[APG Public List] Need some help with Roman numerals

Rolgeiger at aol.com Rolgeiger at aol.com
Tue Oct 27 01:28:33 MDT 2009

Hello, Ray, 

You're right - that is pretty much nonsense in that  number. 

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 

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. 
Roland Geiger, St. Wendel, Germany

In einer eMail vom 27.10.2009  03:55:42 Westeuropäische Normalzeit schreibt 
raybeere at yahoo.com:
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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