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Roman numerals were invented by the Romans. It is a numeral system that was used by Romans for calculations. Basically, Romans infused numbers with different symbols and letters. The letters denote certain bases, however, the symbols denote arbitrary numbers. The combination of these symbols and numbers represents certain numbers. To understand Roman Numerals, you need to understand the meaning of letters and symbols. The following table shows Latin letters that were used by Romans as well as the corresponding numerical values.

Character Numerical Value
I 1
V 5
X 10
L 50
C 100
D 500
M 1000

Suppose you want to find the Roman numeral of 1365. Let's break it into unit, ten, hundred, and thousand. The number 1365 has one thousand, three hundred, one fifty, one ten, and five unit. Now find the character of the Roman numeral and write it in ascending order. For 1365, the numeral will be MCCCLXV. However, there is a small twist. Roman numerals are not entirely additive number system. For example, the number 4 is denoted asIV instead of IIII, and the number 9 is denoted as IX instead of VIIII. On the other hand, this rule isn't followed on the faces of clocks.

Rules of Thumb

The roman numerals are multiplied by a thousand when a line is drawn over the figure, and by one million when two lines are drawn over the figure.

M = 1,000,000

No figure of a roman numeral can be repeated more than three times in succession.

III = 3 XXX = 30  CCC = 300

In roman numerals the letters V, L and D can not be duplicated because twice the values of each can be represented by: X, C and M.

If a figure is placed to the right of another with a value less than or equal to it, the values are added together.

VII = 7 XX = 20  CLXVIII = 168

If a lower figure is placed to the left of another, the value is subtracted from the larger figure to the right.

IV = 4 IX = 9 XL = 40

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Emma

I am passionate about travelling and currently live and work in Paris. I like to spend my time reading, gardening, running, learning languages and exploring new places.