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Good Math by Mark C. Chu-Carroll

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A Positional System

I expect most people already know this, but I’ll go through an explanation of how roman numerals work. The roman numeral system is nonpositional, meaning that a numeric symbol represents a particular value no matter where it sits. This is very different from our decimal arabic notation, which is positional. In our common notation, the 3 in “32” represents thirty, but the 3 in “357” represents three hundred. In roman numerals, that’s not true. An “X” always represents ten, no matter where in the number it sits.

The basic scheme of roman numerals is to assign fixed numeric values to letters.

  • “I” stands for 1.

  • “V” stands for 5.

  • “X” stands for 10.

  • “L” stands for 50.

  • “C” stands for 100.

  • “D” stands for 500.

  • “M” ...

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