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A thousand is marked thus, cry, which in later times was contracted into m. Five hundred is marked thus, 15. or by contraction, D.
The annexing of c to 19 makes its value ten times greater; thus, 199 marks five thousand ; and 1555, fifty thousand.
The prefixing of c, together with the annexing of o, to the number of cio, makes its value ten times greater ; thus, cciɔo denotes ten thousand ; and ccciɔɔɔ a hundred thousand. The ancient Romans, according to Pliny, proceeded no farther in this method of notation. If they had occasion to express a larger number they did it by repetition ; thus, ccciɔɔɔ, ccc1903. signified two hundred thousand, &c.
We sometimes find thousands expressed by a straight line drawn over the top of the numerical letters. Thus, III denotes three thousand ; x. ten thousand.
But the modern manner of marking numbers is much more simple, by these ten characters or figures, which from the ten fingers of the hands were called Digits ; 1 one, 2 two, 3 three, 4 four, 5 five, 6 six, 7 seven, 8 eight, 9 nine, 0 nought, nothing. The first nine are called Significant figures. The last is called a Cypher,
Significant figures placed one after another increase their value ten times at every remove from the right hand to the left ; thus,
8 Eight. 85 Eighty-five. 856 Eight hundred and fifty-six. 8566 Eight thousand five hundred and sixty-six.
When cyphers are placed at the right hand of a significant figure, each cypher increases the value of the figure ten times ; thus,
1 One. 10 Ten. 100 A hundred. 1000 A thousand. 2 Two. 20 Twenty. 200 Two hundred. 2000 Two thousand.
Cyphers are often intermixed with significant figures, thus, 20202, Twenty thousand two hundred and two.
The superiority of the present method of marking numbers over that of the Romans, will appear by expressing the present year both in letters and figures, and comparing them together; CI?,15cccxxii, or m,DCCCXXII, 1822. As the Roman manner of marking the days of their months was quite different from ours, it
may perhaps be of use here to give a short account of it.
Division of the Roman Months. The Romans divided their months in three parts, by Kalends, Nones, and Ides. The first day of every month was called the Kalends ; the fifth day was called the Nones ; and the thirteenth day was called the Ides; except in the months of March, May, July, and October, in which the pones fell upon the seventh day, and the ides on the fifteenth.
In reckoning the days of their months, they counted backwards. Thus, the first day of January was marked Kalendis Januariis, or Januarii, or by contraction, Kal. Jan. The last day of December, Pridie Kalendas Januarias or Januarii, scil. ante. The day before that, or the 30th day of December, Terlio Kal. Jun. scil. die ante ; or Ante diem tertium Kal. Jan. The twenty-ninth day of December, Quarto Kal. Jan. And so on, till they came back to the thirteenth day of December, or to the ides, which were marked Idibus Decembribus, or Decembris : the day before the ides, Pridie Idus Dec. scil. ante : the day before that, Tertio Id. Dec. and so back to the nones, or the fifth day of the month, which was marked Nonis Decembribus or Decembris : the day before the nones, Pridie Non. Dec. &c. and thus through all the months of the year.
In Leap-year, that is, when February has twenty-nine days, which happens every fourth year both the 24th and the 25th days of that month were marked, Sexto Kalendas Martii or Martias and hence this year is called Bissextilis.
JUNIUS, APRILIS, SEPTEMque, NOVEMque tricenos ;
Nomen sortiri debent a mense sequenti. Thus, the 14th day of April, June, September, and October, was marked XVIII. Kal. of the following month; the 15th, XVII. Kal. &c. The 14th day of January, August, and December, XIX. Kal. &c. So the 16th day of March, May, July, and October, was marked XVII. Kal. &c. And the 14th day of February, XVI. Kal. Martii or Martias. The names of all the months are used as Substantives or Adjectives, except Aprilis, which is used only as a Substantive.