Roman numerals4 is rendered as IIII rather than IV on this clock face
Our children are still taught Roman numerals and it’s sometimes difficult to explain why they have to learn them. I was trying to explain why to Frankie the other day. They are not used extensively – clocks, pagination and chapter numbering, major sporting events, publications, films and differentiation in hierarchies like Elizabeth II, Dalai Lama XIV, Pope Gregory XIII. Some clocks use IIII rather than IV.
I went through a phase in my teens of using Roman numerals to define the month in a date. I thought it looked nice but I didn’t use the lower case version which I think looks even better. So, today is 20.11.2023 or 20.XI.2023 or 20.xi.2023.
I suppose the American date form, which always foxes me, would be 11.20.2023 or XI.20.2023 but that just looks weird!
The basic numerals are I = 1, V = 5, X = 10, L = 50, C = 100, D = 500 and M = 1000, so we are in the year MMXXIII. To avoid writing long strings of numerals, subtraction is used. That is, a smaller numeral precedes a larger number to reduce it. So 14 is represented by XIV rather than XIIII and 19 is shown as XIX.