Myths About Roman Numerals


If you are not familiar with Roman Numerals, you should know that they originated in ancient Rome and they were the standard way of writing numbers in Europe until the late Middle Ages. Basically, Roman numerals represent numbers by letters from the Latin alphabet. They have been the preferred way of writing numbers throughout history. However, there are many myths surrounding the use of Roman numerals. To avoid them, you need to be familiar with the history behind their creation.

The History of Roman Numerals

The first incarnation of these numerals was made by carving straight lines into wood. The principles of the numeral system were the same as with modern numerals. For example, seven would look like IIIIVII on a tally stick, while seventeen would be shortened to XVII. The letters ‘L’, ‘C’, and ‘D’ are used to make a number, while ‘M’ represents a thousand.

Historically, Roman numerals were used for counting before the invention of electronics. The numbers were most likely painted, carved, or etched onto a surface. These numbers were likely short in font. The basic concept of Roman numerals was to add and subtract, and their use is still widespread today. For example, the north gate of the Irish town of Athlone is rendered XVIXIII. Similarly, the lock on a tally table was made of a different material.

Apart from counting the years, Roman numerals are also used to design buildings. King’s, queen’s, emperors, and popes have all been numbered using these systems. They are used in many competitions today, with the Super Bowl being the LV Super Bowl. Many buildings are also labeled with these numbers, so you might notice that a building constructed in 2004 may be marked with MMIV.

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