Enter the characters you see below Sorry, we just need to make sure you’re not a robot. Jump to navigation Jump to search This article is about the Greek letter. For the mathematical function, see iota clarendon function.
Digamma or wau was part of the original archaic Greek alphabet as initially adopted from Phoenician. 6th position in the alphabet between epsilon and zeta. Digamma or wau is in turn the ancestor of the Latin letter F. Ancient Greek ceramic fragment depicting a horse with rider. Mycenean Greek, as attested in Linear B and archaic Greek inscriptions using digamma. In discussions by ancient Greek grammarians of the Hellenistic era, the letter is therefore often described as a characteristic Aeolian feature. In one local alphabet, that of Pamphylia, this variant form existed side by side with standard digamma as two distinct letters.
Greek numerals attributed to Miletus, where it stood for the number 6, reflecting its original place in the sequence of the alphabet. The alphabet on a black figure vessel, with a square-C digamma. The latter of these two shapes became dominant when used as a numeral, with “F” only very rarely employed in this function. In normal text, this ligature together with numerous others continued to be used widely until the early nineteenth century, following the style of earlier minuscule handwriting, but ligatures then gradually dropped out of use. Distinct uppercase versions were occasionally used in the 19th century.
Latin “f” by having two parallel horizontal strokes like the uppercase character, with the vertical stem often being somewhat slanted to the right or curved, and usually descending below the baseline. Example of a nineteenth-century font using turned-lamedh-shaped capital Koppa and G-shaped capital Stigma. Stigma and Koppa in modern fonts. The symbol has been called by a variety of different names, referring either to its alphabetic or its numeral function or both. This form itself is not historically attested in Greek inscriptions, but the existence of the name can be inferred from descriptions by contemporary Latin grammarians, who render it as vav. In the 19th century, the anglicized form vau was a common name for the symbol ϛ in its numerical function, used by authors who distinguished it both from the alphabetic “digamma” and from ϛ as a στ ligature.
The name digamma was used in ancient Greek and is the most common name for the letter in its alphabetic function today. It literally means “double gamma” and is descriptive of the original letter’s shape. This word was connected to the number “six” through early Christian mystical numerology. The sixth-century treatise About the Mystery of the Letters, which also links the six to Christ, calls the number sign to Episēmon throughout.