How did Ancient Romans calculate complex numbers?

KorbenDallas

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#1
Ancient Romans are credited with construction of quite a few of remarkable buildings (we know it's questionble). Here is an example of some of those: Top 10 Magnificent Ancient Roman Architectures.

Amphitheatre Nimes
Amphitheatre-Nimes.jpg

Sure mathematical calculations were required to engineer buildings of such complexity, yet Roman Numerals are anything but user friendly. The decimal Hindu–Arabic numeral system with zero was developed in India by around AD 700. A distinctive West Arabic variant of the symbols begins to emerge around the 10th century.

And I'm not even talking about decimals, fractions, or anything of that nature. Here is an example of some "simple" calculations using Roman Numerals.
  • 746+124=870 [=] DCCXLVI+CXXIV=DCCCLXX
  • 46×12=552 [=] XLVI×XII=DLII
  • 78+36x42=1590 [=] LXXVIII+XXXVI×XLII=MDXC
0C882CFD-181E-4123-B01F-0D8DB56602DF.jpeg


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We use calculators for adding a few currency units here and there. What did Ancient Romans use to calculate complex numbers? Even simple ones are beyond hard. Of course we can say that they had plenty of practice... but really?
 

humanoidlord

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#2
Ancient Romans are credited with construction of quite a few of remarkable buildings (we know it's questionble). Here is an example of some of those: Top 10 Magnificent Ancient Roman Architectures.

Amphitheatre Nimes
View attachment 2870

Sure mathematical calculations were required to engineer buildings of such complexity, yet Roman Numerals are anything but user friendly. The decimal Hindu–Arabic numeral system with zero was developed in India by around AD 700. A distinctive West Arabic variant of the symbols begins to emerge around the 10th century.

And I'm not even talking about decimals, fractions, or anything of that nature. Here is an example of some "simple" calculations using Roman Numerals.
  • 746+124=870 * -------- * DCCXLVI+CXXIV=DCCCLXX
  • 46×12=552 * ----------- * XLVI×XII=DLII
  • 78+36x42=1590 * ------ * LXXVIII+XXXVI×XLII=MDXC
* * * * *
We use calculators for adding a few currency units here and there. What did Ancient Romans use to calculate complex numbers? Even simple ones are beyond hard. Of course we can say that they had plenty of practice... but really?
this why i love this website! it makes me question things that i otherwise take for granted!
i know by past experience that even writing numbers in roman is kinda hard, i cant even imagine how hard calculations were!
 

CyborgNinja

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#3
The system we use is quite reliable and the only comparable system from the ancient world is the Persian system which you mentioned. Our numbers are just a derivative of their numbers. Could it be that they just used exactly what we use. How modern is our number system anyway. If it's being used in Gothic texts it must be from the tartar era. Isn't our font known as roman?

There aren't any extremely old examples of out number system to point to but that doesn't mean it wasn't what they used back then. Maybe the Arabic numerals was the generic globally used system and we've obly recently split from it.
 
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KorbenDallas

KorbenDallas

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Pretty sure they did not mess with this "DCCXLVI+CXXIV=DCCCLXX". Yet, wondering how the official historians explain their (Ancient Romans) calculation methods.
 
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