More advanced non-positioning systems were alphabetic systems

More advanced non-positioning systems were alphabetic systems. Such numbering systems included:

Ionic (Greek),
Phoenician and others.
In them numbers from 1 to 9, whole numbers of tens and whole numbers of hundreds were designated by letters of the alphabet .

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The alphabetical system, created together with the Slavic alphabetic system by Cyril and Methodius in the 9th century, was adopted in ancient Rus. Numbers from 1 to 10. Recorded like this:

Above the letters denoting the numbers, a special titlo was put:

This was done in order to distinguish between numbers and ordinary words:
It is interesting that the numbers from 11 (one to ten) to 19 (nine to ten) were written in the same way as they said, that is, the “figure” of the units was placed up to the “figure” of tens. If the number did not contain tens, then the “figure” of tens was not written.

Let’s write in the Slavic record the numbers 444 and 32:


We see that the record was not longer than our decimal. This is due to the fact that in alphabetical systems at least 27 “digits” were used. But these systems were convenient only for writing numbers up to 1000.

True, the Slavs, like the Greeks, were able to write numbers in magnitude and large 1000. To do this, new notations were added to the alphabetical system. So, for example, the numbers 1000, 2000, 3000 … were recorded with the same “numbers” as 1, 2, 3 …, only before the “digit” was placed a special sign to the left from below :

The number 10,000 was denoted by the same letter as 1, but without a title, it was circled around the circle:

This number was called “darkness”. Hence the expression “darkness to the people”. Thus, for the designation of “themes” (plural from the word darkness), the first 9 “digits” were circled in circles:


10 themes, or 100,000, were the highest category unit. It was called the “legion”. 10 legions were the “leord”. The largest of the quantities, having its designation, was called the “deck”, it was 10 50 . It was believed that “more than this, you have to understand the human mind.”

Such a way of writing numbers can be considered as the rudiments of a positional system, since in it to designate units of different digits the same symbols were used, to which only special signs were added to determine the value of the discharge.

Alphabetical number systems were of little use for operating with large numbers. During the development of human society, these systems gave way to positional systems.

Until the XVII century, this form of recording numbers was official in the territory of modern Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Bulgaria, Hungary, Serbia and Croatia. In Russia, the Slavic numbering was preserved until the end of the 17th century. Under Peter I the so-called “Arab numbering” prevailed. However, Orthodox church books use this numbering so far.