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Subject: Roman Numerals
From: David Glover <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:TYPO-L Discussion of Type and Typographic Design <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Fri, 5 Dec 1997 14:07:59 -0800

text/plain (18 lines)

It is not difficult to look up the proper symbols for roman
numerals--lots of reference books have them listed.

Its the use of roman numerals that confound me.

Does anyone know why on clock or watch faces the roman numeral 4 is IIII

rather than IV?

I heard a tale that "long ago in a far away land there was once a
watchmaker..." etc....

The essence of the story was that the watchmaker made a clock for the
king or some royal person and he put IIII instead of IV. The King had
the watchmaker beheaded. In protest all watchmakers now put IIII as the
symbol for 4 in Roman numerals.

So....who can add fact, country, or King to the story? Anyone know?

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