Enumeration systems

The current number system that is common throughout the world is called Hindu-Arabic. This system was developed in Indian and introduced to the Arabic world in the 10th century. It is a decimal (base 10) with place value and a zero.

Each row is the same number written in different systems. See if you can identify the missing numbers in the chart below. A few hints are located on the next page.

Hindu-Arabic Egyptian Roman Babylonian Mayan Base-5
III

XIV


XXVII

49
XLIX


CXXIII   


DXL
(tricky!)



4130five


MCCXXXIV



99




256







Egyptian

The Epyptian hieroglyphic system dates back as early as 3000 BC. Can you label the symbols?

10,000 100,000 1,000,000

Roman

The notation of Roman numerals has varied through the centuries. In fact, the subtractive notation (IIII vs. IV) is fairly recent. Can you label the symbols? What effect does the bar over top have?

I V X L C D M V X
1,000 5,000 10,000

Babylonian

Babylonians were well-known for astronomy and developed a sexagesimal number system. Base-60 still survives to this day in degrees (360° in a circle), minutes, and seconds. The Babylonian number system is credited as the first to use a place value system. Can you label the symbols?

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Mayan

The Mayans lived in Central America circa 1500 BC to 1500 AD. Without knowledge of any European or Asian number systems, they developed a vertical system of dots and bars. The Mayan system had a symbol for zero and place value. Can you label the symbols?

If really stuck, try https://www.wolframalpha.com/examples/HistoricalNumerals.html