The Romans used several different systems for writing numbers. Sometimes they wrote numbers like this: I II III IV V and other times they used the Greek numbers. Roman people didn’t always write numbers the same way, either – people knew what you meant even if you did it a little differently.
On this Roman woman’s tombstone from the time of the emperor Hadrian, the last line shows how long she lived. It starts with QVA-VIX-AN – that’s short for “Who lived in years…” and then it shows how many years, how many months, and how many days. Can you work it out?
Here’s a table showing all of the Roman numerals.
|IV (or IIII)||4||M||1000|
|IX (or VIIII)||9|
So MMIII is 2003, and XXIV is 24, and CLVII is 157. (Putting a bigger number like V after a smaller number like I means “1 less than 5” or 4).
Want some more practice? Try writing these numbers in Roman numbers (see the second page for the answers):
More about Roman numerals
Bibliography and further reading about Roman numbers:
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