Sigma

Sigma (uppercase Σ, lowercase σ, lowercase in word-final position ς; Greek: σίγμα) is the eighteenth letter of the Greek alphabet. In the system of Greek numerals, it has a value of 200. When used at the end of a word (when the word is not all caps), the final form (ς) is used, e.g. Ὀδυσσεύς (Odysseus); note the two sigmas in the center of the name, and the word-final sigma at the end.

History

The shape Σς and alphabetic position of sigma is derived from Phoenician shin 𐤔 . The original name of the letter may have been san, but due to the complicated early history of the Greek epichoric alphabets, "san" came to be identified as a separate letter, Ϻ.[1] Herodotus reports that "san" was the name given by the Dorians to the same letter called "sigma" by the Ionians.[2]

The name "sigma", according to one hypothesis,[3] may continue that of Phoenician Samekh, the letter continued by Greek Ξ. Alternatively, the name sigma may have been a Greek innovation that simply meant "hissing", from the root of σίζω (sízō, earlier *sig-jō, meaning "I hiss").[1]

Lunate sigma

In handwritten Greek during the Hellenistic period (4th and 3rd centuries BC), the epigraphic form of Σ was simplified into a C-like shape.[4] It is also found on coins from the fourth century BC onward.[5] This became the universal standard form of sigma during late antiquity and the Middle Ages. It is today known as lunate sigma (uppercase Ϲ, lowercase ϲ), because of its crescent-like shape.

It is still widely used in decorative typefaces in Greece, especially in religious and church contexts, as well as in some modern print editions of classical Greek texts.

A dotted lunate sigma (sigma periestigmenon, encoded at U+03FE Ͼ) was used by Aristarchus of Samothrace (220–143 BC) as an editorial sign indicating that the line so marked is at an incorrect position. Similarly, an antisigma, or reversed sigma (Ͻ), may mark a line that is out of place. A dotted antisigma or dotted reversed sigma (antisigma periestigmenon: Ͽ) may indicate a line after which rearrangements should be made, or to variant readings of uncertain priority.

Derived alphabets

Sigma was adopted in the Old Italic alphabets beginning in the 8th century BC. A simplified three-stroke version, omitting the lowermost stroke, is found already in Western Greek alphabets, and becomes current in classical Etruscan, in Oscan, and also in the earliest Latin epigraphy (early Latin S), such as the Duenos inscription. The alternation between three and four strokes (occasionally also more than four) is also adopted into the early runic alphabet (early form of the s-rune. Both the Anglo-Saxon runes and the Younger Futhark consistently use the simplified three-stroke version.

The forms of the Coptic letter sima (2nd century BC) and of Cyrillic letter С (9th century) are derived from lunate sigma.

Uses

Greek

In both Ancient and Modern Greek, the sigma represents the voiceless alveolar fricative /s/. In Modern Greek, this sound is voiced to /z/ before /m/, /n/, /v/, /ð/ or /ɣ/.

International African Alphabet

The uppercase form of sigma was re-borrowed into the Latin alphabet – more precisely, the International African Alphabet – to serve as the uppercase of modern esh (lowercase: ʃ).

Science and mathematics

Uppercase

Uppercase Σ is used as a symbol for:

Lowercase

Lowercase σ is used for:

Biology and medicine
Business, finance, and economics
Chemistry
Engineering and computer science
Linguistics
Mathematics and statistics
Physics

Organizations

During the 1930s, an uppercase Σ was in use as the symbol of the Ação Integralista Brasileira, a fascist political party in Brazil.

Sigma Corporation uses the name of the letter but not the letter itself, but in many Internet forums, photographers refer to the company or its lenses using the letter. Sigma Aldrich incorporate both the name and the character in their logo.

Character encoding

Greek Sigma
CharacterΣσςϹϲ
Unicode nameGREEK CAPITAL LETTER SIGMAGREEK SMALL LETTER SIGMAGREEK SMALL LETTER FINAL SIGMAGREEK CAPITAL LUNATE SIGMA SYMBOLGREEK LUNATE SIGMA SYMBOL
Encodingsdecimalhexdecimalhexdecimalhexdecimalhexdecimalhex
Unicode931U+03A3963U+03C3962U+03C21017U+03F91010U+03F2
UTF-8206 163CE A3207 131CF 83207 130CF 82207 185CF B9207 178CF B2
Numeric character referenceΣΣσσςςϹϹϲϲ
Named character referenceΣσς
DOS Greek14591169A9170AA
DOS Greek-2207CF236EC237ED
Windows 1253211D3243F3242F2
TeX\Sigma\sigma\varsigma

[7]

CharacterϽͻϾͼϿͽ
Unicode nameGREEK CAPITAL REVERSED LUNATE SIGMA SYMBOLGREEK SMALL REVERSED LUNATE SIGMA SYMBOLGREEK CAPITAL DOTTED LUNATE SIGMA SYMBOLGREEK SMALL DOTTED LUNATE SIGMA SYMBOLGREEK CAPITAL REVERSED DOTTED LUNATE SIGMA SYMBOLGREEK SMALL REVERSED DOTTED LUNATE SIGMA SYMBOL
Encodingsdecimalhexdecimalhexdecimalhexdecimalhexdecimalhexdecimalhex
Unicode1021U+03FD891U+037B1022U+03FE892U+037C1023U+03FF893U+037D
UTF-8207 189CF BD205 187CD BB207 190CF BE205 188CD BC207 191CF BF205 189CD BD
Numeric character referenceϽϽͻͻϾϾͼͼϿϿͽͽ
Coptic Sima
Character
Unicode nameCOPTIC CAPITAL LETTER SIMACOPTIC SMALL LETTER SIMA
Encodingsdecimalhexdecimalhex
Unicode11428U+2CA411429U+2CA5
UTF-8226 178 164E2 B2 A4226 178 165E2 B2 A5
Numeric character referenceⲤⲤⲥⲥ
Mathematical Sigma
Character𝚺𝛔𝛓𝛴𝜎
Unicode nameN-ARY SUMMATIONMATHEMATICAL BOLD
CAPITAL SIGMA
MATHEMATICAL BOLD
SMALL SIGMA
MATHEMATICAL BOLD
SMALL FINAL SIGMA
MATHEMATICAL ITALIC
CAPITAL SIGMA
MATHEMATICAL ITALIC
SMALL SIGMA
Encodingsdecimalhexdecimalhexdecimalhexdecimalhexdecimalhexdecimalhex
Unicode8721U+2211120506U+1D6BA120532U+1D6D4120531U+1D6D3120564U+1D6F4120590U+1D70E
UTF-8226 136 145E2 88 91240 157 154 186F0 9D 9A BA240 157 155 148F0 9D 9B 94240 157 155 147F0 9D 9B 93240 157 155 180F0 9D 9B B4240 157 156 142F0 9D 9C 8E
UTF-168721221155349 57018D835 DEBA55349 57044D835 DED455349 57043D835 DED355349 57076D835 DEF455349 57102D835 DF0E
Numeric character reference∑∑𝚺𝚺𝛔𝛔𝛓𝛓𝛴𝛴𝜎𝜎
Named character reference∑
Character𝜍𝜮𝝈𝝇𝝨
Unicode nameMATHEMATICAL ITALIC
SMALL FINAL SIGMA
MATHEMATICAL BOLD ITALIC
CAPITAL SIGMA
MATHEMATICAL BOLD ITALIC
SMALL SIGMA
MATHEMATICAL BOLD ITALIC
SMALL FINAL SIGMA
MATHEMATICAL SANS-SERIF
BOLD CAPITAL SIGMA
Encodingsdecimalhexdecimalhexdecimalhexdecimalhexdecimalhex
Unicode120589U+1D70D120622U+1D72E120648U+1D748120647U+1D747120680U+1D768
UTF-8240 157 156 141F0 9D 9C 8D240 157 156 174F0 9D 9C AE240 157 157 136F0 9D 9D 88240 157 157 135F0 9D 9D 87240 157 157 168F0 9D 9D A8
UTF-1655349 57101D835 DF0D55349 57134D835 DF2E55349 57160D835 DF4855349 57159D835 DF4755349 57192D835 DF68
Numeric character reference𝜍𝜍𝜮𝜮𝝈𝝈𝝇𝝇𝝨𝝨
Character𝞂𝞁𝞢𝞼𝞻
Unicode nameMATHEMATICAL SANS-SERIF
BOLD SMALL SIGMA
MATHEMATICAL SANS-SERIF
BOLD SMALL FINAL SIGMA
MATHEMATICAL SANS-SERIF
BOLD ITALIC CAPITAL SIGMA
MATHEMATICAL SANS-SERIF
BOLD ITALIC SMALL SIGMA
MATHEMATICAL SANS-SERIF
BOLD ITALIC SMALL FINAL SIGMA
Encodingsdecimalhexdecimalhexdecimalhexdecimalhexdecimalhex
Unicode120706U+1D782120705U+1D781120738U+1D7A2120764U+1D7BC120763U+1D7BB
UTF-8240 157 158 130F0 9D 9E 82240 157 158 129F0 9D 9E 81240 157 158 162F0 9D 9E A2240 157 158 188F0 9D 9E BC240 157 158 187F0 9D 9E BB
UTF-1655349 57218D835 DF8255349 57217D835 DF8155349 57250D835 DFA255349 57276D835 DFBC55349 57275D835 DFBB
Numeric character reference𝞂𝞂𝞁𝞁𝞢𝞢𝞼𝞼𝞻𝞻

These characters are used only as mathematical symbols. Stylized Greek text should be encoded using the normal Greek letters, with markup and formatting to indicate text style.

See also

References

  1. Woodard, Roger D. (2006). "Alphabet". In Wilson, Nigel Guy (ed.). Encyclopedia of ancient Greece. London: Routldedge. p. 38.
  2. "…τὠυτὸ γράμμα, τὸ Δωριέες μὲν σὰν καλέουσι ,Ἴωνες δὲ σίγμα" ('…the same letter, which the Dorians call "san", but the Ionians "sigma"…'; Herodotus, Histories 1.139); cf. Nick Nicholas, Non-Attic letters Archived 2012-06-28 at Archive.today.
  3. Jeffery, Lilian H. (1961). The local scripts of archaic Greece. Oxford: Clarendon. pp. 25–27.
  4. Edward M. Thompson (1912), Introduction to Greek and Latin paleography, Oxford: Clarendon. p. 108, 144
  5. Parthia.com: Numismatica Font Projects.
  6. Hill, A. V. (1935). "Units and Symbols". Nature. 136 (3432): 222. doi:10.1038/136222a0.
  7. Unicode Code Charts: Greek and Coptic (Range: 0370-03FF)
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