Consistent shape in all ancient cities
of the Western-Eastern
greek alphabet groups.
The northsemitic shape looked like W
. In the greek alphabet it rotated to Σ
. In very few cities sigma was represented by a letter called σαν (san)
which looked exactly like M
. By c.400 a.e.v.
sigma took its final shape Σ at all greek city-states.
ABOUT FINAL SIGMA:
The final < ς >
was a later calligraphic version, when an S was the last letter of a word. At a first phase, they used it here and there, and gradually, at all s-ending words (as we do today in modern greek). In old, mediaeval manuscripts it may be marked also within composed words (as the final letter of the first word) as in: ειςβάλλω = εισβάλλω < εις+βάλλω (= I go in, attack, invade)
The final s, also stands for number 6. (see digamma, stigma
Also, the 'lunate sigma'
(it looks like the third letter of the latin alphabet) C
was used instead of Σ,σ,ς (in the byzantine manuscripts, and today as a calligraphic variety, especially by the church).
Pronounced [z] before voiced consonants [v,γ,δ,m]: ]=<B,Γ,Δ,M> and pronounced [s] in all other cases. Note, that the sh
postalveolar sound: [ ʃ
] as in shop
, does not exist in greek.
From northsemitic (phoenician): šin or šyin = tooth (was pronounced as in shop
In few cities, the double ΣΣ
was represented as a T
. This gradually took the form of a rotated Pi Π
that was used to represent number 900. In the byzantine
times it took the name σαμπεί
from: «ως αν πει» → «σαν πι» (=as though -it was- Pi) [san
] → [san`pi] → [sam`pi] → [sam`bi]
: gre: (στίγμα [`stiγma]
is a combination of letters sigma and tau < στ'
> that stands for number 6, exactly as final < ς'
> does too. (see digamma, stigma
COMBINATIONS: TΣ [ts]
: sometimes double occurrence within a word. <σσ> was pronounced [ss] till middle times. Not pronounced as double in modern greek.
MORE GREEK WORDS STARTING WITH SIGMA
•συν=plus-syn(thesis)-sy(stem) συν+λαβή= συλλαβή = syllable
•σάτιρα = satire
•σχίσμα = schism
- about sampi