Roman Numerals

Roman numerals, an ancient numerical notation system, still used frequently in various aspects of modern-day life such as clocks, monuments, monarch names, book chapters, and movie titles. This innovative system originated in Ancient Rome and was implemented throughout the Roman Empire, persisting to this day.

The Roman numeral system uses letters from the Latin alphabet (I, V, X, L, C, D, and M) in various combinations. The letters are represented in the following manner:


Deciphering Roman numerals may seem daunting at first, but once you know these fundamental symbols, they’re easier to understand.

These letters can also be arranged in specific combinations to represent other numbers. For example, see the chart below for numerals from one to a hundred.

Roman Numerals Chart to 100

Download this chart

Test your knowledge of Roman Numerals to 100 with this fun quiz!

Want to test your knowledge of Roman Numerals? Play this fun quiz! All you have to do is match the Roman Numerals to their corresponding numbers.

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Roman Numerals 100 to 1000

Understanding the increments of 100 can help you work out the Roman numerals up to 1000.

  • 100 in Roman numerals is C (100)
  • 200 in Roman numerals is CC (100+100)
  • 300 in Roman numerals is CCC (100+100+100)
  • 400 in Roman numerals is CD (500-100)
  • 500 in Roman numerals is D (500)
  • 600 in Roman numerals is DC (500+100)
  • 700 in Roman numerals is DCC (500+100+100)
  • 800 in Roman numerals is DCCC (500+100+100+100)
  • 900 in Roman numerals is CM (1000-100)
  • 1000 in Roman numerals is M (1000)

Expressing BIG numbers!

We now know how to express numbers up to 1000 in Roman numerals, but what about really large numbers?

What is the largest number you can write using Roman numerals?

3,999 is often cited as the largest number that can be represented without repeating a numeral more than three times, using the common symbols.

3,999 in Roman numerals is MMMCMXCIX

There is a way of expressing much larger numbers too though. By using a horizontal line or bar placed over a numeral, you would multiply that number by 1000.

Large Roman numerals with vinculum.

These big numbers may also be combined in the same way as the smaller numbers.

Roman Numerals Interactive Clock Face

Check out this interactive analogue clock face which uses Roman numerals.

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Note that on some analogue clock faces the number 4 can be depicted as IIII, and not IV as you might expect. This could be a result of an aesthetic design decision, or it may be even based on tradition (many analogue clocks show 4 in this way). However, our clock uses IV.

If you’re interested in learning more about the Roman Empire, The British Museum has some fantastic artifacts and resources, including a virtual tour!