[APG Public List] Need some help with Roman numerals

Ray Beere Johnson II raybeere at yahoo.com
Mon Oct 26 20:55:03 MDT 2009

--- On Mon, 10/26/09, Nicole La Rue <nikkisbc at yahoo.com> wrote:

> Hi all, I was wondering if anyone could help me figure out the date of 
> a Bible. It was published by Mark and Kerr in Edinburgh and I'm pretty 
> sure they were in business between 1790 and 1820 which fits in with a 
> handwritten note inside the Bible. However, the person who gave me the 
> details included in the Bible typed the date as MCDDXLCL and according 
> to my math, that would make it 1400-ish rather than 1700-ish. So I'm 
> just wondering, did I screw up the math in the conversion or is it 
> possible that he just typed it wrong and meant to make MDCC...?

     First of all, "CD" is 400, then "D" is 500 - but using them in this sequence is nonsense. If you wanted to say 1900, you would use "MCM". Then, "XL" is 40 - but "CL" is 150 - which would _not_ follow 40. In other words, this entire number is nonsense. I have no idea what the person who gave you the details _meant_, but what they gave you is worthless. There isn't even a single, obvious error here. There are several, which, together, render the whole thing totally meaningless. (If this is, indeed, what the original reads, then the typesetter was either drunk or hopelessly ignorant. Those are also possibilities - although printers and typesetters _tended_ to be educated, there were exceptions, and even the best compositors had bad days.)
                             Ray Beere Johnson II


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