4, IV or IIII on a clock?

Why do some old clocks, with roman numbers, write number 4 with four I instead of the correct form of IV  ?

question by agusnit

Clock examples

We had this question asked on our Facebook page.. we honestly had NO Clue this happened and we quickly started investigating.

There are three main theories:
(1) King Louis XIV (le roi soleil) thought ‘IV’ should be changed to ‘IIII” because it was part of his name.

(2) IV is the abreviation of the roman God Jupiter. So it was just to avoid “1,2,3,GOD,5..” (this one is mos attractive theory as norarely any sundials have the “IV” on the clock face)

(3) Aesthetics, it would just look unbalanced, the “IIII” balances out the “VIII”.
And there you have it!

Which one do you prefer? We cant decide between 2 or 3.


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