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About 500 BC, the Greeks developed a system based on ten. This system used a 27-letter Greek alphabet--the present-day 24-letter alphabet pl us three letters no longer used. The first nine letters stood for numbers, from 1 through 9. The next nine letters stood for tens, from 10 through 90. The last nine letters were symbols for hundreds, from 100 through 900. The Greeks formed numerals by combining these symbols and adding their values.

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