# Roman Numerals

Updated February 21, 2017 | Factmonster Staff Try the Roman Numeral Challenge.

Roman numerals are expressed by letters of the alphabet:

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

There are four basic principles for reading and writing Roman numerals:

• 1. A letter repeats its value that many times (XXX = 30, CC = 200, etc.). A letter can only be repeated three times.
• 2. If one or more letters are placed after another letter of greater value, add that amount.
VI = 6 (5 + 1 = 6)
LXX = 70 (50 + 10 + 10 = 70)
MCC = 1200 (1000 + 100 + 100 = 1200)
• 3. If a letter is placed before another letter of greater value, subtract that amount.
IV = 4 (5 ? 1 = 4)
XC = 90 (100 ? 10 = 90)
CM = 900 (1000 ? 100 = 900)

Several rules apply for subtracting amounts from Roman numerals:
• a. Only subtract powers of ten (I, X, or C, but not V or L)
For 95, do NOT write VC (100 ? 5).
DO write XCV (XC + V or 90 + 5)
• b. Only subtract one number from another.
For 13, do NOT write IIXV (15 ? 1 - 1).
DO write XIII (X + I + I + I or 10 + 3)
• c. Do not subtract a number from one that is more than 10 times greater (that is, you can subtract 1 from 10 [IX] but not 1 from 20?there is no such number as IXX.)
For 99, do NOT write IC (C ? I or 100 - 1).
DO write XCIX (XC + IX or 90 + 9)
• 4. A bar placed on top of a letter or string of letters increases the numeral's value by 1,000 times.
XV = 15,  = 15,000
 One I Eleven XI Thirty XXX Two II Twelve XII Forty XL Three III Thirteen XIII Fifty L Four IV Fourteen XIV Sixty LX Five V Fifteen XV Seventy LXX Six VI Sixteen XVI Eighty LXXX Seven VII Seventeen XVII Ninety XC Eight VIII Eighteen XVIII One hundred C Nine IX Nineteen XIX Five hundred D Ten X Twenty XX One thousand M