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History Of Roman Numerals

I read Roman numerals most days without realising it, I have a clock which has Roman Numerals on it in my living room… so yeah, I know what one to twelve looks like, but not thirteen onwards. Well, here’s the history and a list of what the Roman Numerals mean.

Roman numerals follows the history of ancient Rome itself from its early stages at the Latin Palatine Hill in 8th and 9th century BC to its fall in the 2nd Century AD from civil war, plague, civil apathy and the rise of Christianity and Northern European powers.

“The Roman Empire had inspirational, industrious and intellectual beginnings. Emperor Domitianus, Aristotle, Aristarchus, Eratosthenes, Euclid and Archamedes helped to build Rome into an ancient power, developing sophisticated intellectual and mathematical skills to build the Colosseum, Constantine’s Arch, Pantheon, Roman Baths and Civil society. However, their number system was flawed, it had no zero (0), and no single method for counting above several thousand units, (lines were often placed over numerals to indicate multiples of their value).”

Roman numerals were used to record numbers in stone, art and coins. However that was a long time ago, these days they are used for list items, chapter headings, copyright dates and to mark film sequels such as the Star Wars films.

Roman numerals are also used on clock and watch faces. If you have seen a clock with Roman numbers, you may have realised that the number four is written as IIII instead of IV, this is because it adds symmetry to the clock face – although I don’t really think it adds symmetry at all. Numerals are often used to show the time on sundials too.

You can see a long list of Roman Numerals.

And finally, if you’re wondering what the year is in Roman numerals, here’s your answer:

2010 = MMX
2011 = MMXI
2012 = MMXII
2013 = MMXIII
2014 = MMXIV
2015 = MMXV
2016 = MMXVI
2017 = MMXVII
2018 = MMXVIII
2019 = MMXIX
2020 = MMXX

About the Author

Luke Ward
Luke Ward is the founder of The Fact Site. He's a professional blogger & researcher with over 10 years’ experience in fact finding, SEO & web design. In his spare time he loves to travel and drink coffee.

Comments

12 Comments
  1. Suren van dan Kyle - 19 April 2015 - Reply

    Thank you. You really helped me with my homework.

  2. me - 5 May 2013 - Reply

    Who invented it?

  3. anum - 23 January 2013 - Reply

    hello i wanna ask why roman use such symbols i mean they can also use any other alphabets etc bt y dese???

  4. estrella_cazorla@yahoo.co.uk - 13 September 2012 - Reply

    you saved my life on a maths project

  5. Girl101 - 25 July 2012 - Reply

    There are no specific facts and there need to be! I need to know things like when were Roman Numerals used, where were Roman Numerals used, within the Roman Society who used them, what base the Roman Numeral number system is in, whether changing the order of the symbols changes the value of Roman Numerals, what one advantage of using Roman numerals over Hindu-Arabic Numerals is, what one disadvantage of using Roman Numerals over Hindu-Arabic Numerals is and why the Roman Numeral Number system fell out of use.

  6. A7x - 18 March 2012 - Reply

    good but i need more for my social studies project it worth 1000 point its a big grade it put me a and a if i pass so give me more

  7. NINCOMPOOP - 12 March 2012 - Reply

    um what the hec!

    • Christopher Valenti - 24 January 2014 - Reply

      this helped a lot :p that
      was just stupid that was mean

  8. Kandy1234 - 29 February 2012 - Reply

    thanx

  9. Jabari Carroll - 4 December 2011 - Reply

    its different people

  10. Jabari Carroll - 4 December 2011 - Reply

    Tight ..

  11. LOL xD - 18 April 2011 - Reply

    Uhmmm :S this was very intresting and helped me alot with my assignment. thank you

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