Mathematics Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for people studying math at any level and professionals in related fields. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Is there a reasoning behind the depiction of the numbers as they are: $$\{1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9\}$$

Is there any other form of depiction for $6$ and $9$ other than $VI$ and $IX$?

share|cite|improve this question
If anything, this is a question about notation rather than number theory, so I'm editing the tag. – Alex Becker Aug 22 '12 at 3:30
How about '一二三四五六七八九'? – Frenzy Li Aug 22 '12 at 3:31
$一二三四五六七八九$, looks great. is it japanese. – Rajesh K Singh Aug 22 '12 at 3:33
It's Simplified Chinese but not sure about Japanese. Every culture has its own way to write numbers. I.E. Roman: I II III IV V VI VII VII IX. (they are more of numbers than digits) – Frenzy Li Aug 22 '12 at 3:34
I was always given to understand that the Babylonians had something to do with it. But I see Wikipedia lays most of the "blame" on the Hindu-Arabic numeral system. (According to that article using zero came fairly late in the evolution of the system.) – Daniel R Hicks Aug 22 '12 at 15:57

The first few are derived from ways to make $n$ marks.

share|cite|improve this answer

At this link you’ll find links to descriptions of almost three dozen numeral systems. Some of them share a common origin with our familiar numerals $0,1,\dots,9$, and some are completely different in origin. The Brahmi numerals are the direct graphic ancestors of our numerals; as you can see from the picture there, the first three were basically just tally marks, but the rest have no obvious pictorial significance.

share|cite|improve this answer
up vote 0 down vote accepted

The image below depicts numbers in Japanese.

enter image description here

share|cite|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.