The Simple Guide

Roman numerals are simple, really! They only use 7 letters which are as followed; I, V, X, L, C, D and M. We use these letters to represent thousands of different numbers. I represents 1, V represents 5, X represents 10, L represents 50, C represents 100, D represents 500 and M represents 1000. But we’re going to break these down, first we will look at the numerals I, V and X.

** The Very Simple Guide to Roman Numerals 1 to 10 **

So using these values how do we make all of the values in between? Simple, we make two by combining two I’s, so two is II. Easy right? Three is just the same, but this time we combine three I’s so three is equal to III. The number four is a little different. Four is written as IV, all we are doing here is subtracting I (1) from V (5), 1 from 5 is equal to 4. Simples. Five is represented by V. Now, six just like the number two where we added to I’s together is made by adding together the numerals for 5 and 1, which of course gives us VI. I bet you’ve already got seven and eight down but we’ll go through them anyway. Seven is made by adding V (5) and II (2) together, which gives us VII. Eight just the same as seven is written as V (5) and III (3), VIII. Nine is just the same as four in that we just subtract I (1) from X (10), giving us IX. Ten is of course represented by X! Once we know the Roman numerals for one to ten we know all of the rules we need to know to make up any number in Roman numerals.

** The Very Simple Guide to Roman Numerals 11 to 19 **

Now that we know how to make numerals one through ten the rest are easy. We’ll just quickly go through eleven to twenty and you’ll be able to write numerals through to one-hundred easily. Before we go on we’re just going to introduce a simple rule which is helpful to remember; unless we are writing out the numbers four (IV), nine (IX), forty (XL) or ninety (XC) which use the subtractive principle, then the larger numeral always goes in front of the smaller one. So applying this rule, when writing the numeral for eleven which is XI we write the larger X or ten before the smaller I or one. The numerals for twelve and thirteen are simple and written as XII (X or 10 + II or 2 = XII or 12) and XIII (X or 10 + III or 3 = XIII or 13). Fourteen follows exactly the same principle and is written as XIV (X or 10 = IV or 4 = XIV or 14). Fifteen is simply written as XV (X or 10 + V or 5 = XV or 15). I’m sure you got the hang of this a while back now so sixteen, seventeen and eighteen are written as XVI, XVII and XVIII. Nineteen is similar to fourteen as in it is simply written as XIX.

** The Very Simple Guide to Roman Numerals 20 to 100 **

Okay, now that we’ve mastered Roman numerals 1 through to 20 we can move onto some bigger numbers. We know that ten is represented by X so how do you suppose we make the Roman numerals for 20? Exactly the same way we made the Roman numeral for 2, but instead of adding two I’s we add together two X’s giving us XX. Thirty follows the same principle as three, therefore thirty is made by combining three X’s, XXX. Forty follows the same principle as four but in this numeral we are introducing the numeral for fifty which if you remember is L, so forty would be made by taking ten from fifty, which is shown as XL. I’m sure you already know how to make up the numerals for sixty, seventy and eighty; which are of course LX, LXX and LXXX. However, the numeral 90 introduces the symbol for 100 which is C, so following the same principle as fifty we have to take ten from one-hundred which is written as XC. And last but not least in this section is the numeral for 100 which is of course C!

1 | I | 21 | XXI | 41 | XLI | 61 | LXI | 81 | LXXXI |

2 | II | 22 | XXII | 42 | XLII | 62 | LXII | 82 | LXXXII |

3 | III | 23 | XXIII | 43 | XLIII | 63 | LXIII | 83 | LXXXIII |

4 | IV | 24 | XXIV | 44 | XLIV | 64 | LXIV | 84 | LXXXIV |

5 | V | 25 | XXV | 45 | XLV | 65 | LXV | 85 | LXXXV |

6 | VI | 26 | XXVI | 46 | XLVI | 66 | LXVI | 86 | LXXXVI |

7 | VII | 27 | XXVII | 47 | XLVII | 67 | LXVII | 87 | LXXXVII |

8 | VIII | 28 | XXVIII | 48 | XLVIII | 68 | LXVIII | 88 | LXXXVIII |

9 | IX | 29 | XXIX | 49 | XLIX | 69 | LXIX | 89 | LXXXIX |

10 | X | 30 | XXX | 50 | L | 70 | LXX | 90 | XC |

11 | XI | 31 | XXXI | 51 | LI | 71 | LXXI | 91 | XCI |

12 | XII | 32 | XXXII | 52 | LII | 72 | LXXII | 92 | XCII |

13 | XIII | 33 | XXXIII | 53 | LIII | 73 | LXXIII | 93 | XCIII |

14 | XIV | 34 | XXXIV | 54 | LIV | 74 | LXXIV | 94 | XCIV |

15 | XV | 35 | XXXV | 55 | LV | 75 | LXXV | 95 | XCV |

16 | XVI | 36 | XXXVI | 56 | LVI | 76 | LXXVI | 96 | XCVI |

17 | XVII | 37 | XXXVII | 57 | LVII | 77 | LXXVII | 97 | XCVII |

18 | XVIII | 38 | XXXVIII | 58 | LVIII | 78 | LXXVIII | 98 | XCVIII |

19 | XIX | 39 | XXXIX | 59 | LIX | 79 | LXXIX | 99 | XCIX |

20 | XX | 40 | XL | 60 | LX | 80 | LXXX | 100 | C |

500 | D | 1000 | M |