Writing Roman Numerals for 100-10,000

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  • 0:02 Roman Numeral Tricks
  • 3:27 Writing Roman Numerals…
  • 5:34 Writing Roman Numerals…
  • 7:12 Writing Roman Numerals…
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Julie Zundel

Julie has taught high school Zoology, Biology, Physical Science and Chem Tech. She has a Bachelor of Science in Biology and a Master of Education.

Have you ever seen a bunch of random letters and wondered what they represent? Sure, it could have been gibberish, but it also may have been Roman numerals. This lesson will teach you all you need to know to write Roman numerals 100 through 10,000.

Roman Numeral Tricks

I know you've suffered. At the end of football season, all your friends knew what Super Bowl XLVIII meant, and you had no idea. Or, in history class you learned about King Henry VIII, but you never knew what VIII meant. Never fear! I'm here for you. The XLVIII was Super Bowl 48 and VIII was King Henry the 8th. But what in the world are all of those letters, and why do they represent numbers? Good question.

Roman numerals came from (you guessed it) the Romans and have been around a long, long time. In fact, it's estimated that they originated between 800 and 900 A.D. There are seven letters used: I, V, X, L, C, D, and M. In order to help you memorize these letters, let's take a moment to learn how each one came to be.

  • I represents 1. You can think of I as one of your fingers.
  • V represents 5. It got that symbol because your four fingers and thumb make a V.
  • X represents 10. It got its name because if you put two V's together you get an X.
  • The other symbols came from other Roman symbols.

You're going to get a lot of different symbols in this lesson, and you may feel overwhelmed, but there are a few tricks to keep things straight.

  • Numbers are represented by letters
  • You read the Roman numerals from left to right (just like you would do with regular numbers)
  • The order in which the letters are placed impacts the value of the number. If a smaller value letter is before a larger value letter, you reduce the larger value by the smaller value. For example, IV is 4. You know this because I (which is 1, remember) is smaller than V (which is 5). Since I is before V, you reduce V (5) by I (1): 5 minus 1 is 4.
  • If a smaller value letter is after a larger value letter, you increase the larger value by the smaller value. There may be several smaller value letters after a larger value letter. For example, VI is 6. You know this because I is after the V, so you increase V by I, that is you increase 5 by 1, which equals 6. Therefore, VII is 7, and you know this because II is after V, so you increase V by II (or 5 by 2), which is 7.
  • Finally, you don't use more than three of the same letters in a row. For example III is 3, whereas IIII isn't 4 (remember, 4 is IV).

Are you confused yet? Don't worry, it will all make more sense momentarily.

Writing Roman Numerals 1 to 100

Before you learn the Roman numerals for 100 through 10,000, you will need to learn the Roman numerals that come before. Let's check out some tables of numbers, but as you do, remember those rules I gave you before. Let's look at Roman numerals in action:

Number Roman Numeral
1 I
2 II
4 IV
5 V
6 VI
9 IX
10 X

Next, you need to know what 10, 20, 30, and so on and so forth look like. Let's go through the table together:

Number Roman Numeral
10 X
20 XX
30 XXX
40 XL
50 L
60 LX
70 LXX
90 XC
100 C

Let's see how you do with some real examples. Grab a pencil and paper, and let's write down the roman numerals for some numbers. You might want to pause the video to give yourself a little more time:

  • 28
  • 41
  • 89

Got your answers? Let's see how you did:

  • 28 is XXVIII
  • 41 is XLI
  • 89 is LXXXIX

How'd you do?

Writing Roman Numerals 100 to 1,000

Now that you can write the Roman numerals for 1 through 100, let's move on to some bigger numbers. Let's take a look at the table of the Roman numerals for 100, 200, 300, 400, and so on:

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