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Top Questions

What are Roman numerals?

What are Roman numerals?

Roman numerals are the symbols used in a system of numerical notation based on the ancient Roman system. The symbols are I, V, X, L, C, D, and M, standing respectively for 1, 5, 10, 50, 100, 500, and 1,000.

What are Roman numerals used for today?

What are Roman numerals used for today?

Examples of the use of Roman numerals today include the denotation of book chapters, the title of each year’s National Football League Super Bowl as well as the titles of Summer and Winter Olympics, and the marking of hours on clock faces.

How do Roman numerals work?

How do Roman numerals work?

In the Roman numeral system, the symbols I, V, X, L, C, D, and M stand respectively for 1, 5, 10, 50, 100, 500, and 1,000 in the Hindu-Arabic numeral system. A symbol placed after another of equal or greater value adds its value. A symbol placed before one of greater value subtracts its value. A bar placed over a number multiplies its value by 1,000.

Where do Roman numerals come from?

Where do Roman numerals come from?

As in all such matters, the origin of the Roman numeral system of numerical notation is obscure, although the changes in their forms since the 3rd century BCE are well known. Roman numerals were likely developed as a result of a need for a common method of counting in order to better conduct trade.

Is it still important to learn Roman numerals?

Is it still important to learn Roman numerals?

Despite the impracticality of using Roman numerals for mathematical calculations, which led to the widespread use of the Hindu-Arabic numeral system we know today, some people do still argue for the importance of teaching Roman numerals in schools. Proponents believe that Roman numerals have enduring cultural relevance, as seen in their continued use in sporting event titles and book chapters. Learn more.

**Roman numeral**, any of the symbols used in a system of numerical notation based on the ancient Roman system. The symbols are I, V, X, L, C, D, and M, standing respectively for 1, 5, 10, 50, 100, 500, and 1,000 in the Hindu-Arabic numeral system. A symbol placed after another of equal or greater value adds its value—e.g., II = 1 + 1 = 2 and LVIII = 50 + 5 + 1 + 1 + 1 = 58. Usually only three identical symbols can be used consecutively; to express numbers beginning with a 4 or a 9, a symbol is placed before one of greater value to subtract its value—e.g., IV = −1 + 5 = 4, XC = −10 + 100 = 90, and MCMLXXXIX = 1,000 −100 + 1,000 + 50 + 10 + 10 + 10 −1 +10 = 1,989. The exceptions are 4,000, which is sometimes written as MMMM, and clocks, which usually display 4 as IIII. A bar called a vinculum placed over a number multiplies its value by 1,000.

Below is a table of Arabic numerals and their Roman numeral equivalents.

More From BritannicaIs It Still Important to Learn Roman Numerals?Arabic and Roman numerals | |
---|---|

Arabic | Roman |

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 |

30 | XXX |

40 | XL |

50 | L |

60 | LX |

70 | LXX |

80 | LXXX |

90 | XC |

100 | C |

101 | CI |

102 | CII |

200 | CC |

300 | CCC |

400 | CD |

500 | D |

600 | DC |

700 | DCC |

800 | DCCC |

900 | CM |

1,000 | M |

1,001 | MI |

1,002 | MII |

1,900 | MCM |

2,000 | MM |

2,001 | MMI |

2,002 | MMII |

2,100 | MMC |

3,000 | MMM |

4,000 | IV or MMMM |

5,000 | V |

The Editors of Encyclopaedia BritannicaThis article was most recently revised and updated by Amy Tikkanen.