# How did Ancient Greeks count

We all know very well the roman numeral system, but what about Greeks?

Ancient Greeks developed two different systems: **Attic** and **Jonic**.

# Attic System

Let's start with the **Attic system** developed around the 6th-5th century BC. Which used the following symbols:

These symbols (except the first one) came from the **first letter of each number in the archaic script**: **Π**ΕΝΤΕ (5), **Δ**ΕΚΑ (10), **Η**ΕΚΑΤΟΝ (100), **Χ**ΙΛΙΟΙ (1.000), **Μ**ΥΡΙΑΕ (10.000).

So if they wanted to represent the** number 7 **they would use:

But to make it easierfor representing higher numbers, they used a combination of two symbolsto represent50, 500 and 5000, 50000. They were obtained by adding the sign of10, 100, 1000, 10000into the sign of5.E.g. 5000would be:

# Jonic System

Around the 4th-3rd Century BC, they developed the **Jonic System, based on powers of 10**. It **used the alphabet to represent numbers**. Each letter of the alphabet had a numeric value. **Numbers 1–9** were assigned to the 9 first letters from alpha (**α**) to theta (**θ**). Then, each **multiple of ten** from 10–90 was assigned to the following letters from iota (**ι**) to koppa* (**Ϙ**). And finally, the **multiples of one hundred** from 100–900 were assigned to the following letters from rho (**ρ**) to sampi* (**ϡ**).

To represent the number,** the numeric values of the letters are represented from highest to lowest** and **are added together** to obtain the total.

**An acute accent (ʹ)**is placed at the end of the group of letters **to distinguish numbers from real words.**

**To represent numbers from 1000 onwards, a comma is added at the beginning of the letter **to indicate that the letter is multiplied by 1000.

The **number 0 didn’t exist.**

So lets see some examples:

132= ρμβʹ

24= κδʹ

75829= ,ο,εωκθʹ

603= χγʹ

50508= ,νφηʹ