Sigma

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{{#invoke:Hatnote|hatnote}} Template:Sister

Sigma uc lc.svg
Greek alphabet
Αα Alpha Νν Nu
Ββ Beta Ξξ Xi
Γγ Gamma Οο Omicron
Δδ Delta Ππ Pi
Εε Epsilon Ρρ Rho
Ζζ Zeta Σσς Sigma
Ηη Eta Ττ Tau
Θθ Theta Υυ Upsilon
Ιι Iota Φφ Phi
Κκ Kappa Χχ Chi
Λλ Lambda Ψψ Psi
Μμ Mu Ωω Omega
History
Archaic local variants
  • Digamma
  • Heta
  • San
  • Koppa
  • Sampi
  • Tsan
Numerals
ϛ (6)
ϟ (90)
ϡ (900)
In other languages
Scientific symbols

Template:Navbar

Sigma (upper-case Σ, lower-case σ, lower-case in word-final position ς; Greek σίγμα) is the eighteenth letter of the Greek alphabet, and carries the 's' sound. In the system of Greek numerals, it has a value of 200. When used at the end of a word, when the word is not all upper-case, the final form (ς) is used, e.g. Ὀδυσσεύς (Odysseus); note the two sigmas in the center of the name, and the word-final sigma at the end.

History

The shape and alphabetic position of Sigma is derived from Phoenician shin 𐤔 Phoenician sin.svg.

Etymology

The name of sigma, according to one hypothesis,[1] may continue that of Phoenician Samekh. According to a different theory,[2] its original name may have been "San " (the name today associated with another, obsolete letter), while "sigma" was a Greek innovation that simply meant "hissing", based on a nominalization of a verb σίζω{{#invoke:Category handler|main}} (sízō, from earlier *sig-jō, meaning 'I hiss').

Uppercase of esh

The uppercase form of sigma was re-borrowed into the Latin alphabet to serve as the uppercase of modern esh (lowercase: ʃ).

Lunate sigma

The Madaba Map, a sixth-century mosaic map of Jerusalem ("Η ΑΓΙΑ ПОΛΙΣ") uses the lunate sigma.
A plaque reading "Μετόχιον Γεθσημανῆς", i.e. Metochion of Gethsemane, in Jerusalem with a lunate sigma both at the end and in the middle of the word

In handwritten Greek during the Hellenistic period (4th and 3rd centuries BC), the epigraphic form of Σ was simplified into a C-like shape.[3] It is also found on coins from the fourth century BC onward.[4] This became the universal standard form of sigma during late antiquity and the Middle Ages. It is today known as lunate sigma (upper-case Ϲ, lower-case ϲ), because of its crescent-like shape.

It is still widely used in decorative typefaces in Greece, especially in religious and church contexts, as well as in some modern print editions of classical Greek texts. The forms of the Cyrillic letter С (representing /s/) and Coptic letter Template:Coptic sima are derived from lunate sigma.

A dotted lunate sigma (sigma periestigmenon, encoded at U+03FE Ͼ) was used by Aristarchus of Samothrace as an editorial sign indicating that the line so marked is at an incorrect position. Similarly, an antisigma or reversed sigma (Ͻ) may mark a line that is out of place. A dotted antisigma or dotted reversed sigma (antisigma periestigmenon: Ͽ) may indicate a line after which rearrangements should be made, or to variant readings of uncertain priority.

Uses

Greek

In both Ancient and Modern Greek, the sigma represents the voiceless alveolar fricative /s/. Both in Ancient and Modern Greek, this sound is voiced to /z/ before /m/ or /n/.

Berber

Upper-case Σ may be used in the Berber Latin alphabet for [ʕ], though the INALCO standard uses Ɛ instead.

Science and mathematics

Upper-case

Upper-case Σ is used as a symbol for:

Lower-case

Lower-case σ is used for:

Politics

During the 1930s, an upper-case Σ was in use as the symbol of the Ação Integralista Brasileira, a fascist political party in Brazil.

Companies

Sigma Corporation uses the name of the letter but not the letter itself, however in many Internet forums photographers refer to the company or its lenses using the sigma letter. Sigma Aldrich incorporate both the name and the character in their logo.

Character encodings

  • Greek Sigma

Template:Charmap [6]

Template:Charmap

  • Coptic Sima

Template:Charmap

  • Mathematical Sigma

Template:Charmap

Template:Charmap

Template:Charmap

These 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.

See also

References

  1. {{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=book }}
  2. {{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=encyclopaedia }}
  3. Edward M. Thompson (1912), Introduction to Greek and Latin paleography, Oxford: Clarendon. p. 108, 144
  4. Parthia.com: Numismatica Font Projects.
  5. Template:Cite doi
  6. Unicode Code Charts: Greek and Coptic (Range: 0370-03FF)