Bookbinding and the Conservation of Books
A Dictionary of Descriptive Terminology

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Roman numerals

The capital letters used as numbers in books, for chapter headings and the designation of part numbers, appendices, on title pages for dates of publication, etc. They are also used in lower case for the pagination of preliminary pages. The Roman capitals most commonly used as numerals are:
    I        1
    V        5
    X       10
    L       50
    C      100
    D      500
    M     1,000


Combinations of numbers are made by the addition and subtraction, e.g., XX = 20, XIX = 19, XXI = 21, MCMLXXVI = 1976, etc. 1,000 was at first represented by the Greek letter phi φ, which in lettering and architectural inscriptions became CI, which then became M. 500 was half a phi , or I), which later became D. 100 was represented by the symbol for theta θ, which later became T, then C, while 50 was represented by the Chaleidian form of the letter chi XXX, which became XXX and later L. Below are listed most of the known numerals:

    B                         300
    1))           5,000
    C                         100
    L                          50
    CI)                1,000
    M                       1,000
    CI)CI)        2,000
    N                         900
    D                         500
    Q                         500
    E                         250
    R                          80
    F                          40
    T                         160
    G                         400
    V                           5
    H                         200
    X                          10
    X                       1,000
    I)                   500
    ∞                 1,000

A bar or dash placed over a letter increased its value a thousand times.

Roman numerals were used by early printers because they had no Arabic numerals; their use today, however, especially for dates of publication, is largely an affectation. (156 )

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