How do you say 4, 800, 000 in Latin?
Large numbers in Latin work with numeral adverbs + units of mīllle.
- 4,800,000, octīens et quadrāgiēns centēna mīlia
- 5,900,487, noviēns et quīnquāgiēns centēna mīlia quadrigentī octōgintā septem.
Note that, because we don’t happen to possess a large number of fifth-grade math books from Rome, the most common place you’ll see numbers this large are records describing large sums of sestertia.
In these descriptions, the centēna mīlia is often omitted.
- 3,300,000 sestertia = ter et trīciēns sestertium = ter et trīciēns (centēna mīlia) sestertium = thrice and thirty times 100,000.
- 2.7 billion sestertia = vīciēns ac septiēs mīliēns sestertium
(If anyone can explain why it’s sestertium and not sestertia, I’m all ears.)
For more on money matters, see my post on money.
The Essential AG: 138a
There are four central aspects to the Latin numeral:
- The cardinal: ūnus, duo, trēs, quattuor
- The ordinal: prīmus, secundus, tertius, quārtus
- The distributive: singulī, bīnī, ternī, quaternī
- The adverb: semel, bis, ter, quater
The numerals 11-19 are indeclinable:
- note that 18 and 19 start counting back from twenty, while the others count up from ten
- French and Spanish (and other Romance languages?) also seem to freak out and shift form somewhere after 15; I’m not sure why no one thought a standardized 11-19 was a good idea
The numerals 20-100 are expressed as follows; bases of ten do not decline:
To achieve a number like 85, the Romans have two preferred methods:
- tens+ ones= (octōgintā quīnque mīlitēs)
- ones + et + tens =(quīnque et octōgintā mīlitēs)
- note that octōgintā et quīnque (a third option) is less common, but may appear
- also, note that numbers like 28 and 29 nine subtract as 18 and 19 above: duodētrīgintā, ūndētrīgintā, ūndēoctōgintā (79), etc.
The hundreds above 100 decline as adjectives like bonus, bona, bonum
Mille is an odd bird: it’s indeclinable as a singular (mīlle mīlitēs) but declines as a neuter plural (tria mīlia mīlitum)
- Note that there’s no typo here (though I am prone to typos): the singular mīlle has two l‘s; the plural mīlia/mīlium/mīlibus/mīlia/mīlibus has only one.
- He came with a thousand soldiers: cum mīlle mīlitibus vēnit.
- To express this sentence with three thousand, we decline tria mīlia and make mīles a partitive gentive
- He cam with three thousand soldiers: cum tribus mīlibus mīlitum vēnit.
To express numbers with three digits or more:
If et appears anywhere, it appears only between the two highest demoninations:
- 1776: mīlle (et) septigentī septuāgintā sex
- 2012: duo mīlia (et) duodecim