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Roman Numerals

The Roman's  had a numeric code, a way of writing numbers that is still in use today. You will see on some TV programmes, the year the programme was made in this form for example. Some car booters' write the minimum offer price they will accept on the back of price tickets in this form, as most people just don't know or can't be bothered to work it out. Its a very simple system, based on 1, 5, 10, 50, 100, 500, and 1000.

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

If smaller values are after a larger one you add it on, if before you subtract it, so XI is 11 while IX is 9, as most people add faster than they subtract you have up to 3 to add and only 1 to subtract, so 8=VIII where 9 = IX

This same pattern is used throughout the numbers, so MM is 2000, MMVIII is 2008

1999 is simply IMM one year before 2000

1970 is MCMLXX   MCM =1900  LXX is 70

So how do we remember the letter values

M = Millennium (1000 years)

C = Century (100 years)

D = one step up from C

I  = looks like a 1

X = a kiss, rated 10 out of 10

V = half a X

L = the 50 years "L"ife term when you have kissed a lot and got married
     (Joking but this is all I could think off)

Have some practice and family fun with this, the next time you see them in texts, on TV Titles, grave stones or elsewhere, they will make complete sense to you.

We also have another file Guide to Roman Numbers, which is a guide to the number system, dates and a Ready Reckoner to make it easier to work out how to go about this.


By: Keith Park Section: Roman Britain Section Key:
Page Ref: roman_numerals Topic: Roman Britain Last Updated: 04/2009

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