Ancient Roman Numerals

Ancient Romans used Roman numerals as their numbering system.

It was founded by the Romans at around 8th to the 9th century B.C.E. which is relatively the same time as the establishment of the Roman Empire in Palatine Hill.

Roman Numerals

In addition, the Roman numerals also were essential in providing everyone a common method of counting which proved to be critical in various fields such as trade and communication.

What makes the Roman numerals quite historic is that it succeeded greater than the Roman era itself as it was utilized by everyone until the 14th century.

While the Roman numerals were adopted by numerous empires, the Roman numeral scheme showed some imperfections as there was no available figure to represent zero and no proper method for calculating above one thousand apart from including lines on the numerals to demonstrate multiples.

There are countless theories pertaining to the design of Roman numerals.

Several scholars believe that the numerals were gained from the record sticks that were utilized by herdsmen to keep tab of their cattle.

The theory suggests that herdsmen cut notches on their sticks, thereby, resulting in I becoming a solitary unit.

Another relevant theory concludes that the Roman numerals were remarks to hand gestures with I, II, and III bearing a resemblance to single fingers and V signifying a finger together and thumb out position.

Numbers ranging from six to nine, on the other hand, were characterized by a V in one hand and I, II, and III on the other while X was interpreted by intersecting the thumbs.

What Roman Numerals mean

EightVIIIEighteenXVIIIOne hundredC
NineIXNineteenXIXFive hundredD
TenXTwentyXXOne thousandM

Facts about Roman Numerals

  • Larger Roman numeral symbols such as the L, C, D, and M were derived from other symbols. L was originally personified by an overlapped V and I or by the Greek letter, psi while C and M originated from the letter theta, and phi respectively.
  • While the fourth Roman numeral is spelled as IV, most clocks in the world have it IIII instead of IV. Among the most famous clocks which depicted four as IV, is the Clock Tower of the Palace of Westminster which is close to the House of Parliament of the United Kingdom.
  • Roman Numerals were the primary tool used for counting until the establishment of the Arabic system which was introduced to most European continents in the 11th century.
  • Other than the aforementioned usage, the Roman Numerals are also used in the cornerstones of buildings, movie credits, church leaders, and chapter titles.
  • Roman numeric figures are also utilized by many specialists in subjects related to theology, seismology, photography, music theories, and pharmaceuticals.
  • The Arabic numerical system is comprised of ten digits while the Roman numeral system is made up of seven digits and do not have a zero in it.
  • Normally, Roman numerals end with a symbol between I and X.
  • Roman numerals are still being used as of today. It is mainly used by the National Football League in the numbering system of the Super Bowl.


What are the other uses of Roman Numerals?

Roman numerals are also used in astronomy to label moons and chemistry to specify groups of elements in the periodic table.

How did Roman Numerals contribute to the Roman Empire?

Historians believed that the Roman numerals played a critical part during the creation of architectures such as the Constantine’s Arch and the Colosseum, which all require significant mathematical skills.

How important were Roman Numerals?

The importance of Roman numerals cannot be underestimated as it enabled Ancient Romans to put a price to their goods and services.

What are the basic symbols of the Roman numeral system?

There are seven basic Roman numeral symbols which include I, V, X, L, C, D, and M.