GENANZ-L ArchivesArchiver > GENANZ > 1997-11 > 0879769830
From: "G. Fletcher" <>
Subject: Re: What year is "MDCCCXXXIX" - thanks
Date: Mon, 17 Nov 1997 23:30:30 +1100
Paul Pearce wrote in message <>...
>Since no one actually knows a Roman our Latin is a bastardised form of
>what we believe it would be. Numbering often causes problems and I have
>seen people argue over such matters. One persaon replied suggesting IM,
>but this is 999, however CM is 900 and CCM could be 800. So another
>option for 1839 could be MCCMXXXIX. Now I know a lot of folk will argue
>for the version with D or 500 in it, but in truth there is no absolute
My understanding is that there is a definite rule:
The Romans used a numbering system that was based on additions and
I = 1, II = 2, III = 3, IV (5-1 or 1 before 5) = 4, V = 5, VI= 5+1 or 6;
VII = 7, VIII= 8, IX = 9 (or 1 before 9) and X = 10.
Following this pattern, and remembering that the Romans never used more than
3 of the same symbol in a row, the rest of the numbers can be made up to 39
when the new symbol " L" was used to designate 50 ; (L was based on the idea
of the Legion or 50 soldiers) so 40 become XL or 10 before 50.
Other symbols include
C for 100 (based on the initial C for Centurion - a leader of 100 men)
D for 500
M for 1,000
For numbers greater than 3 999 (MMMCMXCIX) a bar was added, but I forget
which numbers where then used.
While we haven't meet any Romans, we can still understand their numbering
system. It is only the pronunciation of the words that we cannot understand
as there was no way of phonetically recording it at the time.
Gerry ( a product of an old bush school!!)
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