Did you figure it out? Poor Claudia died when she was 25 years old, seven months, and fourteen days. It’s very likely that she died giving birth to a baby, though it could have been dysentery or cancer or another illness.
Now for the extra problems: In Roman numbers, these numbers would look like this:
314 = CCCXIV
26 = XXVI
1975 = MCMLXXV
2010 = MMX
What problems do you think this system of numbers would cause for Roman children who were learning to multiply and divide, or even to add large numbers? Would you be able to borrow or carry using these numbers? Why or why not?
In fact, because it was so hard, Roman children, even the ones who went to school, didn’t learn to multiply or divide big numbers on paper. They memorized their times tables, like you. For larger numbers, they learned to use a counting board, or an abacus. But they did a lot of multiplication and division by looking up the answer in a table. And most of the math was done by specially trained experts, not by ordinary people.
By the time Claudia died, in the 100s AD, Indian mathematicians were already using our modern numbers. But people in Italy didn’t start using them until the end of the Middle Ages.
Learn by doing: make an abacus
More about Indian numbers
Bibliography and further reading about Roman numbers:
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