Base of Roman NumeralsDate: 04/07/2001 at 01:32:15 From: Leanne van Cuylenberg Subject: Base of Roman numeral system What is the base of the Roman numeral system? I have come to the conclusion that it is either base 10 or base 5. However, the lack of a zero in the system confuses me. Please help. Date: 04/07/2001 at 23:14:41 From: Doctor Peterson Subject: Re: Base of Roman numeral system Hi, Leanne. The Roman system is fundamentally base ten, because it represents the state of an abacus (which has ones and fives for each base ten digit), and agrees with their base ten names for numbers (using hundreds, thousands, and so on). It is not a _positional_ system (which accounts for the lack of a zero) but that does not mean it is not a _base ten_ system. I've somewhere heard it described as a sort of mix of bases five and ten, but I don't think that's really significant. Essentially it is base ten, with combinations of symbols used for each digit. You will want to check our FAQ on Roman Numerals, which explains something of the meaning of the system: http://mathforum.org/dr.math/faq/faq.roman.html - Doctor Peterson, The Math Forum http://mathforum.org/dr.math/ |
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