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Roman numerals HTML5


Roman numerals are written from 7 symbols combined with each other. The symbols were originally graphic signs now confused with the letters I, V, X, L, C, D, M. Each symbol represents a numeric value, 1, 5, 10, 50, 100, 500, 1000, respectively.

Other numbers are formed by combining several symbols together, respecting the rules of addition or subtraction. In Roman numeration, numbers are written from left to right. As a general rule, the symbols are arranged by decreasing value.

The value of the number is deduced by adding the values associated with each symbol: MMDCCLXXVII represents the number 2777 (1000 + 1000 + 500 + 100 + 100 + 50 + 10 + 10 + 5 + 1 + 1).

Subtraction rules only apply to symbols I, X and C. These can be placed before 2 symbols of higher value and only 2. In this case the value of I, X or C is subtracted from that of the symbol it precedes.

  • The symbol I can be placed in front of the symbols V and X: IV represents the number 4 (5-1), IX represents the number 9 (10-1).
  • The symbol X can be placed in front of the symbols L and C: XL represents the number 40 (50-10), XC represents the number 90 (100-10).
  • The symbol C can be placed in front of the symbols D and M: CD represents the number 400 (500-100), CM represents the number 900 (1000-100).

Learning goals

  • To test one's logical sense and abstract reasoning skills.
  • To show that there are different representations of numbers.
  • To explain why Roman numeral is not a positional numeration system.

Learn more

Origin of Roman Numeration

Roman numeration would have appeared before writing. We must go back to antiquity, when shepherds used a counting stick to count their animals. A marking system was…

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