In ancient times, the numbers were marked by sticks. One stick was acting as a unit, two sticks - two, and so on, These were the first figures. They survived and are now in the "Roman numerals". The Roman system we use now to refer anniversaries, book chapters, etc.
For images larger numbers, this method was unsuitable, so people come up with icons for numbers 5, 10 and others. Different Nations designation numbers were different. Was also and numbering systems - ways of connecting numbers to image large numbers.
Since ancient times in Greece, the famous attic numbering. Numbers 1, 2, 3, 4 indicated by dashes; and 5, 10, 100, 1000 and 10000 wrote the initial letters of the corresponding words. The rest was a combination of these signs.
In the III century BC to replace the attic numbering came Ionian. It is a number from 1 to 10 was designated the first ten letters of the alphabet, from 10 to 90 - following nine letters, from 100 to 900 - last nine letters. 1000, 2000, etc. was a corresponding letters with the addition of a special icon on the side. Over numbers wrote horizontal lines, to distinguish them from the letters. Similar alphabetic numbering had the ancient Jews, Arabs and other Nations.
Slavs for numbers also used the alphabet. But some of the Slavic peoples of the order of the numbers correspond to the order of the Slavic alphabet, while others (including the Russians) figures were designated only those letters that are in the Greek alphabet. Above this figure was put a special icon ("title"). In Russia Slavic numbering survived until the eighteenth century. Under Peter the great, it was replaced with the usual us so-called "Arab". Slavic numbering has been preserved in the liturgical books.
Armenians and Georgians also used the alphabetic principle. But in their alphabets had more letters than in Greek, so they had special symbols for numbers from 1000 to 9000. This numbering is continued until the eighteenth century, although already from the X century, Armenians and Georgians known "Arabic" numbers.