Medieval Cistercian Numbers

Nicholas C. Rossis

If you’re looking to enrich your fantasy or Medieval fiction, why not mention Cistercian numbers — the forgotten ciphers of Medieval monks? As Tibi Puiu reports on ZME Science, people have employed all sorts of systems throughout history, most of which are now forgotten. These include the intriguing Cistercian numbers used by monks in the Middle Ages, but also by Nazis and occultists in the 20th century.

Cistercian numbers | From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's bookVarious Cistercian numbers from 1 to 9999 can be represented by superimposing up to 36 basic forms. Source: ZME Science

A Simple Logic

While Cistercian numbers may look odd at first, they are simple to use once you grasp the logic behind them. Numbers are represented by nine appendages to vertical stems that each correspond to units, tens, hundreds, and thousands.

Cistercian numbers | From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's bookCistercian numbers are represented on a quadrant using horizontal and vertical staves. Source: ZME Science

Each of the four different orientations…

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