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Tarot to Tattoos: Help With Roman Numerals

From Tarot Cards to Tattoos, knowing these can be helpfulWhat are all those letters in front of the Major Arcana tarot cards?  What is that tattoo on your friend?  They are Roman Numerals and even if you hate math, you can read them!  There are seven letters used to represent numbers. They are as follows:

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

When a letter appears twice it is doubled. For example II is two and XX is twenty. The same goes for tripling, III is three and XXX is thirty.

If a letter with a lower value is to the left of a letter with a greater value, you subtract the lower from the greater. That sounds confusing but it is easy when you look at the example below:

IV = one subtracted from five, or 5 (V) minus 1 (I) = 4
IX = ten (x) minus one (i) = 9
CD = 500 (d) - 100 (c) = 400

How would you write the number 40 in Roman Numerals?
The answer is at the bottom of this page.

Ok, still with me? If not look over the examples above again until you understand. Now we'll move on.

When a letter of greater value is followed by one of lesser value, you add the letters. For example:

VI = five (v) plus one (i) or 5 + 1 = 6
XI = ten (x) plus one (i) or 10 + 1 = 11
DC = 500 (d) plus 100 (c) = 600

How would you write the number 60 in Roman Numerals?
The answer is at the bottom of this page.

So to summarize. If the lower letter is on the left, subtract. If the lower number is on the right, add.

When a line appears over a letter, it means you should multiply that amount by a thousand. For example:

V = 5
V = 5000

Now, one last thing. Say you have a Roman Numeral with a lot of letters, like this: XXIV

Look at it closely, the first two are the same amount and you know whenever a letter appears twice, it is doubled, so XX is 20. Next you have the IV part. You see a letter of lesser value to the left, so you subtract one (1) from five (V) = 4. So add the 20 (XX) and the 4 (IV) that was to the right of it to make 24.

Now if all this was still too confusing, and you read it over several times, there is still hope. You can just use the chart on this page below, or you can use a Roman Numeral Converter here.

Arabic Equivalents of Roman Numerals

1 I 11 XI 10 X 100 C 1000 M
2 II 12 XII 20 XX 200 CC 2000 MM
3 III 13 XIII 30 XXX 300 CCC 3000 MMM
4 IV 14 XIV 40 XL 400 CD 4000 ___
5 V 15 XV 50 L 500 D 5000 __
6 VI 16 XVI 60 LX 600 DC 6000 __
7 VII 17 XVII 70 LXX 700 DCC 7000 ___
8 VIII 18 XVIII 80 LXXX 800 DCCC 8000 ___
9 IX 19 XIX 90 XC 900 CM 9000 ___


XL is 40 because the lower letter is on the left.
10 (X) subtracted from 50 (L) is 40

LX is 60 because the lower letter is on the right.
L (50) plus X (10) is 60

About the Author
Author: FridayWebsite: http://PaganPath.comEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Author & Academy Instructor
Friday is devoted to writing books and articles on a variety of Pagan subjects, and is the instructor of the online PaganPath Academy. She has studied and practiced the Craft since 1987, and worked as a professional tarot reader and vice president of a national psychic network for several decades. Currently, she is now a practicing herbalist and ordained minister. As a Master Gardener with a deep interest in permaculture, she is developing the PaganPath Sanctuary with her partner. This long term community project is an edible landscape demonstration, orchard and educational facility for future generations.

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