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Roman Numeration System and Common Numerals

Updated on March 18, 2015

About the Roman Numeration System

Numbers weren't always as universal as they seem now. Even today, some Asian countries prefer their own system of writing instead of using the arabic system. Roman numerals were used hundreds of years ago in common life and are still somewhat used today in old-fashioned items suchs as clocks. Before you reach for a roman numeral converter just to get the roman numeral 500, learn that there is a sense to this letter-system of numbers.

Common Roman Numeral Conversion

Arabic to Roman Numeral

  • Roman Numeral 500 = D
  • Roman Numerals 1000 = M

Roman Numeral Converstion to Arabic

  • Roman Numeral IX = 9
  • Roman Numeral XLIV = 44
  • Roman Numerals XIX = 19
  • Roman Numeral XV = 15
  • Roman Numerals XVI = 16

And just for a bonus: MMX roman numerals are..... 2010. Which means we currently are in the year MMXI

Roman Numerals 1 - 20

Roman Numerals  1- 20
Roman Numerals 1- 20

How to do Roman Numeral Conversion?

Well having a roman numeral chart (like above and below) helps! However, once you memorize what they represent it's not that hard. Just remember that it's all about math.

You read from right to left. If a numeral is follow by another smaller than itself, you subtract. Else, you add.

XXIX = 10,10, 1, 10 => (right to left) => 10, 1, 10, 10 => (10,1) , 10, 10 => (10-1) + 10 + 10 = 9 + 10 + 10 = 29

CLIX = 100,50,1,10 => (right to left) => 10, 1, 50, 100 => (10,1),50,100 => (10-1)+50+100 = 9+ 50 + 100 = 159

CMXLIV = 100,1000,10,50,1,5<==> (5,1),(50,10)(1000,100) =>(5-1)+(50-10)+(1000-100)=>4+40+900 = 944

It may look like a lot of math, but with practice you learn to do it without even thinking about it. Once you get good at it, you can even do it by reading left to right and just looking ahead and backtracking.

Roman Numerals 1 - 100

Roman Numerals 1 -100 picture. The first number of each row is given as a regular number.
Roman Numerals 1 -100 picture. The first number of each row is given as a regular number.


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    • Rising Caren profile imageAUTHOR

      Rising Caren 

      7 years ago from New York


      Lol, obviously when I wrote it I was doing the IX automatically in my head, which is why I ended up writing 9 instead of 10. Oops. I'll go fix it.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      CLIX = 159 .... not 158.

    • Rising Caren profile imageAUTHOR

      Rising Caren 

      7 years ago from New York

      @Ivana fixed it up.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      You need to proofread this! I found errors in both the writing and the roman numerals. Thanks so much, though. It's a good article otherwise.

    • Mr. Happy profile image

      Mr. Happy 

      8 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      lol thanks for explaining this. I grew-up in Romania, when it was still a communist country. We had to learn all this in grade one or two, I forget which one. Latin was also one of the languages taught although, I never had to put-up with it and heard that it was extremely difficult. The dictator, Nicolae Ceausescu was extremely proud of the Romanian heritage and at least in terms of education we had a very good system: strict but good.

      The numerical system is easy to follow as soon as you see the patterns. Thank you for a great blog. Cheers!

      Welcome to Hubpages !


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