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Latin Numerals - Cardinal Numbers 1 - 1000


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First of all, Romans used Roman numerals (logical, isn't it?), so one isn't 1 but I, two isn't 2 but II, and so on. When it comes to number four, in most cases, it's written like this: IV. However, you will also find instances were it's recorded like four Is: IIII, so don't be puzzled. Still, IV is the common way of writing down the number four, so that's how I'm going to write it.

Some basic symbols used:

(I am sure most of us know this, but still, just to be sure)

I 1

V 5

X 10

L 50

C 100

D 500

M 1000


You must have wondered why four is written like IV and nine like IX. Well, Roman numerals are all about counting and adding up. Two is one plus one and therefore I + I = II. Same analogy can be used for III = I+I+I, six VI = V+I, seven VII = V+I+I, eight VIII= V+I+I+I,... However, they were also trying to be economical and use as little symbols as possible, so instead of writing down nine like VIIII (or four like IIII), which would take five symbols! (in those days, many things weren't written down on paper but engraved into stone, which isn't easy at all, so they were very careful about it) they came up with the idea of subtracting: IV stands for V-I and we all know that 5-1 equals 4. Same is with nine: IX stands fo X-I. 10-1 is 9, isn't it? And so, instead of engraving four or five symbols, you only have two.

I have used examples with numbers to ten. Same can be applied to the rest of the system.

Thirty is ten+ten+ten and therefore X+X+X=XXX, whereas forty, which is 50-10 will be written down like XL rather than XXXX - economy - two symbols are better than four. Eighty is 50+10+10+10, therefore L + X+X+X = LXXX, but ninety is 100-10 rather than 50+10+10+10+10 (it's so long to write down), so ninety: XC.

This is true even for numbers higher than 100. However, remember me mentioning four could be written both as IIII and IV, but IV was more common? Same can be said for 400. True, it's more commonly written as 500-100, which is CD, but you can also write it down as CCCC. So, 400 is CD. 900 is 1000-100, therefore CM.

Now, to numbers:

0 nihil (no symbol for zero)

1 I ūnus

2 II duo

3 III trēs

4 IV quattuor

5 V quīnque

6 VI sex

7 VII septem

8 VIII octō

9 IX novem

10 X decem

11 XI ūndecim

12 XII duodēcim

13 XIII trēdecim

14 XIV quattuordecim

15 XV quīndecim

16 XVI sēdecim

17 XVII septendecim

18 XVIII duodēvīgintī

19 XIX ūndēvīgintī

20 XX vīgintī

21 XXI vīgintī  ūnus

22 XXII vīgintī  duo

23 XXIII vīgintī  trēs

24 XXIV vīgintī  quattuor

25 XXV vīgintī  quīnque

26 XXVI vīgintī  sex

27 XXVII vīgintī  septem

28 XXVIII duodētrīgintā (or vīgintī octō)

29 XXIX ūndētrīgintā (or vīgintī novem)

30 XXX trīgintā

31 XXXI trīgintā  ūnus

32 XXXII trīgintā  duo

33 XXXIII trīgintā  trēs

34 XXXIV trīgintā quattuor

35 XXXV trīgintā  quīnque

36 XXXVI trīgintā  sex

37 XXXVII trīgintā  septem

38 XXXVIII duodēquadrāgintā (or trīgintā octō)

39 XXXIX ūndēquadrāgintā (or trīgintā novem)

40 XL quadrāgintā

50 L quīnquāgintā

60 LX sexāgintā

70 LXX septuāgintā

80 LXXX octōgintā

90 XC nōnāgintā

100 C centum

200  CC    ducenti

300  CCC  trecenti

400  CD  quadringenti

500    D    quingenti

600  DC  sescenti

700  DCC  septingenti

800 DCCC  octingenti

900  CM  nongenti

1000  M    mille

For the rest, you just paste them together. Enjoy!

I have also attached the symbols, so that you can see them in a jpeg format.

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Latin Numerals

The Latin Numerals are pretty straightforward if you ask me. The system is really easy to learn. When I compare it to some other 'Calculating systems', I really think the Latin one is rather easy. For instance, The Chinese numeral system is quite hard to learn. At least for Europeans...

Also the French numeral system is pretty awkward. And they have like two different ways to express the same number. For instance, 90 can be 'quatre-vingt-dix' which equals 80 + 10 but in some places people would just say 'nonante'.


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