What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear the words Roman numerals? Something related to the Roman era or the city of Rome? Well, if you think so, then I must say you are right! Roman numerals indeed have a strong connection with the Roman era. In fact, these numerals were invented by Romans. in ancient times, when Romans were at their peak of knowledge, inventions, and discoveries, they invented the standard system of counting, which is still very much functional and is known as the roman numeral system.
In ancient times, people used different ways of counting, but those were not that authentic. All these methods were full of errors and created confusion among people. So, the main reason why Romans developed this standardized counting system was to reduce the maximum error level. And I must say, they were quite successful in doing so.
Before moving forward, let’s take a quick look at the origin of these numerals and how these are used. As we know that roman numerals are an ancient style counting system, but what we don’t know is that there are several rules for writing them. These rules have made counting easy and have even expressed the complex digits in the simplest foam.
This whole system is based on seven symbols which are following:
Further numbers were generated from these symbols by defined rules. Small, large, all digits can easily be derived from these specific symbols.
Why are Roman Numerals Unique?
These numbers are unique and fascinating. It is all about combining the seven basic symbols. Through this combination, Romans were able to generate complex and huge numbers effortlessly.
How to Make Numbers:
To create numbers from the roman numeral system, the Roman used the law of placement. You can easily learn this law of placement by looking at the table above.
According to the above table, 1 represented as “I,” 5 represent as “V,” 10 represents as “X,” etc. So, what about the rest of the numbers? For writing the remaining numbers, we use the placement law. i.e.
For example, if we want to write 4 in roman, it will be like “IV.” In order words, if the smaller number comes before the large number, then the small number will be subtracted from the larger number.
1 represents “I,” 5 represent “V,” as we observe 4 in roman “IV” the smaller symbol which represents 1 come first and symbol of 5 comes after which means 1 will be subtracted from 5, then result will be 4 (IV).
IV = I-V = 1-5=4.
Similarly, if the smaller number comes after, the larger number, then these two numbers will be added to form a new number.
For example, with the above same symbols, we will write 6 in Romans “VI,” here, the smaller number comes after, the larger number. so, we will have to add the numbers, and thus it will
VI = V+I = 5+1 =6.
By following this rule, other big numbers can be generated. Moreover, if you want to write 900, it will be “CM.” M represents 1000, and C represents 100. C is the smaller number, and here it comes before M, which means C will be subtracted from M.
CM= C-M =100-1000=900.
What about Zero in roman numerals?
Zero, which is also written as “0” in numerical form, is missing in Roman Numerals. That’s because Zero itself has no value. However, it has the power to change the worth of any number. So, we can say that even though the Romans were pretty smart, leaving zero out of their numeric system is a weakness.