What is the correct way to write roman numerals with superscript? Should the convention of the language be used or the latin convention?

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    This question is a little bit unclear to me. Obviously "VIIth" is impossible if you are writing in the Latin language. The suffix "-th" is English, not Latin. But when you say "the convention of the language," are you talking about using Roman numerals in a language other than Latin? If so, each language will have its own conventions, I assume. – Asteroides Apr 29 '17 at 16:46
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    You may want to reword the question for clarity. In a number of languages (English included,) you can use Roman numerals for ordinal numbers: VII=7th. The Roman numeral in itself is not implying you are using a Latin word or way of saying, so it is most probably up to the rules of the language you are using whether to add a suffix/superscript, e.g. in French, you say VIIᵉ – Rafael Apr 29 '17 at 19:54

At least in the inscriptions that I've seen, there's no particular indication at all – it would just be understood from context that an ordinal rather than cardinal number is required. For example, the grave inscription of a man named Rufus Site who served in the sixth cohort says:


(This inscription is CIL VII,67; there's a not-very-clear photo in Alison Cooley, The Cambridge manual of Latin epigraphy, p 379.)

In printed texts, though, ordinals are often represented by using a period after the number, as is the convention in, e.g., modern German (VI.). For example, from the Oxford text of Caesar, De bello civili 3.62:

ad eas munitiones Caesar Lentulum Marcellinum quaestorem cum legione VIIII. positum habebat.

  • Even in printed texts, you don't always get the period afterward. – cmw Apr 29 '17 at 21:48
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    @C.M.Weimer: Very true; that's why I was careful to qualify my answer with an 'often.' Still, a quick (and hardly scientific) sampling of just the texts on my bookshelves, from Italian, German, British, American, and French publishers, from the mid-1800s through the present, seemed to show a slight preference for the period over nothing at all. Interestingly, all the Teubner texts that I glanced at write out all ordinals in full. Perhaps that's a coincidence, or perhaps it reflects actual Teubner editorial policy. I don't think a single American text that I looked at used the periods. – cnread Apr 29 '17 at 23:08

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