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Class-4: Maths
Concept Notes: Roman Numerals

Real Life Example

v Roman numbers are used widely
in real life. The most important
& common example is watches
& clocks with Roman numbers
on it. Many monuments &
buildings engrave numbers in
Roman system of numeration.
Games & sports also use Roman
Sam’s father brought a new wall clock. Sam was amazed
to see some alphabet instead of numbers on the clock. He
M's "mille" (or 1000 said)
asked his father about it. Father told him that these are
D's half (500 - quickly read) numbers based on the Roman system of numeration. Let
C's just a 100 (century) us all learn about it.
and L is half again – 50 When Romans learned to write they needed a way to write
So all that's left is X and V their numbers. For this they developed a numeric system
which uses combinations of letters to signify values. This
system is known as Roman system of numeration.
Romans used these numbers for trading & commerce.
These numbers are still used today in many different
This system of numeration does not use place value like
the Arabic system of numeration.
There are seven symbols used in this system which are
as follows:
I, V, X, L, C, D & M.

Each symbol has a corresponding value:

I stands for 1
Amazing Fact V stands for 5
X stands for 10
v Roman numerals don't have a L stands for 50
symbol for zero.
C stands for 100
D stands for 500
M stands for 1000


1. Principle of Addition: Tina wants to meet her
brother who studies in class 11, but the number
CLASS written on the name plate is a Roman numeral, so
XI she is confused whether she is going to the right
classroom. Can you help her?
Class XI ⇒
X = 10 and I = 1
Therefore, XI = 10 + 1 = 11
Hence, Tina is going to the correct classroom.
This example uses the principle of addition.
Addition is only applicable when the first symbol is
greater than the second, third etc.
When a symbol appears after a larger symbol it is
When the principle of addition is used, a symbol
can be used only three times.
Let us take another example:
L = 50
X = 10
X = 10
IX Therefore, LXX = 50 + 10 + 10 = 70
17 2. Principle of Subtraction: Jojo was waiting for his
friend on a street. He saw a board on which two
numbers were written. One was a Roman numeral
another was an Arabic numeral. But he is confused
that which number is written on the board.

Roman number written on board = IX

I = 1 10

X = 10 –1

9 Historical preview

Therefore, IX = 9 v The history of Roman numerals
Subtraction is only applicable when the first symbol is not well documented
is less than the second one. and written accounts are
If the symbol appears before a larger symbol it is contradictory. It is likely
subtracted. that counting began on the
fingers and that is why we
Another example,
count in tens. A single stroke
CD ⇒ I represents one finger, five
C = 100 500 or a handful could possibly be
represented by V and the X
D = 500 –100
may have been used because if
400 you stretch out two handfuls
of fingers and place them close
Therefore, CD = 400 the two little fingers cross in
an X. Alternatively, an X is like
3. Principle of addition & subtraction are used in
two Vs, one upside down.
Rohan was reading an article.
Super Bowl XLVIII

The Super Bowl is the annual championship game

of the National Football League (NFL), the highest
level of professional American football in the
United States, culminating a season that begins
in the late summer of the previous calendar year.
The Super Bowl uses Roman numerals to identify
each game, rather than the year in which it is held.
For example, Super Bowl I was played on January
15, 1967, following the 1966 regular season, while
Super Bowl XLVII was played on February 3, 2013,
following the 2012 season.

He saw numbers written in roman numerals. Let us

have a look.
Roman number XLVIII ⇒
X = 10
L = 50

⇒ (50 – 10) + (5 + 1 + 1 + 1) = 40 + 8 = 48
Shortcut to
Therefore, XLVIII = 48
Problem Solving
This is an example where principle of addition &
v An accurate way to write the subtraction are used in combination.
roman numbers is to first take
the thousands, hundreds, CONVERSION INTO ROMAN NUMERALS
tens and units.
Example: 1999, one thousand For converting a number to a roman number we break the
is M, nine hundred is CM, number into Thousands, Hundreds, Tens and Units and
ninety is XC, nine is IX. write down each in turn.
Combine all these: Example: Deepika wants to convert her year of birth into
MCMXCIX roman numbers. Can you help her do so?
v Develop a mnemonic device Break 1987 into 1000, 900, 80 and 7, then do each
to remember the order of conversion
Roman numerals. A common v 1000 = M
mnemonic like "I value Xylo- v 900 = CM
phones like Cows Dig Milk"
v 80 = LXXX
puts the Roman numerals I,
V, X, L, C, D and M in order v 7 = VII
from smallest to largest. If So 1987 = MCMLXXXVII
you only have trouble with
the larger numbers, it may LARGER NUMBERS
help to remember that "C"
is equivalent to "century" Numbers greater than 1,000 are formed by placing a dash
and "M" is equivalent to over the symbol, meaning "multiplied by 1,000", but these
"millennium": 100 and 1000, are not commonly used.
5000 10000 50000 100000
v Write the six pairs of
"subtractive" Roman numerals V X L C
on a notecard along with
their equivalents in Roman SOME BASIC COMBINATIONS
numerals, "IV" is equal to 4,
"IX" to 9, "XL" to 40, "XC" 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
to 90, "CD" to 400 and "CM"
to 900. These are called
"subtractive" because the 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90
first letter is "subtracted"
from the second. Keep the
notecard visible at all times so 100 200 300 400 500 600 700 800 900
you know to recognize these
pairs when they appear.

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