What Are Roman Numerals?

Who invented Roman numerals? (The Romans, right?) Where did the idea come from? And why do we still use them today? Keep on reading to learn all about this ancient number system.

Jason Marshall, PhD
4-minute read
Episode #139

Are Roman Numerals Still Used Today?

But why should you bother learning to read and write these archaic symbols in the first place? Hasn’t this system been abandoned in favor of our modern decimal number system? Well, yes…and no. As I mentioned at the beginning of this episode, Roman numerals still show up all over the place in the modern world. I’m not sure exactly why this is, but from the numbers on the faces of clocks to the inscriptions on monuments, buildings, and bridges; from the page numbers in book introductions to the cryptic years that roll by during movie credits; and from the names of Kings and Queens throughout history to many symbols used in math, science, music, and countless other places, we are surrounded by Roman numerals. And, as such, it makes sense to know exactly what all of those symbols mean!

Wrap Up

Okay, that’s all the math we have time for today. Remember to become a fan of the Math Dude on Facebook where you’ll find lots of great math posted throughout the week. If you’re on Twitter, please follow me there, too. Finally, please send your math questions my way via Facebook, Twitter, or email at mathdude@quickanddirtytips.com.

Until next time, this is Jason Marshall with The Math Dude’s Quick and Dirty Tips to Make Math Easier. Thanks for reading, math fans!


About the Author

Jason Marshall, PhD

Jason Marshall is the author of The Math Dude's Quick and Dirty Guide to Algebra. He provides clear explanations of math terms and principles, and his simple tricks for solving basic algebra problems will have even the most math-phobic person looking forward to working out whatever math problem comes their way.