### February 5, 2012 - Super Bowl XLVI

Do you know what the translation of the Roman numerals XLVI is?

These letters are the most commonly used Roman numerals:
I = 1
V = 5
X = 10
L = 50
C = 100
D = 500
M = 1,000

The rules are pretty simple:

• You may use up to three of the same numeral to create a larger numeral. For example, here are the first three Roman numerals:
I, II, III = 1, 2, 3
• A smaller numeral in front of a larger numeral is subtracted from that numeral. This is how we avoid using four of the same numeral. For example:
IV = 4          NOTE: 4 is NOT IIII
IX = 9          NOTE: 9 is NOT VIIII
XL = 40       NOTE: 40 is NOT XXXX
• A smaller numeral after a larger numeral is added to that numeral. For example:
VI = 6
LX = 60
LXI = 61

So...can you figure out what XLVI means?

What are Roman numerals used for?

Arabic numerals (0, 1, 2, 3, and so on) are much easier to use, to add and subtract and so on, than Roman numerals, and since the 14th Century, Roman numerals have been pretty much abandoned. However, they are still used in a few ways and places:
1. In outlines
1. For kings and queens and other leaders who share the same name (such as Elizabeth I and Elizabeth II)
1. Numbering the pages before the main body of a book, or book volumes
1. To show numbers in an especially decorative, old-fashioned, or formal way
A. On clock faces
B. On monuments
1. For chords, in music
1. To number certain annual events, such as the Superbowl!

Answer: XKVI means 46. This year is the 46th annual Super Bowl.

For more on Roman numerals, check out Numericana
Or take the Roman Numeral Challenge on Fact Monster

By the way...if you watch the Super Bowl, enjoy the game! And the half-time show, and the commercials!

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