# Numbers

Records written in Italian contain two main types of numbers used to express figures and dates. The first group of numbers used in these records is the set of Roman numerals. Even though they may show some variations from the ones still used today, they are also usually easy to read. The researcher must be aware of the common use of some lowercase letters to represent Roman numerals, for example, iii instead of III.

It is recommended a researcher check other records written by the same scribe to ensure the correct reading of a particular number. The chart of roman numerals to the right is also helpful while gaining a familiarity with the different styles in which they can appear.

Some of the older documents you look at may use the following symbol:

This "U" like character signifies the space between the thousands place and the hundreds place.

For example:

or "1 U DXCI" would be 1591.

Before the "U," the scribe may place a "1" instead of an "M" (such as with our 1591 example.)

The second and most relevant types of numbers are Arabic numerals, which are the most widely used today. These are usually easy to read, but some are sometimes confusing because their shape could be similar to other numbers, such as 1 and 7 or 5 and 9.

When dating documents, most records will use cardinal numerals or ordinal numerals; however, it is not uncommon for documents that use a mixture of all four kinds of number systems. Below is a basic guide to numbers you may encounter in Italian records:

## Arabic | ## Roman | ## Cardinal | ## Ordinal |

0 | nūllus | zero | - |

1 | I | uno | primo |

2 | II | due | secondo |

3 | III | tre | terzo |

4 | IV | quattro | quarto |

5 | V | cinque | quinto |

6 | VI | sei | sesto |

7 | VII | sette | settimo |

8 | VIII | otto | ottavo |

9 | IX | nove | nono |

10 | X | dieci | decimo |

11 | XI | undici | undicesimo |

12 | XII | dodici | dodicesimo |

13 | XIII | tredici | tredicesimo |

14 | XIV | quattordici | quattordicesimo |

15 | XV | quindici | quindicesimo |

16 | XVI | sedici | sedicesimo |

17 | XVII | diciassette | diciassettesimo |

18 | XVIII | diciotto | diciottesimo |

19 | XIX | diciannove | diciannovesimo |

20 | XX | venti | ventesimo |

21 | XXI | ventuno | ventunesimo |

22 | XXII | ventidue | ventiduesimo |

23 | XXIII | ventitré | ventitreesimo |

30 | XXX | trenta | trentesimo |

31 | XXX1 | trentuno | trentunesima |

32 | XXII | trentadue | trenta secondi |

33 | XXXIII | trentatre | trentatreesimo |

40 | XXXX | quaranta | quarantesimo |

50 | L | cinquanta | cinquantesimo |

60 | LX | sessanta | sessantesimo |

70 | LXX | settanta | settantesimo |

80 | LXXX | ottanta | ottantesimo |

90 | XC | novanta | novantesimo |

100 | C | cento | centesimo |

1,000 | M | mille | millesimo |

- Table of Roman Numerals: D. Jesús Muñoz y Rivero, Tabla de numerales, 1917, in D. Jesús Muñoz y Rivero,
*Manual de paleografía diplomatica española de los siglos xii al xvii: método teórico-práctico para aprender á leer los documentos españoles de los siglos xii al xvii,*(Madrid: 1917); Digital image, Internet Archive (archive.org: accessed 3 April 2024), p103. This image is in the public domain.