Re: Roman numerals

From: André Szabolcs Szelp (
Date: Mon Feb 22 2010 - 02:43:45 CST

  • Next message: Michael Everson: "Re: Roman numerals"

    On Sun, Feb 21, 2010 at 4:56 PM, Michel Bottin <> wrote:
    >> I really think that Roman numbers encoded with multiple letters should be
    >> avoided as much as possible, unless you
    >> are sure that you will never exceed twelve and you want to get a
    >> consistant look for the whole sequence up to that
    >> number (e.g. hours on a clock cycle, or month numbers). Avoid them for
    >> numbering king names, centuries, years.
    > Probable that the limit to XII for the "precomposed" characters in GB
    > character sets is due to hourly use.

    Actually probably the limit XII for the "precomposed" characters in
    the GB character sets is rather due to the use for denoting months
    with roman numerals in dates. While roman numerals are common on clock
    dials, they are entirely uncommon for notation in text. Months have
    been denoted with roman numerals (as opposed to years and days in
    indo-arabic ones) in several notational and traditional national
    systems troughout at least the 19th and 20th century. Actually, one
    can observe a change in these systems in the second half of the 20th
    century roughly coinciding with the introduction of computers, where
    arabic numerals allowed for straightforward sorting of dates.

    For the (slightly anachronistic, thus characterised as "amusing") use
    of roman numerals in the late 20th century, we can even quote an
    occurence which is linked to Unicode and this list:

    | Meanwhile, at the Unicode offices in Silicon Valley, people were
    | impressed with the work by this relative unknown in Ireland. Mr.
    | McGowan remembers the first proposal he received from Mr.
    | Everson, on a particular character in ogham. The first time they met,
    | Mr. McGowan was so captivated by Mr. Everson’s charm and
    | erudition that he saved his name tag. “Michael is a pretty special
    | guy,” he said. “Also, ***he wrote the month with a Roman numeral.***
    | I thought that was amusing.”
    --------Source: , emphasis
    added by me.


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