Carnavalet museum in Paris says goodbye to Roman numerals (after the Louvre) – time.news

by time news

Louis XIV becomes Louis 14, and the sixteenth century is simplified to 16 because Roman numerals can be an obstacle to understanding, says Nomie Giard of the Carnavalet museum. After four years of work, the museum dedicated to the history of Paris is ready to welcome the public – when the anti-Covid measures allow it – with the novelty of explanatory writings that abandon the Roman numerals in favor of the Arabic ones. Even the Louvre already no longer uses Roman numerals to indicate centuries, while it keeps them for kings and queens. Changes decided to get closer to the widest possible audience, so that everyone can take advantage of the visits, without obstacles. But as always in these cases, the good intention causes doubts and controversies: are we sure that the solution to the difficulties is to erase them? The passage from IV to 4 then becomes the symbol of the progressive renunciation of the teaching of classical culture.

the story of the chicken and the egg – he told al Figaro Franois Martin, president of the Coordination of Teachers in Ancient Languages ​​(Cnarela) -. The less Roman numerals are used, the fewer people are able to understand them. But it’s a shame, because in elementary school children love to learn Roman numerals, for them it is like a game. The move of the Louvre and the Carnavalet museum was also about to be imitated in the museums of Rouen, in Normandy, but at the museum of Fine Arts in Rouen there was the opposition of the director Sylvain Amic, who decided to keep the Roman numerals for the next exhibition on “Salamb” by Gustave Flaubert.


The eternal debate between defense of knowledge, on one side, and popularization and mass cultureon the other hand, it is repeated in the installations of museums, which in France are often accused of making too many concessions in order to open up to marketing and tourists (when they still visited Paris by the millions, in the pre-Covid era). The paradox is that Roman numerals resist instead in one of the contexts that on paper seem more distant from classical culture. No.he United States, from its fifth or rather V edition the Super Bowl is written with Roman numerals at the behest of the organizer Lamar Hunt, which in 1971 convinced the partners that the Roman numerals would give prestige and solemnity to the event, evoking the exploits of the gladiators. With the exception of the 2016 edition, that of the fiftieth anniversary, the Roman numerals resist and did so last February, when the Buccaneers of Tampa Bay defeated the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LV (55). Outside the French museums, but inside the American stadiums.

March 16, 2021 (change March 16, 2021 | 17:22)

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