7 junio, 2024

Roman numerals: what they are and how to use them (from 1 to 100, 500 and 1000)

What are Roman numerals?

It is known as Roman numerals to the numbering system used during the Roman Empire, between the years 27 before our era and 476 of the common era.

Due to the enormous cultural prestige that the Roman Empire has preserved many centuries after its collapse, both its language (Latin) and its numbering system are still used in some specific cases.

The Roman numbering system, however, was not invented by the Romans themselves, but originated among the Etruscans. This people arrived in the central part of the Italian peninsula from Turkey and central Europe long before the founding of Rome, and by that time they had already developed a sophisticated culture.

What are Roman numerals still used for today?

For write the number of centuries

Examples: «The eighteenth century is known as the Age of Enlightenment»; «Columbus first arrived in America at the end of the 15th century.»

To differentiate between kings and popes

Examples: In the history of Spain there have been six monarchs with the name of Felipe; it differentiates between them using Roman numerals: Felipe II, Felipe V, etc.

The Catholic Church has been headed by 23 Popes named John: John IV, John XVI, John XXIII, etc.

To number chapters, volumes or parts

Examples: Gospel of Luke, chapter II; Hispanic Encyclopedia, volume XI; Star Wars: episode IX.

To list periodic events or celebrations

Examples: XXX Guadalajara International Book Fair; XXII FIFA Soccer World Cup Qatar 2022.

Why don’t we use Roman numerals to do arithmetic anymore?

As you will have already observed, Roman numerals are useful for writing specific figures, even somewhat high ones, such as MMXXII, which corresponds to the current year, 2022.

But it is another matter when it comes to arithmetic operations. Since the years of the Roman Empire, both mathematicians and state administration officials understood that the system was very inefficient and complicated when it came to adding, dividing or multiplying.

However, it would be centuries before, with the fall of the Roman Empire, the Europeans knew a more efficient numbering system. This came through the Arab countries, which is why it was called Arabic, although it was actually invented in India in the fifth century AD.

Arabic numerals are the ones we normally use, from 1 to 9 and 0. However, the decimal system we use to build larger figures is an original invention of Arab culture.

How to use roman numerals

The Roman numeral system is based on seven capital letters, each of which corresponds to a specific number value:

Yo: 1

V: 5

X:10

L: fifty

C.:100

D.:500

m:1000

To write a number, these letters are combined horizontally and added according to the following rules:

1. It is written from left to right and from major to minor

To represent the number 11, I take the letter of numerical value 10 (X) and add the letter that equals 1 (Yo), which results in eleventh.

If I want to indicate the number 30, it is enough to repeat the letter with the numerical value 10 three times, that is, xxx.

2. If to the left of a certain letter another of lesser value appears, it indicates a subtraction

As we have seen, eleventh is equivalent to 11; but if the letters are reversed (IX), the number obtained is 9, since Yo 1 is left to Xwhose value is 10.

The same happens in fourteenth. This is equivalent to 10 + 5 – 1, that is, 14.

3. In the case of subtraction, the following three conditions must be respected

The letter Yo can only subtract letters V and X. Examples: IV. (4), XIX (19).
The letter X can only subtract letters L and C.. Examples: XL (40), CXC (190).
The letter C. can only subtract letters D. and m. Examples: CD (400), LCM (1900)

4. The letters V, L and D (5, 50 and 500, respectively) cannot be placed in a subtraction position, but always add

If we wish to represent the number 45, it would be incorrect to place VL, since V cannot exercise the subtraction function. must be written XLVwhich is equivalent to 55 – 10.

Likewise, it would be wrong to write the number 110 like this: CLC. The correct is C-X.

5. A letter cannot be repeated more than three consecutive times

II equals 3; but to represent the number 4 I can no longer add another Yobut I must subtract: IV..

The number 300 can be represented with three C.: CCC; but to indicate 400, I will still need to do a subtraction: CD500 – 100.

Other examples of high figures in Roman numerals

We already know that the letter m denotes the numerical value 1000, and that we can repeat it up to three times, reaching the figure of 3000. But how do we do it if we want to represent the number 4000 or higher?

In the Roman system, thousands greater than three thousand are indicated by a bar at the top. For example, to denote the number 4000 we write the letters that correspond to the number four (IV.) and add a bar at the top: I̅V̅. And the same with thousands of others: V̅I̅I̅I̅, , etc. Look at the examples:

5981: V̅CMLXXXI

3465: MMMCDLXV

8871: V̅I̅I̅I̅DCCCLXXI

993: CMXCIII

22423: X̅X̅MMCDXXIII

10012: X̅XII

4755: I̅V̅DCCLV

56491: L̅V̅I̅CDXCI

882: DCCCLXXXII

Roman numerals from 1 to 100, 500 and 1000

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: fifteenth
16:16th
17:17th
18:18th
19:19
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
44:XLIV
45:XLV
46:XLVI
47:XLVII
48:XLVIII
49:XLIX
50:L
51:LI
52: LII
53: LIII
54: LIV
55: FV
56: LVI
57:LVII
58:LVIII
59: LIX
60:LX
61: LXII
62:62
63: LXIII
64:64
65:65
66: LXVI
67: LXVII
68: LXVIII
69:69
70:lxx
71: LXXI
72:LXXII
73: LXXIII
74: LXXIV
75: LXXXV
76: LXXVI
77: LXXVII
78: LXXVIII
79:LXXIX
80:LXXX
81: LXXXI
82: LXXXII
83: LXXXIII
84: LXXXIV
85: LXXXV
86: LXXXVI
87: LXXXVII
88: LXXXVIII
89: LXXXIX
90:X-C
91:XCI
92:XCII
93: XCIII
94: XCIV
95:XCV
96:XCVI
97:XCVII
98:XCVIII
99:XCIX
100:C
500 😀
1000:M

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