Roman numerals are a way of writing numbers using letters of the alphabet.

This method of writing Roman numerals originated in the Middle Ages. It is derived from the way the ancient Romans wrote numerals, but includes some improvements. The basic Roman numerals used today are: I = 1, V = 5, X = 10, L = 50, C = 100, D = 500, M = 1,000

The Romans typically wrote the number 4 as IIII, the number 40 as XXXX, and the number 999 as DCCCCLXXXXVIIII.

To shorten the notation of such long numbers, a subtraction rule was used. The subtraction rule allows the use of six composite symbols, where the smaller numeral precedes the larger: IV = 4, IX = 9, XL = 40, XC = 90, CD = 400, CM = 900

For example, we need to convert the Arabic number 1254 to a Roman numeral. We use the subtraction rule with six compound symbols as described above.

Then we divide 1254 into:

1000 = M

2 * 100 = CC

50 = L

4 = IV

Together: MCCLIV

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