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Discussion: Roundtable
Topic: 1999 in Roman


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Subject:   why not MIM
Author: steve
Date: Jul 12 2003
I'm not an expert in Roman Numerals, but my understanding is that it's a
question of convention and what the Romans did. If you think of it in terms of a
concept like place value, then one would want to keep units, tens, hundreds, and
thousands separate.

This would fit the observation that I is only used to the left of a V or an X. X
is used to the left of an L or a C. C is used to the left of a D or an M.

This still leaves a couple of possibilities for writing 1999:
MCMXCIX
MCMXCVIIII
MDCCCCLXXXXVIIII

The first is most compact. The second may be what Romans actually wrote more
often in official moments. The last may be the version most easily understood by
most Romans.

See http://www.maa.org/mathland/mathtrek_1_18_99.html
and
http://www.wilkiecollins.demon.co.uk/roman/1999.htm

-- steve
 
On Jul 12, 2003, Dennis wrote:

>Why not MIM for 1999?  (The first M is 1000.  The IM is one less >than
1000.)

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