Re: Roman Numerals (was Re: Improper grounds for rejection of proposal N2677)

From: Kenneth Whistler (
Date: Fri Oct 28 2005 - 14:06:10 CST

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    > > The convention of using rulings over strings of Latin letters
    > > to indicate higher values should be handled by styles, rather
    > > than by individual insertion of combining lines over single characters.
    > How do you do that in HTML or CSS?

    I'm not suggesting that you do it in HTML or CSS.

    > It's quite difficult to emulate (notably
    > the stretched M over groups of roman digits, but the macron/rulings are as
    > much difficult to place as it requires playing not only on the span of text,
    > but also playing with the whole formatting of the paragraph to change the
    > line height), and there are plenty of similar issues.

    Not everything seen in print or carved in stone or handwritten
    in manuscripts or otherwise committed to written form is appropriate
    for plain text representation in Unicode -- nor even in HTML, for
    that matter.

    > Arguably, the thousand multiplier has a plain-text meaning that should be
    > encodable as such.

    Or..... arguably not.

    This is getting to be a pretty tired issue on this list. Not
    every semantic distinction carried in written form is appropriate
    for plain text, nor for encoding as a character.

    > Only some ligatures (namely the ONE THOUSAND CD and FIVE HUNDREDS), based on
    > only one of the rendering conventions, are encoded, and these ligatures are
    > much less known and used than the other conventions based on explicit and
    > distinct 10 or 1,000 multipliers.

    The plain text representation of the Roman numerals, including
    the "CID" and "CCIDD" etc., forms (substituting out the real
    reversed C for the D's here) seems to me to be perfectly viable
    now. You can then go where you want in terms of specific
    ligation styles in fonts, if you choose.


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