Did you know…?
On the face of clocks, the Roman numeral IIII is incorrect, and it really should really be IV?
When one counts Roman numerals, it’s:
It is slightly confusing with the I and the V switching itself all over the place. But, the list is the way I learnt Roman numerals at university, despite be getting four and five wrong all the time!
There are many different acclaimed reasons as to why the clocks have IIII:
- King Louis XIV of France preferred the IIII over the IV¹, and requested that his clockmakers adhere to this, and thus is has been so since;
- The other is that the Romans actually never used IV, as it was the first four two letters of Jupiter (IVPITER); and it is a modern invention that was created after the invention of the printing press²;
- The IIII is more aesthetically pleasing, and gives balance to the VIII (8) on the other side.³
I always through it was because it was just easier for people to read. The proper numerals probably do annoy people, who actually don’t understand Roman numerals.
Which do you prefer: IV or IIII?
¹ Unknown, IV or IIII?, Newgate Clocks, https://newgateclocks.com/store/information/roman4, Paragraph 5, [Date accessed: 16 March 2015]. ² Clifford A. Pickover, Why Don't We Use Roman Numerals Anymore?, 'Wonders of Numbers: Adventures in Mathematics, Mind, and Meaning', Chapter 2, pg. 282. ³ Ibid.