Paris museum removes Roman numerals in the names of kings

Louis XIV has been turned into Louis 14, for example, on some information panels at Musée Carnavalet

19 April 2021

37 texts out of 3,000 have changed at the Musée Carnavalet, in Paris Pic: Carles Tomás Martí / Flickr

By Connexion journalist

A museum has defended its decision to remove Roman numerals in the names of kings – turning Louis XIV into Louis 14 on information panels.

Musée Carnavalet, in Paris, insisted it only involves panels for disabled people and “universal access”, so around 37 texts out of 3,000.

It has also removed them in references to centuries (eg. 20e siècle, not XXe), a practice followed by the Louvre.

François Martin, president of classics teaching association Cnarela, said: “It seems it’s an attempt to reach people who weren’t coming, by simplifying.

“But the aim of a museum is to teach, and if people don’t understand something, it can spark curiosity to find out.

“If we assume numerals are no longer of interest, schools will no longer teach them either. We’ll end up in a very utilitarian world.”

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