prominently on the cenotaph of their senior centurion Marcus Caelius (c. 45 BC – AD 9There are multiple examples of IIX being used for 8. There does not seem to be a linguistic explanation for this use, although it is one stroke shorter than VIII. XIIX was used by officers of the XVIII Roman Legion to write their number.[32][33] The notation appears prominently on the cenotaph of their senior centurion Marcus Caelius (c. 45 BC – AD 9). On the publicly displayed official Roman calendars known as Fasti, XIIX is used for the 18 days to the next Kalends, and XXIIX for the 28 days in February. The latter can be seen on the sole extant preJulian calendar, the Fasti Antiates Maiores.[34]
While irregular subtractive and additive notation has been used at least occasionally throughout history, some Roman numerals have been observed in documents and inscriptions that do not fit either system. Some of these variants do not seem to have been used outside specific contexts, and may have been regarded as errors even by contemporaries.
As Roman numerals are composed of ordinary alphabetic characters, there may sometimes be confusion with other uses of the same letters. For example, "XXX" and "XL" have other connotations in addition to their values as Roman numerals, while "IXL" more often than not is a gramogram of "I excel", and is in any case not an unambiguous Roman numeral.
Zero
The number zero did not originally have its own Roman numeral, but the word nulla (the Latin word meaning "none") was used by medieval scholars to represent 0. Dionysius Exiguus was known to use nulla alongside Roman numerals in 525.[40][41] About 725, Bede or one of his colleagues used the letter N, the initial of nulla or of nihil (the Latin word for "nothing") for 0, in a table of epacts, all written in Roman numerals.[42]
Fractions
A triens coin (1⁄3 or 4⁄12 of an as). Note the four dots (····) indicating its value.
A semis coin (1⁄2 or 6⁄12 of an as). Note the S indicating its value.
Though the Romans used a decimal system for whole numbers, reflecting how they counted in Latin, they used a duodecimal system for fractions, because the divisibility of twelve (12 = 22 × 3) makes it easier to handle the common fractions of 1⁄3 and 1⁄4 than does a system based on ten (10 = 2 × 5). On coins, many of which had values that were duodecimal fractions of the unit as, they used a tallylike notational system based on twelfths and halves. A dot (·) indicated an uncia "twelfth", the source of the English words inch and ounce; dots were repeated for fractions up to five twelfths. Six twelfths (one half) was abbreviated as the letter S for semis "half". Uncia dots were added to S for fractions from seven to eleven twelfths, just as tallies were added to V for whole numbers from six to nine.[43]
Each fraction from 1⁄12 to 12⁄12 had a name in Roman times; these corresponded to the names of the related coins:
}
Individual decimal places
Fraction

Roman numeral

Name (nominative and genitive)

Meaning

^{1}⁄_{12}

·

zero did not originally have its own Roman numeral, but the word nulla (the Latin word meaning "none") was used by medieval scholars to represent 0. Dionysius Exiguus was known to use nulla alongside Roman numerals in 525.^{[40]}^{[41]} About 725, Bede or one of his colleagues used the letter N, the initial of nulla or of nihil (the Latin word for "nothing") for 0, in a table of epacts, all written in Roman numerals.^{[42]}
FractionsThough the Romans used a decimal system for whole numbers, reflecting how they counted in Latin, they used a duodecimal system for fractions, because the divisibility of twelve (12 = 2^{2} × 3) makes it easier to handle the common fractions of ^{1}⁄_{3} and ^{1}⁄_{4} than does a system based on ten (10 = 2 × 5). On coins, many of which had values that were duodecimal fractions of the unit as, they used a tallylike notational system based on twelfths and halves. A dot (·) indicated an uncia "twelfth", the source of the English words inch and ounce; dots were repeated for fractions up to five twelfths. Six twelfths (one half) was abbreviated as the letter S for semis "half". Uncia dots were added to S for fractions from seven to eleven twelfths, just as tallies were added to V for whole numbers from six to nine.^{[43]}
Each fraction from ^{1}⁄_{12} to ^{12}⁄_{12} had a name in Roman times; these corresponded to the names of the related coins:
Fraction

Roman numeral

Name (nominative and genitive)

Meaning

^{1}⁄_{12}

·

Uncia, unciae

"Ounce"

^{2}⁄_{12} = ^{1}⁄_{6}

·· or :

Sextans, sextantis

"Sixth"

^{3}⁄_{12} = ^{1}⁄_{4}

··· or ∴

Quadrans, quadrantis

"Quarter"

^{4}⁄_{12} = ^{1}⁄_{3}

···· or ∷

Triens, trientis

"Third"

^{5}⁄_{12}

····· or ⁙

Quincunx, quincuncis

"Fiveounce" (quinque unciae → quincunx)

^{6}⁄_{12} = ^{1}⁄_{2Each fraction from 1⁄12 to 12⁄12 had a name in Roman times; these corresponded to the names of the related coins:
The arrangement of the dots was variable and not necessarily linear. Five dots arranged like (⁙) (as on the face of a die) are known as a quincunx, from the name of the Roman fraction/coin. The Latin words sextans and quadrans are the source of the English words sextant and quadrant.
Other Roman fractional notations included the following:
1⁄8 sescuncia, sescunciae (from sesqui + uncia, i.e. 1 1⁄2 uncias), represented by a sequence of the symbols for the semuncia and the uncia.
1⁄24 semuncia, semunciae (from semi + uncia, i.e. 1⁄2 uncia), represented by several variant glyphs deriving from the shape of the Greek letter sigma (Σ), one variant resembling the pound sign without the horizontal line (𐆒) and another resembling the Cyrillic letter Є.
1⁄36 binae sextulae, binarum sextularum ("two sextulas") or duella, duellae, represented by a sequence of two reversed Ss (ƧƧ).
1⁄48 sicilicus, sicilici, represented by a reversed C (Ɔ).
1⁄72 sextula, sextulae (1⁄6 of an uncia), represented by a reversed S (Ƨ).
1⁄144 = 12−2 dimidia sextula, dimidiae sextulae ("half a sextula"), represented by a reversed S crossed by a horizontal line (Ƨ).
1⁄288 scripulum, scripuli (a scruple), represented by the symbol ℈.
1⁄1728 = 12−3 siliqua, siliquae, represented by a symbol resembling closing guillemets (»).
Large numbers
During the centuries that Roman numerals remained the standard way of writing numbers throughout Europe, there were various extensions to the system designed to indicate larger numbers, none of which were ever standardised.
Apostrophus
"1630" on the Westerkerk in Amsterdam. "M" and "D" are given archaic "apostrophus" form.
One of these was the apostrophus,[44] in which 500 was written as IↃ, while 1,000 was written as CIↃ.[20] This is a system of encasinOther Roman fractional notations included the following:
During the centuries that Roman numerals remained the standard way of writing numbers throughout Europe, there were various extensions to the system designed to indicate larger numbers, none of which were ever standardised.
Apostrophus
"1630" on the Westerkerk in Amsterdam. "M" and "D" are given archaic "apostrophus" form.
One of these was the apostrophus,[44] in which 500 was written as IↃ, while 1,000 was written as CIↃ.[20] This is a system of encasing numbers to denote thousands (imagine the Cs and Ↄs as parentheses), which has its origins in Etruscan numeral usage. The IↃ and CIↃ used to represent 500 and 1,000 most likely preceded, and subsequently influenced, the adoption of "D" and "M" in conventional Roman numerals.
In this system, an extra Ↄ denoted 500, and multiple extra Ↄs are used to denote 5,000, 50,000, etc. For example:
Base number
CIↃ = 1,000
CCIↃↃ = 10,000
CCCIↃↃↃ = 100,000
1 extra Ↄ
IↃ = 500
CIↃↃ = 1,500
CCIↃↃↃ = 10,500
[44] in which 500 was written as IↃ, while 1,000 was written as CIↃ.[20] This is a system of encasing numbers to denote thousands (imagine the Cs and Ↄs as parentheses), which has its origins in Etruscan numeral usage. The IↃ and CIↃ used to represent 500 and 1,000 most likely preceded, and subsequently influenced, the adoption of "D" and "M" in conventional Roman numerals.
In this system, an extra Ↄ denoted 500, and multiple extra Ↄs are used to denote 5,000, 50,000, etc. For example:
Base number
CIↃ = 1,000
CCIↃↃ = 10,000
CCCIↃↃↃ = 100,000
1 extra Ↄ
IↃ = 500
CIↃↃ = 1,500
CCIↃↃↃ = 10,500
Ↄ denoted 500, and multiple extra Ↄs are used to denote 5,000, 50,000, etc. For example:
Sometimes CIↃ was reduced to ↀ for 1,000. John Wallis is often credited for introducing the symbol for infinity (modern ∞), and one conjecture is that he based it on this usage, since 1,000 was hyperbolically used to represent very large numbers. Similarly, IↃↃ for 5,000 was reduced to ↁ; CCIↃↃ for 10,000 to ↂ; IↃↃↃ for 50,000 to ↇ; and CCCIↃↃↃ for 100,000 to ↈ.
[45]
Vinculum
Another system was the vinculum, in which conventional Roman numerals were multiplied by 1,000 by adding a "bar" or "overline".[45] Although mathematical historian David Eugene Smith disputes that this was part of ancient Roman usage,[46] the notation was certainly in use in the Middle Ages. Although modern usage is largely hypothetical it is certainly easier for a modern user to decode than the Apostrophus,
IV = 4,000
IVDCXXVII = 4,627
XXV = 25,000
XXVCDLIX = 25,459
Another inconsistent medieval usage was the addition of vertical lines (or brackets) before and after the numeral to multiply it by 10 (or 100): thus M for 10,000 as an alternative form for X. In combination with the overline the bracketed forms might be used to raise the multiplier to (say) ten (or one hundred) thousand, thus:
VIII for 80,000 (or 800,000)
XX for 200,000 (or 2,000,000)
vinculum, in which conventional Roman numerals were multiplied by 1,000 by adding a "bar" or "overline".[45] Although mathematical historian David Eugene Smith disputes that this was part of ancient Roman usage,[46] the notation was certainly in use in the Middle Ages. Although modern usage is largely hypothetical it is certainly easier for a modern user to decode than the Apostrophus,
Another inconsistent medieval usage was the addition of vertical lines (or brackets) before and after the numeral to multiply it by 10 (or 100): thus M for 10,000 as an alternative form for X. In combination with the overline the bracketed forms might be used to raise the multiplier to (say) ten (or one hundred) thousand, thus:
VIII for 80,000 (or 800,000)
XX for 200,000 (or 2,000,000)
This use of lines is distinct from the custom, once very common, of adding both underline and overline (or very large serifs) to a Roman numeral, simply to make it clear that it is a number, e.g.
for 1967.
Origin of the system
The system is closely associated with the ancient citystate of Rome and the Empire that it created. However, due to the scarcity of surviving examples, the origins of the system are obscure and there are several competing theories, all largely conjectural.
Etruscan numerals
Main article: Etruscan numerals
Rome was founded sometime between 850 and 750 BC. At the time, the region was inhabited by diverse populations of which the Etruscans were the most advanced. The ancient Romans themselves admitted that the basis of much of their civilization was Etruscan. Rome itself was located next to the southern edge of the Etruscan domain, which covered a large part of northcentral Italy.
The Roman numerals, in particular, are directly derived from citystate of Rome and the Empire that it created. However, due to the scarcity of surviving examples, the origins of the system are obscure and there are several competing theories, all largely conjectural.
Etruscan numerals
Rome was founded sometime between 850 and 750 BC. At the time, the region was inhabited by diverse populations of which the Etruscans were the most advanced. The ancient Romans themselves admitted that the basis of much of their civilization was Etruscan. Rome itself was located next to the southern edge of the Etruscan domain, which covered a large part of northcentral Italy.
The Roman numerals, in particular, are directly derived from the Etruscan number symbols: "𐌠", "𐌡", "𐌢", "𐌣", and "𐌟" for 1, 5, 10, 50, and 100 (They had more symbThe Roman numerals, in particular, are directly derived from the Etruscan number symbols: "𐌠", "𐌡", "𐌢", "𐌣", and "𐌟" for 1, 5, 10, 50, and 100 (They had more symbols for larger numbers, but it is unknown which symbol represents which number). As in the basic Roman system, the Etruscans wrote the symbols that added to the desired number, from higher to lower value. Thus the number 87, for example, would be written 50 + 10 + 10 + 10 + 5 + 1 + 1 = 𐌣𐌢𐌢𐌢𐌡𐌠𐌠 (this would appear as 𐌠𐌠𐌡𐌢𐌢𐌢𐌣 since Etruscan was written from right to left.)[47]
The symbols "𐌠" and "𐌡" resembled letters of the Etruscan alphabet, but "𐌢", "𐌣", and "𐌟" did not. The Etruscans used the subtractive notation, too, but not like the Romans. They wrote 17, 18, and 19 as "𐌠𐌠𐌠𐌢𐌢", "𐌠𐌠𐌢𐌢", and 𐌠𐌢𐌢, mirroring the way they spoke those numbers ("three from twenty", etc.); and similarly for 27, 28, 29, 37, 38, etc. However they did not write "𐌠𐌡" for 4 (or "𐌢𐌣" for 40), and wrote "𐌡𐌠𐌠", "𐌡𐌠𐌠𐌠" and "𐌡𐌠𐌠𐌠𐌠" for 7, 8, and 9, respectively.[47]
The early Roman numerals for 1, 10, and 100 were the Etruscan ones: "I", "X", and "Ж". The symbols for 5 and 50 changed from Ʌ and "𐌣" to V and ↆ at some point. The latter had flattened to ⊥ (an inverted T) by the time of Augustus, and soon afterwards became identified with the graphically similar letter L.[48]
The symbol for 100 was written variously as >I< or ƆIC, was then abbreviated to Ɔ or C, with C (which matched a Latin letter) finally winning out. It may have helped that C is the initial of centum, Latin for "hundred".
The numbers 500 and 1000 were denoted by V or X overlaid with a box or circle. Thus 500 was like a Ɔ superimposed on a Þ. It became D or Ð by the time of Augustus, under the graphic influence of the letter D. It was later identified as the letter D; an alternative symbol for "thousand" was a CIƆ, and half of a thousand or "five hundred" is the right half of the symbol, IƆ, and this may have been converted into D.[20]
The notation for 1000 was a circled or boxed X: Ⓧ, ⊗, ⊕, and by Augustinian times was partially identified with the Greek letter Φ phi. Over time, the symbol changed to Ψ and ↀ. The latter symbol further evolved into ∞, then ⋈, and eventually changed to M under the influence of the Latin word mille "thousand".[48]
According to Paul Kayser, the basic numerical symbols were I, X, C and Φ (or ⊕) and the intermediate ones were derived by taking half of those (half an X is V, half a C is L and half a Φ/⊕ is D).[49]
The Colosseum was constructed in Rome in CE 7280[50], and while the original perimeter wall has largely disappeared, the numbered entrances from XXIII (23) to LIIII (54) survive[51], to demonstrate that in Imperial times Roman numerals had already assumed their classical form: as largely standardised in current use. The most obvious anomaly (a common one that persisted for centuries) is the inconsistent use of subtractive notation  while XL is used for 40, IV is avoided in favour of IIII: in fact gate 44 is labelled XLIIII.
Use in the Middle Ages and Renaissance
Lower case, minuscule, letters were developed in the Middle Ages, well after the demise of the Western Roman Empire, and since that time lowercase versions of Roman numbers have also been commonly used: i, ii, iii, iv, and so on.
Lower case, minuscule, letters were developed in the Middle Ages, well after the demise of the Western Roman Empire, and since that time lowercase versions of Roman numbers have also been commonly used: i, ii, iii, iv, and so on.
j" has sometimes been substituted for the final "i" of a "lowercase" Roman numeral, such as "iij" for 3 or "vij" for 7. This "j" can be considered a swash variant of "i". The use of a final "j" is still used in medical prescriptions to prevent tampering with or misinterpretation of a number after it is written.[52][53]
Numerals in documents and inscriptions from the Middle Ages sometimes include additional symbols, which today are called "medieval Roman numerals". Some simply substitute another letter for the standard one (such as "A" for "V", or "Q" for "D"), while others serve as abbreviations for compound numerals ("O" for "XI", or "F" for "XL"). Although they are still listed today in some dictionaries, they are long out of use.[54]
Numerals in documents and inscriptions from the Middle Ages sometimes include additional symbols, which today are called "medieval Roman numerals". Some simply substitute another letter for the standard one (such as "A" for "V", or "Q" for "D"), while others serve as abbreviations for compound numerals ("O" for "XI", or "F" for "XL"). Although they are still listed today in some dictionaries, they are long out of use.[54]
Chronograms, messages with dates encoded into them, were popular during the Renaissance era. The chronogram would be a phrase containing the letters I, V, X, L, C, D, and M. By putting these letters together, the reader would obtain a number, usually indicating a particular year.
Modern use
By the 11th century, Arabic numerals had been introduced into Europe from alAndalus, by way of Arab traders and arithmetic treatises. Roman numerals, however, proved very persistent, remaining in common use in the West well into the 14th and 15th centuries, even in accounting and other business records (where the actual calculations would have been made using an abacus). Replacement by their more convenient "Arabic" equivalents was quite gradual, and Roman numerals are still used today in certain contexts. A few examples of their current use are:
Spanish Real using IIII instead of IV as regnal number of Charles IV of Spain
Names of monarchs and popes, e.g. Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom, Pope Benedict XVI. These are referred to as regnal numbers and are usually read as ordinals; e.g. II is pronounced "the second". This tradition began in Europe sporadically in the Middle Ages, gaining widespread use in England during the reign of Henry VIII. Previously, the monarch was not known by numeral but by an epithet such as Edward the Confessor. Some monarchs (e.g. Charles IV of Spain and Louis XIV of France) seem to have preferred the use of IIII instead of IV on their coinage (see illustration).
Generational suffixes, particularly in the US, for people sharing the same name across generations, for example William Howard Taft IV.
In the French Republican Calendar, initiated during the French Revolution, years were numbered by Roman numerals – from the year I (1792) when this calendar was introduced to the year alAndalus, by way of Arab traders and arithmetic treatises. Roman numerals, however, proved very persistent, remaining in common use in the West well into the 14th and 15th centuries, even in accounting and other business records (where the actual calculations would have been made using an abacus). Replacement by their more convenient "Arabic" equivalents was quite gradual, and Roman numerals are still used today in certain contexts. A few examples of their current use are:
In astronomy, the natural satellites or "moons" of the planets are traditionally designated by capital Roman numerals appended to the planet's name. For example, Titan's designation is Saturn VI.
In chemistry, Roman numerals are often used to denote the groups of the periodic table.
They are also used in the IUPAC nomenclature of inorganic chemistry, for the oxidation number of cations which can take on several different positive charges. They are also used for naming phases of polymorphic crystals, such as ice.
In education, school grades (in the sense of yeargroups rather than test scores) are sometimes referred to by a Roman numeral; for example, "grade IX" is sometimes seen for "grade 9".
In entomology, the broods of the thirteen and seventeen year periodical cicadas are identified by Roman numerals.
Stylised "IX" represents "9" in unit emblem of 9th Aero Squadron AEF, 1918
In graphic design stylised Roman numerals may represent numeric values.
In advanced mathematics (including trigonometry, statistics, and calculus), when a graph includes negative numbers, its quadrants are named using I, II, III, and IV. These quadrant names signify positive numbers on both axes, negative numbers on the X axis, negative numbers on both axes, and negative numbers on the Y axis, respectively. The use of Roman numerals to designate quadrants avoids confusion, since Arabic numerals are used for the actual data represented in the graph.
In military unit designation, Roman numerals are often used to distinguish between units at different levels. This reduces possible confusion, especially when viewing operational or strategic level maps. In particular, army corps are often numbered using Roman numerals (for example the American XVIII Airborne Corps or the WW2era German III Panzerkorps) with Arabic numerals being used for divisions and armies.
In music, Roman numerals are used in several contexts:
Movements are often numbered using Roman numerals.
In music theory, the diatonic functions are identified using Roman numerals. (See: Roman numeral analysis)
Individual strings of stringed instruments, such as the violin, are often denoted by Roman numerals, with higher numbers denoting lower strings.
In pharmacy, Roman numerals are used in some contexts, including S to denote "one half" and N to denote "zero".[59]
In photography, Roman numerals (with zero) are used to denote varying levels of brightness when using the Zone System.
In seismology, Roman numerals are used to designate degrees of the Mercalli intensity scale of earthquakes.
In sport the team containing the "top" players and representing a nation or province, a club or a school at the highest level in (say) rugby union is often called the "1st XV", while a lowerranking cricket or American football team might be the "3rd XI".
In tarot, Roman numerals (with zero) are used to denote the cards of the Major Arcana.
In theology and In chemistry, Roman numerals are often used to denote the groups of the periodic table.
They are also used in the IUPAC nomenclature of inorganic chemistry, for the oxidation number of cations which can take on several different positive charges. They are also used for naming phases of polymorphic crystals, such as ice.
In education, school grades (in the sense of yeargroups rather than test scores) are sometimes referred to by a Roman numeral; for example, "grade IX" is sometimes seen for "grade 9".
In entomology, the broods of the thirteen and seventeen year periodical cicadas are identified by Roman numerals.
In graphic design stylised Roman numerals may represent numeric values.
In advanced mathematics (including trigonometry, statistics, and calculus), when a graph includes negative numbers, its quadrants are named using I, II, III, and IV. These quadrant names signify positive numbers on both axes, negative numbers on the X axis, negative numbers on both axes, and negative numbers on the Y axis, respectively. The use of Roman numerals to designate quadrants avoids confusion, since Arabic numerals are used for the actual data represented in the graph.
In In advanced mathematics (including trigonometry, statistics, and calculus), when a graph includes negative numbers, its quadrants are named using I, II, III, and IV. These quadrant names signify positive numbers on both axes, negative numbers on the X axis, negative numbers on both axes, and negative numbers on the Y axis, respectively. The use of Roman numerals to designate quadrants avoids confusion, since Arabic numerals are used for the actual data represented in the graph.
In military unit designation, Roman numerals are often used to distinguish between units at different levels. This reduces possible confusion, especially when viewing operational or strategic level maps. In particular, army corps are often numbered using Roman numerals (for example the American XVIII Airborne Corps or the WW2era German III Panzerkorps) with Arabic numerals being used for divisions and armies.
In music, Roman numerals are used in several contexts:
In pharmacy, Roman numerals are used in some contexts, including S to denote "one half" and N to denote "zero".[59]
In photography, Roman numerals (with zero) are used to denote varying levels of brightness when using the Zone System.
In seismology, Roman numerals are used to designate degrees of the Mercalli intensity scale of earthquakes.
In sport the team containing the "top" players and representing a nation or province, a club or a school at the highest level in (say) photography, Roman numerals (with zero) are used to denote varying levels of brightness when using the Zone System.
In seismology, Roman numerals are used to designate degrees of the Mercalli intensity scale of earthquakes.
In sport the team containing the "top" players and representing a nation or province, a club or a school at the highest level in (say) rugby union is often called the "1st XV", while a lowerranking cricket or American football team might be the "3rd XI".
In tarot, Roman numerals (with zero) are used to denote the cards of the Major Arcana.
In theology and biblical scholarship, the Septuagint is often referred to as LXX, as this translation of the Old Testament into Greek is named for the legendary number of its translators (septuaginta being Latin for "seventy").
Some uses that are rare or never seen in English speaking countries may be relatively common in parts of continental Europe. For instance:
Capital or small capital Roman numerals are widely used in Romance languages to denote centuries, e.g. the French .mwparseroutput span.smallcaps{fontvariant:smallcaps}.mwparseroutput span.smallcapssmaller{fontsize:85%}xviiie siècle[60] and the Spanish siglo XVIII mean "18th century". Slavic languages in and adjacent to Russia similarly favor Roman numerals (xviii век). On the other hand, in Slavic languages in Central Europe, like most Germanic languages, one writes "18." (with a period) before the local word for "century".
Mixed Roman and Arabic numerals are sometimes used in numeric representations of dates (especially in formal letters and official documents, but also on tombstones). The month is written in Roman numerals, while the day is in Arabic numerals: "4.VI.1789" and "VI.4.1789" both refer unambiguously to 4 June 1789.
Business hours table on a shop window in Vilnius, Lithuania
Roman numerals are sometimes used to represent the days of the week in hoursofoperation signs displayed in windows or on doors of businesses,[61] and also sometimes in railway and bus timetables. Monday, taken as the first day of the week, is represented by I. Sunday is represented by VII. The hours of operation signs are tables composed of two columns where the left column is the day of the week in Roman numerals and the right column is a range of hours of operation from starting time to closing time. In the example case (left), the business opens from 10 AM to 7 PM on weekdays, 10 AM to 5 PM on Saturdays and is closed on Sundays. Note that the listing uses 24hour time.
Sign at 17.9 km on route SS4 Roman numerals may also be used for floor numbering.[62][63] For instance, apartments in central Amsterdam are indicated as 138III, with both an Arabic numeral (number of the block or house) and a Roman numeral (floor number). The apartment on the ground floor is indicated as 138huis.
In Italy, where roads outside builtup areas have kilometre signs, major roads and motorways also mark 100metre subdivisionals, using Roman numerals from I to IX for the smaller intervals. The sign IX/17 thus marks 17.9 km.
A notable exception to the use In Italy, where roads outside builtup areas have kilometre signs, major roads and motorways also mark 100metre subdivisionals, using Roman numerals from I to IX for the smaller intervals. The sign IX/17 thus marks 17.9 km.
A notable exception to the use of Roman numerals in Europe is in Greece, where Greek numerals (based on the Greek alphabet) are generally used in contexts where Roman numerals would be used elsewhere.
The "Number Forms" block of the Unicode computer character set standard has a number of Roman numeral symbols in the range of code points from U+2160 to U+2188.[64] This range includes both upper and lowercase numerals, as well as precombined characters for numbers up to 12 (Ⅻ or XII). One justification for the existence of precombined numbers is to facilitate the setting of multipleletter numbers (such as VIII) on a single horizontal line in Asian vertical text. The Unicode standard, however, includes special Roman numeral code points for compatibility only, stating that "[f]or most purposes, it is preferable to compose the Roman numerals from sequences of the appropriate Latin letters".[65]
The block also includes some apostrophus symbols for large numbers, an old variant of "L" (50) similar to the Etruscan character, the Claudian letter "reversed C", etc.
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