Koppa or qoppa is a letter, used in early forms of the Greek alphabet, derived from Phoenician qoph. It was used to denote the /k/ sound, but dropped out of use as an alphabetic character in favor of Kappa, it has remained in use as a numeral symbol in the system of Greek numerals, although with a modified shape. Koppa is the source of Latin Q, as well as the Cyrillic numeral sign of the same name. In Phoenician, qoph was pronounced. In this function, it was borrowed into the Italic alphabets and into Latin. However, as the sound /k/ had two redundant spellings, koppa was replaced by kappa in Greek, it remained in use as a letter in some Doric regions into the 5th century BC. The koppa was used as a symbol for the city of Corinth, which had the early spelling of Ϙόρινθος. Koppa remained in use in the system of Milesian Greek numerals, where it had the value of 90, it has continued to be used in this function into modern times, though its shape has changed over time. In the Greek cursive script, the Q-like shape with a closed circle on top was broken up at the side or at the top.
These are the shapes in which it was borrowed into the early Cyrillic alphabet, as well as into Gothic, in both cases with the same numeric function. In the Coptic script, the identical-looking sign ϥ is used as a numeral for 90, although as an alphabetic letter it has an unrelated sound value, /f/, derived from Egyptian demotic. In minuscule handwriting, the shape changed further into a simple zigzag line. Modern typography of the numeral Koppa has most employed some version of the Z-shaped character, it may appear in several variants: as a simple geometrical lightning-bolt shape. Other variants common in older print include shapes based on the open uncial form; some of these shapes may be indistinguishable from realizations of the other Greek numeral, Stigma, in other fonts. Koppa has sometimes been replaced by a lowercase Latin "q", a mirrored uppercase "P", or a "5" turned upside down; as with the numeral usage of stigma and Sampi, modern typographical practice does not observe a contrast between uppercase and lowercase forms for numeric koppa.
The Unicode character encoding standard had only a single code point for Koppa, marked as uppercase and could be used either for an epigraphic or a numeral glyph, depending on font design. A lowercase form was encoded in version 3.0. A second pair of code points for the original closed epigraphical shape was introduced in version 3.2. This left the older two code points to cover the numeral glyphs; as of 2010, coverage of these code points in common computer fonts is therefore still inconsistent: while the most used version of the numeral glyph will be located at the lowercase code point U+03DF in recent fonts, older fonts may either have no character at all or a version of the closed epigraphic form at that position. Conversely, older fonts may have the numeral glyph at the uppercase code point, while this position may be filled with any of several less common glyphs in newer ones. Since there had never been a consistent typographic tradition for a uppercase numeral koppa, the typographer Yannis Haralambous proposed two new variants for it, noting that he himself found them not "entirely satisfactory".
A serifed version similar to his koppa was adopted as the reference glyph for the Unicode code charts, along with a lowercase form with heavy curved arms and pointed angles:. Some current Unicode fonts have adopted these new shapes, while many font designers have opted for some combination of the more traditional glyphs, including the uncial and the lamedh-shaped ones. Powell, Barry B.. Homer and the Origin of the Greek Alphabet. New York: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-37157-0. Threatte, Leslie; the Grammar of Attic Inscriptions. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter. ISBN 3-11-007344-7. Woodard, Roger D.. Greek Writing from Knossos to Homer. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-510520-6. Koppa Koppa
The Ancient Greek language includes the forms of Greek used in Ancient Greece and the ancient world from around the 9th century BCE to the 6th century CE. It is roughly divided into the Archaic period, Classical period, Hellenistic period, it is succeeded by medieval Greek. Koine is regarded as a separate historical stage of its own, although in its earliest form it resembled Attic Greek and in its latest form it approaches Medieval Greek. Prior to the Koine period, Greek of the classic and earlier periods included several regional dialects. Ancient Greek was the language of Homer and of fifth-century Athenian historians and philosophers, it has contributed many words to English vocabulary and has been a standard subject of study in educational institutions of the Western world since the Renaissance. This article contains information about the Epic and Classical periods of the language. Ancient Greek was a pluricentric language, divided into many dialects; the main dialect groups are Attic and Ionic, Aeolic and Doric, many of them with several subdivisions.
Some dialects are found in standardized literary forms used in literature, while others are attested only in inscriptions. There are several historical forms. Homeric Greek is a literary form of Archaic Greek used in the epic poems, the "Iliad" and "Odyssey", in poems by other authors. Homeric Greek had significant differences in grammar and pronunciation from Classical Attic and other Classical-era dialects; the origins, early form and development of the Hellenic language family are not well understood because of a lack of contemporaneous evidence. Several theories exist about what Hellenic dialect groups may have existed between the divergence of early Greek-like speech from the common Proto-Indo-European language and the Classical period, they differ in some of the detail. The only attested dialect from this period is Mycenaean Greek, but its relationship to the historical dialects and the historical circumstances of the times imply that the overall groups existed in some form. Scholars assume that major Ancient Greek period dialect groups developed not than 1120 BCE, at the time of the Dorian invasion—and that their first appearances as precise alphabetic writing began in the 8th century BCE.
The invasion would not be "Dorian" unless the invaders had some cultural relationship to the historical Dorians. The invasion is known to have displaced population to the Attic-Ionic regions, who regarded themselves as descendants of the population displaced by or contending with the Dorians; the Greeks of this period believed there were three major divisions of all Greek people—Dorians and Ionians, each with their own defining and distinctive dialects. Allowing for their oversight of Arcadian, an obscure mountain dialect, Cypriot, far from the center of Greek scholarship, this division of people and language is quite similar to the results of modern archaeological-linguistic investigation. One standard formulation for the dialects is: West vs. non-west Greek is the strongest marked and earliest division, with non-west in subsets of Ionic-Attic and Aeolic vs. Arcadocypriot, or Aeolic and Arcado-Cypriot vs. Ionic-Attic. Non-west is called East Greek. Arcadocypriot descended more from the Mycenaean Greek of the Bronze Age.
Boeotian had come under a strong Northwest Greek influence, can in some respects be considered a transitional dialect. Thessalian had come under Northwest Greek influence, though to a lesser degree. Pamphylian Greek, spoken in a small area on the southwestern coast of Anatolia and little preserved in inscriptions, may be either a fifth major dialect group, or it is Mycenaean Greek overlaid by Doric, with a non-Greek native influence. Most of the dialect sub-groups listed above had further subdivisions equivalent to a city-state and its surrounding territory, or to an island. Doric notably had several intermediate divisions as well, into Island Doric, Southern Peloponnesus Doric, Northern Peloponnesus Doric; the Lesbian dialect was Aeolic Greek. All the groups were represented by colonies beyond Greece proper as well, these colonies developed local characteristics under the influence of settlers or neighbors speaking different Greek dialects; the dialects outside the Ionic group are known from inscriptions, notable exceptions being: fragments of the works of the poet Sappho from the island of Lesbos, in Aeolian, the poems of the Boeotian poet Pindar and other lyric poets in Doric.
After the conquests of Alexander the Great in the late 4th century BCE, a new international dialect known as Koine or Common Greek developed based on Attic Greek, but with influence from other dialects. This dialect replaced most of the older dialects, although Doric dialect has survived in the Tsakonian language, spoken in the region of modern Sparta. Doric has passed down its aorist terminations into most verbs of Demotic Greek. By about the 6th century CE, the Koine had metamorphosized into Medieval Greek. Ancient Macedonian was an Indo-European language at least related to Greek, but its exact relationship is unclear because of insufficient data: a dialect of Greek; the Macedonian dialect (or l
Archaic Greek alphabets
Many local variants of the Greek alphabet were employed in ancient Greece during the archaic and early classical periods, until they were replaced by the classical 24-letter alphabet, the standard today, around 400 BC. All forms of the Greek alphabet were based on the shared inventory of the 22 symbols of the Phoenician alphabet, with the exception of the letter Samekh, whose Greek counterpart Xi was used only in a sub-group of Greek alphabets, with the common addition of Upsilon for the vowel /u, ū/; the local, so-called epichoric, alphabets differed in many ways: in the use of the consonant symbols Χ, Φ and Ψ. The system now familiar as the standard 24-letter Greek alphabet was the regional variant of the Ionian cities in Asia Minor, it was adopted in Athens in 403 BC and in most of the rest of the Greek world by the middle of the 4th century BC. A basic division into four major types of epichoric alphabets is made according to their different treatment of additional consonant letters for the aspirated consonants and consonant clusters of Greek.
These four types are conventionally labelled as "green", "red", "light blue" and "dark blue" types, based on a colour-coded map in a seminal 19th-century work on the topic, Studien zur Geschichte des griechischen Alphabets by Adolf Kirchhoff. The "green" type is closest to the Phoenician; the "red" type is the one, transmitted to the West and became the ancestor of the Latin alphabet, bears some crucial features characteristic of that development. The "blue" type is the one from which the standard Greek alphabet emerged. *Upsilon is derived from waw. The "green" type uses no additional letters beyond the Phoenician set, also goes without Ξ. Thus, the aspirated plosives /pʰ/, /kʰ/ are spelled either as Π and Κ without a distinction from unaspirated /p/, /k/, or as digraphs ΠΗ, ΚΗ; the clusters /ps/, /ks/ are spelled ΠΣ, ΚΣ. This is the system found in Crete and in some other islands in the southern Aegean, notably Thera and Anaphe; the "red" type lacks Phoenician-derived Ξ for /ks/, but instead introduces a supplementary sign for that sound combination at the end of the alphabet, Χ.
In addition, the red alphabet introduced letters for the aspirates, Φ = /pʰ/ and Ψ = /kʰ/. Note that the use of Χ in the "red" set corresponds to the letter "X" in Latin, while it differs from the standard Greek alphabet, where Χ stands for /kʰ/, Ψ stands for /ps/. Only Φ for /pʰ/ is common to all non-green alphabets; the red type is found in most parts of central mainland Greece, as well as the island of Euboea, in colonies associated with these places, including most colonies in Italy. The "light blue" type still lacks Ξ, adds only letters for /pʰ/ and /kʰ/. Both of these correspond to the modern standard alphabet; the light blue system thus still has no separate letters for the clusters /ps/, /ks/. In this system, these are spelled ΦΣ and ΧΣ, respectively; this is the system found in several Aegean islands. The "dark blue" type is the one that has all the consonant symbols of the modern standard alphabet: in addition to Φ and Χ, it adds Ψ, Ξ; this system is found in the cities of the Ionian dodecapolis, Knidos in Asia Minor, in Corinth and Argos on the northeastern Peloponnese.
The letter eta had two different functions, both derived from the name of its Phoenician model, hēth: the majority of Greek dialects continued to use it for the consonant /h/, similar to its Phoenician value. However, the consonant /h/ was progressively lost from the spoken language, in those dialects where this had happened early on in the archaic period, Η was instead used to denote the long vowel /ɛː/, which occurred next in its name and was thus, in the /h/-less dialects, its natural acrophonic value. Early psilotic dialects include eastern Ionic Greek, the Aeolic Greek of Lesbos, as well as the Doric Greek of Crete and ElisThe distribution of vocalic Η and Ε differs further between dialects, because the Greek language had a system of three distinct e-like phonemes: the long open-mid /ɛː/, the long close-mid /eː/, the short vowel /e/. In the psilotic dialects of Anatolia and adjacent eastern Aegean islands, as well as Crete, vocalic Η was used only for /ɛː/. In a number of Aegean islands, notably Rhodes, Milos and Paros, it was used both for /h/ and for /ɛː/ without distinction.
In Knidos, a variant letter was invented to distinguish the two functions: Η was used for /h/, for /ɛː/. In south Italian colonies Taranto, after c. 400 BC, a similar distinction was made between Η for /ɛː/, for /h/. This latter symbol was turned into the diacritic sign for rough breathing by the Alexandrine grammarians. In Naxos the system was different: here, the same letter was used for /h/ and for a long vowel, but only in those cases where a long e-like sound had
History of the Greek alphabet
The history of the Greek alphabet starts with the adoption of Phoenician letter forms and continues to the present day. The Greek alphabet postdates Linear B, the syllabic script, used for writing Mycenaean Greek, by several centuries; this article concentrates on the early period, before the codification of the now-standard Greek alphabet. The Phoenician alphabet was speaking one, explicit only about consonants, though by the 9th century BC it had developed matres lectionis to indicate some final, vowels; this arrangement is much less suitable for Greek than for Semitic languages, these matres lectionis, as well as several Phoenician letters which represented consonants not present in Greek, were adapted according to the acrophonic principle to represent Greek vowels if not unambiguously. The Greek alphabet was developed by a Greek with first-hand experience of contemporary Phoenician script; as as it was established in the Greek mainland, it was re-exported, eastwards to Phrygia, where a similar script was devised.
It was exported westwards with Euboean or West Greek traders, where the Etruscans adapted the Greek alphabet to their own language, which led to the Latin alphabet. Most specialists believe that the Phoenician alphabet was adopted for Greek during the early 8th century BC in Euboea; the earliest known fragmentary Greek inscriptions date from this time, 770–750 BC, they match Phoenician letter forms of c. 800–750 BC. The oldest substantial texts known to date are the Dipylon inscription and the text on the so-called Cup of Nestor, both dated to the late 8th century BC, inscriptions of personal ownership and dedications to a god. Tradition recounts that a daughter of a certain Agamemnon, king of Aeolian Cyme, married a Phrygian king called Midas; this link may have facilitated the Greeks "borrowing" their alphabet from the Phrygians because the Phrygian letter shapes are closest to the inscriptions from Aeolis. Some scholars argue for earlier dates: Naveh for the 11th century BC, Stieglitz for the 14th century, Bernal for the 18th–13th century, some for the 9th, but none of these are accepted.
According to legends recounted by Herodotus, the alphabet was first introduced to Greece by a Phoenician named Cadmus: The Phoenicians who came with Cadmus—amongst whom were the Gephyraei—introduced into Greece, after their settlement in the country, a number of accomplishments, of which the most important was writing, an art till I think, unknown to the Greeks. At first they used the same characters as all the other Phoenicians, but as time went on, they changed their language, they changed the shape of their letters. At that period most of the Greeks in the neighbourhood were Ionians; the Ionians call paper'skins'—a survival from antiquity when paper was hard to get, they did use goat and sheep skins to write on. Indeed today many foreign peoples use this material. In the temple of Ismenian Apollo at Theba in Boeotia I have myself seen cauldrons with inscriptions cut on them in Cadmean characters—most of them not different from the Ionian. Herodotus estimates that Cadmus lived sixteen hundred years earlier, or around 2000 BC.
He had seen and described the Cadmean writing engraved on certain tripods in the temple of Apollo at Thebes. He estimated that those tripods dated back to the time of the great-grandson of Cadmus. On one of the tripods there was this inscription in Cadmean writing, which as he attested, resembled Ionian letters: Ἀμφιτρύων μ᾽ ἀνέθηκ᾽ ἐνάρων ἀπὸ Τηλεβοάων. A second tripod bears the inscription in hexameter verse: Σκαῖος πυγμαχέων με ἑκηβόλῳ Ἀπόλλωνι νικήσας ἀνέθηκε τεῒν περικαλλὲς ἄγαλμα.. Herodotus estimated that if Scaeus, the son of Hippocoon was the dedicator and not another of the same name, he would have lived at the time of Oedipus; the third tripod bears the inscription again in hexameter verse: Λαοδάμας τρίποδ᾽ αὐτὸς ἐυσκόπῳ Ἀπόλλωνι μουναρχέων ἀνέθηκε τεῒν περικαλλὲς ἄγαλμα.. Hyginus recounts the following legend about the introduction of Phoenician letters to Greece: The three Fates created the first five vowels of the alphabet and the letters B and T, it is said that son of Nauplius invented the remaining eleven consonants.
Hermes reduced these sounds to characters, showing wedge shapes because cranes fly in wedge formation and carried the system from Greece to Egypt*. This was the Pelasgian alphabet, which Cadmus had brought to Boeotia Evander of Arcadia, a Pelasgian, introduced into Italy, where his mother, formed the familiar fifteen characters of the Latin alphabet. Other consonants have since been added to the Greek alphabet. Alpha was the first of eighteen letters, because alphe means honor, alphainein is to invent; some ancient Greek scholars argued that the Greek alphabet should not be attributed to the Phoenician alphabet. Diodorus Siculus in his Historical Library, Book 5, suggests that the Phoenicians changed the form and shape of earlier letters: But there are some who attribute the invention of letters to the Syrians, from whom the Phoenicians learned them and communicated them to the Greeks when they came with Cadmus into Europe.
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 extensively in minuscule writing. There were dozens of conventional ligatures; some of them stood for frequent letter combinations, some for inflectional endings of words, 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, those of Claude Garamond in Paris, who created the influential Grecs du roi typeface in 1541. However, the use of ligatures declined during the 17th and 18th centuries and became 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, the abbreviation ϗ for καὶ, which resembles a κ with a downward stroke on the right.
The ου ligature is still used in decorative writing, while the καὶ abbreviation has some limited usage in functions similar to the Latin ampersand. Another ligature, frequent in early modern printing is a ligature of Ο with ς 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. In the modern computer encoding standard Unicode, the abbreviation ϗ has been encoded since version 3.0 of the standard. An uppercase version Ϗ was added in version 5.1. A lower and upper case "stigma", designed for its numeric use, is encoded in Unicode. Letters derived from the ου ligature exist for use in Latin, 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, or with simpler but non-standardized methods of glyph-by-glyph encoding.
Greek digraphsLatin and Cyrillic Ou digraphs iota adscript, written with a ligatured iota: ᾼ iota subscript written with a ligatured iota: ᾳ Tau-Rho Chi-Rho
Attic Greek is the Greek dialect of the ancient city-state of Athens. Of the ancient dialects, it is the most similar to Greek and is the standard form of the language, studied in ancient Greek language courses. Attic Greek is sometimes included in the Ionic dialect. Together and Ionic are the primary influences on Modern Greek. Greek is the primary member of the Hellenic branch of the Indo-European language family. In ancient times, Greek had come to exist in several dialects, one of, Attic; the earliest attestations of Greek, dating from the 16th to 11th centuries BC, are written in Linear B, an archaic writing system used by the Mycenaean Greeks in writing their language. Mycenaean Greek represents an early form of Eastern Greek, the group to which Attic belongs. Greek literature wrote about three main dialects: Aeolic and Ionic. "Old Attic" is used in reference to the dialect of Thucydides and the dramatists of 5th-century Athens whereas "New Attic" is used for the language of writers following conventionally the accession in 285 BC of Greek-speaking Ptolemy II to the throne of the Kingdom of Egypt.
Ruling from Alexandria, Ptolemy launched the Alexandrian period, during which the city of Alexandria and its expatriate Greek-medium scholars flourished. The original range of the spoken Attic dialect included Attica and a number of the central Cyclades islands; the texts of literary Attic were studied far beyond their homeland: first in the classical civilizations of the Mediterranean, including in Ancient Rome and the larger Hellenistic world, in the Muslim world and other parts of the world touched by those civilizations. The earliest Greek literature, attributed to Homer and is dated to the 8th or 7th centuries BC, is written in "Old Ionic" rather than Attic. Athens and its dialect remained obscure until the establishment of its democracy following the reforms of Solon in the 6th century BC: so began the classical period, one of great Athenian influence both in Greece and throughout the Mediterranean; the first extensive works of literature in Attic are the plays of the dramatists Aeschylus, Sophocles and Aristophanes dating from the 5th century BC.
The military exploits of the Athenians led to some universally read and admired history, as found in the works of Thucydides and Xenophon. Less known because they are more technical and legal are the orations by Antiphon, Lysias and many others; the Attic Greek of the philosophers Plato and his student Aristotle dates to the period of transition between Classical Attic and Koine. Students who learn Ancient Greek begin with the Attic dialect and continue, depending upon their interests, to the Koine of the New Testament and other early Christian writings, to the earlier Homeric Greek of Homer and Hesiod, or to the contemporaneous Ionic Greek of Herodotus and Hippocrates. Attic Greek, like other dialects, was written in a local variant of the Greek alphabet. According to the classification of archaic Greek alphabets, introduced by Adolf Kirchhoff, the old-Attic system belongs to the "eastern" or "blue" type, as it uses the letters Ψ and Χ with their classical values, unlike "western" or "red" alphabets, which used Χ for /ks/ and expressed /kʰ/ with Ψ.
In other respects, Old Attic shares many features with the neighbouring Euboean alphabet. Like the latter, it used an S-shaped variant of sigma, it lacked the consonant symbols xi for /ks/ and psi for /ps/, expressing these sound combinations with ΧΣ and ΦΣ respectively. Moreover, like most other mainland Greek dialects, Attic did not yet use omega and eta for the long vowels /ɔː/ and /ɛː/. Instead, it expressed the vowel phonemes /o, oː, ɔː/ with the letter Ο and /e, eː, ɛː/ with the letter Ε. Moreover, the letter Η was used as heta, with the consonantal value of /h/ rather than the vocalic value of /ɛː/. In the 5th century, Athenian writing switched from this local system to the more used Ionic alphabet, native to the eastern Aegean islands and Asia Minor. By the late 5th century, the concurrent use of elements of the Ionic system with the traditional local alphabet had become common in private writing, in 403 BC, it was decreed that public writing would switch to the new Ionic orthography, as part of the reform following the Thirty Tyrants.
This new system called the "Eucleidian" alphabet, after the name of the archon Eucleides, who oversaw the decision, was to become the Classical Greek alphabet throughout the Greek-speaking world. The classical works of Attic literature were subsequently handed down to posterity in the new Ionic spelling, it is the classical orthography in which they are read today. Proto-Greek long ā → Attic long ē, but ā after e, i, r. ⁓ Ionic ē in all positions. ⁓ Doric and Aeolic ā in all positions. Proto-Greek and Doric mātēr → Attic mētēr "mother" Attic chōrā ⁓ Ionic chōrē "place", "country"However, Proto-Greek ā → Attic ē after w, deleted by the Classical Period. Proto-Greek korwā → early Attic-Ionic *korwē → Attic korē Proto-Greek ă → Attic ě. ⁓ Doric: ă remains. Doric Artamis ⁓ Attic Artemis Compensatory lengthening
Theta is the eighth letter of the Greek alphabet, derived from the Phoenician letter Teth. In the system of Greek numerals it has the value 9. In Ancient Greek, θ represented the aspirated voiceless dental plosive /t̪ʰ/, but in Modern Greek it represents the voiceless dental fricative /θ/. In its archaic form, θ was written as a cross within a circle, as a line or point in circle. Archaic crossed forms of theta are seen in the wheel letters of Linear A and Linear B; the cursive form ϑ was retained by Unicode as U+03D1 ϑ "GREEK THETA SYMBOL", separate from U+03B8 θ "GREEK SMALL LETTER THETA". For the purpose of writing Greek text, the two can be font variants of a single character, but θ and ϑ are used as distinct symbols in technical and mathematical contexts. In Latin script used for the Gaulish language, theta developed into the tau gallicum, conventionally transliterated as Ð, although the bar extends across the centre of the letter; the phonetic value of the tau gallicum is thought to have been.
The early Cyrillic letter fita developed from θ. This letter existed in the Russian alphabet until the 1918 Russian orthography reform. In the International Phonetic Alphabet, represents the voiceless dental fricative, as in thick or thin, it does not represent the consonant in the, the voiced dental fricative. A similar-looking symbol, described as a lowercase barred o, indicates in the IPA a close-mid central rounded vowel; the lowercase letter θ is used as a symbol for: A plane angle in geometry An unknown variable in trigonometry A special function of several complex variables One of the Chebyshev functions in prime number theory The potential temperature in meteorology The score of a test taker in item response theory Theta Type Replication: a type of bacterial DNA replication specific to circular chromosomes Threshold value of an artificial neuron A Bayer designation letter applied to a star in a constellation. According to Porphyry of Tyros, the Egyptians used an X within a circle as a symbol of the soul.
Johannes Lydus says that the Egyptians used a symbol for Kosmos in the form of theta, with a fiery circle representing the world, a snake spanning the middle representing Agathos Daimon. The Egyptians used the symbol of a point within a circle to represent the sun, which might be a possible origin of its use as the Sun's astrological glyph, it is worthwhile to note that θῆτα has the same numerical value in isopsephy as Ηλιος: 318. In classical Athens, it was used as an abbreviation for the Greek θάνατος and as it vaguely resembles a human skull, theta was used as a warning symbol of death, in the same way that skull and crossbones are used in modern times, it survives on potsherds used by Athenians. Petrus de Dacia in a document from 1291 relates the idea that theta was used to brand criminals as empty ciphers, the branding rod was affixed to the crossbar spanning the circle. For this reason, use of the number theta was sometimes avoided where the connotation was felt to be unlucky—the mint marks of some Late Imperial Roman coins famously have the sum ΔΕ or ΕΔ substituted as a euphemism where a Θ would otherwise be expected.
Greek ThetaCoptic ThetheCyrillic FitaMathematical ThetaThese 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. Ѳ, ѳ—Fita, a letter of the early Cyrillic alphabet derived from the Greek theta ʘ—Bilabial click Voiceless dental fricative Theta nigrum