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We need something other than iso-8859-1 for this page. How do we do that? Preferably UTF-8...
Joeljkp 15:23, 20 May 2004 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Obsolete letters[edit]

I've separated out the obsolete letters, to avoid confusion. By the way on my browser the digamma and sampi show up only in upper case, and qoppa and san don't show up at all, even with the font specification. rossb 12:52, 10 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Greek alphabet letter images[edit]

Hello! I've added images, sans serif and serif, for all letters of the Greek alphabet. I'm unsure if this can – but should! :) – be incorporated into this table, but I thought it neat to clearly show visitors what each of these letters looked like, as each of the letters for the English alphabet (Latin alphabet) do. Thoughts? Thanks! E Pluribus Anthony 18:38, 29 September 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Can't this template be made smaller? Something like Template:Hebrew alphabet. In my opinion, the current version is too big - it takes up too much space on articles. Latinus 16:35, 18 January 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

It looks fine on my screen. The size is apparently defined by the top image, which is typically no larger than a well-size thumbnail. I'll try to tweak (e.g., use of smaller fonts).
Beyond this, retrofitting it as suggested might be problematic: as with the English template, note that the Greek template includes images, upper/lower case renditions, and (unlike the English one) letter names. Arguably, the Hebrew template should be retrofitted to incorporate more and closely resemble these, not to pare down others to exhibit less. E Pluribus Anthony | talk | 18:34, 29 January 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Table ordering -- across or down?[edit]

Hello. I find the table hard to read; I want to read down the columns, but the table is ordered across the rows. I believe it is generally more common to order items in a table across if the table is wider than it is deep, and order items down if it is deeper than it is wide. Does anyone object to reordering the table so that beta is below alpha instead of beside it? Thanks for your comments. 19:14, 29 January 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Stigma image?[edit]

I don't know a lot about this subject, but I think that it's sure there should be an image from Stigma letter. Why it isn't in the template?

An image is available on the stigma page.

--Nethac DIU 12:09, 12 March 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Table ordering -- across of down? answer[edit]

Now you say that, I think same - maybe we should do a voting about this subject. If there's already a votation, please put a link to it here. --Nethac DIU 12:12, 12 March 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I came here with the same thought - that this current version is clunky and difficult to read. Barring any objections, I'll be bold and rearrange it and see what works. Perhaps something similar to Template:AZ. Thanks! Flcelloguy (A note?) 22:01, 16 March 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Proposed new template[edit]

I made some small changes to the template - its shorter, but not wider, making it simply smaller. No content is changed, except that i added the "lower" case and "upper" case things at the top (to show which is which. The only reason I thought of doing this is that on the page for Mu, the picture could confuse people slightly, because showing capitol Mu and lower mu next to eachother look like "M" and "u" (Mu). When I first saw that I thought it might have just been a title as in "this is the character Mu", but its actually showing the way the capitol and lowercase letters look

Here it is:

upper        lower            upper        lower
Greek alphabet alpha-omega.png
Greek alphabet
Α α Alpha Β β Beta Γ γ Gamma
Δ δ Delta Ε ε Epsilon Ζ ζ Zeta
Η η Eta Θ θ Theta Ι ι Iota
Κ κ Kappa Λ λ Lambda Μ μ Mu
Ν ν Nu Ξ ξ Xi Ο ο Omicron
Π π Pi Ρ ρ Rho Σ σ ς Sigma
Τ τ Tau Υ υ Upsilon Φ φ Phi
Χ χ Chi Ψ ψ Psi Ω ω Omega
obsolete letters
GreekDigamma-01.png Digamma Greek alphabet san.png San Greek alphabet qoppa.png Qoppa
Greek alphabet sampi.png Sampi Greek alphabet stigma.png Stigma Greek alphabet sho.png Sho

Fresheneesz 22:48, 26 March 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I'm just going to replace it till someone changes it back. Fresheneesz 12:10, 29 March 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I've restored the prior template: the revised one looks horrid, IMO, and takes up far too much space horizontally. E Pluribus Anthony | talk | 15:46, 29 March 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
On my browswer, it takes up no more space horizontally and is simply shorter. I don't know why it would be different on yours.Fresheneesz 02:07, 30 March 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It takes up more space horizontally on my monitor (in more than just one resolution) because, in the revised version, the text is spread across three columns, not two. This might not be an issue if we were dealing with the English alphabet (for which letters are simply known, without names alongside), but alas ... E Pluribus Anthony | talk | 02:19, 30 March 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thats interesting, because when I view it, the picture of the letters on top is thing that determines the tables width. Perhaps there would be a way to condense it so it worked on your system too? Fresheneesz 10:34, 30 March 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Lunate sigma[edit]

Do we really need variant forms on the main table? Probably all of them have a variant form of two, only some of which are encoded in unicode. --Ptcamn 11:20, 1 June 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I notice that the lunate sigmas break the layout, so we might want to remove one. But frankly, there is a reason why lunate sigma is encoded in Unicode (as opposed to being considered a font variant). We might consider dropping final sigma instead, which is really just an automatic word-final variant. I wouldn't know that any other Greek letters have true (named) variants. dab () 11:34, 1 June 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
btw, there are in fact encoded variants, such as ϐ, ϑ, ϵ, ϰ, ϱ, ϕ which I wouldn't dream of adding here, precisely because they are just font variants which got their own codepoints merely because of their use as technical/scientific symbols. I am unsure about ϖ. dab () 11:39, 1 June 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
How's lunate sigma not a font variant? The article as it is, at least, doesn't describe any special usages. --Ptcamn 11:44, 1 June 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Lunate sigma is on the verge of belonging to a different alphabet. Are Α and A font variants? "Greek alphabet" conventionally refers to both the Eastern and Western Greek alphabets. In principle, there would be nothing to stop us from cleanly disambiguating them as two different alphabets. I do not suggest that we do that of course, and I recognize this is a minor point. If you don't like it, I won't open an rfar about it :) dab () 11:54, 1 June 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Columns instead of rows[edit]

I saw this template and thought it really needed to read correctly as you go down the columns, rather than across each row. I saw here on the talk page that several people had made this same point before, but nothing had ever been done. So I did it.

I didn't change the "obsolete letters" section; if those should be changed too, that should be easy enough. —Bkell (talk) 20:49, 12 June 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Image parameter[edit]

I've added another parameter to this template, 'image' — it lets one specify the image to be used, in case the default naming convention 'Greek alphabet {{letter}}.png' doesn't apply (such as in Psi, which now uses an svg graphic). ~ Booya Bazooka 02:48, 4 July 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Stigma image[edit]

For some reason, the image for stigma doesn't show up. --WolFox (Talk) Contribs 16:39, 19 November 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Stigma didn't appeared correctly in template. Thus I fixed this image appropiately by replacement: http://wiki.alquds.edu/?query=Image:Stigma_uc_lc.svg Now it displays correctly in template. Wikinger 19:03, 13 July 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

San image[edit]

The letter San was not showing up properly in the table, either in Internet Explorer 7 or in Netscape 7.2. I've replaced it with an image, as used on the Greek version of this table. --rossb 12:27, 14 December 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

And of course the image is not underlined (not linked) which perhaps improves legibility and might be extended to the other letters. I might add that I'm extremely dubious about including the letter Sho, and might make a case for including the ΟΥ ligature instead. --rossb 12:35, 14 December 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Removed image at top of box[edit]

I have removed image at top of box because all of the images are broken on the pages. Note: Most of the Greek Letter pages have the image shown in a separate frame. Thanks, Monkeyblue 02:16, 5 May 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Stigma is not a "letter" -- it's a medieval ligature also used as a number in place of old digamma... AnonMoos (talk) 08:01, 8 September 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Heta redirects to Eta. It makes sense (I think), but having what appear to be separate links that both go to the same place isn't ideal. Voxii (talk) 16:44, 6 March 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Uppercase-only stigma & digamma[edit]

I realize that Future Perfect has been doing a lot of maintenance here--much appreciated! In this edit, however, I disagree with the substitution of images for some of the characters that depend on images. In particular, it seems absurd that stigma and digamma, usually encountered in the real world in their lowercase forms, are here represented only by capitals. I'd prefer to keep both, or, if there is some kind of space issue I don't understand, the lower-case letters only. Wareh (talk) 16:25, 16 August 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Greek alphabet alpha-omega.svg
Greek alphabet
Αα Alpha Νν Nu
Ββ Beta Ξξ Xi
Γγ Gamma Οο Omicron
Δδ Delta Ππ Pi
Εε Epsilon Ρρ Rho
Ζζ Zeta Σσς Sigma
Ηη Eta Ττ Tau
Θθ Theta Υυ Upsilon
Ιι Iota Φφ Phi
Κκ Kappa Χχ Chi
Λλ Lambda Ψψ Psi
Μμ Mu Ωω Omega
Other characters
Ϝϝ Digamma Ϛϛ Stigma
Ͱͱ Heta Ϻϻ San
Ϙϙ Koppa Ͳͳ Sampi
Ϟϟ modern Ϙ Ϡϡ modern Ͳ
Greek diacritics

Should we use Unicode for the "other characters" section? (see right)
I also added lowercase forms of Heta and San, and the uppercase form of Stigma.
I wasn't sure what to do about Koppa (I renamed it from "Qoppa" because that's how it is in Unicode and the article title) and Sampi, as they each have two archaic and two modern forms.
In the current version, Koppa is uppercase archaic, lowercase modern ("Ϙϟ"); and Sampi is lowercase modern, uppercase archaic ("ϡͲ").
As you can see, I decided to separate the archaic and less-significant modern forms, labeling the modern forms as "modern Ϙ/Ͳ."
I'm sure that someone can come up with a better way to separate these forms, or make the way it was in the images make more sense. Doggitydogs (talk) 17:20, 2 August 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Unfortunately, here's how the above displays in the web-browser on my system; I don't have the latest software versions, but I do have the Arial Unicode font...
I think that lower-case forms of most of the "other characters" should be omitted from the template, since they were only added to Unicode somewhat recently, and they often have had very little real use... AnonMoos (talk) 22:44, 2 August 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
In fact all four of these characters which the average reader of ancient texts actually sees on occasion (digamma, stigma, sampi, qoppa) are more commonly used in lower-case. So I say we should keep the images as a kludge before discarding the lower-case. As for your regrettable display result, the problem can only be (1) absence of fonts or (2) old browsing software that will not automatically find the right fonts to display anything covered in your installed fonts. If it's just (1), I think if you install a couple of fonts like New Athenian Unicode and Cardo, you'll have the problem licked. That doesn't mean we can expect the median viewer of this template to go to such lengths, but anyone interested in Greek will benefit from having such fonts installed. (There are better fonts for display purposes, but these stand out for including lots of odd characters.) Wareh (talk) 00:30, 3 August 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
However, in the use of numeral characters, and in actual ancient inscriptions, the distinction of upper-case vs. lower-case was irrelevant, which means that the whole distinction between upper-case vs. lower-case is fairly recent (and in some cases seems to owe as much to Michael Everson as anything -- see http://www.tlg.uci.edu/~opoudjis/unicode/numerals.html ). Also, it's reasonable to expect people to download fonts for certain scripts (such as Cuneiform or Hieroglyphs) which are unlikely to be pre-installed on their system, and without which everything will display as empty boxes or question marks. However, this is much less true for Greek... -- AnonMoos (talk) 01:32, 3 August 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
If we wanted archaic/classical authenticity, we wouldn't be giving lower-case forms at all. But I feel pretty sure that, well before Michael Everson was born, the lower-case forms of these letters were already far more widespread, because the modern editions that printed them as numerals and letters were read (and still are) by many more readers, in many more copies, than facsimiles & faithful transcriptions of ancient inscriptions etc. (the only places to see such typographical rarities as upper-case qoppa and digamma). If Michael Everson's generation was responsible for an appalling barbarism, it was that e.g. we need an upper-case form for stigma. I've never seen upper-case used in an edition for a numeral. Are we misunderstanding each other, or is it clear enough why "lower-case forms...should be omitted" seemed as bizarre to me as I believe it would have seemed to a 1962 version of myself? Wareh (talk) 01:49, 3 August 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Whether the forms that existed before case differentiation should be properly considered upper-case or lower-case is a matter that could be discussed, but in Unicode they seem to have mainly been assimilated to upper-case (whether rightly or wrongly). I still don't think we need to include both upper- and lower-case forms on the template, since the distinction is often semi-artificial or recently-created, and the Unicode-defined lower-case forms will not display on many people's systems... AnonMoos (talk) 07:26, 3 August 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Late comment: about the casing pairs, I largely agree with AnonMoos. Each of these cases is rather different:

  • Digamma has a legitimate, well established tradition of cased typesetting in modern print, and should therefore be presented in both forms.
  • Epigraphical/textual Koppa also has something of a tradition of cased typesetting, but the two forms are essentially identical, differing only in vertical alignment, so listing them both here offers the reader no addition value in recognizing and identifying the letter (which is the only thing this box is made for).
  • The numerals, i.e. stigma, numeric Koppa and numeric Sampi, essentially are lowercase forms, both according to their historical origin and according to their usage in modern print. Separate uppercase forms have been historically marginal and, where they existed, typographically inconsistent. To the extent that there is any coherent, recognizable tradition of uppercase letters at all with any of these, they are again just stretched variants of the lowercase (or, if you will, caseless) default forms. So, again no extra benefit in listing them separately. (The fact that Unicode decided to first define the default/lowercase/caseless forms as "uppercase" codepoints, and then added an extra set of "lowercase" codepoints as an afterthought, causing a chaos of inconsistencies across fonts, doesn't help matters.)
  • Epigraphical Sampi, San, and "Tsan", have never had any tradition of cased typesetting at all. Here, the lowercase versions are purely artifacts of the Unicode encoding process; I have yet to see any of them anywhere in print.

So, to Wareh: no, of course I wouldn't say "lowercase forms should be omitted". But we should still just list one single form for most of these letters – uppercase style where uppercase is the only form in real use, and lowercase style where lowercase is the only form in real use.

About the question of whether to use characters or images, I'm for images, because of the confusion in the fonts. Epigraphic Sampi and Heta were encoded so recently that most systems won't have them; the implementation of numeral Sampi is botched due to Unicode's casing vagaries (old fonts have only the uppercase codepoint, while new fonts have the real thing at the lowercase codepoint and some ugly concoction at the uppercase); implementation of Koppa is botched owing to confusion between epigraphic and numeral forms (see File:Greek Stigma and Koppa font design.svg). Images are the only thing that guarantees readers will see what we want them to see. Fut.Perf. 10:32, 23 September 2011 (UTC) Fut.Perf. 10:32, 23 September 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

By the way, some of the above comments about what will display in people's browsers are now obsolete or semi-obsolete, due to the advent of dynamically-loaded fonts... AnonMoos (talk) 19:31, 20 January 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I see that this oddity was included in the template in 2006. Is it correct to exclude it at this point?
Varlaam (talk) 21:43, 10 August 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

User:Wikinger/CBMIBM (now banned) attached great theological significance to it, but it was never actually used in Greece or to write the Greek language, so it's difficult to see why it has greater claim to inclusion than the Coptic letters do... AnonMoos (talk) 01:44, 11 August 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I don't have a personal stand either way. But if I might play devil's advocate for a moment.
Looking at a different alphabet, we have "Russian" vs. "Cyrillic" where Russian can be narrowly inclusive and "Cyrillic" can be broadly inclusive, with all the assorted oddities.
In our present case, we happen to call these two variants "Greek" and "Greek", don't we?
So you are favouring Greek (narrow) over Greek (broad).
Is there a case for set and subset?
Is there a reason to have a distinct Greek (broad) template that invokes Greek (narrow)?
I happen to have looked at this template a number of times over the past few years since I think it's rather interesting, so I was surprised today while looking at Thorn (letter) to suddenly discover yet another "Greek" letter.
Eureka!™ if I might coin an expression here.
Devilishly advocating whilst expressing no opinion whatsoever, Varlaam (talk) 03:22, 11 August 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
However endearing some of the "extras" may be, useful prioritizing means that everything outside the Ionian 24 must be subordinated to the Ionian 24, and things that are only of real interest to a rather small number of scholars must not be given undue prominence. Again, Coptic (which is still the liturgical language for 10% of the population of Egypt today) would seem to have far greater claims than sho (which is basically only attested on some coins of a 2000 year-old dynasty), so I'm not sure why sho is being pushed ahead of Coptic if you're interested in "Greater Greek script"... AnonMoos (talk) 04:25, 11 August 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I agree the Coptic symbols are much more interesting. But we don't currently have individual character articles for them anyway (and we wouldn't have "Sho" either, if it hadn't been for W., of course.) What we could do is include links not to the individual letters, but to articles on the scripts. Something like: "Use in other languages: Bactrian  · Coptic  · Albanian". How about that? Fut.Perf. 11:49, 23 September 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Graphics versus Unicode chars, again[edit]

About this [1] recent edit, inserting standard Unicode characters in place of the inline graphics we used previously for the archaic characters: while I can obviously see the motivation behind this change, are we really certain this will now be okay for our readers? The last time I looked (in 2011), there seemed to be still some massive problems about font coverage on common computer systems, making textual characters problematic:

  1. Archaic epigraphic "sampi" (U+0372, Ͳ), "heta" (U+0370, Ͱ) and "tsan" (U+0376, Ͷ) were only added to Unicode in 2008 and were not yet widely supported in 2011 except in some rare specialist fonts. Has this changed significantly by now? Moreover, in almost all fonts I've seen, "tsan" is significantly ugly (historically, it should not be a straight reverse N as usually shown, but slanted as in Greek Sigma 01.svg.)
  2. The two shapes of Koppa were still not reliably distinguished in widely available and popular Greek fonts. Even though the "epigraphic" set of codepoints has been officially around in Unicode since 2002, many fonts were still showing "epigraphic" (closed) glyphs at the codepoint(s) were the numeral (lightning-bolt-shaped) glyph should be.
  3. Lower-case "digamma" (ϝ) tends to be uɡly in many existing fonts. The glyph I'm seeing right now (with a long s-curved shape, similar to a crossed "∫") is very much not the kind of glyph that you'll find in older printed works, where something like Digamma et stigma.png is much more likely.

How reliably can we make readers see what we want them to see? Fut.Perf. 14:02, 25 July 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I'd rather we've all of them in epigraphic form (images). Serif sampi, heta and tsan (reverse N) look hideous. — Lfdder (talk) 14:44, 25 July 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Are you calling Arial and Times New Roman “specialist”? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Ï¿½ (talkcontribs) 14:36, 2 August 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Since when have those fonts had these characters, and what percentage of our readers' machines can we assume are by now properly equipped with them? Please see a few threads further up here, where one of our most regular editors in this topic area reported that he was seeing question marks on his computer, just two years ago. Fut.Perf. 14:40, 2 August 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Please see version history and distribution table of Arial font across various MS products here: [2]. If I'm not quite mistaken, Windows XP shipped with versions of these fonts that still didn't have these characters. According to our Windows XP article, market share of Windows XP computers was still around 37% some time earlier this year. Fut.Perf. 14:49, 2 August 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Sidebar or infobox[edit]

I recently became aware of a problem arising out of the use of this template. It is a sidebar, so it's not displayed on mobile view. This shouldn't normally be an issue because sidebars only provide links to related topics, and so are not essential for understanding the article they appear on. The trouble is that in addition to links to related articles, this template does provide one essential bit of content – the image of the letter. So anyone who access articles on Greek letters on a mobile (that's about one out of two readers), will not be able to see how these letters look. We need to move the image out of this template and display it either on its own, or as part of a newly added instance of {{infobox grapheme}} (as is done for example at Q). – Uanfala (talk) 02:39, 18 April 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Thanks for bringing this up. Personally, I'd be quite strongly opposed to using {{infobox grapheme}}, which is one of the most ill-designed, most cluttered and least readable infoboxes I've encountered (at least the way it's been implemented for the Latin letters, Q being an illustrative example of how utterly horrible it is). I wouldn't mind moving the image to just an old-fashioned standalone image above the box. Or could we just redefine the box formatting to use the "infobox" rather than the "sidebar" class, so it would simply behave like an infobox? Finally, I'm not sure if the image as such is really such an "essential bit of content" – all of the articles naturally contain the character in question right at the beginning of the lead sentence, where it should be accessible to all readers, just not quite as large as in the image. Fut.Perf. 10:58, 18 April 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Graphics vs Unicode, episode 3 (November 2021)[edit]

The discussions above on graphics vs Unicode are about 10 years old; at this point I expect every significant browser / OS pair to have support for archaic Greek letters, so I think we should make the change.

I've made a copy of the template with Unicode letters so people can preview the change. MattF (talk) 17:12, 29 November 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I've made the chanɡe, for now, thouɡh I'm still a bit skeptical whether this is going to get correct output for all readers. Unfortunately there's probably no way of knowing, unless people complain. Fut.Perf. 08:25, 30 November 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thank you! MattF (talk) 02:46, 3 December 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Semi-protected edit request on 25 January 2023 - fix Greek Stigma incorrectly labelled as Digamma[edit]

ϛ (6) + 2604:3D09:1482:200:9947:A1C1:D878:E79D (talk) 09:59, 25 January 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • Thanks for flagging this, but  Not done, using the digamma article as the link target for that entry was actually intentional. The stigma (ligature) article is about the use of the identical-looking sign as a graphical ligature for σ+τ; its use as a numeral is covered primarily under digamma. (There once was a discussion if those two article shouldn't actually be merged, which I was in favour of, but some other editors weren't.) Fut.Perf. 10:14, 25 January 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]