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Letters of the alphabet used in ancient Rome to represent numbers: I = 1; V = 5; X = 10; L = 50; C = 100; D = 500; M = 1000. The numbers one through ten are written I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII, IX, and X. Roman numerals are often used to signify divisions of a long work, or of a work with many parts. They are also used to lend significance to something, as in Super Bowl VII. Formal designation of years may also be in Roman numerals: a.d. MCMLXXXIX = a.d. 1989.