# Numeral Shapes

Created | Updated Jul 9, 2003

The shapes of our numerals originally had a striking significance. Each single digit numeral contained the number of angles it named.

**0**has zero angles angles.

**1**had only the hook, no horizontal bar on the bottom, and one angle.

**2**looked like a Z and had two angles.

**3**looked like a sideways W and had three angles.

**4**had the closed top but the horizontal bar din't cross over the vertical bar, and had four angles.

**5**was squared off and had five angles.

**6**was squared off and had six angles.

**7**was a Z with a horizontal middle crossbar, and a hook on the front, and seven angles.

**8**looked like an H with the top and bottom closed off, and had eight angles.

**9**was squared off and the horizontal crossbar extndes through the vertical line, and a hook on the foot, and nine angles.

**'A Star'**Ten should be a single digit numeral with ten angles. A star works. * So does the Masonic Lodge Symbol. We use base ten because it has certain excellent mathematical properties such as repeating decimals. We also have ten fingers.

**10**(one, zero) signifies totality of base, and changes its name and value depending on which base system is used.

For example, counting in base two:

1, 10, 11, 100.

10 = totality of base.

100 = totality of square.

Now base 3:

1, 2, 10

11, 12, 20

21, 22, 100

Notice that there is no numeral 2 in base two, only 0 and 1, and no numeral 3 in base three, only 0, 1 and 2. Likewise, there is no ten in base ten.

If you want to see pictures of the numerals, visit www.arabicnumerals.cwc.net/