1. SirKibblers

    SirKibblers Member

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    Punctuation Fractional Notation of Roman Numerals

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by SirKibblers, Nov 18, 2017.

    I was writing volumes of my bestiary, and reached a problem. In my series of documents, Compendium of Beings, there is a volume for foes, being Volume 1, and another sub-volume for great foes (for bosses, it's also a video game), being Volume 1.1. Volume 1 is easy enough, but Volume 1.1, what would that be in roman numerals? Now that I think about it, would it even be 1.1, or would there be 1.1 for Foes and 1.2 for Great Foes? The more I think, the more I get confused. Help me get back on track please, and maybe give some insight on ideal ways to compose a bestiary in the first place.
     
  2. NigeTheHat

    NigeTheHat Contributor Contributor

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    I don't think the Romans used fractional notation, so to an extent it's whatever you want.

    To be honest, though, I don't think Roman numerals are a great choice if you're going to be using that kind of numbering. IMO, 'Volume iii.iv' is hard to read and looks kinda weird compared to 'Volume 3.4'.
     
  3. SirKibblers

    SirKibblers Member

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    Wikipedia got me something interesting, though I'm not sure if I want to use it for my volume names.

    "Though the Romans used a decimal system for whole numbers, reflecting how they counted in Latin, they used a duodecimal system for fractions, because the divisibility of twelve (12 = 22 × 3) makes it easier to handle the common fractions of 1/3 and 1/4 than does a system based on ten (10 = 2 × 5). On coins, many of which had values that were duodecimal fractions of the unit as, they used a tally-like notational system based on twelfths and halves. A dot (•) indicated an uncia "twelfth", the source of the English words inch and ounce; dots were repeated for fractions up to five twelfths. Six twelfths (one half) was abbreviated as the letter S for semis "half". Uncia dots were added to S for fractions from seven to eleven twelfths, just as tallies were added to V for whole numbers from six to nine.[32]"

    So for example: Volume I: Foes and Volume I• (equal to 1 and 1/12): Great Foes, or Volume IS (equal to 1.5): Great Foes. Because it's divided into twelfths and only twelfths, using it as notation for subdivisions of volumes which will most likely reach a maximum of three per volume, could be problematic. If anyone has any suggestions for how to split this up, I'd love to hear them.

    Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roman_numerals ; go to table of contents 3.2
     
  4. An Enemy Spy

    An Enemy Spy New Member

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    Well that doesn't sound confusing in the least bit.
     
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  5. NigeTheHat

    NigeTheHat Contributor Contributor

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    Huh, neat.

    If you really want to use Roman fractional, you could use the dots. If it's only going up to 3 it's easy enough to grasp. I'd still rather use Arabic numerals for notation like this, though.

    If you're set on Roman numerals, using a system like this might be easier:

    Volume I Part I
    Volume I Part II
     
  6. Lew

    Lew Contributor Contributor

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    In a book I read on numeracy in the classical era, Roman numerals were used for counting and ordering, but not for arithmetic. One could use RNs for entry into an abacus, for multiplication, addition and division. There was a system developed by the Greeks that used the first 9 letters of the alphabet for 0 through 9, the remaining ones for tens, hundreds etc., akin to writing 4K for 4000, 3M for 3 million. That was a bit more arithmetic friendly, since they didn't have the zero. To multiply those two numbers one would determine it to be 2+10 (for twelve), x 1000X1000000, or 12B. Almost like scientific notation today.

    But back to your ordering issue... I visited the Pont du Gard aqueduct in France last week. The blocks were prefabricated in the quarry and numbered for reconstruction on site, with an alphabet symbol for the arch, and a number for the row, i.e., A-IV would be first arch, fourth row. You might consider something like that, or reversed, for clarity to your readers. Or consider why use them at all. Since my E&D was set in Roman times, I initially used Roman numerals for chapter numbers, but by the time I got up to LXVIII (68), I decided it was too cumbersome and hard on modern eyes, while adding nothing to the story.
     

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