Greek ligatures

Greek ligatures are graphic combinations of the letters of the Greek alphabet that were used in medieval handwritten Greek and in early printing. Ligatures were used in the cursive writing style and very extensively in later minuscule writing. There were dozens[1][2] of conventional ligatures. Some of them stood for frequent letter combinations, some for inflectional endings of words, and some were abbreviations of entire words.

In early printed Greek from around 1500, many ligatures fashioned after contemporary manuscript hands continued to be used. Important models for this early typesetting practice were the designs of Aldus Manutius in Venice, and those of Claude Garamond in Paris, who created the influential Grecs du roi typeface in 1541. However, the use of ligatures gradually declined during the 17th and 18th centuries and became mostly obsolete in modern typesetting. Among the ligatures that remained in use the longest are the ligature Ȣ for ου, which resembles an o with an u on top, and the abbreviation ϗ for καὶ ('and'), which resembles a κ with a downward stroke on the right. The ου ligature is still occasionally used in decorative writing, while the καὶ abbreviation has some limited usage in functions similar to the Latin ampersand (&). Another ligature that was relatively frequent in early modern printing is a ligature of Ο with ς (a small sigma inside an omicron) for a terminal ος.

The ligature ϛ for στ, now called stigma, survived in a special role besides its use as a ligature proper. It took on the function of a number sign for "6", having been visually conflated with the cursive form of the ancient letter digamma, which had this numeral function.

Computer encoding

In the modern computer encoding standard Unicode, the abbreviation ϗ has been encoded since version 3.0 of the standard (1999). An uppercase version Ϗ was added in version 5.1 (2008). A lower and upper case "stigma", designed for its numeric use, is also encoded in Unicode. Letters derived from the ου ligature exist for use in Latin, and for Cyrillic, though not for Greek itself. Some attempts have been made at recreating typesetting with ligatures in modern computer fonts, either through Unicode-compliant OpenType glyph replacement,[3] or with simpler but non-standardized methods of glyph-by-glyph encoding.[4]

Greek digraphs
CharacterϏϗϚϛ
Unicode nameGREEK CAPITAL KAI SYMBOLGREEK KAI SYMBOLGREEK LETTER STIGMAGREEK SMALL LETTER STIGMA
Encodingsdecimalhexdecimalhexdecimalhexdecimalhex
Unicode975U+03CF983U+03D7986U+03DA987U+03DB
UTF-8207 143CF 8F207 151CF 97207 154CF 9A207 155CF 9B
Numeric character referenceϏϏϗϗϚϚϛϛ
Latin and Cyrillic Ou digraphs
CharacterȢȣ
Unicode nameLATIN CAPITAL LETTER OULATIN SMALL LETTER OUCYRILLIC CAPITAL LETTER MONOGRAPH UKCYRILLIC SMALL LETTER MONOGRAPH UK
Encodingsdecimalhexdecimalhexdecimalhexdecimalhex
Unicode546U+0222547U+022342570U+A64A42571U+A64B
UTF-8200 162C8 A2200 163C8 A3234 153 138EA 99 8A234 153 139EA 99 8B
Numeric character referenceȢȢȣȣꙊꙊꙋꙋ

Example images

The Ligatures of Early Printed Greek by William H. Ingram Duke University LIbraries Greek, Roman and Byzantine Studies

See also

References

  1. The Philokalia Package, for LaTeX
  2. Carl Faulmann, Das Buch der Schrift: Schriftzeichen und Alphabete aller Zeiten und Völker, Vienna 1880, p.172-176.
  3. e.g. Greek Font Society. "GFS Gazis" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-07-13.; George Douros. "Unicode fonts for ancient scripts". Retrieved 2012-07-13.
  4. e.g. Schmidthauser, Andreas. "Renaissance Greek". Retrieved 2012-07-13.
This article is issued from Wikipedia. The text is licensed under Creative Commons - Attribution - Sharealike. Additional terms may apply for the media files.