[SIGCIS-Members] History of Rome. How did they calculate?

Deborah Douglas ddouglas at mit.edu
Wed Feb 20 12:43:54 PST 2019


I don’t know about the Romans but the late Claude Shannon decided to create a Roman numeral calculator (part of our collections - see https://webmuseum.mit.edu/detail.php?term=Throbac&module=objects&type=keyword&x=0&y=0&kv=75603&record=0&module=objects) he called THRoBAC for Thrifty Roman numeral BAckwards-looking Computer.

Debbie Douglas

On Feb 20, 2019, at 3:36 PM, herbert.bruderer at bluewin.ch<mailto:herbert.bruderer at bluewin.ch> wrote:

How did the Romans calculate?


Hi all:

Does anyone know how the Romans calculated with the Roman numeral system?

What is the meaning of the right-most slot of the Roman hand abacus?

Do you have Roman hand abaci (original devices or replicas) in your collection?

Thank you very much for your help.

Best wishes,

Herbert Bruderer

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Deborah G. Douglas, PhD • Director of Collections and Curator of Science and Technology, MIT Museum; Research Associate, Program in Science, Technology, and Society • Room N51-209 • 265 Massachusetts Avenue • Cambridge, MA 02139-4307 • ddouglas at mit.edu<mailto:ddouglas at mit.edu> • 617-253-1766 telephone • 617-253-8994 facsimile • http://mitmuseum.mit.eduhttp://museum.mit.edu/150

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