Monday, January 24, 2011

Question 500: Start of a new era


Although the ____________ are now written with letters of the ____________, they were originally independent symbols. The Etruscans, for example, used I, Λ, X, ⋔, 8, ⊕, for I, V, X, L, C, and M, of which only I and X happened to be letters in their alphabet. One folk etymology has it that the V represented a hand, and that the X was made by placing two Vs on top of each other, one inverted. However, the _______ actually appear to derive from notches on tally sticks, which continued to be used by Italian and Dalmatian shepherds into the 19th century.
Thus, 'I' descends not from the letter 'I' but from a notch scored across the stick. Every fifth notch was double cut (i.e. etc.), and every tenth was cross cut (X), IIIIΛIIIIXIIIIΛIIIIXII..., much like European tally marks today. This produced a positional system: Eight on a counting stick was eight tallies, IIIIΛIII, or the eighth of a longer series of tallies; either way, it could be abbreviated ΛIII (or VIII), as the existence of a Λ implies four prior notches. By extension, eighteen was the eighth tally after the first ten, which could be abbreviated X, and so was XΛIII. Likewise, number fouron the stick was the I-notch that could be felt just before the cut of the Λ (V), so it could be written as either IIII or IΛ (IV). Thus the system was neither additive nor subtractive in its conception, but ordinal. When the tallies were transferred to writing, the marks were easily identified with the existing ______

WHAR IS BEING TALKED ABOUT?


ANSWER:


ROMAN NUMERALS




(NOTE, THIS IS PAI
You Owe me Man)

11 comments:

Siddarth Pai said...

Lmc

Roman numerals my man
Finally took my advice
Nice
The x helped solve it too

kapinjal said...

roman letters..

Nanda said...

Roman numerals

Archimonde said...

Roman Numerals

appuchin said...

roman numerals

Rohan said...

Roman numeral, such a sitter for the 500th question!

manish hn said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
madafterknowledge said...

Slightly simple i think...the answer is Roman numbers...

Priyank Mehta said...

Roman numerals, Roman alphabet, Etrusco-Roman, Roman letters I, V,X

Nagaratna said...

Roman Nuumerals.

Nagaratna said...

Roman Nuumerals.