Roman-ticizing the 60 Blog

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I can’t remember what 51, 6 and 500 are in Roman Numerals.  I’m LIVID.

I prepared several dozen documents today listing several real estate entities that all contained Roman numerals. Troy XXIV, LLC.  Troy DVI, LLC.  Troy XVII, LLC.  Names like that.  It makes sense for the company, of course, so they can keep track of each entity.  But Roman numerals are not easy for us to read.

We learned Roman numerals in school (you know, 45 years ago) and I don’t remember learning specific rules. For instance, I don’t recall officially learning that a letter placed after another of greater value adds (thus XVI or xvi is 16),  and a letter placed before another of greater value subtracts (thus XC or xc is 90).  Even the Romans had rules!

The numeric system represented by Roman numerals originated in ancient Rome and remained the usual way of writing numbers throughout Europe well into the Late Middle Ages.  Numbers in this system are represented by combinations of letters from the Latin alphabet.  Roman numerals, as used today, are based on seven symbols:  I, V, X, L, C, D and M.

Roman numerals are used today in several regular instances.  For example:

  • Book volume and chapter numbers, as well as the several acts within a play  (e.g., Act iii, Scene 2)
  • Sequels of some movies, video games, and other works (as in Rocky II)
  • Outlines that use numbers to show hierarchical relationships. Occurrences of a recurring grand event, for instance:
    • The Summer and Winter Olympic Games (e.g., the XXI Olympic Winter Games;  the Games of the XXX Olympiad)
    • The Super Bowl, the annual championship game of the NFL (e.g., Super Bowl XXXVII; Super Bowl 50 was a one-time exception)

Numbers seem to have made an impact on me today.  We saw the movie “Hidden Figures” tonight, which is about dozens of African-American women in the 60s who worked for NASA and helped launch our astronauts into space.  They were brilliant women, to be sure, and I’m thankful that their stories are finally being told.




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