- Submitted By: jhgob
- Date Submitted: 03/23/2010 6:29 PM
- Category: History Other
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Roman Numerals

Roman Numerals are seen everywhere, but have stems that go back over 2000 years.

It is believed that the Roman Numeral system was inspired by the Etruscan Numeral System, which is very similar. These two systems have the same basis on which symbols represent specific values which are added together to create the specific value. Historians believe that these two systems derive from the use of tallying by farmers in southern Europe. Tallying would be used to count without having to remember the numbers in your head. Each count was represented by a notch (i). Every fifth notch was a double cut in the shape of an upside-down V (Λ), and every tenth notch consisted of two reflecting V’s, in the shape of an X. In Roman Numerals, I represents the number 1, V represents 5, and X represents 10. In tallying, the number 7 would be represented as IIIIΛII; however, in Roman Numerals, the first 4 I’s can be removed, because it is understood that four I’s go before V. So instead of V being the fifth notch, V equals 5, and 7 would be represented as VII. It is the same with X, instead of X being the tenth notch like in tallying, it is equal to 10. So, XII equals 12. This is where the comparisons end. The tallying system is ordinal, unlike the Etruscan and Roman numeral systems which are based on adding and subtracting. Also, the Etruscans numbers do include I and X, but the rest of the symbols are not letters in their alphabet. All of the symbols in Roman Numerals are letters in latin language, the official language of Rome.

Roman Numerals were developed in the Ancient Roman Empire. Variations of the tallying systems were used for centuries; however, there wasn’t a fixed system until around the first century B.C. Rome was situated in the middle of Italy, in southern Europe. Roman Numerals most likely were developed there; however, the Roman Empire eventually included most of Europe and parts of Northern Africa. So, it is possible the system was...