Re: Looking for three old characters

From: Nick NICHOLAS (
Date: Mon Apr 10 2000 - 07:11:41 EDT

On Sun, 9 Apr 2000, Patrick Andries wrote:

> I have looked at the Unicode 3.0 charts but I could not
> quite find them. Does someone know whether they are actually
> many sources using them (aside from my book printed in
> 1969)?
> 1) reversed C (very similar to U+0187 and U+2183), this was
> called «antisigma» and used by old commentators to indicate
> an inversion. Could one use U+0187?
The antisigma turns up 22 times in the TLG corpus of Greek texts
(which is nearly complete for the Classical period), in 11 works --- most
prominently including our version of Homer. The antisigma was one of
several ancient editorial signs developed by Aristarchus of Samos; in
ancient critical editions of Homer, it denoted corrupted text (modern
scholarship uses the dagger equivalently). There is also a variant with a
dot in the middle (antisigma periestigmenon), occuring twice in our Iliad,
and used to point out juxtaposed variant readings in the Homeric text.

As the name implies, the antisigma is a horizontally reflected lunate
sigma (U+03F2); in fact, straight lunate sigma itself also turns up as an
Aristracheian sign. So the serif of U+0187 would probably not quite match.
In what I've seen, the character is capital, and sans-serif (reflecting as
it does a symbol rather than a letter proper.) (Then again, there has been
many a Classical Greek text published with compromises in the direction of
available Roman typefaces. The horrors the Greek symbols for 1/2 have
been subjected to spring to mind...)

Of course, the antisigma doesn't really *mean* the same as whatever U+0187
does, and such Greek signs in general are not currently covered by Unicode
3.0; since many of them are idiosyncratic or infrequent, and most of them
are not textual, I'm still trying to work out how many (if any) we might
propose for inclusion in the future, and in what guise.

On Claudius' proposals, I defer to others; my impression is you'd be lucky
to get a couple of inscriptions with them, and they'd be transcribed into
normal Roman anyway for scholarly purposes...

Nick Nicholas; Thesaurus Linguae Graecae,                    University of California, Irvine
 "The Orthodox Church lead the Greek nationalist movement in the island
  until 1977. Since then it has been in decline, confining itself mainly
  to the real estate market and homophobia."  (Andrew Apostolou, MGSA-L) 

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