Symbols and notation system
The letters of the Cyrillic alphabet, which had been in use in old Russia, were also used as numerals. In order to distinguish between numerals and text, a special character called a titla (or titlo) was inscribed above the characters to signify a group of numerals:
To signify a thousand, an inclined line crossed by two small lines was put in front of the corresponding letter:
The system described here was widely used at the time of the government of Peter the First, Russian tsar and emperor. Therefore we’ll now give our consideration to Peter’s coins minted in the beginning of the XVIII-th century. This applies to the gold coins dated 1701–1707 AD, silver coins dated 1699–1722 AD and copper coins dated 1700–1721 AD. The correspondence between the letters and the numerals is reflected in the converter. For example, here's a copper kopeck minted in 1715:
҂ÀѰÅI = 1000×1 + 700 + 5 + 10 = 1715 AD.
The order of letters in the date inscription depends on the pronunciation of the date. For instance, “13” (in Russian spelled as “òðèíàäöàòü”, where “òðè” stands for “three”, “íà” stands for “over” or “above” and “äöàòü” is the reduced form of “äåñÿòü” (ten)) was written as “ÃI” instead of “IÃ”: literally, 3 + 10 instead of 10 + 3.
A couple of significant examples of spelling numerals in the XVIII-th and XIX-th centuries are provided on this map legend and on a page of this book published in 1762.
As far as the coins minted before 1700 AD are concerned, they were dated “since the establishment of peace in the Star Temple” (actually in English more common way of naming it is AM year, which stands for ANNO MUNDI (# of year since the creation of the World)). To convert this date into the Gregorian system, it is necessary to subtract 5508 years from the date provided. 5508 years is believed to be the period of time that had elapsed from “the establishment of peace in the Star Temple” until “the Nativity of Christ”). According to the decree of Peter the Great, right after December 31, 7207, the new day of the new era arrived, i.e. January 1, 1700. One should take into account that thousands had never been indicated on Russian coins before 1700 AD and were only assumed (e.g. date “ÑÇ” = 200 + 7 (+ assumed 7000) = 7207 “since the establishment of peace in the Star Temple” = (7207 – 5508) AD = 1699 AD.
Let us now talk about the history.
Slavic descent-based communities had populated vast territories of Eastern, Central and Southern Europe by the middle of the first millennium AD. Their neighbors were the Byzantine Empire, Greek and Roman people with highly developed statehood and an established written language.
Both Rome and Byzantium attempted to extend their influence on the “barbaric” Slavic tribes, which had neither written language nor monotheistic faith by that time. With this in mind, those empires started to send preachers and missionaries to the Slavs’ lands. After a while the Slavs were ready for the adoption of Christianity, and it became necessary to share the written Christian heritage (i.e. prayers, the Secret Writings, etc), with them.
According to the conventional version, written language appeared in Russia in the 860-s AD. The Cyrillic alphabet was based on the Greek alphabet, though some extra letters were added, which reflected the peculiarities of Slavic oral speech. In one form or another, Cyrillic is still in use in the Russian Federation, Belorussia, Ukraine, Bulgaria, Serbia and a number of other countries in Eastern Europe.
Alphabetic numbering arose in Ancient Greece in the VI-th century BC, and this numbering system “migrated” to the Slavs. The first 9 letters of the Greek alphabet stood for the digits 1 to 9; the following 9 letters stood for the tens (10, 20, 30 etc to 90), and the rest for the hundreds (100 to 900). The tradition of marking alphanumeric inscriptions with a line bar called a titlo also originated from Greece. The picture below illustrates the correspondence between Greek letters and their numerical values (lowercase letters are used instead of capital letters).
Now please compare the alphabetic characters with those provided in the converter on the lefthand side of this page. Obviously, the Russian alphanumeric system only used characters that existed in the Greek alphabet, whereas letters missing in the Greek alphabet (like “Á” and “Æ”), were excluded, especially from the first nine characters standing for units.
This concludes the story about the Russian alphanumeric system used for date inscription.
The monetary unit of the Russian Federation is the Russian rouble. 1 rouble is equal to 100 kopecks. The following coin denominations are now in common circulation in Russia: 1, 5, 10 and 50 kopecks, as well as 1, 2, 5 and 10 roubles. 1 and 5 kopeck coins are likely to be no longer minted since 2010 — because of their low usage and very high cost of manufacture. Earlier, in Tsarist Russia, coins of a value less than 1 kopeck were in use, i.e. the “denga” (one half of a kopeck) and “polushka” (a quarter-kopeck coin).
The Russian rouble nowadays has its own graphic symbol. This is what it looks like:
This symbol was unveiled on August 1, 2007. One of the participants in the Rouble symbol think tank was the Art. Lebedev Studio.
Converter updates and bugfixes.
Updates @January 2, 2011: reverse converting tab now shows which year since the creation of the world corresponds to the entered year of the Gregorian calendar. The dates of the XXI-th century are now being processed correctly in the reverse converter as well.