Date: Wed, 04 Feb 98 19:31:09 Pacific Daylight Time
Sender: Dawn
Subject: Roman Numerals

How would I read a Roman Numeral such as LXII? Does the L in front make the X equal a lesser amount? We have been discussing how to read these and I can find no information about how to read an extended Roman Numeral problem. Help!!

Hi Dawn

Here is a table of the common basic symbols used for Roman numerals and their decimal equivalents.

 I 1 V 5 X 10 L 50 C 100 D 500 M 1000
Integers in Roman numerals are written using two rules.
• If the letter is immediately followed by one of equal or lesser value then the two values are added.
• If the letter is immediately followed by one of greater value then the first is subtracted from the second.
So for your example LXII = 50+10+1+1=62, but XLII=50-10+1+1=42 and LXIV=50+10+5-1=64.
There is some interesting information on the origin of the letters that are used for Roman Numerals at the Math Forum. The URL is forum.swarthmore.edu/dr.math/problems/eddy6.5.97.html.

Cheers,
Harley