10/Historical Note

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Historical Note on $10$ (Ten)

Aristotle made the obvious statement that $10$ is the usual number base because we have $10$ fingers. This view was echoed by the Roman poet Ovid.

It is noted that not all cultures use $10$ -- some use $5$ (based on the number of fingers on a single hand) and some use $20$ (based on the total number of fingers and toes).

The number $10$ was considered holy by the Pythagoreans, who set great score to the fact that $10 = 1 + 2 + 3 + 4$.

The number $10$ is expressed in Roman numerals as $\mathrm X$.

It has been suggested that this originates from:

joining up two $\mathrm V$s, each representing $2$ hands held up showing the full $5$ fingers


an abbreviation for $10$ tally marks, with a line struck through them to indicate that $10$ had been reached.

Also see