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I found an online calculator (www.novaroma.org/via_romana/numbers.html) saying that $4000$ is $MMMM$ in Roman numerals. But I also found on the Finnish Wikipedia that it is denoted by $M\bar{V}$. Which is correct or both?

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closed as off topic by Holdsworth88, Alexander Gruber, Fabian, Davide Giraudo, Nameless Dec 31 '12 at 11:37

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2 Answers

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Both could be considered to be correct. There's a convention when writing roman numerals that writing a bar above a symbol multiplies its value by 1000, so $\bar{V}$ represents 5000, and $M\bar{V}$ is 5000 minus 1000, which is 4000.

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is this conventione userd only in US highschools or was it already used in Ancient Rome? –  miracle173 Dec 31 '12 at 9:51
    
Overlines as multiplication with 1000, as well as extending the sequence D=|) and M=(|) with |)), ((|)) and so on for higher powers are known only since the middle ages (so that's still way before anyone would have thouhgt of founding a US high school). –  Hagen von Eitzen Dec 31 '12 at 10:08
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My understanding of Roman Numerals, is that the version that is correct is the one with fewer characters in it.

However, there are specific cases made against it, like why 4 is represented by IIII instead of IV on clocks

Also, if you're talking about historical accuracy, when Roman Numerals were introduced they were listed out as just addition of terms on the right. Enforcing of the subtraction rule is a 'recent' phenomenon.

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I don't think the Roman civilisation existed 3000 years ago, did it? Did you mean 300 years ago? –  Old John Dec 31 '12 at 10:51
    
@OldJohn What I meant was that when Romans started out (hence the or so), they didn't use the subtraction method, but listed it out as addition. Enforcing of the subtraction is a 'recent' phenomenon. –  Calvin Lin Dec 31 '12 at 11:29
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