View Full Version : Do they still teach the meaning of XLVIII?

2nd Feb 2014, 21:57
Note with interest that a game of rounders being played in the US is being referred to as the XLVIII instance. Is an understanding of Roman numerals still being taught? Would have thought that nowadays it would fall under higher studies along, with Latin. and half-way decent grammar. Or are the Americans trying to inject a semblance of culture? Perhaps suggesting their game is so old it goes back to Roman times - played in the Colosseum wasn't it.

2nd Feb 2014, 22:23
Still perpetuated in RAF squadron numbers. Both II and IX Squadrons (2 and 9) are currently operating Tornadoes at Marham, I believe, and there may be other examples I have forgotten about.

29 Squadron aircraft always had XXX on their tails, but I'll let someone else explain the reason!

TTN (ex CCXIV ;))

2nd Feb 2014, 22:37
TTN, That intrigued me so I looked it up on wiki.

'It seems probable that the original adoption of "XXX" for the 1930s squadron marking was nothing to do with Roman numerals, but was a reference to the brewers mark for "extra strong" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beer_measurement#XXX_marks), frequently applied to kegs of beer (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beer), and that it is only a coincidence that this resembles the numeral for "29" (XXIX).[7] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No._29_Squadron_RAF#cite_note-7) It should be noted that the use of Roman numerals for numbering RAF units is a relatively modern development '

There are other explanations but this seems the most plausible

2nd Feb 2014, 22:49
It's not a game of rounders but a strange form of rugger.

Bob Bevan
2nd Feb 2014, 23:20
A Roman walks into a bar, sticks up two fingers and says "5 beers please".

3rd Feb 2014, 00:27
It should be noted that the use of Roman numerals for numbering RAF units is a relatively modern development '

- Relatively modern, say in the last C or so years?

3rd Feb 2014, 00:35
I thought the reason Queensland has a beer brand XXXX was because Queenslanders couldn't spell 'beer'.

The appearance of their brand gave us the phrase 'a night on the barbed wire'.

Um... lifting...
3rd Feb 2014, 01:54
Some television program recently approached numerous people in the street and asked them to write '48' using Roman numerals.

The results were fairly dismal.

3rd Feb 2014, 02:00
" Roman soldiers, from the right - number ! "

"one" "one one " "one one one" "one vee" "vee" "vee one" "vee one one" etc.

3rd Feb 2014, 02:44
It keeps it international.... After all, the winners are the World Champions!!

One Hundred Attle this time round??


james ozzie
3rd Feb 2014, 04:00
I have heard it said that the Roman numbering system severely hampered the technological progress of these great engineers. Who knows what more they might have achieved with a decent numbering system - man on the moon by 1,000AD?

Also the lack of a symbol for zero was apparently a big impediment to the mathematicians of the age. I believe the Arabs introduced "zero" as a number (or concept). But maybe a ppruner can bring better information to this interesting subject?

Pom Pax
3rd Feb 2014, 04:38
Surely a major problem was including the the thumb in counting system.

owen meaney
3rd Feb 2014, 05:01
Many years ago, in the great green suck, Aust Army, when ordered to number from the right, the right marker, being the unit smart ass, started with I.
Then quick as a flash came II, III and IV followed by silence.
The Sergeant yells at me - "can't you fcken count soldier"

3rd Feb 2014, 05:05

It's a pity the Roman Numeral system didn't have a B in it.

Then we could have a piss up with XXXX and VB :ok:

Krystal n chips
3rd Feb 2014, 05:17
Try explaining " cwt" , as in aircraft control cables, to people eg "modern yoof" and watch the reaction. The unit is a mystery to most....but persists quite happily in aviation.

3rd Feb 2014, 05:26
It's a pity the Roman Numeral system didn't have a B in it.

Then we could have a piss up with XXXX and VB
But why would you?

3rd Feb 2014, 05:29
What, have a piss up or drink XXXX or VB ?

I wouldn't, I only drink Spirits and Wine :ok:

3rd Feb 2014, 06:01
The answer you were looking for. Now, what was the question, again?

G&T ice n slice
3rd Feb 2014, 06:31
Hitchiker's fan then?

3rd Feb 2014, 13:56
It's only been about 13 (XIII) years since 2011. Some Americans still haven't yet got over it all. And in their ignorance, prefer using Roman numerals instead of Arabic ones: "XLVIII = 48".

Copyright airship MMXIV.

3rd Feb 2014, 14:16
Friends of mine were asked by the postman :
"How do you pronounce the name of your house?"
It was LXIV.

3rd Feb 2014, 14:20
One idiosyncrasy about Roman Numerals is that on clock faces the number 4 appears as 'IIII' rather than 'IV' (not always, but often). Apparently this is because some French kingt (one of the Louis I would think) decided that it looked better.

And from T'Internet ('Newgate Clocks'):-

'Strictly speaking Roman Numerals never put more than three of any numeral together in a number. So you would count I, II, III, and then by placing a smaller numeral in front of a larger one, you would subtract; IV is 1 taken from 5, and so on. However, it's said that even in Roman times they didn't use IV for 4, because IV are the first two letters of the name of their king of the gods, Jupiter (IVPITER, as it was written).
Today there are some clocks and sundials with 4 represented as IIII and some with IV. There are many suggested explanations why the 'incorrect' IIII is used in place of IV.
This isn't just a clocks thing. Both methods of writing Roman numerals have been in use since the 1500s, possibly longer. Clock makers choose whichever number they feel is more aesthetically appealing and they often go with IIII because it balances better with VIII on the other side and makes the clock look more symmetrical. By the same token they use IX and not VIIII for 9 because it matches the III on the other side better.
Louis XIV, king of France, who preferred IIII over IV, ordered his clockmakers to produce clocks with IIII and not IV, and thus it has remained.'

3rd Feb 2014, 14:22
Indeed, MadsDad. It's apparently more symmetrical, albeit incorrect.

3rd Feb 2014, 14:43
How could they not teach Roman numerals at school - then the kids would grow up not knowing the year that movies were copyrighted in! :eek:

4th Feb 2014, 19:42
A Roman walks into a bar ... and says: "I'll have a martinus please"

"You mean a martini?"

"If I'd wanted a double, I'd have asked for one!"

hat .... coat ....

4th Feb 2014, 20:10
well, after all it's just about power. Which alphabet or hieroglyphs or numbers or numerals to use... would we all be able to read sheet music if someone in power had decided all decent people should do that?

4th Feb 2014, 22:34
The BBC have conspired to get Roman numerals dropped from the education syllabus.

Otherwise, the kids of today will know how old the Christmas TV repeats are.

5th Feb 2014, 06:17
Roman numerals, the use and understanding thereof, Ooh! That's like pre-decimal coinage, how many pounds in a hundred-weight or a stone, the length of a rod, the area of a morgen ... all these archaic things that mean stopping and thinking, either looking up or else remembering some old bits of knowledge, and then using them. The rules of grammar, even, when many or perhaps most people today just slap some stuff onto the screen and say to themselves, "Sorted!" Why stop to think when you can fill out the gaps in your knowledge with an emoticon or two? Just hit them with a quick :ok: or perhaps even a :mad:; that should do nicely.

Hilarity may ensue when the slapper is trying to get one over on some of his audience, thinking to show up the ignorance of some "other" but only parading his own, but that's often just a private joke, one only understood by those who also understand not just the rules but the logic behind the rules.

It's a lazy age we live in now, one too lazy to bother to look things up, such things as how to read Roman numerals, things no longer taught in schools or at home.

5th Feb 2014, 06:25
Extending the idea slightly.

I wonder whether the use of logarithms is taught in schools any more?

5th Feb 2014, 06:43
Abandon all hope.

I had the misfortune of dealing with a HR agent recently,. I felt she was up to no good (not because I thought she was also a man hating lesbian) and sure enough I was proven right with the final premeditated put-down that resulted. On reflection she was playing mind games or psych-101 if you want, this triggered my curiosity so I looked her up on Linked-In and it turns out she has a "Degree in Psycology" - her wording not mine. :ugh:

5th Feb 2014, 13:56
According to the very latest in fem-think, the dictionaries have been written by dead white men. Dead whitemen? Well, anyway, both dead and white and men. No, that makes three, but who needs math anyway, when we have the pocket calculator? Where was I? Oh, yes! If that womyn wants to write it that way, who are you to object?

Back off, way off, back out to the kitchen to clean the grout between the tiles with a toothbrush as an act of penance for being just another penile oppressor. Put on your apron and bow before our new masters. Mistresses? No, not that either, so just stand by out there to be told what is what!

5th Feb 2014, 18:49
It's amazing how great minds think alike. The Roman and the Chinese civilisations started about 2500 years ago and they developed a similar method of numbers; aven though they did not know about each other's existence.

Where Roman numerals start with I, II, III. the Chinese start with One horizontal stroke follwed by two and then three strokes. The tens. a cross, is diagonal in Roman and horizontal in Chinese.

Knowing how to count in Roman makes it easy to follow the logic of Chinese numbers.

There books, like the West, have pages numbered in Arabic numerals but Chinese for the chapters.

tony draper
5th Feb 2014, 19:18
Didn't we begin to use Arabic Numerals because it had a zero? (invented in India I believe)

6th Feb 2014, 08:01
Roman numerals are easier to carve, being all straight lines (if you cut that "D" like a "delta"), so that they are often used on monuments. That's why I learned to read them, so that I could read the dates on monuments.

Using Roman numerals for movies and the Super Bowel though, that's just posing, I think, like Ray-Bans on a cloudy day, backed up by, yes, that big watch with a circular slide-rule around its dial. Still, if such an aviator as John Joseph Travolta wears one, can it be such a bad thing? What would L. Ron Hubbard tell you to do?

6th Feb 2014, 11:08
Do they still teach the meaning of XLVIII?

In the UK, I suspect they struggle to teach the meaning of 48. :rolleyes: