What Is The Difference Between Arabic Numerals And Roman Numerals

Numbers are not only an integral part of Mathematics, they’re also a fundamental part of our daily activities. Different civilizations have used different kinds of numeral systems throughout the ages. The first and proper numeral system to have been established in the history of mankind is the Roman Numeral System. This system served as a base for the new numeral systems to come. The Arabic numeral system, however, is pretty much the same like the other numeral systems based on integers. But they’re written in Arabic scripture.


  • 1

    The first difference that can be observed within the two system of numeral is the scripture that they use. The Roman numerals being derived from the ancient Latin script tend to use letters as a representation for numbers instead of the numbers we use in modern time. The Arabic numerals on the other hand, tend to be more like the modern numeral system based upon quantity rather than symbolism or letters.

  • 2

    The Arabic numeral system has a figure representation for every number from 0 to 9. Every other number is calculated relatively in this numeral system. The quantity is represented with the use of these figure representations based upon the system fore mentioned.

    On the other hand, the Roman numeral system doesn’t have figure representation for every number. Instead, they opt for representation via Latin alphabets. These alphabets include I, V, X, L, C. D and M representing values of 1, 5, 10, 50, 100, 500 and 1000. These values were written in a particular sequence to represent a number that didn’t belong from either of the category. If the smaller number is written before the larger number it represents subtraction from that number. And if it’s written after the larger number than it represents addition. For example, the number 47 would be written as IIIL, where three 1(s) would be subtracted from 50, ending in the desired resulting value.

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    The Arabic numerals were originated in the Middle Eastern region, during the era of Islamic Golden Age when the newly formed Islamic civilization was thriving with new explorations, conquests and discoveries. The Roman numerals have the credit of being one of the oldest counting systems, being nearly error free. As the name suggests, the Roman numerals were derived from the ancient civilization of Rome who used Latin as their lingua franca. The symbols of figures of Roman numerals are based upon Latin itself.

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