[APG Public List] Need some help with Roman numerals

Ray Beere Johnson II raybeere at yahoo.com
Tue Oct 27 13:10:55 MDT 2009

     Thanks for that fascinating historical tidbit! I've never personally heard of anything quite like that before, and I found it very interesting, and potentially useful.
     Do you happen to know how common this type of thing is, or whether it tended to be limited to certain cultures? (For example, I'm wondering if this is more common in Germany than Britain - although there is always the chance someone encountering it in one country might 'import' the idea.) Also, would there always be some physical clue (as in the larger letters) to indicate this was the case, or is such a "code" sometimes more hidden? Oh, and do you happen to know if there's a name for this practice?
     Sorry to overwhelm you with questions, but this sounds interesting enough I want to dig up whatever I can on it. (You've also just made sure, if I'm ever in Europe, I'll want to visit St. Wendel in order to see this inscription for myself. :-)
                              Ray Beere Johnson II

--- On Tue, 10/27/09, Rolgeiger at aol.com <Rolgeiger at aol.com> wrote:

> But it reminded me of another number which is "printed" on the outer 
> wall of our local church here in downtown St. Wendel. Actually it is a 
> prayer from 17th Century: Oh trinity, in this evil times of hunger, war 
> and epidemics, please, see us crying and provide help (very "free" 
> translated). 
> But the writer made a riddle with the date. The original words are: 
> But it's not written that way. Well, all letters are captials but some 
> of the capitals are bigger than the others. Thus it looks that way 
> (well, I've now replaced all capitals by common letters and the bigger 
> written by capitals):
> atra peste faMe aVsteroqVe fVrente graDIVo aspICe anheLanter te rogo 
> grata trIas
> The idea is not arrage the letters to make the date but to   a d d   
> all letters and create a sum which will be the year. 
> The capital M in "faMe" = 1000
> plus the first V in 
> "aVsteroqVe" = 5
> plus the other V at the end of that word = 5
> sum until now = 1.010
> plus V => 1015
> plus D = 500 => 1515
> plus I = 1 => 1516
> plus V => 1521
> plus I => 1522
> plus C => 1622
> plus L = 50 => 1672
> plus I => 1673 AD
> The clou is - there are rules for creating such a thing: -> it has to 
> have a meaning - some religious kind -> it has to be written in some 
> specific rythm and most important -> you're not allowed to add another 
> word which has another letter which could be used as a number: 
> example: you may need another "me" (= "me") but cannot use it as "me" 
> contains "M" and M=1000.
> I like that item very much - it's part of my guided tour through our 
> town. 


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