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Trivia Tuesday: Roman numerals

Trivia Tuesday: Roman numerals

Okay, I think we all have at least 1-19 in Roman numerals down. But what about the rest?

First, you must memorize the base symbols:
1: I
5: V
10: X
50: L
100: C
500: D
1,000: M

One tip for remembering C and M: C is short for centum (“hundred” in Latin), and M is short for millia (“thousand” in Latin)–think century and millennium.

Once you have that down, it’s just a matter of basic math. Roman numerals are designed to quickly add up numbers with your hands and fingers.

When writing out Roman numerals, start with the biggest number on the left, and work your way down. So, let’s write our current year–2013. You need two 1,000s, so MM;  one 10, so X; one 3, so III = MMXIII. Ta-da!

How about a more complicated number, say 4,856? (Remember: Start with the largest symbol you can use, and work your way down!) Well, four 1000s (M) + one 500 (D) + three 100s (C) + one 50 (L) + one 5 (V) + one 1 (I) = MMMMDCCCLVI. See, easy!

Okay, I definitely don’t blame you for sticking with Indo-Arabic numerals.

Why, yes, we do have materials on the history of numbers!

May 1, 20130 comments