Devised by the ancient Romans, Roman numerals are a number system that helps counting and performing day – to – day transactions. Roman numerals can be easily noticed around us. They are typically used as hours marks on a clock, used as general suffixes to explain a point in a write – up. They are also used to separate acts from sections. In this article, we will explore more about Roman numerals.

What is a Roman numeral?

Roman numeral is a kind of number system that is used to denote a fixed integer value. Roman numeral is based on an additive and subtractive system. The letters symbolize certain base numbers using a different combination of symbols. Roman numerals are usually written in order i.e. from largest to smallest and from left to right. However, more than three identical symbols do not appear in a row.

Facts about Ancient Roman Numerals

As the name suggests, Roman numerals are the number written in the way ancient Romans used to write. These numerals are denoted by the alphabets, symbols and follow specific principles and rules during their formation.

  • Many kings and queens are named after Roman numerals such as Henry VII.
  • Preliminary pages are mainly numbered in lower – case Roman numerals (i, ii, iii, iv, v, etc.). This helps to prevent renumbering the remaining the book when the last minute changes are done.
  • These numbers are used to show the month in dates. In Poland, ordinals are written by using Roman numerals.
  • There are no zeroes in Roman numerals.
  • In clocks with Roman numerals, number 4 is denoted by IIII, instead of the correct symbol IV in order to maintain symmetry.
  • In Baltics and Russia, the days of the week are written as Roman numbers. For example – ‘I’ symbolizes Monday.

Rules for writing Roman numerals

It is really necessary for students to remember the rules for writing Roman numbers. This avoids all the mistakes to be happened in future. Here are the four basic principles for writing Roman Numerals. Have a look:

  • More than three letters cannot be put in one row.
  • Only one number can be subtracted.
  • Whenever a letter is subtracted, the lower value comes before the higher one.
  • The small letter must be 1/5th or 1/10th of the larger number.
  • When a bar is put over a number, it can be multiplied by 1000, so that a huge number becomes.
  • The letters I, X and C can be repeated thrice in succession. Also, L, V and D cannot be repeated.
  • When a lower value digit is written to the right of a higher value, add that amount.
    For example:     VIII      = 8 (5+3 = 8)
                                 XII = 12 (10 + 2 = 12)
                                  LX = 12 (50 + 10 = 60)
  • When a lower value digit is written to the left of a higher value digit, subtract that amount.
    For example:     CM = 900 (1000 – 100 = 900)
                                 IX = 9 (10 – 1 = 9)
                                  LX = 12 (50 + 10 = 60)
  • Only l, X and C can be used as subtractive numerals.

Applications of Roman Numerals in today’s time:

Roman Numerals can be used in various areas. Have a look at them one by one:

  1. They are used in almost all the cases for copyright date on television programs, films and videos.
  2. Roman numerals can be noticed on monuments, buildings and gravestones.
  3. Sporting events are usually numbered using Roman numerals.
  4. Roman numerals are used for denoting preliminary pages of book before the main page numbering gets under way.
  5. They are used to denote hours on clocks and watches.

Roman Numerals Chart:

The Roman Numerals chart proves helpful when a Roman numeral is required to be converted into an integer value or vice versa.


Q1. How to write Roman numerals?

Ans. Roman numerals are written by using different letters – I, V, X, L, C, D and M representing 1, 5, 10, 50, 100, 500 and 1000 respectively. These letters can be used to make up thousands of words.

Q2. When was Roman numeral invented?

Ans. Roman Numeral was invented in between 850 and 750 BC.

Q3. How many symbols are there in Roman numerals?

Ans. In totality, there are seven symbols in Roman Numerals.

Q4. What is‘d’ in Roman numeral?

Ans. ‘d’ represents 500 in Roman numeral.

Q5. Which Roman numeral cannot be repeated?

Ans. V, L and D are never repeated in Roman numerals.

Q6. What does ‘xxxvii’ Roman numeral represent?

Ans. It represents the number ‘37’.


Kids must learn about Roman numerals as it explains history of Roman culture to students. Also, it helps students to work on mental math skills and practice addition & subtraction. Roman numerals are almost like writing a code which makes Mathematics fun and engaging. So, let your child learn Roman Numerals bringing a nice break in their study routine.

Leave a Reply