# When were Roman Numerals Discovered?

Who invented the system of Roman numbers? When were the Roman numerals discovered? Read on to find the answers.

Historyplex Staff

History and Origin of Roman Numerals

Originally, the Roman numbers were independent symbols. Coincidentally, I and X were the letters of the alphabet. Some believed that a 'V' represented a hand and 'X' represented two Vs, one over the other. This might have led them to represent 10 by 'X', which is a double of 5 symbolized by 'V'. The Romans are believed to have changed the Etruscan symbols to suit their counting system. It was probably in the 4th century BC, that the Romans came up with their number system of symbols derived from the Etruscan numbers. Roman numerals are believed to have originated from the tally sticks, which were used by the Dalmatian and Italian shepherds as memory aid devices to record numbers. The Roman numerals were not fixed until 1st century BC. They were subjected to modification till around 1000 AD.

Here is a quick look at the basic Roman number symbols and corresponding values.

Roman Numeral (Symbol) |
Decimal Number (Value) |

I | 1 |

V | 5 |

X | 10 |

C | 100 |

M | 1000 |