Roman Numerals History

roman numerals historyRoman numerals history is a long and complicated one that mirrors the rise and fall of the empire from where it was from, the Roman Empire. The history of roman numerals dates way back from ancient Rome’s beginnings itself around the 8th and 9th century on the hills of Palatine and then follows it through plague, sickness, attacks from barbaric tribes, civil war, civil apathy, and the rise of European powers and Christianity leading to its fall 2 centuries after the death of Christ.

The Birth of Roman Numerals

Roman numerals history did not start out of thin air but it does lack the documentation to support as to when the use of it really started. Most probably, Roman numerals history of coming into conception rose from the need for a communal means of counting which is essential to trade and communications. I, V, X, C, D, L and M are the seven basic symbols used in roman numerals which dates back from 900 to 800 BC, attesting to the ancient beginnings of roman numerals history.

Roman Numerals History and Evolution

As the Roman Empire grew, so did its need for a number and counting system grew with it. What was originally designed as a numbers system based on counting by 5s and 10s needed to be more complex and accurate.

The numbers system designed by the Romans is flawed, it lacked zero, and had no single method of counting above the value of several thousands which is only amended by placing lines over numerals to signify multiples of their value.

When the Roman Empire fell by 300 AD, the world saw better use and adoption of the Arabic numerals which we call as decimal numbers nowadays. Arabic numerals consistently work to a base of 10 and had zero (0) which is a great improvement from the previously popular Roman numerals. The use of Roman numerals continued to decline with the collapse of the empire that conceived it, but ironically, it found a protector in the name of Christianity, which still continued to utilize the number system.

Modern Uses of Roman Numerals

Roman numerals history of course did not end with the demise of the Roman Empire, today, we use Roman numerals for certain things to imbibe a rich sense of aesthetics and history like the following:

  • Astronomy to label moons
  • Cornerstones
  • Movie titles
  • Manuscript outlines
  • Chemistry to denote groups of elements in the periodic table
  • Movie credits
  • Names of monarchs
  • Names of popes
  • Names of ships
  • Names of buildings
  • Sporting events
  • Watches and clocks
  • Books and chapter headings
  • Uses in the Media


Current Roman Numerals History

Roman numerals have stood the test of time and are definitely here to stay. Its sense of elegance and classic style ensures it will not go out of practice for a long time to come. In fact, the proliferation of Roman numerals converter sites in the internet means there is a renewed interest in it even in today’s world, ensuring the future chapter in Roman numerals history.


  1. Could you help if it is possible to convery 6,311,520 and 378,691,200 into roman numeral?
    A early reply would be highly appreciate!

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  3. Standard notation for Roman numerals for numbers of 5000 or greater use additional notation than the Latin characters I, V, X, L, C, D, and M. The notations are the overline and vertical bar. A Roman numeral with an overline has the value of the Roman numeral × 1000, and a Roman numeral with an overline between two vertical bars has the value of the Roman numeral × 100,000.

    378,691,200 would thus be a sequence of three groups (the first two groups would be overlined):

    |MMMDCCLXXXVI| (overlined) = 3786 × 100,000
    XCI (overlined) = 91 × 1000
    CC = 200

    An overline “decoration” is not easily produced and possibly prohibited in the comment posting, thus the “decoration” is absent here in the Roman numeral representation of the given large number.

  4. Harry Teasdale

    I am writing a book on ancient history and have come across a new understanding for the origins of Roman Numbers would you be interested in seeing this?

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  6. Can .U. be used as .V. in the roma figure