Roman Numerals for Kids

We use Arabic numerals (0,1,2,3...) today and it is the most common numeral system in the world. But also there is another system that the Romans used to write numbers about 2,000 years ago. We still use them on some clocks, books and in the names of the monarchs.

This Roman system uses just seven letters:

As you can notice, there is no number zero.

There are two basic rules:

- When you put a lower value symbol before a higher one, it decreases the second:

IV = V – I = 5 – 1 = 4

- When you put a lower value symbol after a higher one, it increases the second:

VI = V + I = 5 + 1 = 6

Also, remember a Roman Number cannot be used more than three times in a row. But sometimes you can see that the number 4 is written as IIII instead of IV in clock faces.


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