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guy

Roman Numerals: There's Hope Yet

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While watching the Super Bowl, I was disappointed to see that they had replaced the Roman numeral "L" with 50:no:

 

I despaired at the dumbing down of the Western World after reading this article linked earlier at UNRV:

"Rome finally abandons 'too complicated' Roman numerals"

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/italy/11758563/Rome-finally-abandons-too-complicated-Roman-numerals.html

 

http://www.unrv.com/forum/topic/18232-rome-finally-abandons-too-complicated-roman-numerals/

 

 

Fortunately, this change in the use of Roman numerals at the Super Bowl is only for the 50th anniversary game. Next year's game will be LI. Any education, even unintended, is a good thing.

 

http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2014/06/04/nfl-ditches-roman-numerals-for-super-bowl-50-logo/

 

 

There's hope, yet.  B)

 

 

guy also known as gaius

Edited by guy

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It isn't necessarily smarter to use roman numerals; it can be evasive. When a movie or TV episode shows MCMXLVIII as a copyright date or whatever, the object apparently is to obscure casual readers into not realizing exactly how dated it is. Especially when the date may only appear for a microsecond... I read them backwards from right to left because the front numbers are easier to guess if they vanish before I finish parsing. I remember almost falling off my chair when first seeing an episode date of only "MM" or "MMX". The simple round number depictions don't succeed in being as veiled or pompous or ceremonious as intended.

 

What drives me nuts is doing mental arithmetic when folks say the such-and-such century. The 8th century is the, um, er, 700's for example. And you can't just think the "real numbers" date for a given century is 100 years earlier because it works backwards (later) for BC. But I guess that is a concession to peak Roman times which can be referred to as the first century BC and AD for which there is no direct way in english to refer to those years. Nought-hundreds CE/BCE perhaps?

Edited by caesar novus

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The use of Roman numerals has little to do with tricking the public - it has more to do with legal and commercial tradition, and in any case, until recent decades it was assumed that the public knew a bit about latin and Roman numerals themselves.

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I must plead some ignorance about dates in Roman numerals.

 

I was recently enjoying an original copy of William Temple's "An Introduction to the History of England" with the date MDCXCIX [1699]. The date threw me off a bit.

 

 

guy also known as gaius 

Edited by guy

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I once stumbled a book dated 1730 in a local second hand store. It's an odd experience coming across something like that.

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It always amazes me that most of the elite in the late 1600s and 1700s (as well as many of the common folks) had a much greater appreciation for ancient history (including Latin) than we do now.
  
In fact, George Washington had the play "Cato" by Joseph Addison performed for the troops at Valley Forge in hope of improving morale and being an inspiration to fight the British.  
 
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cato,_a_Tragedy

http://allthingsliberty.com/2013/12/george-washingtons-favorite-play/
 
I am hoping to write a thread sometime soon about a modern misinterpretation of a Robert Burn's poem of the late 1700s caused by an understandable confusion about ancient history.
 
No wonder Roman numerals are falling out of use.
 
 
guy also known as gaius

Edited by guy

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