Roman Numerals: Charts, History and Numerology: Roman numerals Archives

# Recently in Roman numerals Category

## How to write 2011 using Roman numerals? Is it a lucky number?

Do you need to write 2011 using Roman numerals? It's easy!

2011 = MMXI

Note the fact that if you use the Roman system the numer 2011 cannot be considered "lucky" as it is sometimes believed when two parts of a given number add up to the same value, which is clearly the case if you stick to the Arabic numerals:

2+0 = 1+1

## Superbowl numbers - Roman numerals

And for all of you sports fans out there, Superbowl numbers in Roman numerals, truly one of the major sources of interest towards the ancient numeric system. Of course, the very first Superbowl did not have a number at first, but the rest of the sure did. I believe every Superbowl also had an official logo.

1              =                 I

2              =                 II

3              =                 III

4              =                 IV

5              =                 V

6              =                 VI

7              =                 VII

8              =                 VIII

9              =                 IX

10           =                 X

11           =                 XI

12           =                 XII

13           =                 XIII

14           =                 XIV

15           =                 XV

16           =                 XVI

17           =                 XVII

18           =                 XVIII

19           =                 XIX

20           =                 XX

21           =                 XXI

22           =                 XXII

23           =                 XXIII

24           =                 XXIV

25           =                 XXV

26           =                 XXVI

27           =                 XXVII

28           =                 XXVIII

29           =                 XXIX

30           =                 XXX

31           =                 XXXI

32           =                 XXXII

33           =                 XXXIII

34           =                 XXXIV

35           =                 XXXV

36           =                 XXXVI

37           =                 XXXVII

38           =                 XXXVIII

39           =                 XXXIX

40           =                 XL

41           =                 XLI

42           =                 XLII

43           =                 XLIII

## Roman Numerals 1-25 ( I-XXV ) - a video

Roman Numerals 1-25 are displayed in this video. Complete with the audio.

## Roman Numeral 9 (and 4)

It is usually assumed that the correct way of expressing number 9 in Roman numerals is IX. This assumption is generally correct, but very often you will see number 9 shown as VIIII. Although this looks quite strange and almost wrong to the modern eye, this was a completely valid way of writing 9 in Roman times. My theory is that using VIIII instead of IX creates a sense of a natural progression of numbers. If you decide to use this old convention for your own numbering purposes, make sure that instead of IV you use IIII for 4, otherwise the resulting numbers may look inconsistent.

## Roman numerals: Present day uses

I decided to enumerate (pun absolutely intended) all the uses of Roman numerals today. Granted, this will not be a complete list at first. I may never even get to the bottom of the issue, but this should be useful anyway...

• Clocks
• Sundials
• Introductions, section numbers, volume numbers etc. in modern books
• After the names of monarchs, popes and royally conceited individuals
• Centuries
• Dates on buildings
• Dates in copyright information (movies, especially)

## Home-made sundial clock with Roman numerals

Sundials are typically associated with Classical Antiquity and for a good reason. They were widely used in Ancient Greece and Rome. The simplicity of their construction made them a lot more affordable than, for instance, clepsidras.  As a result, Roman numerals are still traditionally used on sundials. This particular one uses IV for 4, and not IIII as is often seen on mechanical clocks. I actually have encountered a book claiming that Ancient Romans never used IIII instead of IV, but clockmakers have somehow adopted this erroneous representation of number 4. Well, that is simply not true. At this time I am not going to provide any epigrapic evidence, but let me just mention that IV would have also been used as an abreviation for IVPITER, Jupiter. To avoid confusion it was quite reasonable to use IIII. I also believe that on a clock with 12 numbers IIII (And VIIII for 9, incidently) provides a better sense of progression of time (see Ucello's clock), because time is all about forward progress, while the more accepted variations of these numerals imply looking back and subtracting the first part of the compound numeral from the higher value of the second part. Well, you know what I mean. The sundial clock, however, is not capable of showing 12 hour time. It is possible that using classic forms for IIII and IV helps create a more balanced look. Anyway, here is how to make a sundial clock, as described by Archibald Williams in  Things Worth Making. Just remember that the present daylight savings time system has to be accounted for. Also, I would suggest picking a sundial motto, as it is quite customary in the business of sundial making.

A sundial is an interesting thing to have on a garden wall or the stump of a tree, or to set in a south-facing window. Ordinary flat and vertical sundials require the use of advanced mathematics; but that to be described is within the capacity of any handy person.

One begins by making a cross of thin metal. Brass, copper, zinc are all suitable; copper is the best. The cross may either be cut in one piece out of the sheet, or be compounded of a vertical piece and a cross piece riveted together at the point of crossing. The dimensions given in Fig. 44, a, are for a small dial, but they may be modified to suit individual fancy, provided that the circumferential length of the cross-piece B be the same as the distance between the centres of the holes in A. Mark off the cross-piece into twelve equal parts, and subdivide each of these into quarters or twelfths. The lines may be scratched or etched with acid. For the hours use the Roman numerals, which, being made up of straight lines, are very easily engraved.

When this has been done, bend both pieces to a truly semicircular shape. To get the curve correct one must cut out a cardboard circle with half its circumference equal to the length of the crosspiece piece and use it as a template. The exact diameter can best be arrived at experimentally. If copper or brass be used, anneal it by red-heating and plunging into cold water before it is bent.

As the pieces are easily distorted, if of thin metal, it is advisable to solder to the back of each a rib of the same metal, cut out with the aid of the template already made. One rib will have to be severed at the crossing-point to give room to the other rib, to which it should be soldered. If stout strip metal be used, this backing will be unnecessary, but in this case a wooden template had better be cut to the right curve to enable the shaping to be done accurately by hammering. After shaping, slip a piece of quite straight copper wire through the holes in A, and make them fast with solder.

The dial is now fixed facing the south (in our northern latitudes), with the wire sloping towards the north, and making with the horizontal an angle approximately equal to the latitude of the place --for London, about 51 1/2  degrees. To state the matter otherwise, the axis of the wire should point to the Pole Star. The orientation must be established accurately by a compass.

The dial is most easily fixed by means of a little wooden saddle crossing A, with a screw at each end penetrating either a horizontal base board (as shown) or the face of a wall -- in which case the saddle would occupy the position indicated by the dotted lines.

When consulting the dial at any time, add or subtract the noon difference for the day from the shadow reading to arrive at clock time. At most the noon difference is only about a quarter of an hour.

## An old experiment with Roman numerals

Robert Yerkes of Harvard reported the following experiment in Science XX, No 505

I have chosen ten well-educated, and in most cases scientifically trained individuals, and determined for each the time necessary for the writing of the Roman and the Arabic numerals from 1 to 100 and the number of errors made, also the time necessary for the reading of the Roman and the Arabic numerals from 1 to 100 when they were irregularly arranged so that the reader did not know what order to expect. In all cases the number of errors made unconsciously was recorded. These measurements furnish the following startling averages: It takes three and one third times as long to write the Roman numerals from 1 to 100 as the Arabic, and the chance of error is twenty-one times as great; it takes three times as long to read the Roman numerals from 1 to 11O as the Arabic, and the chance of error is eight times as great.

In case of a quick and accurate mathematician, whose familiarity with the Roman system
surpassed that of most of the individuals tested, the results were: time for writing
Arabics, 107, errors, 0; time for writing Romans, 357, errors, 5; time for reading Arabics, 62, errors, 2; time for reading Romans, 131, errors, 5. For one well-trained scientist, who has cause to use the Roman system almost every day, the number of errors in the rapid reading of the Romans was 151 These figures certainly indicate the desirability of using the Arabic system wherever there is no urgent need for the simultaneous use of two or more systems of numerals. Even if there were no saving of time and strain by the avoidance of the cumbersome Roman symbols, the far greater accuracy gained by the use of the Arabic system should at once settle the matter for all scientists.

Interesting results. I would like to note two things, however. The Roman system is slightly more aesthetically pleasing and even more appropriate in certain cases. In books, it allows to have separate pagination for the introductory part etc. Also, from the point of view of the information theory, the system that intrinsically involves using more symbols should be more redundant and less prone to transmission errors. I think that, above all, this experiment proves the need to learn Roman numerals and to develop better control over them.

## Roman numerals chart

I=1    V=5    X=10    L=50    C=100    D=500    M=1000
 I 1 XXXII 32 LXIII 63 XCIV 94 II 2 XXXIII 33 LXIV 64 XCV 95 III 3 XXXIV 34 LXV 65 XCVI 96 IV 4 XXXV 35 LXVI 66 XCVII 97 V 5 XXXVI 36 LXVII 67 XCVIII 98 VI 6 XXXVII 37 LXVIII 68 XCIX 99 VII 7 XXXVIII 38 LXIX 69 C 100 VIII 8 XXXIX 39 LXX 70 IX 9 XL 40 LXXI 71 EX. X 10 XLI 41 LXXII 72 DI 501 XI 11 XLII 42 LXXIII 73 DL 550 XII 12 XLIII 43 LXXIV 74 DXXX 530 XIII 13 XLIV 44 LXXV 75 DCCVII 707 XIV 14 XLV 45 LXXVI 76 DCCCXC 890 XV 15 XLVI 46 LXXVII 77 MD 1500 XVI 16 XLVII 47 LXXVIII 78 MDCCC 1800 XVII 17 XLVIII 48 LXXIX 79 CM 900 XVIII 18 XLIX 49 LXXX 80 XIX 19 L 50 LXXXI 81 XX 20 LI 51 LXXXII 82 XXI 21 LII 52 LXXXIII 83 XXII 22 LIII 53 LXXXIV 84 XXIII 23 LIV 54 LXXXV 85 XXIV 24 LV 55 LXXXVI 86 XXV 25 LVI 56 LXXXVII 87 XXVI 26 LVII 57 LXXXVIII 88 XXVII 27 LVIII 58 LXXXIX 89 XXVIII 28 LIX 59 XC 90 XXIX 29 LX 60 XCI 91 XXX 30 LXI 61 XCII 92 XXXI 31 LXII 62 XCIII 93

## Roman numerals in numerology. The ill omen of number 17.

One of the most curious uses for Roman numerals consists in rearranging the letters within a numeral in order to produce a recognizable word in Latin or some other language. I don't think that many actual numerals can be read as words without such rearrangement, but with some creativity interesting cases can be found. Such is VIXI, generated from XVII (17)

Claude GagniÃ¨re says in Au bonheur des mots:

The Italians fear the 17's, because 17 is written XVII in Roman numerals, which is the anagram of VIXI, which means "I lived", i.e. "I am dead". In Italy, buildings do not have a 17th floor, hotels do not have a room 17, and Alitalia planes do not have a seat 17 [neither do Air Inter planes and British Airways Concordes]. When Renault marketed its R17 and wanted to export it to Italy, it had to be renamed "Renault 177". Napoleon Bonaparte, who was more Italian than French in his education, refused to give the signal for his coup on "vendredi 17 brumaire" and postponed it until the following day.

Roman Numeral Converter

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