Cyrillic numerals

Reverse of silver half ruble (left) and copper beard token featuring the year 1705 in Cyrillic numerals (҂АѰЕ).

Cyrillic numerals are a numeral system derived from the Cyrillic script, developed in the First Bulgarian Empire in the late 10th century. It was used in the First Bulgarian Empire and by South and East Slavic peoples.[1] The system was used in Russia as late as the early 18th century, when Peter the Great replaced it with Arabic numerals as part of his civil script reform initiative.[2][3] Cyrillic numbers played a role in Peter the Great's currency reform plans, too, with silver wire kopecks issued after 1696 and mechanically minted coins issued between 1700 and 1722 inscribed with the date using Cyrillic numerals.[4] By 1725, Russian Imperial coins had transitioned to Arabic numerals.[5] The Cyrillic numerals may still be found in books written in the Church Slavonic language.[6]

General description

The system is a quasi-decimal alphabetic system, equivalent to the Ionian numeral system but written with the corresponding graphemes of the Cyrillic script. The order is based on the original Greek alphabet rather than the standard Cyrillic alphabetical order.[7]

A separate letter is assigned to each unit (1, 2, ... 9), each multiple of ten (10, 20, ... 90), and each multiple of one hundred (100, 200, ... 900). To distinguish numbers from text, a titlo  ҃ ) is sometimes drawn over the numbers, or they are set apart with dots.[8] The numbers are written as pronounced in Slavonic,[9] generally from the high value position to the low value position, with the exception of 11 through 19, which are written and pronounced with the ones unit before the tens; for example, ЗІ (17) is "семнадсять" (literally seven-on-ten, cf. the English seven-teen).[2]

Examples:

  • ҂АѰЅ (҂АѰЅ) – 1706
  • ҂ЗРИІ (҂ЗРИІ) – 7118

To evaluate a Cyrillic number, the values of all the figures are added up: for example, ѰЗ is 700 + 7, making 707. If the number is greater than 999 (ЦЧѲ), the thousands sign (҂) is used to multiply the number's value: for example, ҂Ѕ is 6000, while ҂Л҂В is parsed as 30,000 + 2000, making 32,000. To produce larger numbers, a modifying sign is used to encircle the number being multiplied.[10] Two scales existed in such cases (similar to the long and short scales), one (Малый счёт; Lesser count) giving a new name and sign every order of magnitude, the other (Великий счёт; Greater Count), each squaring except for the end (extending to 10 in the 49th power)[11][12]

Modifying signs used to denote values 1000 and greater. For example, А҉ denotes 1 million.
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