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The Romans

by Mandy Barrow

 Celts Romans Saxons Vikings Normans Tudors Victorians WW ll 500 BC AD 43 450 793 1066 1485 1837 1939

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Roman Numbers

The Roman Numeral, as far as we know, was the only written numbering system used in Ancient Rome and Europe until about 900 AD, when the Arabic Numbering System, which was originated by the Hindu's, came into use. (The Arabic Numbers are the ones we use today 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9).

Roman Numerals do not have a zero (0) and have 7 digits (I, V, X, L, C, M)

In our number system, Arabic numbers, we have ten digits (from 0-9) and we can make as big a number as we want with these.

What Roman Numerals mean

 1 = I 2 = II 3 = III 4 = IV 5 = V 6 = VI 7 = VII 8 = VIII 9 = IX 10 = X 20 = XX 30 = XXX 40 = XL 50 = L 60 = LX 70 = LXX 80 = LXXX 90 = XC 100 = C 500 = D 1000 = M 2000 = MM

Counting with Roman Numerals

Roman Numerals were not just used for counting/ recording the number of objects but also the order of people sharing the same name.

Roman Numerals traditionally indicate the order of:

1. Rulers e.g.

 Henry I Henry II Henry III Henry IV

 Henry V Henry VI Henry VII Henry VIII

 Pope Benedict XV Pope Benedict XVI

XV means 10+5 =15 thus, XV=15

The current (265th) pope is Pope Benedict XVI, who was elected April 19, 2005. He is the 16th pope to have the name Benedict.

Other uses

Roman Numerals were also used for as dating on cornerstones of buildings showing origin of a building, statutes, headstones, books publication such as in chapter titles, volume of book series, appendices, numbers on clocks and so on.

Roman numbers on a clock face

What is odd about the Roman numbers used on a clock or watch?

If you look at four, it is IIII instead of IV.

On the most famous clocks in the world - usually called Big Ben in the Clock Tower of the Palace of Westminster where the UK Houses of Parliament are located, the numerals are in lower case, gothic script and the 4 is depicted as iv.

Copyright at the end of programmes on the television

Roman numbers are used in the copyright year shown at the end of British TV programmes. You can see an example of the current copyright date written in this way on the web at the BBC site.
e.g.

 Arabic 1 5 10 50 100 500 1000 Roman I V X L C D M

 1990 = MCMXC 1991 = MCMXCI 1992 = MCMXCII 1993 = MCMXCIII 1994 = MCMXCIV 1995 = MCMXCV 1996 = MCMXCVI 1997 = MCMXCVII 1998 = MCMXCVIII 1999 = MCMXCIX 2000 = MM 2001 = MMI 2002 = MMII 2003 = MMIII 2004 = MMIV 2005 = MMV 2006 = MMVI 2007 = MMVII 2008 = MMVIII 2009 = MMIX 2010 = MMX 2011 = MMXI

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