To the Editor:
While correctly attributing our seven-day week to the Babylonians in "We Owe Seven-Day Week to Babylonians" (letter, Aug. 25), Harold C. Fleming inaccurately asserts that the Babylonian base 20 numeral system was "ultimately replaced by the Roman decimal system."
Think about the Roman numeral system for a moment:
It does not operate in base 10 or, for that matter, on any other base. It is merely a sophisticated system of tally marks that does not use place notation at all.
(For a quick tutorial, go to Roman Numerals 101)
This is why Roman numerals are so cumbersome in calculations; try multiplying XXXVIII by XLIV.
The decimal system we use originated in India and came to Europe by way of the Islamic world.
To the 13th-century Italian mathematician Leonardo Fibonacci seems to go credit for having been the first European to adopt this "Arabic numeral System
TERRANCE P. KELLY
Princeton, NJ Aug. 25, 1991
The writer is a Princeton U. student.
Well, Mr. Kelly we have a solution to your problem with the Roman system. An actual Roman Numeral Calculator comes to the rescue! No problem getting the answer to your multiplication challenge. Just click on calculator below and do it!
Now that we have a calculator for Roman Numerals shall we return to the way of the Romans and adopt their system again? We are trying to change our measurements to the metric system. So why shouldn't we do the same for the Roman system?
Romanvs - Calculating as the Romans would do
with a description of the Roman numeral system.