Roman Numeration System

Ashley Davis


Roman Numerals were first being used in the 8th and 9th Century B.C. and ended in 300 A.D. when Arabic numbers were introduced. The Roman Numerals followed the same rise and fall as ancient Rome itself.

We do still use Roman Numerals in todays life. You see them used for listing out things, clocks faces, textbooks, movies to show it is a sequel and so on, as well as in the Superbowl to know what Superbowl it is.


Roman Numerals are represented by letters in the alphabet such as; I, V, X, L, C, D, M. Those letters represent certain number amounts which the chart shows below.
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A letter repeats its value however many times you see it although a letter can only be repeated 3 times.

Example: ( MM = 2000 ; LL = 100 )


This numeration system was used to build Rome into an ancient power. It helped them develop their mathematical skills so they could build the Colosseum, Constantine's Arch, Pantheon as well as other things.


Calculations for this system can get quite difficult but there are some rules to follow when doing the math with Roman Numerals.

If one or more letters are placed after another letter with a greater value, you add them together.

Example: VII = 5 + 1 + 1 = 7

If a letter is placed before another with a greater value, you subtract them.

Example: IV = 5 - 1 = 4

Another thing to remember when subtracting the numbers, you only want to subtract powers of 10.

Because the Romans never needed to write a number larger than 4,000 there was never a system to write a number that large. But later on they did develop one so if you wanted to multiply a number by 1,000 you would just draw a single line across the top of the letter.

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Interesting Things

The Roman empire contained about 65 million people. Most people think that Latin was the only language spoke in Rome when actually Latin was the language of the army and of Roman law. Many people incorporated their native tongue instead of Latin. Some of those languages were Celtic, Syriac, Cappadocian, and Thracian.

Emperors of Rome also poisoned themselves every day by drinking a mixture known as Mithridatium. They did this because they thought that it would help them gain immunity to them. A drinking vessel made from the horn of the one-horned horses were thought to be an antidote to fatal poisons.