Arabic Numbral

Roman Numbral

Explanation


Arabic Numbral

Roman Numbral

Explanation

0 
The Romans didn't think nothing
was important enough to have something to represent it. 
A circle goes
round and joins itself back at the beginning.
As there are no ends, that can be 'zero.'. 

12 
XII 
Oops  missed
one. But this is two lines after ten so you've probably got
the idea by now. 
1 
I 
A vertical line,
is one line. So it must be "one."


14 
XIV 
And  this is
four more than ten. And four is IV. 
2 
II 
If you've got
another one  then add another line to the first line. So two lines are
"two."


15 
XV 
Which makes five
after ten "fifteen." Or three crocodiles. 
3 
III 
Adding
another one to the two you've got gives you three. So the Romans
just added another line to the two they had. This is getting a
bit
predictable.


40 
XL 
...and when the
Romans got to forty they realised they needed a new symbol for fifty.
Forty,
you see, is ten less than fifty (50 minus 10). And they had X for ten.
So they needed something to put the X in front of.
They chose L (for fifty). So "forty" is X before L.

4 
IV 
Aha!
Four lines would have been a bit boring. But the Romans knew
that four was one before five, so they put one line before
their
symbol for five, which is:.... 

47 
XLVII 
Forty seven
requires Romans to write their symbols for five (V) and two
(II) after their symbols for forty (XL).
So everything starts getting a bit long.

5 
V 
A
new symbol for "Five." There are five fingers on your hand,
and
you can form your hand into a V shape (which also allows you to pretend
to be a crocodile). That seems like a good enough reason.


50 
L 
Phew  got to
Fifty. Gets simple again.
Presumably they chose L because fifty is Lots or Loads or something in
Latin. 
6 
VI 
Six is one after
five. So they put one line after their symbol for five.
Very logical.


74 
LXXIV 
But when you get
to seventyfour, you need fifty and ten and ten and four.

7 
VII 
And,
predictably, for seven they just added another one of those lines.


93 
XCIII 
And guess what 
ninety is ten (X) before a hundred (or C for Century).. So
ninety is XC.
Plus three lines for "three" of course.

8 
VIII 
And
eight follows the rigorous system. Add another line.
That's
three lines after V for "five". Three plus five is eight.
So is five plus three. Very convenient.


100 
C 
Hurrah! 
9 
IX 
And now we are
one before ten. So the Romans put a one before their new
symbol for ten.


555 
DLV 
And five hundred
gets its own symbol. This time D. We don't know why
and there are no Romans around to ask.
Add Fiftyfive which is fifty plus five.

10 
X 
Ten
is like five but a V shape (which means five) pointing up and a V shape
(another five) pointing down. Two hands  two crocodiles.
Five plus five is Ten.


1009 
MIX 
And a thousand
is M, like millenium. (Don't ask what 5000 would be).
And if the Romans wrote one thousand and nine  it forms a word! 