Life Skill: This Is How You Convert Those Weird Roman Numerals To Actual Numbers

Since their invention during 9th century B.C., Roman numerals have been the way of writing numbers in Europe up until the Middle Ages (1500s). Even today we see them being used in several occasions, like for example, the Super Bowl. This year’s Super Bowl was marketed as “LI” not 51, and two years ago was “XXXXIX” not 49 (the only exception was “Super Bowl 50” where 50 was used instead of a single “L”).  

Despite being exposed to these numbers daily, not a lot of us actually know how to convert them to decimal numbers though. And yes, i know, with today’s technology converting them is a piece of cake, but wouldn’t it be great if you could do it all by yourself?

You know it makes sense so let’s start. (the article continues after the ad)

Apparently, reading and writing Roman numerals is quite easy. All you need to remember is the value of these symbols and a simple formula. The symbols are:
I = 1
V = 5
X = 10
L = 50
C = 100
D = 500
M = 1,000

Formula: The way this works is that you combine the symbols and add the values. For example, “II” is the number 2 because it’s like writing “I+I”, or “XXX” is the number 30 (“X+X+X”). Of course, you can combine different symbols together and add their value: “XV” is the number 15 since we added the symbol “X (10)” with the symbol “V (5)”.

Starting from the left, whatever number is written on the right is added to the previous one as in the examples above and, whatever number is written on the left is subtracted. For example, the number 4 is written as “IV”. Because “I” is written on the left of “V”, we subtract 1 from 5. By using the same principle, the number “XIX” is the number 19, because it’s the same as “X+IX” (X=10 and IX=9).

Let’s say you want to write down the number 2017. You break down the number and then add each symbol. So, 2017 is 2000 plus 10 plus 7, right? So, 2017 in Roman numerals is:
– 2000 = MM
– 10 = X
– 7 = VII

So, the number 2017 is MMXVII.

That’s it! That’s the whole concept of the Roman numerals.

Bonus fact: The Romans didn’t have the number 0 (zero). They were just using the word nulla (the Latin word for none).

If you like what you read, then you will definitely love this one: This Is How You Convert Fahrenheit to Celsius (And Vice Versa)

Main Article Photos:, SUWalls
Photoshop: I’m A Useless Info Junkie

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