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San (letter)

San (Ϻ) was an archaic letter of the Greek alphabet. Its shape was similar to modern M or Mu, or to a modern Greek Sigma (Σ) turned sideways, and it was used as an alternative to Sigma to denote the sound/s/. Unlike Sigma, whose position in the alphabet is between Rho and Tau, San appeared between Pi and Qoppa in alphabetic order. In addition to denoting this separate archaic character, the name San was also used as an alternative name to denote the standard letter Sigma.

Use of San in archaic Corinthian script: incised shard with a list of names, c.700 BC. The text reads:

]........ΑΝΤΑΣ:ΧΑ.[
]....ΚΕΑΣ:ΑΝΓΑΡΙΟΣ[
]...ΑΥϜΙΟΣ:ΣΟΚΛΕΣ:[
].ΤΙΔΑΣ:ΑΜΥΝΤΑΣ[
]ΤΟΙ ΜΑΛΕϘΟ:ΚΑΙ.[

Note the use of San at the end of most names, and the difference between San and Mu (with a shorter right stem, ) in the word "ΑΜΥΝΤΑΣ".
Use of San in archaic Sicyonian writing: shard incised with the dedicatory inscription "ΗΕΡΟΟΣ" (classic Greek spelling Ἥρωος, "of the Hero"), using San together with consonantal H and a characteristic Sikyonian X-shaped form of Epsilon.

Contents

Sigma and san

The existence of the two competing letters Sigma and San is traditionally believed to have been due to confusion during the adoption of the Greek alphabet from the Phoenician script, because Phoenician had more sibilant sounds than Greek had. According to one theory,: 25–27 the distribution of the sibilant letters in Greek is due to pair-wise confusion between the sounds and alphabet positions of the four Phoenician sibilant signs: Greek Sigma got its shape and alphabetic position from Phoenician Šin (), but its name and sound value from Phoenician Samekh. Conversely, Greek Xi (Ξ) got its shape and position from Samekh (), but its name and sound value from Šin. The same kind of pair-wise exchange happened between Phoenician Zayin and Tsade: Greek Zeta has the shape and position of Zayin () but the name and sound value of Tsade, and conversely Greek San has the approximate shape and position of Tsade () but may originally have had the sound value of Zayin, i.e. voiced[z]. However, since voiced[z] and voiceless[s] were not distinct phonemes in Greek, Sigma and San came to be used in essentially the same function.

According to a different theory, "San" was indeed the original name of what is now known as Sigma, and as such presents a direct representation of the corresponding name "Shin" in that position. This name was only later also associated with the alternative local letter now known as "San", whose original name remains unknown. The modern name "Sigma", in turn, was a transparent Greek innovation that simply meant "hissing", based on a nominalization of a verbσίζω (sízō, from an earlier stem *sigj-, meaning 'to hiss').

Moreover, a modern re-interpretation of the sound values of the sibilants in Proto-Semitic, and thus in Phoenician, can account for the values of the Greek sibilants with less recourse to "confusion". Most significant is the reconstruction of Šin as[s] and thus also the source of the sound value of Sigma; in turn, Samekh is reconstructed as the affricate[ts], which is a better match for the plosive-fricative cluster value[kʰs] of Xi.

Phoenician Greek
shape position name traditional
sound
sound
after Kogan
shape position name sound
after R Shin /ʃ/ /s/ Σ after R Sigma /s/
after N Samekh /s/ /ts/ Ξ after N Xi /ks/
after W Zayin /z/ /dz/ Ζ after W Zeta /dz/,/zd/
after P Tsade /ts/ /tsʼ/ Ϻ after P San */z/? >/s/

Whereas in early abecedaria, Sigma and San are typically listed as two separate letters in their separate alphabetic positions, each Greek dialect tended to use either San or Sigma exclusively in practical writing. The use of San became a characteristic of the Doric dialects of Corinth and neighboring Sikyon, as well as Crete. San became largely obsolete by the second half of the fifth century BC, when it was generally replaced by Sigma, although in Crete it continued in use for about a century longer. In Sikyon, it was retained as a symbolic mark of the city used on coin inscriptions (just as the likewise archaic Qoppa was used by Corinth, and a special local form of Beta by Byzantium).

San could be written with the outer stems either straight () or slanted outwards (), and either longer or of equal length with the inner strokes (). It was typically distinguished from the similar-looking Mu (Μ) by the fact that San tended to be symmetrical, whereas Mu had a longer left stem in its archaic forms (,,).

Outside Greece, San was borrowed into the Old Italic alphabets (𐌑, transcribed as Ś). It initially retained its M-shape in the archaic Etruscan alphabet, but from the 6th century BC changing its aspect to a shape similar to that of the d-rune.

The name of "San" lived on as an alternative (dialectal or archaic) name for "Sigma" even at a time when the letter itself had everywhere been replaced with standard Sigma. Thus, Herodotus in the late 5th century reports that the same letter was called "San" by the Dorians but "Sigma" by the Ionians. Athenaeus in his Deipnosophistae (c.200 AD) quotes an epigram which contained the spelled-out name of the philosopher Thrasymachus, still using "San" as the name for Sigma:

τοὔνομα θῆτα ῥῶ ἄλφα σὰν ὖ μῦ ἄλφα χεῖ οὖ σάν,
πατρὶς Χαλκηδών· ἡ δὲ τέχνη σοφίη.

"Name: Θ-Ρ-Α-Σ-Υ-Μ-Α-Χ-Ο-Σ,
Birthplace: Chalcedon; profession: wisdom"

Arcadian "tsan"

Arcadian "ts"

A unique letter variant, shaped (similar to modern Cyrillic И, but with a slight leftward bend): 212 ff. has been found in a single inscription in the Arcado-Cypriot dialect of Mantineia, Arcadia, a 5th-century BC inscription dedicated to Athena Alea (Inscriptiones Graecae V.ii.262) It is widely assumed to be a local innovation based on San, although Jeffery (1961) classes it as a variant of Sigma.: 212 ff. It appears to have denoted a/ts/ sound and has been labelled "Tsan" by some modern writers. In the local Arcadian dialect, this sound occurred in words that reflect Proto-Greek*/kʷ/. In such words, other Greek dialects usually have/t/, while the related Cypriot dialect has/s/. Examples are:

  • иις (cf. Attic τις, 'somebody')
  • иινα (cf. Attic τινα, 'somebody')
  • οиεοι (cf. Attic ὅτῳ 'to whomever')
  • ειиε (cf. Attic εἴτε 'either')

From these correspondences, it can be concluded that the letter most likely denoted an affricate sound, possibly[ts] or[tʃ], which would have been a natural intermediate step in the sound change from*/kʷ/ to/s/. The letter has been represented in modern scholarly transcriptions of the Mantinea inscription by ⟨ś⟩ (s with an acute accent) or by ⟨σ̱⟩ (sigma with a macron underneath).

Note, however, that the same symbol is used to denote the unrelated letter waw (/w/) in Pamphylia (the "Pamphylian digamma") and was also the form of beta (/b/) used in Melos.

Sampi

Main article: Sampi
Sampi

The Ionian letter, which later gave rise to the numeral symbol Sampi (ϡ = 900) may also be a continuation of San, although it did not have the same alphabetic position.: 38 ff.

Bactrian þ

Main article: Sho (letter)
Bactrian þ

In the Greek script used for writing the Bactrian language, there existed a letter resembling a "þ", which apparently stood for the sound/ʃ/ (transliterated as š) and has been named "Sho" in recent times. According to one hypothesis, this letter too may go back to San.

The letter san as it appears in four basic fonts: Times New Roman, Lucida Grande, Arial, and Helvetica

In modern editions and transcriptions of ancient Greek writing, San has rarely been used as a separate letter. Since it never contrasts systematically with Sigma except in abecedaria, it is usually silently regularized to Sigma in modern editorial practice. In the electronic encoding standard Unicode, a pair of uppercase and lowercase forms of the letter was introduced in version 4.0 (2003). For this purpose, new lowercase forms for modern typography, for which no prior typographic tradition existed, had to be designed. Most fonts have adopted the convention of distinguishing uppercase San from Mu by having its central V-like section descend only halfway down above the baseline, and lowercase San by giving it a left stem descending below the baseline. (Note that in historical epigraphic practice it was the other way round, with San being symmetrical and Mu having a longer left stem.[citation needed])

San is encoded in Unicode, while the Arcadian "Tsan" variant is unified with the identical-looking Pamphylian Digamma since version 5.1.


Character information
Preview Ϻ ϻ Ͷ ͷ
Unicode name GREEK CAPITAL LETTER SAN GREEK SMALL LETTER SAN GREEK CAPITAL LETTER PAMPHYLIAN DIGAMMA GREEK SMALL LETTER PAMPHYLIAN DIGAMMA
Encodings decimal hex decimal hex decimal hex decimal hex
Unicode 1018 U+03FA 1019 U+03FB 886 U+0376 887 U+0377
UTF-8 207 186 CF BA 207 187 CF BB 205 182 CD B6 205 183 CD B7
Numeric character reference Ϻ Ϻ ϻ ϻ Ͷ Ͷ ͷ ͷ
  1. Jeffery, Lilian H. (1961). The local scripts of archaic Greece. Oxford: Clarendon.
  2. Woodard, Roger D. (2006). "Alphabet". In Wilson, Nigel Guy (ed.). Encyclopedia of ancient Greece. London: Routldedge. p. 38.
  3. Kogan, Leonid (2011). "Proto-Semitic Phonetics and Phonology". In Semitic languages: an international handbook, Stefan Weninger, ed. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter. p. 69.
  4. "…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.
  5. Athenaeus, Deipnosophistae, 10.81.
  6. Woodard, Roger D. (1997). Greek writing from Knossos to Homer: a linguistic interpretation of the origin of the Greek alphabet and the continuity of ancient Greek literacy. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 177–179.
  7. Nicholas, Nick (2005). "Proposal to add Greek epigraphical letters to the UCS"(PDF). Archived from the original(PDF) on 2006-05-05. Retrieved2010-08-12.
  8. "PHI Greek Inscriptions: IB V,2 262". Retrieved2010-08-12.
  9. Tarn, William Woodthorpe (1961). The Greeks in Bactria and India. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 508. ISBN 9781108009416.
  10. Nick Nicholas, Non-Attic letters Archived 2012-06-28 at archive.today
  11. Unicode character database
  12. David Perry (2002) Design of the Greek archaic letter San for use in computer fonts Archived 2010-09-29 at the Wayback Machine
  13. "The Unicode Standard, Version 5.1: Greek and Coptic, Range 0370–03FF"(PDF). Retrieved2010-08-12.

San (letter)
San letter Language Watch Edit 160 160 Redirected from Ϻ San Ϻ was an archaic letter of the Greek alphabet Its shape was similar to modern M or Mu or to a modern Greek Sigma S turned sideways and it was used as an alternative to Sigma to denote the sound s Unlike Sigma whose position in the alphabet is between Rho and Tau San appeared between Pi and Qoppa in alphabetic order In addition to denoting this separate archaic character the name San was also used as an alternative name to denote the standard letter Sigma Use of San in archaic Corinthian script incised shard with a list of names c 700 BC The text reads ANTAS XA KEAS ANGARIOS AYϜIOS SOKLES TIDAS AMYNTAS TOI MALEϘO KAI Note the use of San at the end of most names and the difference between San and Mu with a shorter right stem in the word AMYNTAS Use of San in archaic Sicyonian writing shard incised with the dedicatory inscription HEROOS classic Greek spelling Ἥrwos of the Hero using San together with consonantal H and a characteristic Sikyonian X shaped form of Epsilon Contents 1 Historical use 1 1 Sigma and san 1 2 Arcadian tsan 1 3 Sampi 1 4 Bactrian th 2 Modern use 3 Character encoding 4 ReferencesHistorical useSigma and san The existence of the two competing letters Sigma and San is traditionally believed to have been due to confusion during the adoption of the Greek alphabet from the Phoenician script because Phoenician had more sibilant sounds than Greek had According to one theory 1 25 27 the distribution of the sibilant letters in Greek is due to pair wise confusion between the sounds and alphabet positions of the four Phoenician sibilant signs Greek Sigma got its shape and alphabetic position from Phoenician Sin but its name and sound value from Phoenician Samekh Conversely Greek Xi 3 got its shape and position from Samekh but its name and sound value from Sin The same kind of pair wise exchange happened between Phoenician Zayin and Tsade Greek Zeta has the shape and position of Zayin but the name and sound value of Tsade and conversely Greek San has the approximate shape and position of Tsade but may originally have had the sound value of Zayin i e voiced z However since voiced z and voiceless s were not distinct phonemes in Greek Sigma and San came to be used in essentially the same function According to a different theory 2 San was indeed the original name of what is now known as Sigma and as such presents a direct representation of the corresponding name Shin in that position This name was only later also associated with the alternative local letter now known as San whose original name remains unknown The modern name Sigma in turn was a transparent Greek innovation that simply meant hissing based on a nominalization of a verb sizw sizō from an earlier stem sigj meaning to hiss Moreover a modern re interpretation of the sound values of the sibilants in Proto Semitic and thus in Phoenician can account for the values of the Greek sibilants with less recourse to confusion Most significant is the reconstruction of Sin as s and thus also the source of the sound value of Sigma in turn Samekh is reconstructed as the affricate ts which is a better match for the plosive fricative cluster value kʰs of Xi 3 Phoenician Greekshape position name traditional sound sound after Kogan 3 shape position name sound after R Shin ʃ s S after R Sigma s after N Samekh s ts 3 after N Xi ks after W Zayin z dz Z after W Zeta dz zd after P Tsade ts tsʼ Ϻ after P San z gt s Whereas in early abecedaria Sigma and San are typically listed as two separate letters in their separate alphabetic positions each Greek dialect tended to use either San or Sigma exclusively in practical writing The use of San became a characteristic of the Doric dialects of Corinth and neighboring Sikyon as well as Crete San became largely obsolete by the second half of the fifth century BC when it was generally replaced by Sigma although in Crete it continued in use for about a century longer In Sikyon it was retained as a symbolic mark of the city used on coin inscriptions just as the likewise archaic Qoppa was used by Corinth and a special local form of Beta by Byzantium San could be written with the outer stems either straight or slanted outwards and either longer or of equal length with the inner strokes It was typically distinguished from the similar looking Mu M by the fact that San tended to be symmetrical whereas Mu had a longer left stem in its archaic forms Outside Greece San was borrowed into the Old Italic alphabets 𐌑 transcribed as S It initially retained its M shape in the archaic Etruscan alphabet but from the 6th century BC changing its aspect to a shape similar to that of the d rune The name of San lived on as an alternative dialectal or archaic name for Sigma even at a time when the letter itself had everywhere been replaced with standard Sigma Thus Herodotus in the late 5th century reports that the same letter was called San by the Dorians but Sigma by the Ionians 4 Athenaeus in his Deipnosophistae c 200 AD quotes an epigram which contained the spelled out name of the philosopher Thrasymachus still using San as the name for Sigma 5 toὔnoma 8ῆta ῥῶ ἄlfa sὰn ὖ mῦ ἄlfa xeῖ oὖ san patrὶs Xalkhdwn ἡ dὲ texnh sofih Name 8 R A S Y M A X O S Birthplace Chalcedon profession wisdom Arcadian tsan Arcadian ts A unique letter variant shaped similar to modern Cyrillic I but with a slight leftward bend 1 212 ff has been found in a single inscription in the Arcado Cypriot dialect of Mantineia Arcadia a 5th century BC 6 inscription dedicated to Athena Alea Inscriptiones Graecae V ii 262 7 8 It is widely assumed to be a local innovation based on San although Jeffery 1961 classes it as a variant of Sigma 1 212 ff It appears to have denoted a ts sound and has been labelled Tsan by some modern writers 7 In the local Arcadian dialect this sound occurred in words that reflect Proto Greek kʷ In such words other Greek dialects usually have t while the related Cypriot dialect has s Examples are iis cf Attic tis somebody iina cf Attic tina somebody oieoi cf Attic ὅtῳ to whomever eiie cf Attic eἴte either From these correspondences it can be concluded that the letter most likely denoted an affricate sound possibly ts or tʃ which would have been a natural intermediate step in the sound change from kʷ to s 6 The letter has been represented in modern scholarly transcriptions of the Mantinea inscription by s s with an acute accent or by s sigma with a macron underneath 7 Note however that the same symbol is used to denote the unrelated letter waw w in Pamphylia the Pamphylian digamma and was also the form of beta b used in Melos Sampi Main article Sampi Sampi The Ionian letter which later gave rise to the numeral symbol Sampi ϡ 900 may also be a continuation of San although it did not have the same alphabetic position 1 38 ff Bactrian th Main article Sho letter Bactrian th In the Greek script used for writing the Bactrian language there existed a letter resembling a th which apparently stood for the sound ʃ transliterated as s and has been named Sho in recent times According to one hypothesis this letter too may go back to San 9 Modern use The letter san as it appears in four basic fonts Times New Roman Lucida Grande Arial and Helvetica In modern editions and transcriptions of ancient Greek writing San has rarely been used as a separate letter Since it never contrasts systematically with Sigma except in abecedaria it is usually silently regularized to Sigma in modern editorial practice 10 In the electronic encoding standard Unicode a pair of uppercase and lowercase forms of the letter was introduced in version 4 0 2003 11 For this purpose new lowercase forms for modern typography for which no prior typographic tradition existed had to be designed 12 Most fonts have adopted the convention of distinguishing uppercase San from Mu by having its central V like section descend only halfway down above the baseline and lowercase San by giving it a left stem descending below the baseline Note that in historical epigraphic practice it was the other way round with San being symmetrical and Mu having a longer left stem citation needed Character encodingSan is encoded in Unicode while the Arcadian Tsan variant is unified with the identical looking Pamphylian Digamma since version 5 1 13 Character information Preview Ϻ ϻ Ͷ ͷUnicode name GREEK CAPITAL LETTER SAN GREEK SMALL LETTER SAN GREEK CAPITAL LETTER PAMPHYLIAN DIGAMMA GREEK SMALL LETTER PAMPHYLIAN DIGAMMAEncodings decimal hex decimal hex decimal hex decimal hexUnicode 1018 U 03FA 1019 U 03FB 886 U 0376 887 U 0377UTF 8 207 186 CF BA 207 187 CF BB 205 182 CD B6 205 183 CD B7Numeric character reference amp 1018 wbr amp x3FA wbr amp 1019 wbr amp x3FB wbr amp 886 wbr amp x376 wbr amp 887 wbr amp x377 wbr References a b c d Jeffery Lilian H 1961 The local scripts of archaic Greece Oxford Clarendon Woodard Roger D 2006 Alphabet In Wilson Nigel Guy ed Encyclopedia of ancient Greece London Routldedge p 38 a b Kogan Leonid 2011 Proto Semitic Phonetics and Phonology In Semitic languages an international handbook Stefan Weninger ed Berlin Walter de Gruyter p 69 tὠytὸ gramma tὸ Dwriees mὲn sὰn kaleoysi Ἴwnes dὲ sigma 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 Athenaeus Deipnosophistae 10 81 a b Woodard Roger D 1997 Greek writing from Knossos to Homer a linguistic interpretation of the origin of the Greek alphabet and the continuity of ancient Greek literacy Oxford Oxford University Press pp 177 179 a b c Nicholas Nick 2005 Proposal to add Greek epigraphical letters to the UCS PDF Archived from the original PDF on 2006 05 05 Retrieved 2010 08 12 PHI Greek Inscriptions IB V 2 262 Retrieved 2010 08 12 Tarn William Woodthorpe 1961 The Greeks in Bactria and India Cambridge Cambridge University Press p 508 ISBN 9781108009416 Nick Nicholas Non Attic letters Archived 2012 06 28 at archive today Unicode character database David Perry 2002 Design of the Greek archaic letter San for use in computer fonts Archived 2010 09 29 at the Wayback Machine The Unicode Standard Version 5 1 Greek and Coptic Range 0370 03FF PDF Retrieved 2010 08 12 Retrieved from https en wikipedia org w index php title San letter amp oldid 1040118044, wikipedia, wiki, book,

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