8

I came across this picture attached to a clickbaity article this morning:

partial abecedary

A nice, normal-looking Greek alphabet…except for something that looks like S in between epsilon and zeta.

What is this letter? The only letter that I can think of for that position is digamma, but I've never seen a digamma in that shape, only like F.

  • This shape is used for terminal sigma, in contrast to medial; In my (Classical) Greek grammar it is shown for 6;in the Aldine Bible it is used with an extended top bar for monogram ts, (tau sigma); in greek alphabets it is often placed in the position previously occupied by digamma.This is all a preamble to saying it has several names: sigma, terminal sigma, tsau, tsigma, stigma, hex, and digamma. – Hugh Jan 18 at 2:15
11

I'd guess it's the symbol for 6, originally digamma, but later taking on an S-like shape. (It's a bit hard to make out, but I think the last two cells contain ΙΑ and ΙΒ, indicating a series of 1 to 12.)

  • 4
    So it's a sundial, perhaps? Would make sense with the needle in the middle of the circle. – Arthur Jan 15 at 8:33
  • That would be my guess. – varro Jan 15 at 17:04
  • @Arthur there's little doubt that it is one. In antiquity it was common to count 12 hours from sunrise to sunset – Rafael Jan 17 at 0:32
5

It is indeed one of the forms of Digamma, the form particularly used as a numeral. See Here

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