Long before we had the system of numbering, reading and writing, we had Romans numerals – a standard system of counting developed by Romans.

Counting with the fingers must have gotten old real quick, especially for large numbers. Also, they discovered that counting with their digits left a large window for mistakes and losses. After considering all of these, the Roman Numerals were born.

The Roman Numerals is an easy way of counting and expressing numbers, including complex digits. What makes the Roman Numerals amazing is its simplicity in calculating bigger figures.

There are only seven standard symbols, and from these seven symbols, all the symbols for any large digit can be derived. This made it easier for traders to keep track of the new system. The seven symbols are:

- I – 1
- V- 5
- X – 10
- L – 50
- C – 100
- D – 500
- M – 1000

What Makes Roman Numerals Unique?

One of the outstanding things about the Roman numerals is that they follow the pattern of the fingers. This helped traders keep track of the new system easily.

What Do the Seven Basic Symbols Mean?

The seven basic symbols are vowels – kind of. You make out full digits by combining them.

I mean one. Note how I is similar to one finger standing out in a counting exercise.

V means five.

X means 10, and if you look closer, it seems like two inverted V’s attached at their articulation points.

How were other digits Formed?

These were the basics, but how were other digits formed? Combination, that’s how. The Romans had an excellent combination system that worked for centuries.

To understand what a series of Roman numerals strung up together means you’ll have to understand the basic rule of combination.

The symbols are placed left to right, and a lesser numeral’s position determines if it is being subtracted or added to the higher numeral.

So what then is IV? What is the number IV? What number is IV? Definitely not the contraption used to give a person drugs in the hospital.

To work out what the number IV is in Roman numerals, we must first isolate all the components of IV.

I – 1

V – 5

According to the placement law in Roman numerals, if a lesser symbol comes before a higher symbol, you subtract the lower symbol from the higher one.

Take the number IV, for example. Since I come before the V, it gets to be subtracted from the V.

To know what the number IV is in Arabic numerals, you subtract the I from the V. The number IV is 4.

You might want to know that the number IV is the first combination digit with two different symbols and needed a subtraction.