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More on this subject:  http://homepages.sover.net/~donnl/iiiivsiv.html


Roman Numerals like IV, IX, XIV, XIX, XL etc.  did not yet exist at the time of the Roman Empire but were introduced later. The IV most likely not before the 13 th (?) century.
The IX appears already on many of the earliest mechanical clocks during the 14 th century, but the ancient roman numerals VIIII, XIIII, XVIIII, XXIIII were still used with several early Renaissance and Gothic dials. Attached pictures show interesting early examples of a combined use of ‘ancient’ and ’later’ Roman numerals.


 Common introduction of the ‘later’ IX at clock dials could also be for reasons of favourable spacing and legibility. At the time of introduction of the IV, it was likely to late to affect the well-established ancient Roman IIII.  Moreover since subsidiary ‘quarter’ dials and early Italian ‘4 hour’ dials, seemed to make its ongoing use, at circular clock dials, very obvious.


ca. 1490

England ca. 1370