The Roman System Of Notation.

We've all seem 'em,  dems strange capital letters that represent a number in Roman format.  Well this little essay is to give you a clue as to what they do... This is in its simplest form ONLY so that those of you who have seen a BBC TV Broadcast ending in ~(C)BBC MMVI~ or similar will know how to evaluate it... :)

The main Roman Symbols that you have probably seen are:-

I,  V,  X,  L,  C,  D  and  M.

There are others but we will not pursue then at this point.

Each letter by itself represents a number but the numbers are NOT consecutive;  thus:-

I == 1.
V == 5.
X == 10.
L == 50.
C == 100.
D == 500,  (Note,  this is the ~modern~ way of writing it as there is another ancient way of it being written, see later.)
M == 1,000.
A bar OVER any letter multiplies that letter by 1000.
  E.G. M == 1,000,  but M == 1,000 x 1,000 == 1,000,000.

We use the Arabic System of notation and are the numbers:-

1,  2,  3,  4,  5,  6,  7,  8,  9,  and  0.

This notation is known by nearly all of the literate planet and is readable by the Chinese as well as the Europeans...

However Roman Numbers are done differently and before the introduction of the Arabic System the Roman System was used by most of Europe.

It is a dying art nowadays but still adds a touch of class to anything you wish to copyright,  e.g.  ~(C)XXIII-VI-MMVI,  B.Walker.~  would read  ~(C)23-6-2006, B.Walker.~  in Arabic terms BUT the Roman System looks way COOL...

So to represent any other number we take those of the given seven letters whose value amount to it by addition,  but in order to lessen the number of letters used we take as many as possible of those higher values.  I will NOT mention letter order of magnitude at this point.

So let us represent 1 to 10 inclusive,  note, NO zero!!!

In brackets are the alternative ways that are NOT used but ARE valid.

1 == I.
2 == II.
3 == III.
4 == IV, (IIII).
5 == V.
6 == VI.
7 == VII.
8 == VIII.
9 == IX, (VIIII).
10 == X.

As can be seen although IIII == 4 we have used the customary way of ~subtracting~ 1 from 5 and getting IV,  so a lesser letter in front of a greater letter you subtract the lesser from the greater.  The reverse is true for the number 6 which is 5 ~add~ 1 and gives the result VI == 5 add 1.

Let us work out the year 1987:-

M == 1000.
CM == 1000-100 = 900.
L == 50.
XXX == 30.
VII == 7.

Add them all together and we get:- MCMLXXXVII.

It could be written as:-

MDCCCCLXXXVII,  but there are too many letters so ~DCCCC~,  (500 +100+100+100+100 = 900),  is replaced by ~CM~,  (1000-100 = 900).

As mentioned earlier the number 500 is given the ~modern~ letter D BUT there is another way of doing it using I AND a reversed AND upside down capital C slighty offset below the normal line.  As this character is NOT easy to obtain simply I will use the ASCII character ~)~.

Remember ~)~ is my reversed AND upside down capital C slightly offset.

So D == 500, AND I) == 500.

Every addition of ~)~ multiplies 500 by 10, so:-

    I) == 500.
   I)) == 5000.
  I))) == 50000.

Also the Roman symbol M denotes 1000 and there is another way of writing it using C, I and ) again so:-

M == 1000, AND CI) == 1000.

Every addition of a preceding C and a trailing ) multiplies by 10 again so:-

CI) == 1000. CCI)) == 10000. CCCI))) == 100000.



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