I have a notation question about Roman numerals on my mind but I'm not sure if and where it can be asked.


Is it appropriate to write numbers in compact forms like 99: IC, 990: XM.

Should I ask it on Latin, MathOverflow, Math.SE, or should I keep the question to myself?

  • As Mark mentioned, I think we could use some more information. There are a few questions on Math.SE and even one on Salesforce.SE.
    – Rob
    Mar 27, 2020 at 11:57
  • English Language & Usage sometimes has questions about number, date and units format. Mar 27, 2020 at 14:16
  • 1
    FWIW, there are hundreds of questions on Stack Overflow about Roman numerals. Conversion to & from Roman numerals is a fairly common programming exercise; there are also questions about searching for Roman numerals.
    – PM 2Ring
    Mar 30, 2020 at 9:57

2 Answers 2


Since Roman numbers aren't used as any language's standard number representation any more I suspect how to write them is a subject for History. I imagine the experts on that site could tell you how the Romans themselves wrote numbers.

The history site help is here but be careful as it says that the following is off-topic

Questions answered by a simple Google search or to be found in a Wikipedia page

Are you sure you can't find the answer that way? If not then ask there but be prepared to show your research as to why you haven't found the answer.

  • You're right. It's the "irregular subtractive notation" noted in Wikipedia. My national firewall is terribly unhelpful in this instance.
    – DannyNiu
    Mar 27, 2020 at 11:40
  • Roman numerals are used: on foundation stones, on media titles, on clock faces... and by OP. Mar 27, 2020 at 14:16
  • 2
    Apart from the generic history site, there is also History of Science and Mathematics. Mar 27, 2020 at 15:38
  • Roman numbers can still be used in CSS stylesheet: stackoverflow.com/q/44619165/6309
    – VonC
    Mar 30, 2020 at 7:42

This may depend on the context, in countries where Latin based languages are spoken Roman numerals are still used. (The XII century, not the 12th century. The XIII congress not the 13th congress.) If your primary source is in Spanish, or Portuguese, or Italian the contributors on those sites will enhance the context for you.

If your question is specific to a historical book using Roman numerals you can try literature SE.

  • Interpretations of specific passages or aspects of a work of literature

  • the history or context around literary trops, conventions, etc.

  • 1
    As phrased, the question in the body of the OP's question wouldn't be on-topic for Lit, unless it was something more like "This book uses these numerals this way; is that the right way to do it?", in which case it'd be fine. But that's not the sense I'm getting.
    – Mithical
    Mar 30, 2020 at 9:44
  • @Mithical sorry I don't understand the point of your comment. The OP gave the example "Is it appropriate to write..." and that can depend on specific cultural context and practices. Also, in my experience, the "compact forms" almost always show in old books (speaking as a native)...
    – bad_coder
    Mar 30, 2020 at 9:47
  • I was referring to the last part of your answer, where you suggest Literature.SE. I was providing commentary on the topicality for that specific site and giving an example for how the OP's question could fit there.
    – Mithical
    Mar 30, 2020 at 9:49

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