Adam Blatner

Words and Images from the Mind of Adam Blatner

Roman Numerals??

Originally posted on March 2, 2011

In the Newsweek of 2/14/11, that issue under the table of contents says, Volume CLVII, No. 7. I was struck by the idea that this re-modeled up-to-date newsmagazine was still using Roman Numerals. I wonder what their rationale is? I mean, Roman numeration  didn’t even know about the value of the zero! (The zero in arithmetic was a concept imported from India through the Muslim middle East and from there into Europe through the trade routes around the Mediterranean sea about a thousand years ago). What then is the resistance to using Arabic numerals, Vol 157? Perhaps they have a fine reason for keeping the Roman numbers, though, and I’d like to find out why. It will also alert me to how much other journals and books are keeping this atavistic remnant alive.

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